Easy Escape from Singapore: Pulau Ubin

I have a co-worker who once joked about a foreigner pronouncing Raffles Place in Singapore as “Breathless Place” (hope you didn’t become short of breath from this pun).  Perhaps you are looking for a bit of local countryside after working endlessly for a week in one of those confined office cubicles, or you are just looking to explore a more rural part of Singapore on a beautiful day, you might want to take the ferry over to Pulau UbinWild Singapore offers great information about Ubin and other places.

I haven’t left this island in the past year and decided it was finally time to cross Pulau Ubin off my short to-do list for Singapore.  It was a cool morning as a thunderstorm whipped through just a few hours earlier.  We set out for the bum boat that would take us across the waters 10 minutes away to the island (pulau in Malay).  Now please make sure, if you do intend to share a cab from the MRT or otherwise, not to miss the point when you request for the destination.  Changi Point Ferry Terminal is the place to be just a minute walk from the hawker center and bus terminal at Changi Village.  The nearest MRT station is Pasir Ris.  Yes, this is worth mentioning as we ended up in Changi Ferry Terminal, which actually is the place for sporadic ferries to Malaysia.  When we realized it was too late as the cab driver drove off and we were left standing in the sun with only weekend cyclists around.

If you have your own bike, I would strongly advise you to bring it along with you.  The bum boat operators do charge extra for your bike but it’s better than renting (which we did) a not-so-well maintained mountain bike at $8 a day.  Though getting your bike to Changi Village is another thing in cycling unwelcoming Lion City.

We had lunch at the seafood restaurant by the jetty.  You can’t miss it’s large outdoor seating area by the sea.  The staff were quite busy with the weekend crowd and the food was not too bad, a tad on the expensive side though for the dishes we ordered.

So what’s so exciting about Pulau Ubin?  Well nothing too spectacular actually that we saw, especially if you have travelled before.  But we did see thousands of tiny crabs crawling on the beach at low tide and the huge quarry pit lakes, not to mention kampong (village in Malay) houses and sipping on fresh coconuts at these homes along the way.  All these make for a refreshing and affordable getaway from the shopping crowd.  It’s a good workout too!

Bring your sunscreen even though you would be riding through tree shade most of the time.  And don’t leave any food in your bike’s baskets when you stroll out to the boardwalk along the coast and into the mangroves…we think the monkeys came by and ate the buns!  Or maybe these wild boars did.

Guided tours are available through National Parks during days of lowest tides when marine life can be seen at its greatest beauty.


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