Marshlands & mangroves in Singapore


Think of Singapore’s local wildlife and mynahs, crows, and maybe otters come to mind. But there’s more to our fauna than just what you’ll find in our concrete jungle. All you have to do is venture into these marshes and mangroves in Singapore.

You’re probably already familiar with hiking trails through our parks and reserves. Marshes and mangroves are the same, just a lil more swampy and diverse with its flora and fauna. But no worries about getting your shoes all muddy – there are plenty of boardwalks to keep your feet dry. Here are 11 trails to get you started: 


1. Pasir Ris Park – 1.5km boardwalk with tree-climbing mudskippers


pasir ris park bird watching tower
The bird watching tower at Pasir Ris Mangrove Boardwalk.
Image credit: LuLu Mi

Located in the middle of Pasir Ris Park is a mangrove boardwalk that covers a total distance of 1.5km. 

This mangrove has an array of tree species, with some bearing fruit such as the Nipah Palm tree from which attap chee is found. You may be familiar with the squishy, translucent pieces found in a bowl of ice kachang.

mangrove mudskippers
A pair of Giant Mudskippers in the waters of Pasir Ris mangrove.
Image credit: Patricia Lorenz

As you stroll along the trail, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for any moving blobs on the trunks and roots. Those blobs are likely to be tree-climbing giant mudskippers that use their flexible pectoral fins to achieve such a feat.

Here’s a lesser-known secret about mangroves: tide timings determine the kind of marine life you might see. At this particular one, come at high tide and you might spot eels and Malayan water monitors swimming about in the waters hunting for prey.

Trail length: 1.5km

Getting there: Walk 15 minutes from Pasir Ris MRT towards Pasir Ris Park.

Address: 60 Pasir Ris Drive 3, Singapore 519497
Opening Hours: 24 hours, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


2. Berlayer Creek – Relaxing trail in Labrador Park


berlayer creek
Image credits:
NParks

Home to over 60 species of birds, 19 species of fishes, and 14 mangrove plant species, Berlayer Creek Boardwalk boasts quite the ecosystem for its short 960m-long trail.

ashy tailorbird
An Ashy Tailorbird perched on a branch.
Image credit: Carman Chew

While we’d usually recommend keeping your eyes peeled, you’ll want to keep your ears open here instead. Be still for a minute and you’ll hear singing tailorbirds and woodpeckers that rhythmically drum their beaks on tree trunks. Crickets and cicadas add to the “orchestra” too with their incessant chirping.

berlayer point lighthouse

The boardwalk leads you right to the open sea where you can take a breather and enjoy the cool sea breeze. If you continue walking, you’ll eventually come across the Berlayer Point Lighthouse. The all brick-red exterior is hard to miss. 

Trail length: 960m

Getting there: Leave Labrador Park MRT Station via Exit A and you will see Berlayer Creek Boardwalk.

Address: Port Road
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


3. Bukit Chermin – Coastal walk with a view of Keppel Harbour


If you’ve just conquered Berlayer Creek Boardwalk and want an extra challenge, look no further than Bukit Chermin Boardwalk that’s just a short 5-minute walk away. 

bukit chermin boardwalk

Although in proximity to Berlayer Creek, Bukit Chermin offers a whole different landscape, as it faces Keppel Bay

There are still animals such as crustaceans and mudskippers you can observe when the tide is low. Birds like the White-bellied Fish Eagle and White-throated Kingfishers may make a surprise appearance in the skies every now and then.

marina at keppel bay
Image credit: Marina at Keppel Bay

Apart from animals, there is much more to look out for. Private yachts, for one, are lined up along the bay. Plus, Sentosa Island can be spotted in the distance too. 

Trail length: 330m

Getting there: As this boardwalk is a part of the Labrador Nature & Coastal Walk, you’ll need to get to Berlayer Creek Boardwalk first then head to the coastal section to reach Bukit Chermin Boardwalk.

Address: Port Road
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


4. Admiralty Park – Lesser-known 2km mangrove trail


Admiralty Park playground

Families with young kids will already know the gem Admiralty Park is for its huge outdoor playground with colourful slides and roller slides track. But walk a little deeper into the park and you’ll come across a 2km nature trail that connects to Woodlands Waterfront Park.

scarlet skimmer dragonfly
A Scarlet Skimmer spotted at Admiralty Park mangrove forest.
Image credit: Jonathan Hiew

A walk in this “secret garden” could bring you surprising glimpses of rare bugs that have made this place their home. Easy ones to spot are the Scarlet Skimmer, a fully red dragonfly, and the gigantine Atlas Moth, which has a wingspan of more than 25cm.

See if you can also find the blue-striped Arthur’s Midget perching in the mangrove trees. It’s a dragonfly so rare in Singapore that you can only find it in 3 locations: here, Pulau Ubin, and Pulau Semakau.

Trail length: 2km

Getting there: Ride bus 856 from Woodlands North Station bus stop and alight just one stop later at After Woodlands Waterfront Park bus stop. Walk 12 minutes from Admiralty Park.

