28 July 2016

One Sweaty Day at Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa Wetlands

Two weekends ago, KL and I decided to have some exercise while visiting a new place. This place is new for me, but not for KL, as he had visited this island a couple of times before.

Pulau Ubin (meaning = Granite Island) is a captivating island in Singapore, famous for its largely authentic remain untouched area. This island is like a spacious green breathing space in Singapore among all of those tall buildings and shopping malls. I feel like I was not in Singapore when I visited this island because the rustic village feel that remains surprisingly natural and pure, very contrasting with the busy city feel that I feel in the Singapore mainland.

We started our trip at the Changi Ferry Point Terminal at Changi Village where we took ferry (bumboat) to Pulau Ubin. Each ferry can carry up to twelve people and it costs SGD 3 per passenger for a one-way trip. It took around 10 minutes to reach Pulau Ubin from the terminal.

Upon arrival at Pulau Ubin, we rent a tandem bicycle (bicycle with two seats) that available everywhere near the entrance. There are many other choices of bicycle that you can rent too. Or alternatively, you can also go to Pulau Ubin Taxi Kiosk where you can book at mini-bus taxi with a distinctive “PU” licence plate to take you around the island without having to waste much energy.

If you are a social media addict, be ready to get lost here because the network service there was very limited. I was freaked out when I first reached there because my SIM card texted me "Welcome to Malaysia". Haha. I was using SINGTEL as my network provider at that moment. During my exploration to Pulau Ubin, my GPS often got really confused to tell whether I was in Malaysia or still in Singapore. I think it's because Pulau Ubin is very near to the frontier.

We cycled to explore the island and we stopped at Chek Jawa Wetlands, the star attraction of this island. We parked our bicycle and walked there because the land is too adventurous to ride with bicycle. I also met some wild boars along the way. Pulau Ubin is famous of their friendly wild boar. But even though they won't attack you, be careful not to get too near to them because they are very strong with their snout and you don't want accident to happen, do you? One more thing to be aware: you shouldn't leave any food on your bicycle while you explore Check Jawa because wild boars may want to steal it too (I see that happen!).

Inside of the Chek Jawa, there's a tall tower where you can take the stairs to gaze around the island. It was fun and tiring to climb the stairs but worth-trying because the scenery is beautiful! When you explore Check Jawa, make sure you've applied mosquito or bugs repellent because the area is wet and humid, a perfect place for mosquito to live and breed.

Chek Jawa is claimed as home to extensive exotic marine wildlife, such as octopuses, starfish, and cuttlefish. It is also very near to Changi Airport. Don't be surprised if you keep seeing and hearing airplane flying above you every now and then.

There's also a cute house deep in the forest! Inside the house, you can get many information about Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa. On the other side of the house, there's another bridge that will lead you to see even more beautiful scenery. If your bladder is full somehow during the trip, you can also use the toilets that's available near the house. Or if you just want to wash your face with a clean cold water, you can do it there too. It's hot and challenging to explore Pulau Ubin, so don't forget to apply sunscreen to avoid getting sunburn and stay hydrated all the time.

After we left Pulau Ubin at around 3PM, we headed back to Changi Ferry Point Terminal and we stayed at a nice hotel near there called Changi Cove. What's so special about this hotel is the natural open-air concept and its beautiful old trees. But my favorite part of this hotel is that they have a doodle wall in every guest room that the guest can draw-write-doodle anything on it with the marker provided. Of course, I didn't miss my chance to leave some art there, even though I was pretty exhausted after exploring Pulau Ubin all day.

Pulau Ubin and Chek Jawa

Located in the north east of Singapore, to the west of Pulau Tekong.

Operating hours:
The NParks Information Kiosk is open 8:30am - 5pm.
Chek Jawa Wetlands Opening Hours: 8:30am - 6pm
Bumboats to and from Pulau Ubin, and public transport on the island operate from sunrise to sunset.
No opening or closing hours to enter Pulau Ubin, but regular services only run during daylight hours.

Admission fee: FREE

Visit the website: www.nparks.gov.sg


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