I have been to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve some years back. Since the end of last year, there is a new extension to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve that includes a coastal trail facing the Straits of Johor. The former Visitor Centre is now named as the Wetland Centre and the new and impressive Visitor Centre is now shifted to the end of the coastal walk nearer to the Kranji Reservoir (to the east of the Reserve).
If you drive using the Seletar Expressway (SLE) towards the Reserve, you would drive pass the road above the Kranji Dam. The view is magnificent with water on both side of the road. It is as if you are travelling cross-country to another part of the world.
On 15 June 2018 (Friday and a public holiday), five cars with twenty two people set off at 7.30 am for Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. We reached the car park nearest to the Wetland Centre at 8.10 am. In three hours, we walked the trail at the Buloh Tidal Ponds on the left of the Wetland Centre (so called old Sungei Buloh I had visited before) and proceeded to the newly opened extension to Sungei Buloh and the coastal walk to the right of the Wetland Centre. The rain came on when we were moving towards the new extension. We were lucky that the rain was not too heavy and umbrellas were sufficient to keep us going.
At this time of the year, we would not see migratory birds. In order to see them, October/November period would be ideal (so said a nature lover and enthusiast). According to NParks, September to March would be ideal for a visit. The tide was low in the early morning but we were still able to see birds, animals and insects. We saw crocodile, tree climbing monitor lizard, eagle, herons, woodpecker, spider, squirrel, hornbill, bats, water snake. Specific names of birds are beyond me. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve will be a good place for city dwellers to visit. No wonder this place is termed a living classroom for learning natural habitats on a mangrove swamp.
The old Sungei Buloh is a bit run-down and some construction works are happening. The new extension to the Wetland Reserve would release the pressure on the old Sungei Buloh. I enjoyed the new extension to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and the coastal walk despite the rain. The coastal walk alongside the Johor Strait was a feast for the eyes. Looking across the Strait, we can see Johor, Malaysia quite near.
I am impressed with the observation pods (shaped like a bird nest to me) dotted alongside the coastal trail. These pods are named Mudskipper Pod, Kingfisher Pod, Dragonfly Pod, Eagle Point, and Fantail Pod. The names suggest the kinds of habitats that could be seen at each pod. Another attraction is the Mud Experience platform. Visitors can walk the rope balancing bridge to the mudflats at low tides and experience the soft mud and come up close to the living things thriving in mangrove swamp.
Because of the rain, we had a cool morning walk. We ended the walk at 11.10 am and proceeded for lunch at Bollywood Veggies (Poison Ivy Café). I recommend that one must make reservation to secure a seat in the air-con area. Otherwise, one may eat in alfresco style. It was crowded yesterday on account that it was a public holiday.
To wrap up the whole trip, we made a visit to Kin Yan Agrotech, quite near to Sungei Buloh Wetland Centre. Kin Yan Agrotech’s products are being sold in NTUC Fairprice. These include wheatgrass, pea sprouts, various mushrooms, black fungus, aloe vera, cactus, etc. If you have a group of at least twenty people, the company may entertain you with talk and instructional tour of their premises. You can also shop for these products on their premises instead of at supermarkets.
The biggest take-away for me was that I was with nature in their natural habitat environment (mangrove swamp). Next time round, I would visit when the migratory birds are coming in to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.