Address: 6A Admiralty Road, Singapore 732006
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


5. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – Hotspot for migratory birds


sungei buloh wetland reserves
Image credit:
@kgayonoche 

One of the more well-known mangroves of the list is probably Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve – and rightfully so. This is Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park and it flourishes with all kinds of crabs, migratory birds, and other mudflat dwellers.

pacific golden glover
A Pacific Golden Plover, one of the migratory birds often seen at Sungei Buloh Wetlands.
Image credit: Minder-singh

While the mangrove is teeming with wildlife all year round, we recommend coming during migration season – August to April – if you’re an avid birdwatcher. You’ll stand a higher chance of spotting foreign birds like the Pacific Golden Plover that flies from as far as Alaska to Singapore.

sungei buloh boardwalk
Image credit:
Ratchada W

This 500m boardwalk is surrounded by local flora and fauna too. You will find all sorts of critters like tree-climbing crabs and even crocodiles. Don’t panic if you do spot a buaya though – do not approach it and you will be fine.

The animals here have a fascinating history to them, so if you’d like to know more about what you’ve seen, register for a free guided walk by NParks. They’re held weekly on Saturday mornings and are suitable for all ages.

Trail length: 1.3km

Getting there: From Kranji MRT Station, ride bus 925 and alight 11 stops later at Kranji Reservoir Park B bus stop.

Check out this deal for Sungei Buloh Wetland Trail Walking Tour.

Address: 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: 6794 1401

Google Maps coordinates


6. Kranji Marshes – The largest freshwater marsh In SG


raptor tower
Raptor Tower at Kranji Marshes.

Further down from Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is the largest freshwater marsh in SG: Kranji Marshes. Here, you can find 54 butterfly species and over 170 bird species.

kranji marshes
Image credit:
@rosee.virgil

Your best bet to watch these airborne creatures is to head up high to where they fly. Walk down to the end of the boardwalk to reach the Raptor Tower. This will give you a vantage point to see visiting bird species like the Black Baza and Japanese Sparrowhawk. They’re most visible during their migration season from November to March.

Pop by the Marsh Station to check out bird hides too. If you’re lucky, you might just spot rare birds like the Purple Swamphen that has a vibrant red beak, and dark blue and purple feathers.

bird watching

To enrich your experience at the marshes, NParks has a number of free activities held at Kranji Marshes. There’s an evening guided walk held once a month on Saturdays, as well as regular bird-watching hikes organised by Nature Society (Singapore).

Trail length: 2.3km

Getting there: There’s a new Kranji Farms Shuttle that operates on weekends and public holidays. The $5 pass lets you hop on and off sites around Kranji, including Kranji Marshes and Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve.

Address: 11 Neo Tiew Lane 2, Singapore 718814
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily
Contact: 6794 1401

Google Maps coordinates


7. Hampstead Wetlands Park – Trail skirts along a water lily pond


seletar aerospace park

Northeasties might already be familiar with Seletar Aerospace Park, and right beside it lies the tranquil Hampstead Wetlands Park. The marshlands has had boardwalks built in, creating an easy 800m trail that’s stroller-friendly for parents with young ones.

Hampstead Wetlands Park

Apart from it being a cakewalk, the trail winds through natural landscapes like a lake covered in vibrant water lilies. Peek down into the waters and you might just find catfish swimming around. Look up instead and you’ll come face-to-face with birds like the hornbill and buffy fish owl.

Trail length: 800m

Getting there: From Sengkang Bus Interchange, take bus 102 and alight 14 stops later at Before Baker Street bus stop.

Address: 1 Baker Street, Singapore 799977
Opening hours: 24 hours, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


8. Khatib Bongsu Mangrove – Can also be explored by kayak


Khatib Bongsu Mangrove kayaking
Image credit:
@odac.xanchors

There are only so many boardwalks your legs can trek across. For a new way of exploring marshes, jump into a kayak at Khatib Bongsu Mangrove instead. Here, only your upper body needs to move to get around, while your legs get some well-earned rest.

Khatib Bongsu Mangrove kayak
Image credit:
@urasingapore

This 9km-long kayaking trail only reveals itself during monsoon season from September to March, so you’ll want to plan for a trip down as soon as possible.

You can sign up for a kayaking mangrove exploration at $90/pax. The 5-hour paddle and hike will lead you all the way to Seletar Island, with a pit stop at Sembawang Hot Spring Park included.

Check out this deal for a Kayaking Mangrove Exploration.

Trail length: 9km

Getting there: From Yishun MRT Station, take bus 806 and alight 2 stops later at Blk 322 bus stop. Walk 5 minutes to the Khatib Bongsu Park Connector.

Address: 346 Yishun Avenue 11, Singapore 760346
Opening hours: 24 hours, during monsoon seasons (September to March)

Google Maps coordinates


9. Keppel Discovery Wetlands – Spot rare orchids & plants


Keppel Discovery Wetlands orchids
Image credit:
Alan Lin

You can’t call yourself a Singaporean if you don’t know that the national flower is an orchid called the Vanda Miss Joaquim. But that’s just one species you can find in Singapore. You’ll find plenty more at Keppel Discovery Wetlands.

