5 Essentials to Bring to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Located in the far northeast of Singapore, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is haven for wildlife. With tidal ponds and mangrove forests, it supports an ecosystem of birds, reptiles and mammals. At the same time, it provides visitors a chance to encounter and admire these animals in their natural habitat.

Some of the animals visitors come to see at Sungei Buloh’s Tidal Ponds include herons, kingfishers, monitor lizards and water snakes.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a sanctuary for birds
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a sanctuary for many different species of birds.

The most popular time of the year to visit is from September to March. This is when migratory birds such as the Great Egret, Marsh Sandpiper and Himalayan Swiftlet fly into the wetlands at Sungei Buloh.

For human visitors, the entry to the wetlands at Sungei Buloh is much less dramatic.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre
Make your way to the Buloh Tidal Ponds through the Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre.

The first building visitors heading to the Tidal Ponds will come to is the Wetland Centre. This should not to be confused with the Visitor Centre that is located at the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension.

At the Wetland Centre, there are educational panels that provide a wealth of information about the flora and fauna of the wetland reserve.

Sungei Buloh and its tidal ponds became a nature reserve in 2002. A new Sungei Buloh Wetland Extension, with coastal walks and a mudflat experience, was later added in December 2014.

Buloh Tidal Ponds, Sungei Buloh, Singapore
View of the Buloh Tidal Ponds

From the Wetland Centre, a bridge that connects to the wetlands or tidal ponds. The bridge spans the Buloh Besar river and visitors will need to head past decorated corrugated metal hoardings to arrive at the Tidal Ponds.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and its Tidal Ponds

Track at Sungei Buloh Wetland ReserveThe Buloh Tidal Ponds have a raised, paved track running around its perimeter. This track, the Migratory Bird Trail is 1.95 km long. You can think of it as an oval, starting from the main bridge and with the ponds at the centre.

Looking out from the Main Hide at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Looking out from the Main Hide at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

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Along the trail, there are five hides. Each hide provides a place where you can sit down and observe wildlife. You will immediately see the Main Hide once you cross the Main Bridge.

In addition to the five hides, there are also two shelters along the Migratory Bird Trail.

Sungei Buloh Aerie Tower
Sungei Buloh’s Aerie Tower

The only other major structure at the Sungei Buloh wetland is an 18-metre tall bird watching tower, the Aerie Tower. It has 72 steps to the top and can be found opposite the Main Hide. However, you will have to walk around the perimeter of the ponds to get to it.

Now, that you are oriented to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, here are five essentials that you need to bring along for your visit.

1. A Sense of Adventure

‘The world’s big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir

With a bit of luck, you may be able to spot an estuarine crocodile, like this one, at Buloh Besar River.
With a bit of luck, you may be able to spot an estuarine crocodile, like this one, at Buloh Besar River.

A healthy sense of adventure is essential. You never know exactly what you come across at Sungei Buloh and if you have an open mind, you will enjoy your visit even more. Every visit is different and you will be rewarded with a different experience each time.

2. Patience

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

The animals at Sungei Buloh are wild and you can’t expect to them to appear on demand. If you wish to see the wildlife, you have to be patient. Sometimes, you will be able to see them and sometimes you won’t. If it is not the migratory season, you shouldn’t hope to see migratory birds – but there’s still plenty of wildlife to spot. Don’t power your way around the trail. A visit to Sungei Buloh is a chance to slow down and appreciate nature. Patience (with a bit of luck thown in) pays off.

3. A Keen Eye

“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flower in it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A snake well-camouflaged with a tree.
A snake well-camouflaged with a tree.

Flora and fauna come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, animals can be right under your nose and you may not notice them. Keep a look out around you and above too. Pay attention to the rustling of leaves or the undergrowth. Try looking a bit closer and you may be surprised by what you come across.

4. Softer Tones

“When one tunes in into nature’s frequency, life becomes change, change becomes hope!” Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

Bird perched on a tree at Sungei Buloh
Bird perched on a tree at Sungei Buloh

No, we are not talking about wearing the autumn collection to Sungei Buloh. We are talking about noise. Loud noise scares away animals. It alerts them that you are coming and they tend to run away. Trying walking and talking softer. Take a moment to remain quiet in the hides, wait for a while and see if anything comes out.

5. Respect for Nature

“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and it’s beauty.” – Albert Einstein

Otters spotted in the waters off Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Otters spotted in the waters off Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Remember to respect the wildlife you come across. Please don’t poke or provoke them. Of course you shouldn’t destroy trees, break branches or bash carelessly through the undergrowth. It goes without saying that littering is a “no-no”. Practise the saying, “Take nothing but pictures and leave behind nothing but footsteps”.

There you have it, five essentials for your visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. You can also find out more information about the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension and Mudflats Experience here.

Getting to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

To get to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve by bus, board SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station. Alight at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B (to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Extension’s Visitor Centre).

On Sundays and Public Holidays, board SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station and alight at the Wetland Centre entrance. SMRT Bus 925 operates only from Woodlands Interchange on Sundays and Public Holidays.

Alternatively, take the Kranji Express bus from the Kranji MRT Station, starting from 8.30 am and ending at 5.45 pm daily.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is served by three parking lots. Neo Tiew carpark is closest to the Wetland Centre and the Buloh Tidal Ponds. Kranji Carpark C and Kranji Carpark B are closest to the Visitor Centre which is about 1.5 km away from the Buloh Tidal Ponds.

View a map of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve here.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Visitor Centre Address: 60 Kranji Way, #01-00, Singapore 739453
Wetland Centre: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925
Opening Hours: 7 am to 7 pm
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