Saturday, March 17, 2012

Off the Beaten Track (not quite)

We're quite an outdoorsy kind of family, if you have not figured out by now. When we have nothing planned for the weekend (ie. shows or activities), we would almost always go walking, cycling, rollerblading or have a picnic at the parks.

So it's not at all surprising that one weekend we found ourselves heading towards Pulau Ubin. That place brings back lots of fond memories of my many many camping adventures during my JC days.

Getting there is easy & part of the fun. Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (which has been renovated & not as rickety has I remembered). You will be approached by one of the bumboat uncles to ask how many in your party & once there are 12 passengers, he will set off. $2.50 per person each way & $2.00 for your bike. There is a queue of bumboats & the uncles seem to know who goes next even if nothing seems to be organised officially.

A quick 10-15 min ride gets you to the island. Right after you walk out of the jetty, you will feel like you have stepped back in time. Balik Kampung.

Kampung houses


Even the bike rental place is *relax*

Cycling Tip : Due to the bad roads, make sure you check & double check the brakes before you pick a bike. We brought along The Girl's bike but hired ours there. They will provide you with a map of the island & advise you which trails to take. Even though some were advised to be difficult, our 7 year old did alright, as did the adults but expect to walk up with your bikes for some of the steeper slopes.

Quaint, charming, I'm already loving it
There are vans that will take you around the island but what's the fun in that ?

Nothing is a rush here

We took the Western trail, past the Celestial Resort (didn't know there was one on Ubin but it's not exactly your Capella Hotel) in the direction of the Outward Bound School. It's a dead end & we had to retract part of the way back to the east for Chek Jawa.

Not sure what this is but the old guy who runs the stall below was drying these in the sun & claimed to have medicinal value & invited us to try his special concoction

Love this sign
Very Bob Marley Very Kampung Very Ubin

We did as the sign said & stopped for a coconut

He had a whole garden of herbs & plants
And was preparing these for his special soup

It wasn't quite ready yet & we weren't quite so adventurous to give it a try

We met a guide for a group of MBA students
who showed us an unmarked path to a great view of the quarry

The last of the kampung houses

If you are in Ubin, you can't miss Chek Jawa Wetlands
The website lists timings for tides cos the best time to go is at low tide so that you can see all the beauty under the mangrove. It was high tide when we were there & now that I look at the website to see what we had missed, I plan to go back again

A wild boar that caused quite a ruckus amongst the visitors
Another reminder that we are not in concrete Singapore

As per my title, Ubin is off the beaten track but it's not exactly undiscovered, there were throngs of tourists & Singaporeans alike visiting the island. Most hire a van to take them to Chek Jawa whilst others head for the seafood restaurant. We had a modest but delicious meal at the Malay restaurant right next to the jetty.

I really enjoyed our day out & would recommend it for anyone looking for something different to do in Singapore.


Tsu Lin + + said...

That photo of the quarry is really breathtaking! Can't believe it's in Sg's own backyard!

Beau Lotus 涟 said...

Have been planning to go there for years, but could never manage the time. You've beaten me to it! :-)