Pulau Kukup Johor National Park (1st April 2017)

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One of the first places I visited when I came to live in Johor Bahru was the small fishing village of Kukup on the west coast of Johor (see my blog for 2015). At that time, I saw a sign for this park on the island just offshore, and decided I would have to visit it sometime. Well, that opportunity came as I drove there with Lawrence and my good friend Hanis and her daughter Sofi; neither of whom hade been to Kukup before. As before, we parked in Carpark 1 and were shuttled to the International Ferry Terminal where the driver recommended the restaurant on the right (Restoran Nakanan Laut) as suitable for Muslims. We had a delicious seafood lunch and would be happy to eat there again; the food was fresh, tasty, and good value for money, and they had decent toilets!

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There is no fixed ferry service to the park, you just need to ask the waitresses in this restaurant and they will find a guy for you. So, we went to the small quay near the restaurant and waited for the boat to arrive. It cost merely RM5 per person return fare.

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The entrance fee to the park is about RM5-10, depending on age and if Malaysian or non-Malaysian. Having paid, you walk into the park on a timber boardwalk and are immediatedly surrounded my glorious mangrove trees. We were there on a Saturday afternoon, and were surprised how few other people were there. This is a little disappointing because a lot of work has clearly been done to make this an interesting walk with notices describing the wildlife in the mud and the variety of trees above. In addition, there are some fascinating wooden scuptures over the pathways and small areas of tree stumps to walk across.

We didn’t experience too much trouble with biting insects until we reached the observation tower, so better come prepared. There are even toilets on the jetty and by the observation tower if needed. Also, best to come at low tide if possible because I think you will see more of the crabs, etc, at that time.

Here are a selection of photos taken along the way.

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You need to stand still on the boardwalk for the crabs to show themselves. Initially you may think there is nothing there in the mud, but once you have seen one crab you will see many more! In the right light, you can even see their bright green/blue eyes as they face each other ready for a fight.

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In addition to crabs, there are mud hoppers (see below) and mud lobsters. The latter are responsible for the mounds of mud and the mud tubes you can see at the base of the trees. The mud lobsters get their nutrients from eating the mud!

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Although there was certainly a lot of mud around, just raise your eyes and the world becomes very green. The best view of the green canopy was from the top of the observation tower.

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On our return to the mainland, the ferry stopped at one of the floating fish farms where we were shown a horseshoe crab and various fish. 

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Finally, here are some photos of life on the water. And by the water’s edge, plenty of homestay options where you can spend your time fishing, should you so desire!

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All in all, this was a very enjoyable afternoon. To top it off, we drove next to Pontian and found a Secret Recipe outlet where I had a delicious coffee and cake to restore my energy before finishing the drive home. It’s hot and sweaty work being an explorer!

Finally, don’t forget to check out my previous blog to get more information on visiting Kukup.

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© Helen Gray 2020