Chek Jawa homepage | Habitatnews
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(This refers to the registration-only guided shore visits)


The following responses are the personal views of volunteers who participate in the guiding and other activities on Chek Jawa. They are not the official views of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research (RMBR) or NParks.

We would love to hear your feedback so that we can improve.

Why are visits to Chek Jawa being managed?
Why are visits to Chek Jawa limited to one hour?
Why are the number of visitors to Chek Jawa limited?
There are two low tides every day, right? So why only a few dates open for public visits?
How can I pre-register for a visit to Chek Jawa?
What time should I come for the visit?
I would like to bring a group of 100 people to visit Chek Jawa, what should I do?
Can I bring young children to Chek Jawa?
Can I bring old people to Chek Jawa?

Why are visits to Chek Jawa being managed?
Chek Jawa is a fragile marine habitat. Seagrass have delicate roots and take a long time to recover when trampled on. Just imagine you have a grassy field and we play football on it every day. Eventually, it will become "botak" (bald). Many small sea creatures live in the sand and mud. These are killed when we step on them, no matter how gently we walk. These small sea creatures form the base of the entire food chain on Chek Jawa. Before 20th of Dec, when it was announced that reclamation of Chek Jawa was deferred, many thousands of people visited Chek Jawa. We visited to say goodbye to this wonderful habitat. Most people were as gentle as we could be, but we walked all over Chek Jawa and did not really worry too much about the impact of our visit on the habitat. This happened over several months, with numbers of visitors rising to 600-700 per Sunday/Saturday towards the end of the year.

Now that Chek Jawa will be saved for the long-term, it is important to give the habitat time to recover. At the same time, we strongly believe people should continue to have a chance to visit Chek Jawa. It has not been easy trying to achieve these two opposing objectives.

Much of the guiding system currently in place is an emergency measure, to help people continue to visit while minimising impact. The key elements of this system are:
(a) Visitors stay on a specific route. In other nature reserves in Singapore (Bukit Timah, Sungei Buloh) visitors are also required to stay on a path; for their safety and to avoid damaging the habitat and disturbing wildlife. Even in forests, we cannot go wherever we want as we might damage seedlings and chase away creatures. For the same reasons, a route has been marked out on Chek Jawa. This routes takes visitors through some of the richest parts of Chek Jawa, and yet, minimises the impact of our visit.
(b) Experienced volunteer guides bring visitors along the route to explain the surroundings and to show visitors some of the creatures found in the area. Many of these creatures require experience to spot. Visitors are likely to miss these creatures, even if visitors are free to walk off the route. In this way, visitors can still have an enjoyable visit to Chek Jawa, see the common as well as rare creatures and learn something about this fabulous place.

Why are visits to Chek Jawa limited to one hour?
Time and tide waits for no man. In order to allow each visitor a relaxed and enjoyable visit, we need to keep the stream of visitors along the guiding route moving. The window of low tide during daylight is limited. This ranges from 3 hours to one and a half hours.

Why are the number of visitors to Chek Jawa limited?
For the same reason as above, there is only a limited window of time for a visit to Chek Jawa. If more visitors are allowed to come, in order to ensure that everyone has a chance to complete the route, we need to rush visitors through the route. This means visitors might not have an enjoyable relaxing visit. As Chek Jawa will be around for a long time to come, we hope everyone will be patient and join the registration queue. When it is your turn to visit, you can then be sure of an enjoyable, relaxing visit.

There are two low tides every day right? So why so few dates open for public visits to Chek Jawa?
Yes, indeed, there are two low tides every day. But low tides vary from 1.6m to -0.4m. And the difference between the first low tide and second one in the same day can be 1m. This is because the moon affects the tides, as well as the sun. When the moon and the sun are aligned, the tides rise extra high, and fall extra low. This is called a spring tide. Spring tides are the only times when tides are low enough for viewing Chek Jawa in full glory. Even so, a fruitful visit is only possible at the lowest of the low spring tides. Spring tides usually only happen a few days after the full and new moon. And the lowest of the low does not necessarily take place during daylight. It can happen late at night and very early before sunrise. Thus, a coincidence of lowest of the low during daylight on a weekend is not very common! For more details on the tides and its causes.

How can I pre-register for a visit to Chek Jawa?
Please call NParks at 542-4108 to book your place. Bookings are on a first-come-first-served basis. Please do inform NParks if you are unable to take up your pre-registered place so that others might be able to take your place.

What time should I come for the visit?
As tides differ with each date, do enquire with NParks on the registration time when you book your place.

I would like to bring a group of 100 people to visit Chek Jawa? We've heard so much about it and are very excited.
At this point in time, we do not have sufficient guides or facilities to handle large groups. We do hope you can be patient, give us a few months to sort things out. We hope to be able to provide a more enjoyable and effective visit for large groups eventually.

Can I bring young children to Chek Jawa?
Children of all ages from 2 upwards enjoy their trip to Chek Jawa. However, infant in arms are best left home. Chek Jawa is an open outdoor habitat. It can get very hot, and if it rains, everyone gets wet. There are currently no toilet facilities at Chek Jawa. Chek Jawa is not dangerous if children have the proper footwear and are appropriately prepared: i.e., proper clothing (light breatheable clothing, and a spare change brought along), food (eat beforehand and bring some snacks along) and most importantly water (drink beforehand and bring at least half a litre of water per child). They should go to the restroom at Ubin jetty before heading in for Chek Jawa.

Can I bring old people to Chek Jawa?
As with young children (see above), older people will need preparation to ensure a comfortable visit. There are places on the beach for a comfortable rest if older folks prefer not to go on the walk out to the rest of the route. The entire route from start to finish is about 1 km. Most of it is along even ground, some portions require wading through ankle-deep water (but not soft mud) and walking on a beach with small rocks.

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