Located close to the Singapore Botanic Gardens, this is where you’ll be able to find rare plant species unseen elsewhere in Singapore. These orchids are on their own little islets in the middle of the mangrove. Most of these species are almost extinct or critically endangered, but have been cultivated by NParks through a conservation programme.

Then, take a walk down the 50m-long Botanists Boardwalk flanked by various unique plants, such as the Ridley’s Staghorn Fern and pretty pink Cantley’s Memecylon.

Keppel Discovery Wetlands
Image credit:
@lord_vj

For a closer look at the animals that inhabit the wetlands, walk to Pulai Marsh, a freshwater wetland with a boardwalk over water.

On top of regular marsh inhabitants like crabs and mudskippers, you’ll also be able to find the carnivorous Black Marsh Terrapin. Thankfully for us, they only feast on worms, snails, shrimp, amphibians and other small creatures.

Trail length: 2.4km

Getting there: Take bus 105, 106, 123, 174, or 7 to Bef Tyersall Ave bus stop. Walk to Singapore Botanic Gardens towards Pulai Marsh.

Address: 753 Tyersall Avenue, Singapore 257700
Opening hours: 5am-12am, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


10. Chek Jawa Wetlands – Myriad of wildlife on Ubin


If you really want to escape the concrete jungle of Singapore, hop over to the neighbouring island of Pulau Ubin. This offshore isle has the largest accumulated area of mangrove forests, including Chek Jawa Wetlands

chek jawa wetlands mangrove loop
Along the Mangrove Loop.

There’s much to see along the 1.1km route that splits into 2 walkways – the Mangrove Loop and Coastal Loop.

chek jawa wetlands coastal loop
Coastal Loop.

The Mangrove Loop is muddier but you’ll be able to find starfish, seahorses, and even mudskippers here. If you’re just here to snap pics for the ’Gram, take the Coastal Loop, which leads you out of the mangrove to a panoramic view of the sea.

chek jawa wetlands jejawi tower
Jejawi Tower.

For a bird’s-eye view instead, climb up the 21m-tall Jejawi Tower where you can catch bird species like the bright blue Collared Kingfishers and yellow headed Star-Headed Bulbuls.

There’s much more than just birdwatching and scenic views at Chek Jawa. Insiders can reveal the wetlands’ secrets with a guided tour. It’s slightly steep at $120/pax but comes with ferry transfers, lunch, and a visit to Ubin’s last remaining kampungs too.

Book a guided tour around Pulau Ubin.

Trail length: 1.1km

Getting there: Take a 15-minute bumboat ride from Changi Ferry Terminal. Once you reach Pulau Ubin jetty, you can walk, cycle, or take a van to Chek Jawa Wetlands, located 3km away.

Address: Chek Jawa Trail
Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Daily
Contact: 6542 4108

Google Maps coordinates


Bonus: Pulau Hantu – An offshore & off-boardwalk experience


starfish pulau hantu
Starfish found during an intertidal exploration at Pulau Hantu.
Image credit: @chienpingc

Despite its eerie name, Pulau Hantu (“Hantu” means ghost in Malay) still attracts flocks of visitors for its beautiful wildlife. It’s even a popular spot for divers where it’s said that colourful sea slugs can often be found in the waters surrounding the island.

pulau hantu intertidal pools
Image credit:
Zheng Renjie

Back on dry land, you won’t find boardwalks to tread over the mangroves. But if you’re willing to get your feet dirty, you’ll be able to observe lots of wildlife in the intertidal areas. Hermit crabs, starfish, and anemone are regular inhabitants of the pools that form on the beach.

If you’re willing to stay till sunset – we promise this place isn’t haunted – even more marine life can be observed. Follow along Untamed Paths’ Intertidal Offshore Exploration for peeks at stingrays, jellyfish, and sea cucumbers that only come out when night falls.

Getting there: There are no ferry services to Pulau Hantu. The easiest way to explore this offshore island is to book a 2-way tour to the Southern Islands that also includes stops at St. John’s Island and Lazarus Island.

Book a tour to Pulau Hantu.

Address: Pulau Hantu, Singapore 000705
Opening hours: 9am-5pm, Daily

Google Maps coordinates


Visit the marshlands and mangrove boardwalk trails of Singapore

Marshlands and mangroves are often overlooked for parks and gardens when we want to get back in touch with nature. But skipping these means missing out on plants and wildlife you wouldn’t find back in our concrete jungles. Give them a chance and you might just be surprised by what you can find there.

While you’re out exploring these trails, please keep your hands to yourself and refrain from disturbing or removing wildlife from their habitats. Abduction and harassment is a serious offence even for plants and animals.

For more ideas on how to rewind with Mother Nature, check out these articles:


Cover image adapted from: @odac.xanchors, @rosee.virgil

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