Located in the far northwest 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 that visitors come to see at Sungei Buloh’s Tidal Ponds include herons, kingfishers, monitor lizards and water snakes.
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.
The first building visitors heading to the Tidal Ponds will come to is the Wetland Centre. This should not 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. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Extension, with coastal walks and a mudflat experience, was later added to the east of the Reserve in December 2014.
In August 2020, it was announced that the eastern extension will be renamed Kranji Coastal Nature Park. It would also form part of of the Sungei Buloh Nature Park Network which will include a new Lim Chu Kang Nature Park to the west of the Wetland Reserve and connections with other nature spaces in the area.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and its 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.
The Buloh Tidal Ponds have a raised, paved track that runs 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 very middle.
Along the trail, there are five hides. Each hide provides a place where you can sit down and observe wildlife at the Wetland Reserve. 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.
The only other major structure at the Sungei Buloh wetland is an 18-metre tall bird watching tower, the Aerie Tower. The tall structure has 72 steps leading 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
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.
“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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 thrown in) pays off.
3. A Keen Eye
“Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flower in it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
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 lookout 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
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
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”.
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.
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