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 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!
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:
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.
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,
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!
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.
If you want to truly experience all that Kranji Marshes has to offer, sign yourself up for the Kranji Marshes guided tour.
Conducted twice a month, 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.
Along the way, expect to learn loads of interesting trivia. For example, bet you didn’t know that the mossy yellowish grass that you see above is actually a parasite, sucking out the chlorophyll from the weeds below it!
Helmed by two very chatty tour guides, the best thing about the Kranji Marshes Guided tour is that it doesn’t feel rushed at all. Ample time will be given to you to indulge in bird-watching and photo-taking. For those of you who aren’t gifted with sharp eyes, fret not. The tour guides are very helpful and will be more than happy to point your binoculars in the right direction.
While access to the core conservation area not open to the public is touted as the highlight of the tour, the walk through the restricted area only takes up a mere 30 minutes.
Nevertheless, although it only covers a small portion of the rest of the reserve, it still provides a revealing insight into what lies beyond the red signage. The view from the conservation area is breathtaking, and the picturesque landscape is a great way to end off your trip to the marshes.
Sign up by sending an email to NParks_KMGuidedWalk@nparks.gov.sg with the following details:
Slots are given based on a balloting process. If successful, applicants will be contacted a week before the scheduled tour.
Note: Slots in the tour are highly competitive. For the 9th of April session for example, a staggering 300 people signed up, but only 20 spots were available.
1. Alight at Kranji MRT station. From there, look out for Berth 3 to wait for the Kranji Express bus.
2. Board the Kranji Express bus and collect your blue ticket. You can check the bus schedule here.
Ensure that you bring along exact change for your ticket:.
3. About 20 minutes after departing from Kranji MRT, alight at D’Kranji Farm Resort.
4. Walk to the main exit of D’Kranji and head towards your right. The Kranji Marshes is just a straight road down.
Address: 11 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718814
Opening Hours: 7.00 am to 7.00 pm
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