Ever wondered why?
An old Malay legend has it that the island was once the abode of five celestial princesses. Their peaceful existence was shattered one day when one of them fell in love with a sailor, and against all device, eloped. A dreadful curse befell the place, and the island was engulfed by the sea. It later re-emerged. However, unlike every other island around Johor, this one was totally covered in mangroves.
From time to time, people have tried to settle on the island, but without success. Some say it is because the island is the gateway to the spirit world. Whatever the case may be, the island remains uninhabited to the day.
Pulau Kukup measures approximately 647ha, and is surrounded by some 800ha of mudflats. It lies a stone’s throw away from the 150 year-old fishing village of Kukup in Pontian, in an area steeped in history. An important regional trading post at the turn of the century, Kukup is synonymous with tales of vanquished pirates, enterprising early pioneers, an abrupt decline in fortunes that very nearly reduced the place to a ghost town, and its subsequent revival as a modern-day tourist-hub.
The island shelters an extraordinary array of wetland-associated plant and animal life.And this is where the patient eye and a quiet mind are key. Concealed by the dense foliage, the residential birds would rather be heard than seen, their timeless call echoing though the woods. The abundant vegetation is a magnet for many kind of creatures, from the playful mudskipper and the industrious crab, to the wild boar and her litter. If you are lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, you know what miraculous encounter may unfold.
The scenery can be quite lovely too. The Five-storey airy offers visitors a bird’s eye view of the island, one can appreciate the rustic beauty of Pulau Kukup on the mainland. Pulau Kukup status as a remote hinterland changed in the 1990’s,when scientists began focusing on island’s rich biodiversity and unique ecological characteristics.In the interest of preserving this unique habitat,Pulau Kukup was gazetted a national park in March 1997.
In January 2003, this special island was granted the status of a ’Wetland of International Importance’ or Ramsar Site, by the Geneva-based Ramsar Convention Bureau.
THE JOHOR NATIONAL PARKS CORPORATION is the proud guardian of this extraordinary legacy.