Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pulau Ubin

We finally made it to Pulau Ubin (one of my 101 in 1001 goals). It was amazing and I am so glad we went! It's definitely a must-see for anyone visiting Singapore (at least if they're here longer than a few days).
Off to Pulau Ubin!
Pulau Ubin is a small, undeveloped island off of the eastern coast of Singapore. The only way there is by bumboat, a small wooden boat, often painted bright colors and definitely with a funky/rustic feel. The price is right (less than $3 US per person), and sailing through the China Sea towards islands covered in tropical greenery is a great way to feel like you are really departing the hustle and bustle of modern city life.

Little R is already a sailor at heart
The ride is pretty short (10 minutes maybe?) and before you know it, you dock at the scruffy and terribly charming Ubin Town. It's really small and full of bicycles, because renting a bike and cycling around the island is the main attraction at Pulau Ubin. We chose not to do this, as we didn't have a helmet for little R to wear (I saw nobody wearing a helmet, which is fine on a mostly empty, flat island for me, but I didn't feel comfortable risking head injuries for her). Next time we will bring one!
On the beach in Ubin Town
Main square of Ubin Town
Instead, we took a pleasant walk of three or four kilometers through the tropical jungle. We passed kampongs (traditional Malaysian villages), many beautiful trees, including durian, jackfruit, coconut palms, banana, and cocoa trees, and termite mounds. Eventually we reached Chek Jawa, an area special because it contains several different ecosystems within a small area.

Pulai tree, over 114 feet tall
Bananas in their natural state
We walked along the coast, an area full of seagrass where dugongs are sometimes seen; explored the mangrove groves; saw a massive "city" created by mud lobsters (their houses can be up to nine feet high); and encountered a wild pig (the first I've seen so very exciting). On the way back we saw what we thought was a lost chicken foolishly exploring the jungle; it was actually the endangered red junglefowl, the wild ancestor of the chicken. That was pretty awesome.
Little R running down the coastal boardwalk
Mudskippers, weird fish that walk and breathe out of water
Little R doing some exploring 
Wild boar!
We took a bumboat back to the main island, and then a taxi home. Everyone was tired (and poor little R fell on our walk and scraped her nose), but happy. Pulau Ubin feels like a different country from Singapore, and is so rich in wildlife and natural beauty that I would recommend it to anyone.


  1. WOW it looks like she is quiet the walker already! I love banana trees- until I saw one in person a few years back I had NO idea that they flowered like that!

    1. This was my first banana tree and I had no idea either. Isn't it strange?