Sunday, December 28, 2014

10 Things I Love About My Trip To Pulau Ubin

Once in a while, I enjoy going out of urban Singapore and get in touch with nature and the quieter parts of Singapore. Sometimes, I head to the parks, sometimes I head to the beaches and sometimes, I head to Singapore's 'off-the-beaten' paths. Back in March 2014, me and a group of friends decided to take things to a higher level by heading to Pulau Ubin, a Singapore island which consists of Singapore's last kampongs (or villages) and has a rustic charm to it which represents how Singapore looks like back in the old days. In this article, I want to share with you 10 things I love about my trip to Pulau Ubin and hopefully, I can convince you to go to Pulau Ubin for a short getaway.

1. The Bumboat Ride

As Pulau Ubin is an offshore island located off mainland Singapore, there needs to be a way to get to the island. Unlike Sentosa Island, there's no shuttle bus, pedestrian bridge, light rail service to get there. Remember, it's a rustic island so the only way to get there is by bumboat. You can ride the bumboat at Changi Point Ferry Terminal near Changi Village Bus Terminal and Food Centre for just $2.50 and the experience of riding on a bumboat is truly wonderful.

You get to see the lovely sea waves, the islands in a distance and soak in the sun during the ride. Before you even get to the island, you can already experience the kampong life with the bumboat ride.

2. The Kampongs (Villages)

As mentioned above, Pulau Ubin houses Singapore's last kampong houses. Although the number of people living in Pulau Ubin have decreased significantly over the past years, there are still plenty of these rustic houses still in existence.

You may even get to see some abandoned and rundown kampongs as well if you're lucky. Some of them were quite big while some were moderately sized. Some of the kampongs also have plant their own food with their own gardens on their backyard and front yards.

3. The Abandoned Quarries

Who says that Singapore doesn't have any quarries? There are a few of them here in Pulau Ubin and back then, these granite quarries were mainly used for construction. When Singapore was under the British rule, the granite from the quarries were used to construct the Horsburgh Lighthouse on Singapore's Pedra Branca island. The granite was even used to contruct the famous Johor-Singapore Causeway bridge to transport people from Singapore to Malaysia and vice versa. The quarries were then eventually abandoned and now, it has turned into one of the more famous attractions for Pulau Ubin visitors with its crystal clear blue waters and lovely vegetation surrounding the quarries.

4. Forests and Dirt Tracks Around Pulau Ubin

At Pulau Ubin, the island is filled with lots of dirt tracks to get you from one place to another and the surrounding forests makes you get closer to nature even more. The dirt tracks are very popular among visitors of the island to walk or 'hike' around and it's even more popular among adrenaline seekers to cycle with their bicycles (most of them rent at the bicycle rental shops near the main entrance of the island).

If you feel tired or anything, you don't have to worry because there are plenty of shelters (some contain vending machines) for you to take a break whenever you feel tired from walking or cycling around the dirt tracks. Walking along these trails are definitely a 'must-do' when you're here at Pulau Ubin.

5. The Shops and Restaurants Near the Main Entrance

Once you have arrived at the jetty of Pulau Ubin, you'll be greeted with a wide variety of shops and restaurants. You can find seafood restaurants, bicycle rental shops and if you want to get to different parts of the island, you can hire a van for an affordable price. Think of it as a private hirer and a public bus rolled into one.

The shops and restaurants here give a rustic feel to it and it feels like you're back in the old days of Singapore. There were also some souvenirs for sale there as well if you're into that. For the food, I'm not quite sure how the food served looked like but there are plenty of reviews online that let you have a sneak peek at what they serve at these restaurants. You can view one over here.

6. Chek Jawa Wetlands

One of the most popular attractions of Pulau Ubin is the Chek Jawa Wetlands. It's a nature reserve located at one of the edges of Pulau Ubin and consists of many different biodiversity ecosystems and has a wide range of interesting attractions in it as well.

There's a house which you can enter which acts like a museum for the Chek Jawa Wetlands containing tons of interesting information about the Wetlands and what you can do to protect the environment. There's also a boardwalk which you can walk along to view the beautiful sea and the coastline along with some rocks for you to sit on to enjoy the view as well.

7. The Chek Jawa Coastal Boardwalk

There's also another part of the Chek Jawa Wetlands that you should definitely check out called the Coastal Boardwalk. You can walk along the coastline without worrying about getting your feet wet. The Coastal Boardwalk lets you see the sea underneath you through the metal grilles to ensure that the delicate coastline does not get disturbed.

Although, when you're walking along the Boardwalk, you may feel hot because of the weather, it's definitely an experience like none other to see the beautiful waters and the wind blowing in your face when walking here.

8. The Chek Jawa Mangrove Boardwalk

After walking along the Coastal Boardwalk, you will enter the Mangrove Boardwalk. This part of the Wetlands lets you view the mangrove forests without getting letting your feet get dirty. It may look very icky and muddy but, it's nature and I think it's a wonderful part of nature.

You can also view the many forests and plants surrounding the mangroves as well and learn more about them by reading them using the information boards scattered all around the boardwalk.

9. Jejawi Tower

While walking along the Mangrove Boardwalk, you'll come across the Jejawi Tower. It's an observation tower that lets you view the forests from a certain height. You can have a bird's eye view of the forests and the mangrove swamps. The view from the top is absolutely stunning and breathtaking.

As Pulau Ubin is located quite near Changi Airport, I managed to take a picture of an Airbus A380 airplane on Singapore Airlines flying past the island. The Jejawi Tower is also a great place for you to take shelter and have a short break. It's an even better idea to sit down and take a break on the top most level of the observation tower.

10. The Nature and Surroundings

The surroundings of Pulau Ubin is just wonderful. It's peaceful, it's quiet and has that wonderful rustic charm that makes Pulau Ubin a special place. You can find the best of what nature has to offer right here at the island. While you're probably walking around the forests, you may bump into wild animals on your way especially Wild Boars. Don't be alarmed if you spot them.

They are just minding their own business roaming around and hunting for food and shelter so its best not to disturb them. This goes for the forests as well. Don't leave anything behind and pick things up. Leave them as it is and leave only your footprints. It's our responsibility to take care of Pulau Ubin so that our future generations will also get to experience the heritage and the kampung culture of this wonderful island.

These are the 10 things that I love about my trip to Pulau Ubin. From the Chek Jawa Wetlands to the dirt tracks to the hilly areas of the island, there's a lot to love about Pulau Ubin. For just a $2.50 boat ride to the island, you can experience these wonderful experiences and get out of urban Singapore for a well-deserved and adventurous break.

I highly recommend coming here with your friends or family along and don't forget to wear comfortable clothing and shoes as you'll be walking around a lot. Getting there is easy as well, just take a bus to the Changi Village Bus Terminal and walk to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal for a boat ride to Pulau Ubin. Do take note that there has to a certain number of people that are ready to board the boat first before the driver can embark on the journey. It's a wonderful island and I wish to visit the island again and perhaps, the other outer islands of Singapore as well.
Getting Here

Bus services available: 2, 29, 59, 109 (Bus stop at Changi Village Bus Terrminal)

(Transfer to a bumboat ride at Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Boat ride costs $2.50 to Pulau Ubin and another $2.50 from Pulau Ubin to mainland Singapore)

Nearest MRT station: Not Available.

Website: Pulau Ubin Website

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