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Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Singapore: Visit the crème de la crème of sustainable biodiversity

Singapore’s first ASEAN heritage park is an underrated beauty, a world-class living ecoclassroom which is, without a doubt, a breath of fresh air in the country — a rare oasis for wildlife in a metropolitan city typically known for its upright, modern lifestyle and skyscrapers. Along with the wetland reserve’s global importance and significance, being physically present in the area provides a sensory feast. The Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve welcomes visitors to a richly biodiverse, eco-friendly sanctuary space for cherished flora and fauna and a variety of habitats like ponds, mudflats, and forests. Here, you can say hello to some of the world’s rarest mangroves and greet thousands of migratory birds at this site of international importance.

Sungei Buloh possesses a synonymy with mangroves, as it began as a forest reserve dominated by mangrove swamp in the 1890s. The mangroves continue to regenerate, evolve, and maintain their ecosystem in the area, explicating the delicate nature of this aspect of the reserve. Wellpreserved and containing the largest intact mangrove forest on mainland Singapore, it is no wonder that these wetlands are so unbelievably special. Hundreds of species of beautiful birds also consider Sungei Buloh indispensable; an essential part of their arduous journey from Siberia and areas around it to Australia, that acts as a pit stop to relax and feed. These feathered visitors are warmly welcomed each year to this important part of the East Asian Australasian Shorebird Site Network, a place ready for the rare Blue-Eared Kingfisher, the meek Common Redshank, and the charming Asian Dowitcher, to name a few.

Trails meandering through the region take you to the heart of all the action – a mid-canopy boardwalk running through the forest understory teeming with thriving wildlife, and the 1.9- kilometer hike to Aerie Tower for 360-panoramic views of the reserve. Visitors can take a volunteer-led guided tour or activity for deeper insight into the true beauty of the reserve, where natives to the area like giant mudskippers, tree-climbing crabs, water monitor lizards, and rare up-to-8-meter estuarine/saltwater crocodiles roam this ecological wonder throughout the year.

This sustainable regional eco-system was involved in a two-day symposium that sought to find strategies to conserve spaces important to ecology in Singapore, encouraging people to interact wholly with the natural environment all while maintaining its natural serenity and untouched characteristics. Elevated pod observation platforms like the Kingfisher Pod and Dragonfly Pod are dotted around the site allow visitors to marvel at the vast reserve and the sea, binoculars for rent providing a sharper look at the colorful creatures with no interference. Multiple wetland zones inspire biolearning, with the visitor center and Kranji Nature Trail providing firsthand connections with coastal habitats and sensory escapades available at the coastal front.

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve’s green initiatives and sustainability factor puts it on the map for visitors to Singapore and those looking for an escape to a nature sanctuary. At this reserve, it’s all about meshing together the buzzing activity of the outdoors and a state of calm and wonder.

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