Personally, I feel that driving all the way from Singapore to Kukup just to have a seafood lunch may not seem to be so fulfilling. Thus, it would be good to spend some time to visit the Kelong. The Kelong Tour cost 5RM per person. There is no ticketing booth but there will be some boys outside the restaurants asking people whether they are interested in the tour. Once they got enough number, they will bring you to the boat. The ferry terminal is just next to the New Kukup's Restaurant.
Enroute to Kukup fishing village most bus tour operators will visit Orchid Valley with it's 1.5 million tropical orchid plants of more than 80 different varieties. Orchid Valley is located a pleasant 28km roadtrip from Johor Bahru that will take you through the serene Malaysian countryside.
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
Kukup is a small, quaint but interesting Malaysian fishing village where most of the residents have their houses built on stilts over the sea. It is a very popular weekend destination with many Singaporeans who go there to experience kampung life as it may have been in Singapore long before the urban sprawl after indepence pushed their own fishing villages into the distant past of a quieter lifestyle.
- Road Trip
- Family Travel
Go into Kampung Air Masin
Walk into the kampung. Everything is on stilts on the muddy wetland soil. See their unique way of life. Some "resorts" are on the kampung itself. People actually pay money to stay in this place. I mean after stuffing yourself with crabs, lobsters and prawns, you can't move anywhere. So people actually put up in these hotels and resorts in the kampung.
You can charter a boat. MYR5 per adult to go to P. Kukup to observe the unspoilt mangroves on the island
- National/State Park
Pig Out on the Seafood
The main highlight of Kukup is none other than its seafood. There are many restaurants in Kukup serving fresh seafood. Prices are cheap and most importantly, the food is delicious.
I tried many restaurants and like the Coastway Restaurant best. The black pepper crabs and the fried tiny squids are my favourite.
- Budget Travel
If you have the time and want to experience living in a fishing village, you can opt to stay in Kukup for a night or two. One night is quite sufficient.
The standard package offered by most establishments include a bed to sleep in an air-conditioned room, all meals and facilities in the house (eg karaoke, mahjong, cards, VCDs/DVDs, etc).
- Budget Travel
Shopping in Kukup? What to shop for? Well, I am not one of those who fancy shopping and stuffs. But, in Kukup, some local products like salted fish, ikan bilis, balacan can be purchased. They are fresh and nice.
You can find many of such stalls on the main street. Prices are reasonable.
- Road Trip
View from the suspension bridge
Now what does a bpacker do in the middle of a shaky suspension bridge ? Take a picture of course ! Here you can see a view of the floating farms and the village on the milky brown waters of Kukup...
Under the Boardwalks..
After we got a load of the scenary around us, we'd peer over the teak boards every now and then to look at whatever strange swamp creatures lurked beneath. This boardwalk stretched for about 800 metres and it took us around the eastern part of the island.
It turned out to be a wooden six-storey structure some 30m high. Ok, that's some observatory all right, guess that meant I had to haul my fat self all 6 storeys up..
And that I did, but I was rewarded with an excellent bird’s eye view of tree tops . I didn't stay for long though, since only 5 sods were allowed at the top, I didn't want to hog the observatory..
The Indiana Jones Bridge
It came to some surprise of course, when the boardwalk led to a tower and a 30m suspension bridge which straddled across a river ( Sungai Ular ) .
And it came as a bigger surprise when the forest ranger told us that we were not permitted not to run, jump, play or shake the bridge. Well, you don't say...how did they guess that we were all Indiana Jones and dying to do all that? Well other than the stern warning, we were also told that only three persons were allowed on the bridge at any one time, at a 10-metre gap. Now, that freaked out some poor sods to some extent and some turned back after making a quick conclusion that the bridge wasn't strong enough to bear their weight..
Well, I had to go on the bridge after I played a game of chicken with hubby...
The Swamp Kingdom
All at once, we were in the Kukup mangrove swamp and we were a bit overwhelmed by the greenery around us. The tall trees formed a very majestic canopy over our heads we continued to tread on the teak boards..
Ready, aim, shoot!
Other than terrorizing the nurse shark and the sea horse for our entertainment, the fisherman also got his little archer fish to perform a neat trick for us. This little fish stunt blew my belief that all fish are blind and stupid*. Far from it. Those little buggers could aim and spit at their bait well above the water . Not all the aims were accurate though, some unfortunate sods got spat on by these little submarine water pistols after standing stupidly right in front of the bait. Ok, ok, I was one of those stupid sods...
*You can't blame me. I honestly thought that way after a certain diving incident - a curtain of fish schooled with me and proceeded to nibble me. I was quite sure I didn't look like bait.
Pulau Kukup Johor National Park
We went to tour the largest mangrove swamp island in the world after the kelong trip. Officially speaking of course, this place is called the " Pulau Kukup Johor National Park " . Yup, a long name, deservedly so, after serious government dollars were spent here. Anyway, you'll get to see a little red jetty once you embark on this place..
Seahorse in a Kelong?
Well, other than fish, this chap had a stash of other sea creatures as well. You can't really see it from this crummy shot of mine, but he actually has a seahorse curled around his finger. Apparently, that's what those little creatures do underwater with seaweed..