Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a travel attraction you’d expect to visit in Singapore.

It doesn’t get swarmed by tour buses or tourists. In fact, most locals and expatriates who have been working in Singapore for several years have not been here.

On the map, you can find it in the northeast area of Singapore. Taking a slow walk along the Coastal Trail here gives you a view of the coastlines of Johor Bahru, a city in southern Peninsular Malaysia.

Every year, thousands of migratory birds make a stop at the wetland reserve on their way to places with a warmer climate down south. This phenomenon always brings hundreds of birdwatchers and visitors to the reserve. To avoid disturbing the birds, visitors can use the observation hides and pods provided to watch them.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve plays an important role in conserving plant and animal species that call it home. At the same time, the reserve is also crucial for the survival of the migratory birds that treat it as a feeding ground before continuing their journey down south.

Other than migratory birds, fishes, small insects, and some other wildlife that you can observe from a close distance at the reserve include:

  • Mudskippers
  • Mud crabs
  • Mud lobsters
  • Spiders
  • Estuarine crocodile (also known as saltwater crocodile)
  • Water snakes
  • Monitor lizards
  • Otters
A Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Both the Visitor Center and Wetland Center at the reserve are worth visiting too. Inside these facilities, there are many educational audiovisuals and displays to help visitors learn more about the ecosystem of mangroves.

Walk slow, and pay close attention to the nature surrounding the area. Take notice of water movements, especially during low tides. With immense patience, the wildlife that you will encounter among the mangrove, forests and small ponds will surprise you.

If you thought Singapore has nothing to offer nature lovers? Think again.

Attraction Type

Nature

Name in Local Language

Mandarin: 双溪布洛湿地保护区 (shuāngxī bùlùo shīdì bǎohùqū)

History

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve started gaining attention in 1986 when Singapore Branch of the Malayan Nature Society requested Singapore’s government to conserve the area. Large numbers of migratory birds that are making a stop here during their annual journey from Siberia to Australia to escape winter is the reason behind the call.

Known as Sungei Buloh Nature Park back then, the area was open to the public on December 6, 1993. Then Singapore Prime Minister, Goh Chok Tong, officiated the park’s opening ceremony.

On November 10, 2001, the Government of Singapore granted the area with the natural reserve status, thereby protecting it from future destructions.

Another phase of the area was open to the public on January 1, 2002. Since then, the entire area covering 202 hectares was officially gazetted as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is one of the four gazetted nature reserves in Singapore. The others include:

  • Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
  • Central Catchment Nature Reserve
  • Labrador Nature Reserve

Key Attractions

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve covers a large area and it offers a wide variety of ways for visitors to experience the mangrove.

Across these attractions, you will find an abundance of wildlife as they are no longer hunted for years. Some of the highlights are monitor lizards as long as 6 meters, huge spiders, mudskippers, crabs, fishes and even adult-sized saltwater crocodiles.

More than 170 species of birds have been spotted at the reserve too.

If you visit the wetland reserve during the bird migration season from September to March, you will get to see different species of migratory birds hunting for food such as crabs and worms across the mudflats.

Non-avid birdwatchers may not be able to spot resident birds like egrets, bulbuls, and kingfishers while strolling through the area, but you can always hear their chirps among noises made by cicadas and other insects.

Coastal Trail

View from the Coastal Trail at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
View from the Coastal Trail

The Coastal Trail at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve connects its Visitor Center and Wetland Center by bringing visitors along the coastlines of the Straits of Johor, also known as Kranji Waterfront.

There are many observation pods along the trail. From these pods, visitors can see as far as Johor Bahru, the Malaysian city across the Straits of Johor.

Take your time and observe the shores. You can almost always spot fishes. Look up, and you might see ospreys and eagles hunting for food. On certain rare occasions, you might even catch a glimpse of eels, jellyfishes or even saltwater crocodiles.

Of course, the pods themselves are also great spots to enjoy the view and to take photos.

Mud Experience

Among the trails is a section called Mud Experience. This part of the reserve, which is only available during low tides, gives visitors the most fun, especially those who don’t really enjoy observing mangrove forests and mudflats for small creatures.

Mud Experience

Over here, you need to get yourself through a patch of mud by walking on a rope bridge instead of a concrete footpath or a forest trail. After going through the rope bridge, you must be careful as the path continues on a lower platform that still holds water puddles even long after the tides recede.

