Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pulau Ubin: Rustic Side of Singapore

Little is known of the old ways and what used to be. But with much curiosity and keen observation, history effortlessly unfolds before your very eyes, taking you deeper into the forgone times.

Once you step into the soil of Singapore, its overwhelming modernity somehow makes you forget about its beginnings. Coupled with its clever conveniences, shiny skyscrapers, green environment, Singapore does exceed best in many categories, drowning you with all the good things in an ideal city, providing easy access to anything and anywhere, presenting you with possibilities of the future (if you know what I mean). Surprisingly, to the delight of probing heads and adventurers at heart, Singapore does have remains of the past, and what I’m talking about is its living past -- somehow untouched literally that pulls you closer to a better-sounding laid back setting as opposed to its fast-paced lifestyle. That there is still an area in the city-state that is stuck in the past.

So let us travel a few short miles from the central to one of its islands called, Pulau Ubin – Singapore’s last frontier, appropriately far removed from its common definition: ultra-modern.

Pulau Ubin is situated off the north east coast of the mainland and only 8-minutes away from Changi Point Ferry Terminal via a bumboat (one-way fare is 2.50 dollars per person). Upon arrival, you will be greeted with numerous streamers, which mean business is so alive in the island. It is just sprawling with activities for adventurers most especially.

Personally, the best activity there is biking. There are numerous rent-a-bike shops there, and it is worth giving emphasis the “2 Dollars” signs because it is a bit deceiving, for the price is meant for kids only. When we went there, we ended up renting 9 dollar mountain bikes and started pedalling our way at 11 in the morning (until 4 in the afternoon). During that time, we met so many bikers on the road -- families, couples, groups of friends. The paved roads made biking a lot easier save when we went uphill, which was quite challenging.

Then, we headed to the abandoned granite quarry sites that turned into lakes - sure they're quite scenic.

Biodiversity is best exemplified at Chek Jawa Wetlands, located on the south-east tip of Pulau Ubin. It is divided into the Coastal and Mangrove Loops -- home to nipa palm trees, mangroves, wild boars, mudskippers, birds, and many nocturnal animals.

Pulau Ubin is simply an enjoyable contrast of the city, where you can see one-floor houses with aluminum roofing and on stilts, where locals are getting creative at their own backyards as opposed to typical HDB units so confined within equal spaces. Truly, it is simply the other side of Singapore worth exploring.

Changi Point Ferry Terminal
Biking and the road
Pulau Ubin jetty
Welcome to Pulau Ubin!
bicycles for rent
monitor lizard

Pulau Ketam
Pulau Ketam, a small island off Pulau Ubin
as seen from Pulau Ubin
Celestial Resort

Abandoned Granite Quarry Sites


Rural Singapore
definitely, not a typical Singaporean house
houses on stilts
taxi stand
Noordin Beach

Chek Jawa

Wild boars
Jejawi Tower
nipa palm trees
mangrove trees
mangrove tree roots
trail in the marshland
House No. 1, a pre-war structure facing mainland Singapore
House No. 1's jetty

Leaving the island
We had a wonderful day! :)

Back to Changi Point
Changi Point Ferry Terminal
Changi Beach Park, near the terminal
It was March 19, 2011 when the moon was closest to Earth; it happens every 18 years