Monday, July 09, 2012

Cycling Trip to Pulau Ubin [乌敏岛] Part 1

34 - that was the number of years it took for my dad to revisit this last natural haven of Singapore. For my elder sister, she has never really explored the island (her OBS camp is not counted) and was therefore keen to join our arduous cycling expedition in May 2012!

8.30am - for a Sunday, the ferry terminal was not as crowded as expected. I am not going to bore you with pictures of the boat ride since you can find them (plus ticket prices and other information) HERE.

Reached Ubin! Did i mention this would be a pictorial post spread over two entries?

First thing in Ubin - rent a bicycle at Ubin Town! There were plenty of bicycle shops to choose from and their rental charges (daily instead of hourly rate) were way below those on mainland Singapore!

Choose a good, sturdy bike, submit your identification card / passport for record keeping, make payment in cash, collect the receipt and off you go!

The freshness of clean morning air instantly perked us up (despite the lack of coffee) and for my dad, it must have reminded him very much of our kampong days before 1986.

Along the way, there were remnants of what used to be a thriving village. Some kampong houses were still occupied with residents, usually those of the older generation.

Directional map for cyclists and hikers - without this, i would be so helpless! By the way, we were on the way to Chek Jawa!

Another occupied kampong house. It would be nice to explore the interior but let's leave it for another time.

Cyclists are required to use a dedicated cycling track to the wetlands as the main dirt road is reserved for vehicles and appears too narrow to accommodate massive number of cyclists.

Up down, up down, up down - this track is not for inexperienced cyclists like us!!! Dismounting and pushing the bicycle actually forced us to enjoy the natural beauty of the jungle; the colour, the morning dew, the chirping and the occasional dog shit.

Saw a damn majestic tree along the cycling track. My dad spotted a white bellied eagle which i missed. :(

Finally reached the entrance of chek jawa. Bicycles are not allowed inside the wetlands so you must remember to request for a bicycle lock at the point when you select your bike at Ubin Town!

As we walked in, the first sight that greeted us was a wild boar with six cute piglets trailing right behind her (i am assuming it was the mother)! Unlike the totally grey adults, these younglings had additional orange stripes on their body.

While walking towards the coastal boardwalk, i brought my dad and sister to this boulder that stretched a few meters out into the sea.

Not bad view except for the green seagrass on the right side; evidence of low tide, which could mean sightings of anemone or even starfish on the exposed seabed later.

Coastal boardwalk! I am not going to regurgitate what i have mentioned before. Please click HERE for my post on Chek Jawa.

A floating platform that was formerly locked was open for public access this time. A National Park (NP) officer was preventing people from stepping off the platform as you need to register for a guided tour in advance in order to preserve the delicate ecosystems of Chek Jawa.

I am all for preservation although i could not help but feel envious when i saw this group of visitors on the exposed seabed. The one-hour guided tours are suspended till December due to a freaky wind that had damaged the platform. For any further update, please click HERE.

The low tide at Chek Jawa is without doubt the best time to visit! Check out the tide tables on the timings should you plan to have Chek Jawa in your island itinerary.

Sea anemone!

Once you have been to Krabi or Redang, the appearance of these corals-like 'animals' is frankly nothing to scream about. However, it is a rare sight in Singapore; at least for non-divers.

This looked more filling than the millions of tiny crustaceans known as fiddler crabs on the seabed. Damn, i would love to eat some crabs! Like right now!

The iconic tree of death that stands sad and alone in the midst of empty wilderness.

Yet another crab although this time, we have stepped onto the mangrove boardwalk. As far as mangrove is concerned, i personally prefer Sungei Buloh.

Top of Jejawi tower! Contrast this view with the other one i uploaded HERE.

Anyone knows what these birds are? They appeared to have the body of pigeons although their characteristics suggest otherwise. [update: read it on the straits times 10 July 12, these birds are known as pink necked green pigeons and they love fruits!]

Back of House Number 1 - this is a great place to relax after a long walk. Damn, i should have brought along some sandwiches! We were famished!

Rubber tree near the place where we locked our bicycles. The lack of any educational placard would elicit all kinds of comments from kids who have never seen a rubber tree before. For example, can i drink the milk please? 

Second time lucky! Three adult wild boars and two adorable babies! 

Our ride back to Ubin Town - Some slopes were really steep an  it would be best to follow the advice of the the many signboards on the roadside. You would not want to go home with a broken neck or leg. 

The route back to Ubin Town is shared with the motor vehicles so please keep a lookout! And be prepared for a captivating sight of a quarry lake on your right.

Seeing it in real life is way better than the picture! 

Cookie monster eating sepak takraw balls; this statue has been in front of the house for as long as i can remember. 

This is possible the only two-storey kampong house in Ubin island. And it used to be the residence of Ubin's most famous village chief; Mr Lim Chye Joo, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 101. For his obituary, check out HERE.    

Our makan place - Season Live Seafood, which pretty much satisfied the Gang of Three in my last visit. My review could be found here

Disappointingly, the taste of every dish we ordered was dismal and the best had to be the furong egg, which will take loads of effort to make it even taste bad in the first place. I should have bloody attempted another restaurant! 

-To Be Continued- 

For Part 2, please click HERE.

1 comment:

  1. Cycling is an environmentally friendly and fun way to keep fit while enjoying the natural surroundings. Join U Sports for their weekly Sunday morning ride on road to enjoy the cool breeze and beautiful city landscape.