You might think it’s crazy to search for crocodiles at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore, but recent evidence might get you thinking…
Exhibit A: A wild elephant swims over from Malaysia and ends up on Pulau Ubin.
Exhibit B: Locals (also on Pulau Ubin), report sightings of a tiger prowling the island. While never verified, experts claim Pulau Ubin is within swimming range of Malaysia for a tiger.
It’s not much of a stretch then that a crocodile, a creature whose bread and butter is actually swimming (and eating, and fighting snakes) could swim over from the wilds of Malaysia and make its home in the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. It wouldn’t be the first Malaysian to cross the border in search of better wages and a more comfortable standard of living, and with this thought in mind I started my search. I actually had no idea there might be crocodiles lurking until I saw sign after sign warning people about them. I’d received my challenge and was determined to spot one in the wild.
Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a great place to walk around and seems a million miles away from the bustle of Singapore city. Boardwalks snake around the park and give great views of the mangrove swamps. While it may be hard to spot crocodiles you will see a lot of monitor lizards, which are kind of like small crocodiles (or komodo dragons). These are pretty exciting to see if you haven’t come into contact with them before, but they are pretty common in Southeast Asia, especially in Malaysia.
There is plenty of other wildlife hanging around the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, including birds, jumping fish, insects and otters. Before I moved here I had no idea places like this existed in Singapore, and I’m guessing most visitors don’t realise it either. There is so much to do in this tiny country that doesn’t involve shopping and inner-city attractions; you could easily spend a few days exploring the wilds of Singapore.
After walking around for about 2 hours I thought I’d finally spotted my white whale, AKA a crocodile. I was convinced for days, until I had a look at the photo I took of it, zoomed in a bit and realised it was actually a big monitor lizard. It was a bit disappointing, but I’m planning to continue my quest one day soon.
I visited the wetlands on a Monday morning and it was really quiet. It’s a huge place and I had it almost to myself, apart from the occasional bird photographer and a big group of Chinese tourists who nearly got too close to a big monitor lizard. There are little huts you can sit in and wait for birds and there are plenty of places to just relax and breathe in the nature, something that becomes quite important while living in hectic Singapore.
I didn’t see any crocodiles during my visit to Sungei Buloh Wetlands but still had a great time and saw about 10 monitor lizards, lots of jumping fish and some colourful birds. It’s an easy and relaxing walk (assuming you don’t have to run away from crocodiles) and is a nice way to spend a few hours.
Getting to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
It’s not the easiest place to get to but if you have the time it’s an interesting journey. From Woodlands MRT Station you can take a bus that drops you about a 15 minute walk from the park entrance. The walk is quite nice, as it takes you through a bit of rural Singapore, including farms and an almost deserted country road. The bus goes all the way to the entrance on Sundays and public holidays.
Further reading: Looking for more information about Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve? Check out this page on the Singapore national parks website.
Have you seen crocodiles at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve? Did you even know places like this existed in Singapore? Let me know!
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