When it comes to nature appreciation in Singapore, I felt as if I have almost done it all. Walking the nature trails, check. Cycling, check. Visiting Pulau Ubin, MacRitchie, Dairy Farm, Southern Ridges, Sentosa … check.
Mangroves, check. That’s the Chek Jawa boardwalk I was referring to.
But wait, mangrove kayaking? Not yet.
Kayaking at the mangroves in Sungei Khatib Bongsu (SKB). Wait a minute, where’s that?
Located near the Northern coast of Singapore, the mangrove forest at SKB has not been developed and it is virtually impossible to walk through the area. The only method of exploration is to kayak through the mangroves. I signed up with KayakAsia, a locally based kayak tour guide, for this half day eco adventure.
It was a morning activity suitable for beginner kayakers and children.
We started off leisurely from the canal at Yishun Avenue 8 with our assigned inflatable kayak. It was two person to one boat and I was extremely fortunate to be partnering a strong man who could deal with the heavy lifting whilst I focused on the scenery.
We marveled at the lush nature and serenity offered by SKB. We spotted some flying fishes and kingfishers, snails, amongst many other organisms. If not for the amount of floating garbage along the sides, we could actually consider this place as “the Amazonian River of Singapore”!
There was little navigation skills required to maneuver the kayak in the mangroves, although some parts of the river could be particularly narrow. Getting caught in between the branches and floating roots was inevitable but hey, that’s what an up close and personal experience with nature is like!
The physically exhausting part of the kayak trip was the return leg, where we had to kayak in the open waters between Seletar Island and Simpang towards the finishing point – Sembawang Park. The current was against us and the distance was about 4km non-stop. It was nearing noon time and the sun was blazing above us, so it wasn’t exactly a pleasant finish to the morning adventure.
How to go on a Kayak Trip in Singapore
Nonetheless, if you are seeking a different nature exploration experience in Singapore, do check out the different kayak expeditions available! Here are a few options/service providers you can consider:
- Kayak Asia
- Kayak Meetup Groups such as Paddle Connect, Kayak Kakis, Practise Group for Beginner Paddlers etc.
- Asian Detours – This operator offers kayak tours at Pulau Ubin
- PA Water Venture – People’s Association group that offers a wide variety of water sports and activities including kayaking trips.
How to Prepare for the Trip
- Pack sunblock, water bottle, wet tissues, hand sanitizer and insect repellent in a small waterproof bag. If you intend to bring your mobile phone into the kayak, house it in a waterproof case or a sturdy all-over plastic cover.
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, long sleeve top or rashguard and long pants, as well as covered (preferably waterproof) shoes.
- If you have your personal flotation device or life vest, bring it along!