Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Day Trip To Pulau Ubin - 乌敏岛

Pulau Ubin is a small island minutes (about 10 minutes boat ride) away from Singapore and it was once used for quarrying granite that was used extensive in building the high rise buildings in Singapore. It had being more than 10 years since I last visited this beautiful "kampong style aka village" island and recently we had made two separate trips there in order to explore different parts of the island.

This offshore island is a great place for nature and bike loves to spend a day or two exploring the island by hiring a bicycle, set up a camp at one of the camping site or learn more about the mangroves and the sea creates that lives there.



WHAT TO GET READY


Try to visit Pulau Ubin if possible early in the morning (set off around 8am from the jetty) if you don't want experience the scorching hot sun and get sunburn in the mid-afternoon. Before you head off remember to pack some of these items below which will come in handy during your trip.

MUST HAVE:
Ample of drinking water
Mosquito repellent
Sunblock lotion
Comfort walking shoes

OPTIONAL:
Snack, fruits or sandwiches
Umbrella or raincoat


[Pulau Ubin] Changi Point Ferry Terminal
The journey to Pulau Ubin begins at Changi Village Ferry Terminal which is a few minutes walk from Changi Village Bus Terminal and Food Centre. You can access to the location by either car or public transports (taxi or buses like number 2, 29, 59 & 109) where you alight at Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4) and take bus number 2 until the last stop which ends at Changi Village.

[Pulau Ubin] Changi Point Ferry Terminal - Bumboat Pricing

[Pulau Ubin] Bumboats at Changi Point Ferry Terminal
You do not need your "passport" for Pulau Ubin but to get there you need to hop into one of these bumboats which cost SG$2.50 per person (single trip). And for group you can hire a boat for SG$30 which cater up to 12 passengers. The bumboat ride is available from 6.00am - 9.00pm daily, after which additional charges will incurred from 9.00pm onward.

[Pulau Ubin] On the bumboat ride
The boat ride itself is pretty fast and it takes less than 15 minutes to reach Pulau Ubin so don't worry about having seasick because the ride can be quite fun and exciting. But just that sometime you might get wet if the boat becomes too bumpy due to the waves.

Here is a short Instagram clip on our bumboat ride which shows you the interior of the boat too. 

Upon arrived we have to wait until the boat "park" at the side of the jetty before alighting to the stairway.  And for us it seems quite scary as we need to overcome our fear (not to drop into the water) to hop from the swaying boat (due to the waves) to stairway.

[Pulua Ubin] Ubin Jetty at the main village

[Pulua Ubin] Directory
You can easily follow the signboards or island map at the resting huts along the way or grab a physical island map from the visitor centre or bicycle koisk. The map can come in handy in order to bring you around various attractions and beaches on the island.

[Pulua Ubin] Map of the island



MAIN VILLAGE


[Pulau Ubin] Taxi stand at the left side of the street
At the entrance of the town, you will find taxi and bicycle rental kiosks on the left side whereas visitor centre and police station is situation on the right near Sensory Trail. These mini vans can be hired by hourly rate or specific destination to a maximum of 12 passengers per trip. And this will be a great choice for family with young kids or those planning to move food and heavy things over to the camping site.

[Pulau Ubin] Bicycle rental stalls 

[Pulau Ubin] Bicycle rental & food stalls 
At Pulau Ubin, the main mode of transport is bicycle which you can hire one at the main village where you get off the ferry. Some of the older bikes can be rented for as low as SG$2 but the average price to rent a bicycle for a day is between SG$8 - SG$18 depending the model and how new it is.

[Pulau Ubin] Old school coffee shop

[Pulau Ubin] Cze char and provision stalls
Don't worry if you are hungry or thirsty after exploring the island because within the main village there are a few restaurants and coffee shops selling food and refreshments. They accept both Singapore dollars and Malaysian ringgits.


SENSORY TRAIL


[Pulau Ubin] Sensory Trail
Sensory Trail is about 1.5 kilometer long at the southern part of Pulau Ubin and it takes about an hour and half to walk. This trail allows visitors to uses their five senses to hear, see taste, touch and smell while enjoy the walk along the nature. You can to see quarries along the way and some visitors even went fishing there.

[Pulau Ubin] Sensory Trail
The trail eventually leads to the herbs garden where you can find many different types of familiar herbs and plant such as pandan leave, pineapple, mint, fig, durian and etc. The Celestial Ubin Beach Resort (5 minutes walk from the jetty) is also located at the Sensory Trail near the herbs garden.

