I had been wanting to visit Pulau Ubin, a very small island situated just off the northeastern corner of mainland Singapore, for a long time. Yesterday, DS and I finally set foot on the island (@ 9:37am!) and went on a cycling adventure there, together with our friend YP.
Pulau Ubin are Malay words literally mean Granite Island. It is a great place for nature lovers. It is also a place to experience “kampung” setting in Singapore. Kampung is another Malay word meaning village. Quoting from National Park Singapore Website …A trip to Pulau Ubin is a throwback to Singapore to the 1960’s. The island is home to Singapore’s last villages or “kampungs”.
On chatting with the gentleman manning the Information Kiosk on the island, I learned that the population of Pulau Ubin is only in the region between 60-100 people, or 0.06 to 0.10 people per hectare!
Quite a number of bicycle rental shops are found at Ubin Town, the main village of Pulau Ubin located just a very short walk away from Ubin jetty. This explains the popularity of cycling activities amongst the tourists on this island.
We rented 3 bicycles for a total price of S$30 (with a slight discount after some bargaining). These purple bicycles are the most expensive – S$12 each per day.
We spent about four and a half hours on Pulau Ubin, mainly to explore Chek Jawa Wetlands which is on the eastern part of Pulau Ubin. It was a very enjoyable outing, I think partly for the reason that I enjoyed cycling a lot and it is rare for me to have the opportunity to cycle here in Singapore. Cycling also brings back many memories of my secondary and high school days when bicycle was my main means of transportation in the small town where I grew up.
In the early part of our cycling adventure along Jalan Ubin, we passed by some fruit plantations. There were durian, rambutan, nangka (jackfruit), coconut trees.
See how lucky we were! We found a durian by the roadside but it was a prematured one! This durian caught the attention of quite a number of villagers at Ubin Town when I cycled back. When I gave it to the lady at the bicycle rental shop, she told me to return to Ubin next month for free durians!
The 21-metre high Jejawi viewing tower at Chek Jawa Wetlands. Don’t miss climbing all the way up to catch a good view of this area. Note that cycling is not allowed in Chek Jawa Wetlands. It is a long walk in this area but definitely worth the effort! The Chek Jawa Wetlands was officially opened in July 2007.
Views from Jejawi viewing tower
Next was an interesting walk down the mangrove. This part of the Chek Jawa Wetlands reminds me of one of my field trips to study the characteristics and behaviours of mangrove plants many years ago back in Malaysia. Then I was doing a module on Botany in my first year of tertiary education.A word of caution though. There are some mosquitos at the mangrove area. Hence, it is better to bring along mosquito repellent or anti-mosquito patches when visiting this place.
The long Coastal Walkboard is a great place to enjoy sea breeze and beautiful seaview. I think it would have been better if National Parks had built a few more shelters (instead of just one) along this walkboard so that more people can stop at different spots to rest and to appreciate the scenery.
Leaving Coastal Walkboard to pick up our bicycles.
Looks like it is very safe in Pulau Ubin! We parked our bicycles without having to lock them at all. In fact, none of our bicycles came with a lock!
After Chek Jawa Wetlands, we continued our cycling adventure and made a couple of quick stops before heading back to Ubin town.
We noticed that there aren’t many vehicles on the island. I think most of them are old vans for the visitors to hire. I don’t remember seeing any car at all. I think cycling is definitely very enjoyable at Pulau Ubin but some safety concerns need to be better taken care of by the authority concerned. I think National Parks needs to consider doing up the cycling tracks to make them friendlier and safer for the visitors, especially for the fact that there had been cases of death and accidents reported. My observation is that some parts of the tracks are rather uneven and dangerous.
Our outing was completed with a meal at an old seafood restaurant by the seaside. Quite frankly, we were a little concerned about the hygiene standard of the restaurant, so we made sure that we had all our spoons and folks cleaned with antiseptic wet tissues before we used them!
Our seafood lunch costs us about S$46, inclusive of 2 x fresh coconut juice and 2 cans of soft drinks. I think the price was reasonable but the food was nothing outstanding. We can certainly get much better seafood in mainland Singapore.
We will be interested to explore the other parts of Pulau Ubin the next time we go there. I think year-end when the weather is cooler, will be a better timing.