There is more to Kukup than just seafood. Kukup Island is a rare gem – a mangrove island and a Ramsar site that is home to wild boars and other intriguing creatures, and it’s just a few minutes’ boat ride from the area’s popular restaurants.
Kukup Island has mythical origins too because its mystical ambience seems to envelope you as soon as you land in the island and step on its wooden boardwalk. On all sides, tall mangrove trees rise from the mud and the distant call of birds in its canopy follow you through the forest. It’s best to walk quietly here, and keep your eyes peeled. For rustling about in the undergrowth are several wild boars and scuttling about on the mud at low tide is a myriad of critters from mud lobsters to mangrove crabs and mudskippers. To get a bird’s eye view of the island, climb up the lookout tower. Not only will you be able to see nearby neighbouring countries, you also get to enjoy the tree canopy and perhaps spot a Grey or Purple Heron, Lesser Adjutant Stork or White-belly Fish Eagle. Some lucky visitors have even seen Dugongs in its surrounding waters!
Kukup Island is managed by the Johor National Parks Corporation (JNPC), who occasionally organises tree-planting events that allow you to participate and contribute to the island’s upkeep. But the park is well worth a visit even without this greater purpose – and then you can head back to shore for some delicious seafood!