Ubin: The Brightest Shades of Green

I’ve been meaning to check out Pulau Ubin for a while (about 10 years would be a fair estimate) and like many things in my life, it’s gotten pushed outta the way in favour of other distractions. Work, travel, pubs, cats, the usual.

So since le bf  is in town (check out his food journey through Singapore here) and adventure is our thing, we took the $2.50 ferry from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to Ubin on Friday morning. Don’t be alarmed if the boat suddenly stops moving; it’s just the captain making his rounds, collecting his cash. Ubin is all about the DIY.

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You can read all about stuff to do in Ubin here, but some definite highlights worth mentioning.

This might be just me, but wild boars casually strolling about #likeaboss was just a bit  massively exciting for me #boargasm. There were 2 bigger ones and a few little ones, just roaming about. The biggest boar seemed to be in charge of the monkeys as well, so obviously he’s the BigWigPig of the jungle.

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On a not altogether separate note, pick up yo trash, kids.

Now, camping. Camping is cool. You feel a bit special when everyone starts to leave for le mainland and you’re comfortably keeping to the island, waiting to see what secrets Ubin will reveal once all these day-tripping visitors are gone. A gorgeous sunset, for one, and hanging out at the coconut/snack store with the island locals.

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I’ve heard good things about Mamam Camp but I personally felt like it was too close to man-made buildings to feel camp-y enough. Noordin Camp is closed, so we settled at Jelutong Camp, which is where the awesome sunset photo was taken. The nearest toilets are a 5 minute walk away – bring your torch if it’s already dark. And there weren’t any ghosts – I checked.

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One of my favourite parts was the Che Guevara Chek Jawa wetlands, which is quite unlike anything I’ve seen before. When it’s low tide, the shiny surfaces seem to go on for miles and miles.

Also a great chance to show off my HTC One sweet panorama feature and no they’re not paying me to say this.

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Miles and Miles

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Shadows of the land.

Both walking and cycling are a great way to explore the island (anything except hiring a van, our path was once so traffic- and exhaust-free and now you’re all up in our way and everyone hates you) so we hired bicycled on Day 1 and set off on foot Day 2.

Bike prices range from $6 (don’t believe the “from $2” signs on the rental shops – the only thing we found for $2 was a bicycle wash) and cost aside, you’ll want to go for something better. You’ll thank yourself for a pricier but better bike with better gears when attempting to cycling uphill. The no-pedal freefall on the decline makes it so, so worth it though. Our bikes were $8 a day.

The Quarries

The best view of the quarries has to be up the path beside Merbah Hut, which is towards the Eastern part of the island, overlooking Ubin Quarry. It’s a bit of a climb, but won’t take very long. I’d say the view is worth it. #justkeepclimbing

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All the way up.

Nearer to the central bit of Ubin is Pekan Quarry, which is much easier to get to and just as pretty, but not as high up (don’t be lazy go to Ubin Quarry you’re on Pulau Ubin not Pulau Malas).

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Nearest to the public jetty.

Besides the quarries #ilovequarries #teamquarries and the obvious adventure of camping, it’s the little random and often WTF things that I love most about Ubin. This sign, for example.

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oh yeah don’t stop unless it’s for a drink oh yeah

And this sign of a shrine.

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For reasons as mysterious as the story behind this shrine, we missed the actual shrine. Apparently the World’s Most Haunted Doll in the universe lives there. It’s like a weird ghost story where we walked past like 6 times looking for it (okay, twice) but for some reason managed to miss it. *twilight zone music*

But I took another picture of another yellow shrine (note, not German Girl shrine) here.

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A non-German Shrine

And here is another old, wooden, abandoned house. Even if you hate history, nature, camping and mysterious stories, this place is Instagram heaven. Yes I’m looking at you hipster she said to the mirror.

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My battery had died into the 2nd day, so I sadly missed a couple of great shots of cool naturey things. My favourite bit was the mangrove trees. Seriously, I was all about the mangroves in school.

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Mangrove Ultra-hipsters: When even underground is too mainstream.

The best thing about Ubin to me is that everything slows down a bit, as demonstrated by these charming gentlemen – the island’s taxi drivers.

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Lepak like a boss.

The people are friendly, time takes its time, the sights are gorgeous and the air is fresher – oh so much fresher. I think a weekend in Ubin every now and then would be an excellent reminder (and one needed by most of us neurotic workaholic Singaporeans) that the brighter pastures we so eagerly seek are perhaps on our own shores.

Well, sort of.

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