I have always wanted to go on mini adventures, and explore places. But, I never did much, because time never allowed me (at least for the past year and half), and also let’s face it, I’m the laziest person when it comes to going out of the house. *facepalm* Like when is VR becoming affordable for people like me la? Nevertheless, I promised myself that I will make most my time in Johor for the next 8 months, and go on short explorations.
So, the destination for my first trip was Pulau Kukup, which I discovered in Johor Tourism website. Pulau Kukup is apparently the largest inhabited mangrove forest in the world. Its also designated as National Park (Taman Negara), which makes it rather an important location in Malaysia, especially if you’re an environmental enthusiast.
Getting to Kukup is rather straightforward. You could enter Kukup in Waze or Google Maps, and as you reach Kukup town, look out for the road signs that indicate ‘Terminal Feri Antarabangsa Kukup’. Parking is easy to find, especially if you reach around 8-9 am. Walk towards the terminal, and look for the boat owners to get you across the waters to the national park. Most likely someone will approach you by now. Two-way boat rides cost us RM 10 per person (Hint : Get the boat owner’s number, so that you can call them when you’re done in the park). Boat ride is just less than 5 minutes, and during the journey you can see floating fishermen village.
Entrance fee for the Kukup National Park is RM 5 per person (with MyKad). You can proceed to walk into the mangrove forest. The trail in the national park is well maintained (you wouldn’t need sport shoes and all), which makes it quite convenient. As you walk in the mangrove forest, you’d see mangrove trees straight of your geography books (like duhhhh), monkeys and lots of greens. You’d probably find this place less pleasant if you were to just Google it. But, what’s hidden behind the mangrove setting is several fascinating Insta-worthy setup for those who’d love a photo opportunity. There are different unique installations in the forest, modern architecture-nature fusion of sorts – where you can pose away. The complete trail in the forest takes about 45 minutes – 1 hour. After were done, we called out boat guys, and waited about 5 minutes.
After the walk in Kukup National Park, we hopped on the boat, and went to one side of the kelong settlement. We watched this weird crab feeding show. You can walk around at the kelong, watch the fishermen feed their crabs and fishes. We spent about 30 minutes at this place, and hopped on the boat back to the terminal.
Then we walked out from terminal, back to the nearby village, Kampung Nelayan Air Masin. As we walked, we realised that there were E-bikes for rental. You could rent an E-bike for RM15 per hour. We went on the bike to tour around the village. Locals there are probably pretty used to having tourists, so they were pretty accommodating as we navigated aimlessly through little lorongs of their kampung. Stopped by at one of the houses in Kampung Kukup Laut (village nearby the terminal, on the left), and bought coconut pudding for RM10.
Sang Matahari started to be merciless as it reached noon. We had ABC at this place called Summerly Ice House. The mango flavoured shaved ice seemed more famous there though (you should try and let me know how you liked it!). We decided to head back after stopping by to get some local fruits and anchioves (ikan bilis) for the nasi lemak I was intending to cook.
Overall, it was short fulfilling trip. Definitely a different scene that the usual malls and cafes. This trip will be easy on your pockets, and also a gateway for you to reconnect with nature. I was just frustrated to see rubbish floating on the waters, even in the mangrove swamp. I’d recommend Kukup if you’re looking for a day trip.
Public Service Announcement: If you were to take a trip here, or to any forest/island/anywhere la, please keep throw it in designated bins. Please!