Sunday, January 18, 2009

Tree Climbing Fish!

On a cloudy and gloomy evening I reached Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. This was my third visit in over 13 years.


The first visit in 1995 was a very exciting one (so I vaguely remember). First time in my life I saw a fish climb up a tree. Who would have believed such a thing is possible until you see it with your own eyes. In one of the tourist books I picked up at the airport I saw the mention of Sungei Buloh and I thought that is something I should go and see. During that visit the prawn farms were active, buildings you see across causeway weren’t tall or crowded, it was the high tide with all mangroves plants and trees partially submerged and the place is called Sungei Buloh Nature Park (now Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve). It was so long ago, I only remember parts of that visit.


The second visit was in 2007 and I remember it vividly. Along with my family and my then two year old son we were walking down one of the tracks and we were roughly a kilometre away from the entrance.


My son slipped, fell down and hit his head in a rock and started bleeding profusely. Not knowing what to so I had to carry him and run to the entrance (Tip 1: Emergency phone numbers are displayed at various points and electrical buggies are there – note them). In the meanwhile I will also trying to call different numbers and none was working. It was the most frightening day of my life. Later I realized that my phone has connected to the Malaysian network! (Tip 2: Change your mobile setting from automatic to manual. Malaysian telecom signal seems to be stronger than Singapore one in Sungei Buloh). Anyway it all ended okay. His bleeding stopped on the way to the hospital and he was all okay with only a slight scar on his head.

Every time after that, whenever I think of visiting Sungei Buloh I do not get a very pleasant feeling. Anyway finally I bit the bullet and decided to go there again, but alone.


A nice "welcome sign" that does not instil high confidence

So on a cloudy and gloomy evening I reached Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Due to the weather and being closer to 5:00 PM (Tip 3: Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve closes at 7:00 PM) there was only a very small crowd.  (Tip 4: Free entry on Weekdays; other days it is S$ 1!)

As I walked deeper and deeper into the reserve, it was getting very lonely. At many stretches for kilometres I wasn’t able to see anyone – that’s sort of scary – but sort of a different fear than what I felt during my Bukit Timah to MacRitchie walk.

The mangrove boardwalk over the specially laid out tracks can give you a detailed view of the mangroves.


Mangrove boardwalk

Things have changed a lot and with the low tide, the whole place looks different. The water is muddy, roots of trees and plants are exposed. The mudskipper fishes were no longer climbing trees. There were just resting out in the mud!


And of course there were hundreds of mangrove crabs all around and looked colourful as usual.



With the air filled with the noise of hundreds (or thousands) of crickets chirping,  you feel you are hundreds (or thousands) of miles away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore. It is extremely sad very few come here to enjoy nature (including me). Such a lovely place, so unlike the rest of Singapore.


Deserted walks

P1100628 A fresh water pond!

Finally after 2 hours when I am near the entrance there are busloads (literally) of tourists. They came in two buses, took photographs very closer to the entrance and then went back. But they too get to see nature in its full glory – hundreds of birds like this.


Once I got out of the reserve, I felt a little too early to go back home and decided to walk a while. To the deserted Neo Teo Crescent (and surprised to see a Crocodile farm there) and then went past the BBC transmission towers and then crossed the Kranji dam.

P1100652 Deserted roads on a weekend





Looking at this board I think there are other walks also possible in Kranji. One day I should try that out.


Fishing in Kranji Dam

Across Kranji dam facing the sea (and Malaysia), there are scores of foreign workers sitting in groups, some having snacks, some having a drink and some enjoying the beach. As the sun is slowly setting one of the groups was singing a song, a haunting melody, in Bangla (I think it is Bangla) and the only words I recognized was “Singapore”.  I wonder what they had to sing about Singapore. I hope it is something nice….



Anonymous said...

so koooool

Anonymous said...

sausage bbq

Anonymous said...

they taste nice on the bbq with some lemon they taste like ckicken barck

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