Guide to Kranji Marshes
Mention Kranji Marshes and a mental image of a desolate wasteland filled with mushy soil will probably root itself in your mind. Yet, when I finally made the trip down myself, what awaited was life in the swaying reeds and chirping birds.
Occupying over 56 hectares of land, Kranji Marshes is the largest freshwater marshland in Singapore. But don’t expect a vast expanse of greenery to greet you, as the area open to the general public spans only 8 hectares.
Nevertheless, with its wide array of flora and fauna, Kranji Marshes is a haven for avid bird-watchers and nature-lovers!
Kranji Marshes – Important things to know
Image credit: NParks
Unlike other nature reserves, Kranji Marshes is not an extensive trail. The place is divided into two sections – the area open to public, and the core conservation area accessible only via guided walks.
Essentially, the experience for most would be a walk of slightly more than 1 km, before reaching the main area called the Marsh Station, where you can then observe the wildlife in action. Bird-lovers and nature fanatics will find the visit enriching, while even the most urban of city-folk will appreciate being away from glass and concrete for an hour or two.
Here are some tips for you to have a great time at Kranji Marshes:
- Slather on sunblock, as the sun is brutal.
- Bring a water bottle to hydrate adequately.
- Visit the toilet at the entrance, or forever hold your pee-ace.
- Bring your binoculars along – you’ll need tools to make your bird-spotting adventures much easier.
- The place closes at 7pm so be sure to scurry out by then.
- The recommended times for catching aerial creatures in action is 7am-10am, and 4.30pm – 6.30pm.
Enjoy a spectacular view from the top of the Raptor Tower
Behold, the 10.65-metre tall Raptor Tower.
This photogenic landmark located right smack in the middle of the Marsh station grants you a 360 degree panoramic view of the beautiful surroundings. In fact, the view game from the top of this tower is so strong, you probably won’t even need an Instagram filter for it.
You will also probably find it oddly therapeutic looking out from the Raptor Tower. There’s just something utterly assuring about staring serenely towards the ripples in the water and the cascades of brilliant green that stand in stark contrast against the pale blue sky.
Brush up your knowledge on nature under the shade
Along the main trail lies 2 observation shelters.
The first shelter you will come across is the Weaver Shelter. On the walls of the shelter are more information about how Baya Weavers build their nests and attract mates. There are even little logs for you to take a short break while reading up on these little creatures!
Slightly further up lies the Woodpecker Shelter where you can read up on Woodpeckers and their nest boxes.
But heads up, the scenery from there is a construction site so don’t bother staying there for long,
Take a solo photo in the midst of greenery
Channel your inner garden elf by snapping photos of yourself in the midst of the verdant surroundings.
And if you’re looking for a gorgeous backdrop, my recommendation would be this hill-looking structure by the name of Kingfisher Burrow.
If you have children with you, let them run wild over the grass-covered arch – they’ll love you for it. And if they are easily fascinated by echoes, get them to step under the arch to create their very own symphony!
Bird-watch with hawk eyes at 2 lookout shelters
Kranji Marshes has rapidly gained favour with the bird-watching crowd and it’s not hard to see why.
If you’re a bird-watching noob like me, watch out for a sheltered area at the entrance where there are drawings of some species of birds found at Kranji Marshes. Commit some of these to memory and try to identify these birds during your visit!
There are two lookout shelters that are ideal bird-watching havens – Moorhen Blind and Swamphen Hide. These enable you to quietly observe the marsh birds without giving those poor blokes a heart attack. Keep your eyes peeled and volume low to spot a creature stealthily swooping in!
Another popular hotspot for bird-watchers is the Raptor Tower itself. It’s quite a common sight to see groups of birdwatchers armed with their binoculars and cameras at the top of the tower.
Join the free guided tour to see unique marsh birds
Set within the Core Conservation Area of Kranji Marshes is the West Marsh, an area dedicated to the marsh birdies. While this section is not open to the public, you can join the guided activities NParks has organised to enter the West Marsh. These include bird-watching and walking tours around the West Marsh, so remember to put on a pair of comfy walking shoes.
While these activities do not have a set date and timing, you can check the NParks website for future updates. And good news – registration isn’t required. Simply head to the gate near Moorhen Blind to meet your guides.
(Temporarily closed) Sign up for the Evening Chorus at Kranji Marshes tour
If you want to truly experience all that Kranji Marshes has to offer, sign yourself up for the Evening Chorus at Kranji Marshes tour, previously known as the Kranji Marshes guided tour.
Conducted once a month on Saturday evenings, participants are led on a 2-hour long journey through the lush greenery of the nature reserve. The tour kicks off at the main entrance before proceeding on to cover the main features of the marshland, including the Moorhen Blind, the Swamphen Hide and the Kingfisher Burrow.
Note: The Evening Chorus at Kranji Marshes is currently unavailable. You may check the NParks website for updates.
Getting to Kranji Marshes
Image credit: NParks
For those who aren’t aware, the free shuttle bus service from Kranji MRT has ceased operations. In its place is the Kranji Farm Shuttle service, a 1-day pass ($5/pax) which will take you to Kranji Marshes and other places like Sungei Buloh and Hay Diaries – perfect for those looking for a countryside getaway.
The service only runs on weekends and public holidays. It’ll begin and end at Kranji MRT, with the first and last bus departing from the station at 8.30am and 5.45pm respectively.
Address: 11 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718814
Opening hours: 7am-7pm, Daily
Check out more Singapore outdoor guides:
- Guide to Coney Island
- Singapore islands to explore
- MacRitchie Reservoir guide
- Walking trails in Singapore
- Picnic spots in Singapore
- Things to do in Singapore
Article originally published on 28th June 2016 by Clarissa Wong. Last updated by Joycelyn Yeow on 30th May 2023.
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