Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands

Mudflats at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Mudflats at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

By Vicky · Published Jan. 23rd, 2022 · Updated Nov. 28th, 2022

Hike around Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands to see birds, crocodiles and mudskippers with our guide and route map.

How to get to Sungei Buloh Wetlands

Kranji MRT station is the nearest MRT to both Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands. From the MRT station there is a regular bus, the 925 (or 925M), which runs roughly every 8 minutes to the visitor centre at the east side of Sungei Buloh Wetlands. To take the bus to the wetlands centre on the west side of the reserve, make sure to take the 925M which detours right into the reserve.

Another option on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays is the NParks free shuttle bus which leaves right from Kranji MRT station. The first bus leaves from the MRT at 7:30 am. Check the rest of the schedule here. Cycling is also a great way to visit this area.

Sungei Buloh Wetlands by Car

There are two car parks at Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve – one in the east by the visitor centre and one in the west by the wetlands centre. Just opposite the Wetlands Reserve is Kranji Park Carpark B, with Kranji Park Carpark A on the other side of the dam across Kranji Reservoir. There is also a car park at the entrance to Kranji Marshes.

How to get to Kranji Marshes

Kranji Marshes are difficult to get to on public transport since it’s about 2.5 km to the nearest bus stop. However, on weekends and public holidays, the free NParks shuttle bus goes between Kranji MRT and Kranji Marshes, via Sungei Buloh Wetlands. If you arrive by shuttle bus, you can spend just over an hour in Kranji Marshes before catching the next shuttle bus back to either Sungei Buloh or Kranji MRT.

By car, it’s easy to drive to Kranji Marshes and there is a car park just by the entrance. A taxi is also an easy option. Or with a bike, it’s only a 30-minute (8 km) cycle from Kranji MRT.

How to go from Sungei Buloh Wetlands to Kranji Marshes

Driving or taking a taxi is the easiest option to get between Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve and Kranji Marshes. There is no normal bus between the two areas and it would be a 3 km walk along the road – half of which is a fairly busy road with no pavement. The best way to get between Sungei Buloh Wetlands and Kranji Marshes is to use the free NParks shuttle bus, though this only runs on the weekend and only runs every hour or so. Another good option is to cycle!

Kranji Marshes & Sungei Buloh Wetlands Map

Get the route by downloading the .gpx or .kml file below. For navigation with on your mobile phone, simply download the .kml file and open to add it to the bookmarks.

Tips for Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands

  • Both Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh reserve are open only between 7 am and 7 pm.
  • The free shuttle, as described above, is the best way to get to and to get between Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh.
  • Take binoculars* and a camera with zoom lens* if you have them – you will be able to see and take photos of the birds and animals.
  • Both the marsh and the wetlands can become very hot in the middle of the day due to humidity, though there is also quite a lot of shade.
  • Take a sun hat, sunscreen and plenty of water along.
  • The entire route is paved or on boardwalk, wear appropriate shoes.
  • Navigation offline maps app works quite well but the navigation is simple on this hike.
  • Check out other hikes on our Singapore Hiking Page

We started our hike at Kranji Marshes. We took the free shuttle here at 7:30 am from Kranji MRT. It arrived at Kranji Marshes at 8 am and we spend just over an hour here before catching the 9:15 am shuttle bus to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. After visiting the wetlands we ate our sandwiches in Kranji Reservoir Park before taking the regular 925 bus from the Granite Bustop at the eastern end of the Reservoir back to Kranji MRT.

Kranji Marshes

Path into Kranji Marshes in Singapore
Bee-eaters in Singapore

Raptor Tower at Kranji Marhses

From the entrance of Kranji Marshes (where there are toilets and a few vending machines), it’s a 1 km walk to the main section of the park. This stretch of the hike is along a narrow road (without cars) surrounded by jungle. We saw bee-eaters and bulbuls just by the side of the path.

The Raptor Tower

The walk in the main park of Kranji Marshes is quite short since most of the reserve is set aside only for nature. The main things to see in Kranji Marshes are the raptor tower and the two other bird hides. The raptor tower is in the centre and there is a great view over the marshes and beyond from the top. You can also see many birds flying around in the nearby trees.

View from the Raptor Tower of the Marshlands below
View from the Raptor Tower of the Marshlands below
View from the Raptor Tower over Kranji Marshes
View from the Raptor Tower over Kranji Marshes

See Birds up Close with Binoculars

To see all the nice birds on this hike up close, get a decent pair of binoculars. I have had a pair of Bresser binoculars* for over 20 years now and they are pretty indestructible and work well. Another well-reviewed pair on Amazon are these Celestrons:

Celestron Nature DX 8×42 Binoculars on Amazon*.

