SDS 1.11 – Free Bird

Early morning, she wakes up… Knock, knock, knock on the door… Ok, maybe not but for this episode, Mintea and I headed off to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve from Marsiling MRT! We took a bus since we wanted to get there to get the (FREE!) guided tour that was on at 9.30am every Saturday.

Unfortunately, we had no idea that once the bus did a weird reverse U turn thing, it was the last stop before it went back on the route towards Marsiling once more. We stopped two bus stops away from our correct stop cause… We were kinda like !!! wondering what to do since we missed our stop. Bus 925 apparently only turns in towards the reserve on Sundays and public holidays.

It’s cool, we were early so we walked all the way to the reserve which is a pretty far off secluded thing. I have to say, either you don’t go alone or you really have to get a taxi, the shuttle bus or some transport there. Other wise, if you’re walking in, get someone else to be with you because the route is really secluded and there can be packs of dogs loitering around. You’ll see what I mean later.

Morchoo and Titoy are the mascots of the Kranji Countryside. Pretty much the whole area with the farm stuff and wetland reserves. It’s very naturey here. If you see them, know that you’re still a long way before you get to the reserve.

We crossed the road and recrossed it again because there was a dog on the other side and did a little zig zag thing before ending up at the entrance. We went all yay over it of course since it was a very long walk there! Also it meant we didn’t get lost, hurrah! You still have to walk more to get to the actual Sungei Buloh wetland reserve.

Considering it was morning and that it was a Saturday, it was quite surprising to see lots of people too! However, I noticed most of the people were from school excursions or tour groups. Or oh, photographers with huge lenses and camouflage things on them. Like the really huge medium format cameras or something too!

We paid for our tickets, it’s $1. It’s free if you come on a weekday. You only have to pay on weekends or public holidays. It’s just 50 cents for children, students or senior citizens. We looked around since we were still early even if we walked all the way there. There were exhibits like the time we went to Bukit Timah about the nature life that would be found in the reserve. There’s a theatrette there too with show screenings but we didn’t go to that.

9.30 am and off we went with the volunteer guides! Our guides for the day were SK, an elderly sort of lady and Robbie, a teenage boy with an interest in nature. I don’t know, this is my second time at reserves with volunteer guides and both times they’re very funny besides being informative? Much amusement in any case.

Oh yes, we bought a guide too at the info counter, it’s pretty useful considering it’s just $2 and it had the map of the whole area including information about what birds and other creatures you’d find at the reserve. The place is mostly flat and not hilly as Bukit Timah (obviously) so it’s a good walking trail to get around.

We learned plants like the sea poison tree and that it was used in the past by fishermen as they’d grind the leaves into a paste and throw them into the sea. The poison would then kill the fishes in the area and off they scooped them up to eat them! The interesting thing about this sea poison plant is that it would be neutralized if you cooked the fish properly!

We also found a Pokemon too. Heh, heh. The bin covers are all painted on.

Now, when you walk on the tracks you might notice to one side is the sea while the other side is the wetlands of the reserve. Obviously, there’s no railings so don’t teeter off to any of the sides and fall in! They’ve got a dam system thingy that I forgot what the proper word is for to have the water flow from the sea to the other side or the other way round if they want to balance it out. So it’s pretty cool to be walking in between them. EDIT: Mintea said the thing is called a sluice gate!

It was said during one year with the major storms, the whole trail was covered with at least 6 inches of water so that meant it was cool in a very scary way that you could technically be swept to sea!

I wondered to post up some pictures of birds and insects and spiders but figured that some of you guys might freak out at the spiders especially. So have two birds instead! I forgot what the green one is named and the sea chicken is actually edible if you can catch it. The guide told us it’s not endangered but it’s pretty quick so you probably couldn’t get it anyway. It’s sold in Malaysia though and she said that she was told that the meat is very sweet.

Soon, we said goodbye to the guides once we reached the point of taking whatever route we wanted. We headed to the aerie instead since we were there anywho! You could see Malaysia from there and by then our phones were on Malaysia’s telecom systems instead of Singapore.

We were told there were 3 things that if you were lucky, you’d see at the reserves. They were the monitor lizards, the crocodiles and a family of otters! We saw the monitor lizards, they were pretty much everywhere and well, we were told we missed the family of otters by another visitor since they were near the pond of the visitor centre when we left off on our tour.

That left the crocodiles.

We didn’t see any. We wouldn’t really know what to do if we saw them in our paths anyway. Though, I kept thinking of if it were Lara Croft, she would kick it in the face. Which would be highly horrible for both parties since the crocodiles shouldn’t be kicked and I don’t want my shoes to be eaten anywho.

We left the aerie and wondered if we should continue to check out the other routes or go back to the visitor centre. Mintea then started to trip over something and we agreed that was a sign for us to get back.

Which was good really, as we got some ice cream to sit at the cafe area, it started to rain! A short drizzle but still, it was good we went back in time. And then, as we walked out of the cafe and so I could buy a guide book, we paused.

Um, ok. Get along with you! AND THEN, Robbie semi ran past us to tell us that they were there at the pond!

OTTERS! THEY KEPT ROLLING ON THE GROUND CUTELY. What you don’t see in this picture is that on the right was a monitor lizard just sitting there, sunning itself. I cropped it off to focus on the otters here. It’s like, if the monitor lizard flees, then the crocodile might be near so the otters just KEPT ON ROLLING AND ROLLING LIKE AAAAH. And then the children from some family day thingy went all squee and everyone and their teachers told them to hush or else they’d run away!

SO YAY! 2/3 lucky things to see there. I still don’t know what to do if we were faced with the crocodile. The warning documentation tells visitors to walk away calmly though and to call on staff if it happens but still. YOU CAN NEVAH KNOW.

So we left after that and decided to walk back out towards the bus stop once more. ONLY TO STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. When I said we were trying to avoid dogs, they aren’t the cute little pet doggies. There were stray random wild dogs besides the ones that the farms had.

This pack looked very daunting to pass and I had been reading a werewolf story by Patricia Briggs so I kept thinking “THE PACK, THE PAAACK. WHO IS THE ALPHA AND OMEGA?”. It was Cry Wolf if you want to check it out, by the way.

So we went back to the reserve, trying to call for a cab when I noticed on the schedule that we didn’t miss the shuttle bus! Or rather, there was another timing and we waited for that one instead.

So hurray! We got on the shuttle bus and back to civilization! The scenery when you pass by this part of Singapore is really nice too but sad, you can’t get into some places since they’re restricted! That’s the end of the Sungei Buloh adventure. There’s lots of birds there but it depended on your skill to spot them as they camouflage really well!

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Well, this is seriously Sarah and that's all you need to know for now.

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