“Congratulations! You are now standing at the Southern Most Tip of Mainland Asia.”
The signboard beamed widely at me as I peered towards the vast landscape. As winds blew gently over the confluence of the Strait of Malacca and Strait of Johore, the sun beat wildly upon the skin.
Whew! Despite the intense heat, the view of huge tankers docking in international waters was a sight to behold.
Row upon row of ships anchored symmetrically, and all I could hear was the silence of the howling winds. It is an astounding scene, to face one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. Its shallow seaway is used by thousands of tankers daily.
Is this really the tip of Southern Most Tip of Mainland Asia?
Its unique geographical position at the southern tip of mainland Asia, at 1° 16.00’ North and 103° 30.46’ East coordinates, is the reason the park is proudly referred to as the Southernmost Tip of Mainland Asia.
The journey to Tanjung Piai National Park in Pontian, located 75 kilometres from Johor Bahru city centre is about an hour and a half away by car.
Upon entering the park, take note of the gargantuan obelisk at the entrance of the Tanjung Piai Johor National Park. Pictured on the stone, is a map of the world, pin-pointing the park as the Southernmost Tip of Mainland Asia.
Covering an area of over 926 hectares, the national park consists of coastal mangroves and intertidal mudflats. Almost 526 hectares of land here is mangrove while the rest is inter- tidal mudflats.
According to Wetlands International, Johor holds 28.7% of mangrove forest in Peninsular Malaysia (27,733 ha) or 4.7% of total mangrove forest covers in Malaysia. Gazetted as a RAMSAR site in Januari 2003, the park is managed by the Johor National Parks Corporation*. (* source: Johor National Parks)
Its 8 kilometres shoreline borders the Straits of Malacca. The park also supports a wide variety of flora and fauna.
The Long-tailed Macaque peered cautiously as we sauntered across the boardwalk. It’s mischievous grin plastered all over its face. Be wary of the monkeys, sometimes peering from the treetops and sometimes following you about the park, probably in search of food. Just don’t get too friendly with them.
There are also other species of monkeys here such as the Dusky leaf monkey, shy and elusive to see. There are however sea gulls roaming the skies above the park, and other migratory birds.
Look too, for the mischievous hermit crab sliding in the muddy soil; little molluscs like creature scamper about looking for food while the tide recedes. There are lizards, cockles, and the jumpy mudskipper – the mangrove is indeed, an amazing ecological haven!
Park rangers are frequently roaming around the park on their trusty bicycles, ensuring the safety of visitors’ to the park.
Spending a day at the park is certainly a refreshing experience. The soothing calm of the waves and the endless greenery is spot on for nature enthusiasts. Do remember to read the following tips, and you’re set for a wonderful mangrove experience!
P.S. Go early in the morning when the weather is cool and nice. Avoid the afternoons, when the heat is intense!
i. Friendly tips
- Dress in comfortable clothes in neutral colours
- Put on comfortable walking shoes
- Wear a hat
- Bring along binoculars, drinking water, insect repellent (optional), notebook, pen and camera
- Pets are not allowed into the park
ii. Park opening hours
Tuesday to Friday, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays, 9.00 am to 5.30 pm
Counter 1: Sg Belukang opened on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays
Counter 2: Open daily except on Mondays
Closed on Mondays – All counters
From Kuala Lumpur / North
Take the North-South Highway and exit at Simpang Renggam (after Machap). Head for Pontian/ Benut and follow the sign boards to Tanjung Piai.
From Johor Bahru
Take the Jalan Skudai highway and head for Pontian/Pontian Kechil. At Pekan Nenas, turn left at Sri Bunian, follow the rural road and take the right turn at Jalan Tenggayun. Thereafter, follow the signage to Tanjung Piai.
There is no direct bus service to Tanjung Piai Johor National Patk. A regular taxi service is available from Pontian bus station, in the town centre, to the Sg Belukang entry point. (Do book in advance with the cab driver for the return passage).