Monday, 12 June 2017

Pulau Ubin

29 April 2017
Fancying another day trip, we caught the bus to Changi ferry terminal and waited around for a "bum boat" to become available to take us to Pulau Ubin. Why bum?!
Anyway. Before long, several other people had gathered awaiting a ferry and we were shown along the pier to one of the boats. 

It was definitely a more rustic experience than some ferries I've been on, with a bustling captain who I'm pretty sure had poor vision due to age. But as the journey was very short, cost us only $3, and we seemed to be in no danger of sinking, I wasn't particularly worried. 

Upon disembarking, we quickly found the main street and decided that it was well and truly time for me to learn how to ride a bike! For a reasonable rate we secured such a contraption and moved further down the road so we could have a quiet area in which to practice. Much to my surprise, I picked it up fairly easily, and in no time at all I was pedalling around with a big grin on my face. I did need to build up momentum before I took off each time (using my left leg to kick off mightily), and was rather wobbly, but by god! I was on a bike! Without training wheels! We returned to the bike rental shop so that Yannick could join me in wholesome two-wheeled fun. 

No taxis for us, thanks! We are cyclists now. 

Utilising my newfound skill, we cycled along to Bukit Puaka, where we ditched our bikes and trekked up the slope. The cicadas here were going mental and the clamour was a bit overpowering. From the top, we could see a couple of different quarries that had been filled in with water to make lakes, and a vast expanse of forest stretching out to the sea. It definitely felt more like we were in the jungle than other walks we've undertaken in Singapore (such as in MacRitchie Nature Reserve), which have felt more maintained and cultivated. 

Gathering our bikes again (aka our new best friends) we zipped along the paths towards the east side of the island. Along the way, we saw many little houses and sheds. One had a sign out front offering free yoga! What a place. Next door, someone had painted an Oriental Pied Hornbill onto their wall. We weren't able to see this type of bird on our trip, though we did have a close encounter with a small green snake!

A small village on the east side of the island is called Chek Jawa, and we took a quick peek at the visitor centre (which is housed in an old colonial era-cottage). Through the cottage, you can access a jetty from which you can see mainland Sinapore not far in the distance. 

Next we took a nice stroll along the coastal boardwalk and had our photo taken. Yannick had a chilled can of 100 Plus to sip on, as handily there were several vending machines dotted around the island for parched and overheated daytrippers. 

The coastal boardwalk turned into the wetlands boardwalk, which was surrounded by mangroves and funny mangrove trees. Here we spotted a monitor lizard and after a few minutes he decided to go for a swim!

A point of interest was the Muslim cemetary, which I could find no information about. It was signposted, so clearly some part of the island's history, but details elude me. 

Around the bikepark (carpark for bikes) we saw a couple of wild boars who were rooting around in the underbrush. It was a shock when we saw the first one, as we weren't aware Pulau Ubin was home to wild boar!

Some cheeky monkeys had also invaded the bikepark by the time we had returned from the boardwalk, and were flinging around some plastic bags and empty crisp packets they had found and leaping from bikes to trees and back. This guy, who casually sat atop a toppled bike, scratched his side as he peered around searching for more opportunities for mischief. 

On the way back to the dock, we rode along the Sensory Trail. Though I have no idea why it was named that, there was a lovely lotus pond, and it was good practice to ride along a gravel path. 

I'll leave you with a photo that depicts pure joy. Oh, to be a kid again, even if just for a few minutes.