Today, I took a break from the hectic pace of shopping centers and busy city life and headed for the tiny island of Pulau Ubin. Just within Singapore’s grasp, the Island is easy to get to via a ferry from Changi Village. One note, the ferry captains or “Bumboat” Captains are crazy! I took some amazing video of them cutting each other off, overtaking and jostling for position at the Jetty! My Bumboat Captain stopped the motor half way to collect the fair which, if you remember the song – I paid the ferryman $2.50 Singaporean and he delivered me safely to the other side!
Once on the island, you kind-of walk back into time! The last remaining old Singapore style buildings can be found clustered in the small township. They are known as “Kampongs”. Many of them are used as restaurants and Bicycle Hire venues. I hired a bike for the princely sum of $2 Singaporean for the entire day! Setting off I literally traveled across the entire island. Despite the hot humid temperature, the ride was fun. I carried my pack with my 5D MKII onboard and a tripod, and used the bikes basket at the front to store all my loose bits. There are many interesting places to visit, including several old Quarries which have been flooded to form very picturesque lakes. The wetland areas known as “Chek Jawa” were very interesting. During low tide, you can walk along a boardwalk and look down onto the mudflats, which are full of sea life. Mudskippers, small crabs, Seahorse etc. Near this same area, I was sitting down, resting when a monkey strolled out of the jungle. Not long after a tribe of wild boar crossed the road. Other wildlife a did see but wasn’t quick enough to capture on camera include a local Rooster that is an ancestor to the modern day Rooster. There were other birds I observed but I have no idea what they were called. Needless to say, there were plenty of opportunities to photograph wildlife and natural settings – Something I didn’t think was possible in Singapore.
Couple of notes for anyone planning to visit wetlands and mangrove swamps anywhere around the world. Take precautions and protect yourself from Mosquitoes. Dengue Fever is prevalent in many of these sorts of places and is known to exist in Singapore. Malaria is another hazard. Drink plenty of water. The Island has many places you can buy chilled water, so you don’t have to bring it from the mainland. Take a hat! It gets hot in the sun and there are many roads which are in the open. Back in the township, you can buy a cheap lunch at one of the many Seafood restaurants. I spent $13 dollars on my meal which included Hong Kong Noodles, mixed veggies and Black Pepper Crab – Awesome!
So if your in Singapore and need to getaway from the shopping experience, I can highly recommend taking a visit to Pulau Ubin.