The later part of the trail is not available during high tides as sea water will submerge it.

Forest Trail

The Forest Trail at the reserve puts visitors right in the center of the mangrove. The trail is mostly a wooden bridge that cuts through the inner parts of the mangrove, giving you the opportunity to see its wildlife and plants up close.

As you enter the lush green trail, you will hear loud noises coming from male cicadas who are trying to attract females with their own mating calls.

Look at the barks, leaves, and roots of the trees along the trail. Small colonies of insects, squirrels jumping from one branch to another, and majestic-looking spiders waiting for their prey will be there to welcome your presence.

Migratory Bird Trail

Bridge Leading to the Migratory Bird Trail
Bridge Leading to the Migratory Bird Trail

The Migratory Bird Trail is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s main attraction from September to March every year. Flocks of migratory birds will stop by the reserve, thereby attracting birdwatchers and visitors who want to see them up close.

Some of these birds come from as far as Russia, and the wetland reserve is a feeding ground for them before they continue their journey to the south.

Bring a pair of binoculars if you are interested in observing the different bird species here.

If urban development takes place at the wetlands instead of conservation activities, these birds, which are exhausted due to the long journey they had, will die because of starvation.

Mangrove Boardwalk

You cannot visit Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve without taking a closer look at the mangroves. Mangrove Broadwalk is a walking path on stilts that is just beside the Wetland Center. Taking a stroll on it gives you a closer look at the mangrove as well as its ecosystem.

During high tides, try spotting fishes weaving among the aerial roots and trunks.

When tides are low, you can see mudskippers, crabs and mud lobsters. Just search for mounds that look like volcanoes with its peak out of the water. These mounds are homes to the mud lobsters. When you see them, look at the tree trunks nearby, and you should be able to find tree-climbing crabs as well.

Over here, you might also come across estuarine or saltwater crocodiles resting in the water or on mud flats that go underwater when the tide rises.

An Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile Found at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
An Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile Found at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Visitor Center and Wetland Center

The Visitor Center and Wetland Center aim to educate visitors about mangroves and their ecosystem by providing information about them. They also go into great detail about the flora and fauna of mangroves.

These information gets displayed in the form of audiovisuals and standing boards.

These centers are also two main places in the forest reserve where visitors can get some rest. They house facilities such as toilets, vending machines for drinks, and shaded benches that keep visitors away from the hot sun.

Wetland Center
Wetland Center

Free Guided Walks

There are a few guided walks at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve which you can participate for free.

The registration for these walks is on a first come, first serve basis. They open two weeks before the scheduled date of the walk.

Here are the descriptions of all the free guided walks at the reserve:

Free Guided Walk in English

This free guided walk happens every Saturday at 9:30am except on Public Holidays and the eve of Public Holidays.

An experienced guide will show participants around the reserve. The entire walk takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

You must register via the website, over the phone or by sending the wetland reserve an email in order to participate. You can find the relevant contact details by clicking on this link.

Do note that each walk has a limit of 20 people, but requires a minimum of 5 people to start. Also, it gets canceled if it rains on the day when the walk is scheduled.

Free Guided Walk in Mandarin or Japanese

Aside from the guided walk in English, the reserve also hosts a free guided walk in Mandarin or Japanese every month, from 9:30am to 10:30am.

The dates of these walks vary from month-to-month. You can learn more about the latest schedule here.

An experienced guide will show participants around the wetland reserve, but instead of English, the guide will be using Mandarin or Japanese for his or her narration.

You must register via the website, over the phone or by sending the wetland reserve an email in order to participate in these walks. You can find the relevant contact details by clicking on this link.

Just like the guided walks in English, these walks also have a limit of 20 people, but require a minimum of 5 people to start. It will be canceled if it rains on the day when the walk is scheduled.

Free Guided Themed Walks

Aside from the general guided walks, you can also take part in different themed walks held weekly on a rotational basis.

What’s in My Mud?

The mud is an important element of the mangrove ecosystem. Many plants and wildlife living at the mangrove rely on it. This tour will allow participants to close to the mud, so they can observe the lesser-known creatures living in it.

What’s in My Water?

Water is everywhere at a mangrove. It is a key element to ensure the sustainability of a mangrove ecosystem. During this walk, the guide will help participants identify creatures and plants living in and around the waters surrounding the wetland reserve.