[Pulau Ubin] Cold drink stall
Along the way we saw some kampong houses that are still occupied with residents or the older generation who prefer a quite country life-style. Within those houses, some even set up a kiosk to sell cold drinks with signboard outside their house pathway.


MAMAM CAMPSITE


[Pulau Ubin] Mamam Campsite
For those who love outdoor actives and camping there are about three camping sites on Pulau Ubin such as Jelutong (next to butterfly hill), Mamam and NPCC campsites (about 3 km away from the ferry jetty).

[Pulau Ubin] kampong Durian
Pulau Ubin has lots of durian trees and during the peak season in June or early January you can find visitors with durians packed inside their bicycle baskets which they picked up on the way or near the abundant house. Some even consume the durians along the road side as we spotted leftover empty shells and seeds on the pathway.

These are the Kampong Durian that we found in Pulau Ubin



CHEK JAWA WETLANDS TRAIL


[Pulau Ubin] Chek Jawa Wetland entrance
After cycling for about 30 minutes going up and down hills, we finally make it to Chek Jawa Wetland. And since bicycle is not allow in the wetland we have to leave it (park and lock) at the area around Punai Hut (outside the entrance) like what the others did. The wetland is opened daily to public from 8.30am in the morning till 6.00pm in the evening.

[Pulau Ubin] Visitor centre at chek jawa wetland
There is a visitor kiosk less than 3 minutes walk from the entrance where you can get some cold drinks, check out information or visit the washroom which is located at the back.

[Pulau Ubin] Chek Jawa Wetland Map
Chek Jawa consists two parts of sightseeing area such as coastal and mangrove broadwalk which can be completed within an hour and the half.

[Pulau Ubin] House No.1 in chek jawa

[Pulau Ubin] House No.1 in chek jawa
You will find this so called "House No. 1" at the back of the visitor kiosk near the washroom which resemble some old English cottage that build beside the lake or rive in some movies. Didn't managed to take more photos of the house because the place was rather crowded with visitors busying snapping selfie, wefie and some even bought food to picnic outside the siting area.

[Pulau Ubin] House No.1 in chek jawa
Most probably this is the last and only working fireplace found in Singapore.

[Pulau Ubin] House No.1 in chek jawa
At the back of the house you will see the viewing jetty which stretched out to about 200 meters into the sea. It's seems to be a popular site where you can see visitors hanging around snapping photos with the house as background.

[Pulau Ubin] 20-meter tall Jejawi Tower at Chek Jawa Trail
On the way to Mangrove Broadwalk we spot an observation tower from far which excite us. But while heading up to the second level, our legs starts to feel wobbly due to the height up the stairs of the 20-meter tall Jejawi Tower. But we are grateful to make it till the top and what waiting for us is the beautiful bird eyes view of the island.

[Pulau Ubin] On top of Jejawi Tower
Oh ya since there is no park ranger at the top to keep track the number of people (maximum load is 20 person) going up as well other safety precaution I suggest not to stay too close to the fencing especially family with young kids.

[Pulau Ubin] Chek Jawa Wetland
What makes Chek Jawa special is because it acts as home to several ecosystems like mangroves, sandbars, seagrass lagoon, rocky shore and coastal forest where you can explore its fullest during low ties. Unfortunately we went during high ties so there is nothing much that we can do except enjoying a short walk along the coastal boardwalk.

[Pulau Ubin] Coastal Boardwalk

[Pulau Ubin] Mangrove Boardwalk
The wetland is home to millions of creatures such as crabs, starfishes and prawns which you are able to spot them during low ties. For nature love you can join the Chek Jawa Tour (more information here) that brings you to the wetland (0.5m and below during low ties) where you get to see and touch most of the marina life during the 1 hour guided tour. We will definitely be back again during the year end school holidays to learn more about this wetland.


[Pulau Ubin] Wild boars outside Chew Jawa Wetland entrance
There are number of species of animals and birds that are found on Pulau Ubin such as wild pigs, heron, small-clawed otter, reticulated python, lesser false vampire bat and etc. We are lucky to encounter some tame wild pigs during our second visit which indeed makes an interesting experience for the boy.

Overall both our half day trips at Pulau Ubin were well spent and we definitely will be back again to explore the wetland during low ties. And if you are in the mist of planning a trip there I would encourage you to go ahead as I am sure it will be a fun experience for the whole family.

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