Five Reasons to go on the Mangrove Discovery Tour
Back in my homeland, mangroves serve as important parts of the ecosystem. We strive to preserve them for this purpose, I once experienced a mangrove restoration program in Calatagan, Batangas. In the Bintan region of Indonesia, however, mangroves are full-fledged tourist spots, a testament to Nature’s beauty.
We visited Bintan Mangrove, a small forest preserve, through BRC Tours’ “Mangrove Discovery Tour”. We were picked up at the Lagoon Resort, and driven to our destination. From there, we walked through a light canopy of greens to the waiting jetty which will house our ride for the remainder of the tour.
The tour lasted around 90 minutes, and boy was it a memorable experience for all the unexpected reasons! Here’s what’s in store for you in this unique tour.
1. A detailed introduction.
Unlike many other tours that just throw you into the thick of things, the Mangrove Discovery tour gives you a detailed explanation of the Sebung River’s environment. It also maps out the different stops of the tour.
We were also briefed on the types of wildlife that we might encounter. As I looked at the map the guide was pointing to, I realized how much Sebung river looked like a snake. Well, little did I know this idea will play a role in a later portion of the tour!
A short pathway to the waiting area where you can board the boats for the tour
2. An encounter with local life.
As soon as we headed off, we were greeted by rolling mounds of green mangrove leaves, capping long tendrils of roots that head down into the water. We also saw a few cool stilt houses, that house the fishermen plying this route. We even saw some of the fishermen in action, using local equipment and no fancy tech!
Our guide said that these used to be where fishermen rested, now, they turned it into restaurants.
3. An encounter with local wildlife.
But the real adventure of the trip began as soon as we entered the estuary, which held some of the local wildlife. There were two things our guide specifically told us to watch out for — wild monkeys and venomous snakes! I knew there was a reason why I thought the river looked like a snake…
Most of us were very scared when we were told about the venomous reptiles. We did see one snake, though the guide said it was pretty safe since it was asleep. Still, we did not want to take chances even in broad daylight, I was scared. That goes double when we were told that a snake could kill us with a bite. Don’t worry though, they are inactive during the day. During their night tour guides make sure to steer clear from that area as this is when it becomes dangerous.
4. More about mangroves.
But of course, mangroves were the stars of this show. We were educated on the types of mangrove roots, from those that grew up and down to those that weave with each other.
We were also shown mangrove seeds, which actually looked like string beans hanging between the leaves. It’s nice those things were planted life, and not long green reptiles!
The guide said, when they first started the tours, they saw a crocodile but that has long been gone. They haven’t seen one for the past five years or so.
5. Other wildlife ahead.
We also got a dose of knowledge about other wildlife, especially the plants that grow among the mangroves. We would have gotten a glimpse of fireflies, too, had the tour not ceased before nightfall. Since the snakes are more active at night, the tours don’t go there anymore.
Overall, it was an educational trip and a relaxing one too (sans the tension of snakes). I particularly like the fact that the tour group is small, with the boat fitting only 9 passengers aside from the driver and guide, so that is a total of 11 in one boat. But if you are to enjoy the trip, even more, I have a few tips:
Don’t go during lunchtime. We were baked dry under the hot noon sun! And since the tour is pretty long, this can damage your skin quite a bit. If you can, take the tour in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Wear a lot of sunblock and insect repellent. If it cannot be helped and you must spend your time under the sun, at least wear some sunblock. You should also consider insect repellents since you will be entering a watery, forested place.
Wear comfortable clothes. Bring a hat, too, to protect your head. Life vests are provided on the tour, so there’s no problem even for those who cannot swim. Aside from this, the price ($38 for weekdays, $45 for weekends) also already includes bottled drinking water, land transfer fares, and insurance.
BRC Tours holds these Mangrove Discovery tours every day, at 9AM, 10:30AM, 1PM, and 3PM. There should be at least 4 people per tour group for the activity to proceed. They even have an option for lunch or dinner, at an additional $18 per person! Finally, for those who wish to have a more exclusive experience, BRC also offers the Premium Mangrove Tour. Now here’s a good way to support Mother Nature and have fun at once!
Address: Plaza Lagoi Blok A Unit 01-08 Jl. Gurindam Duabelas, Teluk Sebong Lagoi Bintan Utara, 29155, Kepulauan Riau – Indonesia
Website : http://www.brctours.com/E
Email : [email protected]
If you are in the Philippines, you may contact:
Golden Sky Travel
Telephone (632) 559-8018-19.
Email: [email protected]
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