Check out the complete list of hiking gear needed for Singapore:

Bird Hides at Kranji Marshes

After the raptor tower we visited the two bird hides, which both overlook large ponds or marshes. We saw some weavers building nests from one hide and at the other we saw a couple of wading birds and smaller ones jumping about in the reeds. While wandering back around through the vegetation, we scanned the trees to see more birds. We then returned the way we came back to the entrance and car park.

Bird Hide at Kranji Marshes
Bird Hide at Kranji Marshes
View from the Bird Hide
View from the Bird Hide
A crimson sunbird in Kranji Marshes
A Crimson Sunbird

We waited a few minutes for the free shuttle bus and then got on for the ten-minute ride to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve west entrance. The timing of the shuttle means that you can arrive on one, visit the marshes at a leisurely pace, and then make it back in time for the next shuttle.

Birds we saw in Kranji Marshes

We saw many birds in Kranji Marshes. The best time to visit the marshes is early morning when the birds are most active – though the park only opens at 7 am.

  • Oriental Magpie Robin – glossy black with white stripes – hopping around one of the ponds by the bird hides
  • Blue-throated Bee-eater – in the trees on the route near the carpark
  • Baya Weavers – building their nests in the reeds around the ponds at the bird hides
  • Crimson Sunbird – on the very top of the raptor tower
  • Yellow-vented Bulbul- various bushes by the trail
  • Ashy Tailorbird – in the reeds from the hides.

Sungei Buloh Wetlands – Wetlands Centre (West)

The western side of Sungei Buloh Wetlands is called the Wetlands Centre, while the eastern side is called the Visitor Centre. At both centres, there are information desks, toilets and vending machines but no cafes or other food. The visitor centre also has some informative displays about local wildlife.

The main bridge in the Sungei Bulow Wetlands in Singapore.
Main bridge
Lookout point over the water in Sungei Buloh Wetlands.
Lookout points over the water
The mudflats gradually filling with the incoming tide in the wetlands centre.
The mudflats gradually filling with the incoming tide

From the Wetland Centre, we first headed across the main bridge. The tide was low and we spotted a crocodile lounging in the shallows, his eyes poking above the water. We also saw his distinctive, large footprint tracks emphasised in the thick muddy banks of the river.

Crocodile Footprints at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Estuarine Crocodile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Estuarine Crocodile at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

Large Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh
Large Monitor Lizard at Sungei Buloh

Once over the bridge, we headed right, or anticlockwise, around the main mudflats and wetlands area of the park. There is only one path so you can’t get lost, but make sure to detour to all the hides and lookouts. We saw many large monitor lizards on the paths – don’t approach them too closely or annoy them in any way.

Mudskippers in Sungei Buloh Wetlands

Mudskippers at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A mudskipper at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
A Mudskipper and its Waterhole

We saw giant mudskippers from quite close by at the hide that sticks out into the middle of the mudflats, almost halfway around the loop. These mudskippers were amazing, such strange creatures! When the tide goes out they create small pools for themselves so they can survive until the tide comes in again. They are actually fish so can’t breathe in the air, but have to retreat into the water every so often. The pools are easy to spot – scan the edges to see if any mudskipper has ventured out of her pool.

Observation Tower at Sungei Buloh

View from the Observation Tower at Sungei Buloh

A bit further on there’s an observation tower. There are views over the entire mudflats and wetlands area and you can also see Malaysia fairly nearby. We were lucky and saw a fish eagle from here, cruising on the thermals.

We continued around the wetlands and crossed back over the bridge. The tide had come in quite a lot and the crocodile had disappeared. We turned left and walked the short mangrove loop, along boardwalks above the water.

Coastal Trail

After returning to the Wetlands Centre we continued through towards the Coastal Trail. This trail is closed in the middle until roughly April 2021, but the first part of it was still open. We walked towards the Mudskipper and Kingfisher Pods – scenic structures designed to look like artistic birds’ nests.

The Observation Tower at Sungei Buloh
The Observation Tower at Sungei Buloh
Spider in Singapore
A large, scary spider
Mudskipper Pod on the Coastal Trail at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
Mudskipper Pod on the Coastal Trail

Kingfisher Pod is right on the ocean and you can see Malaysia just across the water, along with some fish farms. We had to go back the way we came because of the path closure and headed to the Dragonfly Pod (much less of a ‘pod’ than the others). This is a short out-and-back walk around a pool that sometimes contains many dragonflies.

Having walked around the wetlands side of Sungei Buloh, we walked along the road for almost 1 km to the entrance to the eastern side of the reserve and the Visitor Centre. The walk along the road is ok because the road is quite small and not busy, apart from the final 50 metres after turning left when the road gets bigger. There is a pavement here and it’s not too far to the entrance.

Flameback Woodpecker in Singapore
Flameback Woodpecker
Common Redshanks
Common Redshanks
Bats in the Wetlands Centre at Sungei Buloh Reserve
Bats in the Wetlands Centre

Wildlife we saw in Sungei Buloh Wetlands

We saw many birds and animals in Sungei Buloh Wetlands. The best time to visit the wetlands is at low tide when the mudflats are revealed. Mudskippers can be seen in their little pools, crocodiles might be lounging near the muddy river banks, and hundreds of wading birds dart across the mud to find tasty worms and things.