On top of that, participants will also learn different types of water bodies at a mangrove, their composition as well as how we can play our part to ensure the water at a mangrove stays clean and healthy for its long-term sustainability.

What’s in My Mangrove?

Mangroves at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Mangroves are interesting because it is the meeting point for freshwater and saltwater. This tour is all about the plants and trees that call mangroves their home. Get to know them better and start appreciating the unique ecosystem that they help create because mangroves are disappearing due to rapid coastal developments.

What’s in My Sky?

Interested in migratory birds but the term ‘birdwatching’ sounds so intimidating that it turns you away? If your answer is yes, then you should join this tour.

As part of the tour, an experienced guide will teach you how to identify the beautiful birds living at or stopping by Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. At the same time, you will have a better understanding of why conserving the mangrove is so important for migratory bird species.

You can click on this link to see all the scheduled walks, events and activities happening at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. You can also register yourself as a participant on the respective event pages.

Walking Route Map

Thanks to its official webpage, you can find the latest copy of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s walking route map below.

Click on it to view the enlarged version.

You can also grab a physical copy of the map above by going to the Visitor Center or Wetland Center of the wetland reserve upon your arrival.

Gallery

Getting There and Around

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a little out-of-the-way to get to, but it is not hard for a traveler to reach the place by relying only on Singapore’s public transportation system.

By Bus

You can take either an SMRT bus or a bus called Kranji Express operated by a private company, to get yourself from Kranji MRT Station to the wetland reserve.

SMRT Buses

SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve or Vice Versa
SMRT Bus 925 from Kranji MRT Station to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve or Vice Versa

Bus 925 is the bus to take from Kranji MRT Station to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The bus stops at different stations around the wetland reserve depending on the day of a week.

A bus ride from Kranji MRT Station to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, or vice versa, takes around 10 to 15 minutes.

Mondays to Saturdays

On these days, the last stop for Bus 925 is at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B, which is opposite the entrance to the wetland reserve’s Visitor Center.

The bus station at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B is also the only station where you can take a bus operated by SMRT back to Kranji MRT Station.

Sundays and Public Holidays

On Sundays and Public Holidays, apart from stopping at the bus station at Kranji Reservoir Carpark B, SMRT Bus 925 also stops at the bus station beside the reserve’s entrance at Neo Tiew Crescent, which leads to the Wetland Center.

Likewise, you can also wait for the bus at a bus stop just beside either of the wetland reserve’s entrances.

Kranji Express

Kranji Express is a bus service operated by a private company. It runs between Kranji MRT Station, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, and some of the farms in the Kranji area.

It has a stop at both the Visitor Center and Wetland Center of the reserve. The bus operates daily, and it departs from Kranji MRT Station at the following times:

  • 8:30am
  • 9:30am
  • 11:00am
  • 1:00pm
  • 2:30pm
  • 4:00pm
  • 5:45pm

A bus ride from Kranji MRT Station to the reserve, or vice versa, takes around 1 hour. A single one-way ride costs SGD3 for every adult, SGD1 for every child under 12 years old, and SGD1 for every senior citizen who is 60 years old and above.

By Train

The nearest MRT station to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is the Kranji MRT Station on the North-South Line.

However, you still need to either take a bus, hail a taxi or a car using a ride-hailing service to reach Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

By Ride-hailing Services

You can take a car provided by a ride-hailing service from wherever you are, to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The cheaper option is to take the MRT to Kranji Station, before hailing a ride from there.

Registering an account with GRAB or Uber after clicking on the links below gives you and kuaby SGD10 worth of free rides.

GRAB, and Uber are the preferred ride-hailing services in Singapore. You can use them to travel from anywhere in the city to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

If you have never used either of them before, here are the steps to register an account:

GRAB

  1. Click on this link to register a GRAB account.
  2. Download GRAB to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Select your pickup spot.
  5. Search for “Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve” and use it as your drop-off spot.
  6. Select the type of service/vehicle you prefer to hail.
  7. Click on “Book” and a car will be on its way.

Uber

  1. Click on this link to register an Uber account.
  2. Download Uber to your mobile phone from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  3. Open the app and follow the steps to sign in.
  4. Tap on the ‘Where to?’ field.
  5. Search for ‘Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’.
  6. Tap on ‘Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’ located in Singapore to set it as your destination.
  7. Tap on the vehicle or service of your choice, followed by ‘REQUEST’, and a car will be on its way.

