Epic Wetland Adventure
Trip Start May 01, 2011
11Trip End May 15, 2011
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Where I stayed
The Royal Hotel
What I did
Visited Sungei Buloh, a wetland reserve
Went on a Night Safari
The past two days have been all city driving. This ride instead takes us on the freeway, which is surrounded by lush, tropical forest. And the people are driving incredibly slow! Not in an obnoxious Oregonian way; in a polite way. The weather is cool and partially cloudy. Our driver is very friendly. He suggests that the next time we visit Singapore, we spend one day in Malaysia and another in Indonesia. It is then we realize, while proceeding north, that we can actually see the country of Malaysia across the water
Out in Nature: We arrive at Sungei Buloh. Admission is free and the place is practically deserted. Dan and I start down the trail, which is a loop of about 7 km. Right away, Dan spots a Monitor Lizard near the restroom. Approximately 3 ft long, it looks like a smaller version of the Komodo Dragon. We are really excited and start taking pictures. I notice a worker nearby who seems amused by our unbridled enthusiasm. Seeing these giant lizards must be commonplace for all of the locals. As we continue down the trail, we stop for a moment and listen. There are no people and no cars - just the sound of trees rustling, birds and insects chirping; we can even hear the splashing of fish as they jump out of the water. There are squirrels running around with straight tails.
Through the trees, Dan notices otters
Man Eaters: After about two hours of walking, we have seen more Monitor Lizards and many other smaller lizards. We approach Prawn Lake, the reserve's freshwater pond. The instant we notice a sign with a crocodile above the words 'WATCH IT!', Dan points across the trail. We are just in time to see the thick, scaly tail of a croc disappearing into the bushes. I really want to get a picture of a crocodile but, after much deliberation, we decide not to go any farther down that path. We instead walk along a wooden suspension bridge. The swampy floor below is covered with Mud Creepers (a type of snail), crabs, and MUDSKIPPERS! Oh my goodness, these little guys make me so happy
Lunch Time: There is a lot of incredible plant life, too. Especially impressive are the Mangroves. Mangroves are interesting because they are trees which grow in salt water, and this requires many adaptations. By the time we get over the suspension bridge, we are parched. Dan and I stop at the cafeteria. Again, this place is empty. During the course of our five hour walk, we have seen approximately five people (you do the math!). At the cafeteria, there is one woman working and one patron who leaves shortly after Dan and I sit down. I get a water and samosas, which are surprisingly good. Dan orders fries and root beer, so he inevitably ends up drinking my water. We are sitting on the deck overlooking a pond and see turtles, fish, and even one of those Monitor Lizards swimming around.
Monkey: We catch a cab to the McRitchie Nature Reserve
Much Bigger Monkey: We want to go to the suspension bridge which hangs between the two largest trees in the park. Dan locates the trail, and it appears to be a 4 km walk through the woods. At the trail head, however, we look down the path and see an enormous monkey. And he sees us. He is at least 3-feet tall! The tiny Macaques were bad enough - I don't know what I would do if this monkey came at me! So we choose to go down a different trail, instead. It is a wooden bridge along the reservoir's perimeter. As we are walking I notice many of the locals carrying sticks, presumably to shoo the monkeys away. We catch a taxi back to the hotel which, incidentally, is only five miles away. Our driver is an adorable old man.
Night Safari: We freshen up and catch our bus for the Night Safari around 7 P.M. This is a highly acclaimed attraction - the world's first nocturnal zoo! At the zoo, we wait in line to get onto the tram. There is an Indian man behind us with his wife, and he will not stop pushing Dan. There is literally no place for us to go because there are people in front of us, but he seems to think that this will expedite the process. It is incredibly awkward. After a good fifteen minutes of this, we finally get on
Bat-Cave Fail: After the 40-minute tram ride, Dan and I take to the walking trails. This morning the taxi driver had been telling us all about the bat cave. He described the cave as being filled with giant bats that fly right past your face! On the tram ride the tour guide had also been telling everyone how great the bat cave is. Plus, Dan is petrified of bats. So I am very excited! However, when we get there, we do not see bats. The attraction itself is very nicely designed. Made to look like a real cave, its walls are faux limestone adorned with stalagmites and stalagtites
Burger Fail: We hurry to the fire show and see Servals along the way. They are in a glass cage along the foot path. The fire show is kind of corny but, hey - it still involves people swallowing fire and blowing huge fireballs out their mouths. Dan decides to get a burger and a beer for dinner, which costs an appalling $24. I get nothing. And this happens to be the worst burger I have ever tasted. In fact it is so bad, Dan doesn't even finish it! Unfortunately, he used the last of our cash. Dan feels sad about it, so he gets us some sweet 'Singapore Night Safari' patches for our backpacks!