For my last installment about Pulau Ubin Island, Himself tells me that he and Velvetine got tired of walking so decided to hire some bicycles.
Most of the tracks are unsealed so this was easier going, at least for my Dutch husband who is completely used to cycling.
There were however rather a few jokes from Himself, and from me later, about how our Singaporean friend’s derriere would be faring after this adventure since she is not a regular cyclist.
During their bike ride our friend “Velvetine” spied a tortoise that had gotten entangled in a fence, and not being people to leave a creature in distress, they carefully managed to help it to get free.
Once it was clear that the tortoise was only entangled and not actually injured in any way, Velvetine decided that it needed to be set free somewhere where there was no risk of getting snared again.
A suitable spot was found a short distance away, the tortoise making the trip in the basket of Velvetine’s hired bicycle. After that the bike ride was without incident, just beautiful scenery.
Wikipedia tells me that “ The Singapore Government’s development projects on the island in the last few years have been controversial and debate has been able to find its way through government-controlled media.
Their main ideas is that the East West Line could be extended to Pulau Ubin from Pasir Ris. Although the government has highlighted the area for future development, the island is unlikely to be urbanised because many foreign tourists visit Ubin and it has become a tourist attraction.
Though recent government action has been limited to widening the paths for bicycles, building shelters for trekkers and other facilities for the growing number of visitors, it is already discreetly changing the face and nature of Pulau Ubin from untouched to planned, and paving the way for further developments. The future of the island is in the hands of Singapore Government, which may postpone its development in order to concentrate on re-developing existing space on Singapore island and nearby Pulau Tekong.
For now, Pulau Ubin is a haven as a former rural way of life will most likely disappear with its last “kampung” generation passing.
There are a few tarmac roads on Pulau Ubin but most roads are gravel. There are a number of minibuses, jeeps and motorbikes on the island, all bearing PU (for Pulau Ubin) numbered plates.
Although the locals try to keep the island un-urbanized, they need some small boosts of money to support them. On the island there are currently conservation projects for the Oriental pied hornbill, monitoring of identified populations of seahorse (Hippocampus kuda) and pipefish (Syngnathoides biaculeatus).
One of the current popular tourist attractions on the island is Chek Jawa. A former coral reef 5000 years ago, Chek Jawa can be said to be virtually unspoilt, with a variety of marine wildlife comparable to other islands, such as sea hares, sea squirts, octopuses, starfishes, sand dollars, fishes, sponges, cuttlefishes and nudibranches.
Ketam Mountain Bike Park which was built in 2007. The trail is approximately 8 kilometers long and features a wide range of terrain ranging from open meadows to thick jungle. There are numerous steep but short climbs and descents. The trail is well-marked with signs indicating the difficulty level of each section.
The rental price for bicycles range anywhere from S$2.00 to S$20.00 (for the entire day) depending on the condition of the bike, number of gears etc. People can also bring their own bikes to the island to ride.
Getting here from the main island of Singapore can be done via a 10-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (previously known as the Changi Village jetty). In 2015 the one-way ticket price was S$3.00 per passenger.
Every bumboat can carry 12 passengers and the captain will wait till his boat has reached the maximum capacity before leaving. People who do not want to wait can pay S$36.00 for the whole bumboat and leave without waiting.”
After their walk and bike ride and before leaving Pulau Ubin, Himself and Velvetine decided to have lunch. I’m allergic to shellfish so it’s not often that Himself has someone to enjoy some with. Needless to say both of them enjoyed their slippery delights and afterwards made their way back to the hustle and bustle of mainland Singapore on one of the bumboats. I have been indebted to Velvetine for taking far more photographs than Himself ever would have done, it’s enabled those of us who weren’t able to go to enjoy the trip at least via through the photograph album.
Note the PU number plates on the vehicles… probably the rarest number plate series in Singapore.
Velvetine tells is that these floating communities on the water in front of the Singapore high rise skyline are Pulau Ubin fish farms…