  • Fish Eagle – soaring in the sky above
  • Common Redshank – wader on the mudflats
  • Marsh Sandpiper – another wader on the mudflats
  • White-breasted Waterhen – around the water
  • Flameback Woodpecker – in the trees above the path
  • Crocodile – from the main bridge
  • Mudskippers – from the hide in the centre of the wetlands
  • Monitor Lizards – on the paths
  • Jumping Fish – in most of the water areas

Sungei Buloh Wetlands – Visitor Centre (East)

Just by the Visitor Centre of Sungei Buloh we saw some really huge monitor lizards, before walking over some fun stepping stones on a pond and heading through the jungle towards Eagle Point.

Eagle Point is a pod at the end of a jetty that sticks out into the ocean. It’s a great place to be at sunset, though we were there in the middle of the day and it was still nice. After admiring the view we walked along the coastal trail past the Fantail Pod, perhaps the most scenic pod in Sungei Buloh.

Eagle Point at Sungei Buloh
Eagle Point and Fantail Pod
Fantail Pod in Sungei Buloh

At the pod we cut right across the mid-canopy walk – a rope and wood walkway that bounces up and down as you step which was quite fun. We were then just back at the Visitor Centre again. This side, the eastern park of Sungei Buloh, was less interesting than the western side because there weren’t any large wetlands or mudflats areas.

The mid-canopy walk at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
stepping stones by the Visitor Centre to walk across at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
The mid-canopy walk and the stepping stones by the Visitor Centre

There’s a bus stop (for bus 925M) close to the entrance to the park if you want to head back to Kranji MRT. We walked slightly further to Kranji Reservoir Park (which isn’t that interesting) to have lunch and got the bus back from the other side.

Kranji Reservoir Park – an Optional Lunch Spot

The entrance to this park is about 200 m from the wetlands. The park is much more open than the rest of the hike, and large grassy areas are dotted with a few large trees. The border of the park, i.e. between the grass and the water, is fenced with a high fence, so it feels a bit like you’re trapped. There aren’t really any views because a thin strip of vegetation on the ocean-side of the fence blocks everything.

Kranji Reservoir Park
Kranji Reservoir Park
Kranji Reservoir Dam walking path
Kranji Reservoir Dam

Nevertheless, it was a pleasant place to eat our sandwiches. It was quiet, a lot less humid than the other parks and very shady. There is also some history associated with the location of Kranji Reservoir Park, see box below.

Kranji Beach Battle

Kranji Reservoir Park is the sight of Kranji Beach Battle, where the Japanese landed in 1942. The initial invasion was repelled when the Allies spilt oil onto the water and set it on fire, halting the Japanese. However shortly afterwards the Allies then quickly retreated while the Japanese solidified their hold on mainland Singapore.

After our lunch we walked across the reservoir dam, mostly occupied by people fishing. Two hundred metres after the end of the dam there’s a bus stop, where we waited a couple of minutes for the bus (925M) back to Kranji MRT and home.

Want to see more birds? Check out our hike in Pasir Ris Park, it’s full of lovely colourful birds. For other hiking ideas check out our Singapore Hiking page.

White-breasted Waterhen in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve

FAQs for Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands

What are the opening hours of Kranji Marshes?

Kranji Marshes is open only between 7 am and 7 pm.

What does Kranji mean?

The Velvet Tamarind is also known as a Kranji Tree, and the name of the marshes comes from this tree. Kranji Trees have sweet and sour berries, a great attraction for the birds.

When is the best time to visit Kranji Marshes?

The best time to visit is very early in the morning, as soon as Kranji Marshes opens at 7 am. The birds are most active at this time. Sunset is also good for the views over the marshlands from Raptor Tower, though you have to leave the park by 7 pm.

Are dogs allowed in Sungei Buloh Wetlands or Kranji Marshes?

No, dogs are not allowed in either of these parks due to the wildlife.

What are the opening hours of Sungei Buloh Wetlands?

Sungei Buloh Wetlands is open only between 7 am and 7 pm?

Is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve free?

Yes, Sungei Buloh Wetland is free. There is no entry fee to the park.

When is the best time to visit Sungei Buloh Wetlands?

The best time to visit is at low tide because this is when you can see the mudskippers and wading birds, and have the best chance of spotting a crocodile. Sunset is a nice time to be on one of the boardwalks at one of the edge of the ocean.

Is Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve safe?

Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is quite safe as long as you are sensible. There are sometimes crocodiles in the water, so you should stay away from the water’s edge and keep a close eye on children. If you see a crocodile in Sungei Buloh do not approach it. Also give monitor lizards a wide birth – their strong tail can whack you and knock over children.

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