Pulau Ubin: An escape from Singapore
Singapore is known for towering skyscrapers, shopping malls on every corner and, of course, the huge variety of tasty food. However visiting here doesn’t have to just be about the city, it’s easy to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and take a trip back to nature. An island small enough to explore in a day, yet interesting enough to hold your attention for a few more, lies just off the eastern coast of Singapore. Pulau Ubin mixes mangrove swamps and jungle teaming with wildlife, with the opportunity to experience a traditional kampong or village, as the mainland used to be.
Bumboats leave from Changi whenever they’re full and the short trip gives time to admire the scenery and watch fishermen haul in their catch. Dropped off in the village keep an eye out for a house on stilts over the water, a traditional Malay home before apartments towers became the norm in Singapore. Cycling is the easiest way to get around the island, with numerous shops renting bikes from S$8 per day, although a basic mountain bike for S$10 is better suited to the occasional gravel roads. Experienced riders can also visit the mountain bike park on the west side of the island to give themselves more of a challenge on the graded trails.
Cycle over to the Chek Jawa Wetlands, less than 45 minutes away depending how often you obey the signs to dismount and push your bike down gravel hills. Maps are dotted around the island so there’s no need to worry about getting lost, and huts provide shaded rest areas perfect for a picnic. Leave your bike at the rack at Punai Hut and take a stroll along wooden boardwalks leading through the mangroves. A tower gives a beautiful view over the island and back across the water.
As you wander around the rest of the island, passing ramshackle, tin-roofed homes keep an eye out for wildlife in the jungle. Wild boars are numerous, while monkeys are often seen in the trees above, water monitors, snakes and all sorts of birds can be spotted.
How to get there?
- Take the MRT to Tanah Merah (around S$2 from the centre)
- Exit using the underpass and take bus #2 to Changi Village (S$1.70)
- Turn left and walk back to Changi Point Ferry Terminal, the bumboats leave when full with 12 passengers (S$2.50)