Taking a ride from the city to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve using either of these services will cost around SGD15 to SGD30, depending on distance and traffic conditions. These apps will show you the approximate fare and ask for your confirmation before proceeding to book a car for you.

By Taxi

You can hail a taxi from your current location to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. The cheaper option will be to take the MRT to Kranji Station, before taking a taxi to the wetland reserve.

Almost every taxi driver in Singapore is reliable and uses the meter. Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, cases of taxi drivers scamming passengers almost never happen.

However, the wetland reserve is still a fairly unknown attraction that is also far from the city center. Thus, not all taxi drivers, unless they use a GPS device, will know its location and the exact route to get here.

Also, it is difficult to get a taxi at the reserve. Be prepared to take the bus, or at least install one of the ride-hailing apps mentioned above.

Things to Note

  • Months between September to March are the best times to visit the wetland reserve if you want to see migratory birds. Make sure to bring a pair of binoculars with you.
  • Do not wander off the designated trails.
  • Beware of estuarine crocodiles, huge monitor lizards, and snakes within the vicinity of the reserve. Stay calm and walk away if you encounter them. Call the emergency number shown along the trail whenever necessary.
  • Bring a mosquito/insect repellent and wear long pants or long-sleeve shirts if possible.
  • Do not feed the birds, fishes, crocodiles and any other animals you come across at the reserve.
  • Food is allowed but beware of monkeys who might snatch them.
  • Do not litter.
  • The entire reserve is a non-smoking area.
  • Bring umbrellas or raincoats in case it rains. You can also bring a few plastic bags for your electronic devices.
  • Turn off roaming on your phone as it may switch to a Malaysian telecommunication network.
'Watch Out, Crocodile' Sign at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
‘Watch Out, Crocodile’ Sign

Opening Hours

Opens daily, from 7:00am to 7:00pm.

Admission Fees

Free

Facilities

  • Toilets
  • Cafeteria
  • Ramps for wheelchair accessibility

Parking

There are two free parking areas at the wetland reserve where visitors can park their vehicles.

The first parking area is near the reserve’s Kranji Way entrance and Visitor Center (also known as Kranji Car Park C) while the second area is closer to the reserve’s entrance at Neo Tiew Crescent, which is closer to its Wetland Center (also known as Neo Tiew Car Park).

Visitors can also choose to park at Kranji Car Park B for free, which is slight opposite the reserve’s Kranji Way entrance.

Contact Information

Phone Number
+65 6794 1401

Fax Number
+65 6793 7271

Website
https://www.nparks.gov.sg/sbwr

Email Address
[email protected]

Address

Visitor Center
60 Kranji Way, #01-00
Singapore 739453

Wetland Center
301 Neo Tiew Crescent
Singapore 718925

GPS Coordinates

1.4467195, 103.7279602

Travel Blog Mentions

A Squirrel at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A Squirrel at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Hiking – Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Jeffery Wong, a Singaporean blogger, explored Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve on his own around February 2017. Through his blog post and the photos he posted, you can follow his journey around the reserve. His exploration was quite thorough. He even came face-to-face with a squirrel and other wildlife that call the reserve home! Read Jeffery‘s blog post if you want to know how a walk at the forest reserve is like.

Mangrove and Wildlife at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – Migratory Bird Trail @ Kranji Countryside, Singapore

After spending a couple of hours searching for blog posts related to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, it became evident that this post by Eva, a travel blogger from Medan, Indonesia, but currently living in Singapore, has the best photos about the place. In the blog post, she shared a video of herself walking with a monitor lizard at the reserve. To take that even further, she published a very clear shot of a crocodile she spotted! Click on the link above to read her blog post now.

Singapore: A Visit to Sungei Buloh (Part 1)

Ronald Orenstein, a Canadian wildlife conservationist, visited Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve back in September 2014. Ronald‘s blog post is worth highlighting because he has many close-up shots of creatures living at the reserve. These include monitor lizards, mudskippers, a dog-faced water snake and many others. Since Ronald visited the reserve during the migration season for migratory birds, you can see them in his blog post too.

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Wayne Liew

Wayne fell in love with traveling and every aspect of it when he traveled to Singapore in 2013. He is a newbie when it comes to traveling and he loves chatting with other travelers to learn from their experiences. Are you a traveler? Let’s connect!

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