Pulau Ubin 2013 – exploring Chek Jawa with two preschoolers

The hubs came up with the brilliant suggestion to spend a morning of the long weekend at Pulau Ubin. We had initially planned to go on Thursday morning, but it rained and rained so we decided to try the next day instead.  We arrived at the Changi Ferry Terminal at around 930am.
There was a queue till the entrance but it moved quickly enough and soon we were on a bum boat! The girls soaked in this new experience…

Gorgeous skies and a smooth ride. Ironically it only felt choppy when we were at rest, waiting our turn to dock.

We saw two wild boars, one pictured here. Was trying to get a closer look at some monkeys when an irate relative of theirs much higher up in the treetops decided to pelt me with half a fruit. Oww. But very good aim, I must say. 

The other wildlife we saw included a bright red dragonfly – I loved how it’d stop and hover, dart away so very very quickly, then hover again like a helicopter for us to stare at its chili red body and transparent glass-like wings. 
We heard a sow and her three little pigs before we saw them. Honk-like snorts! But we had just gotten into the van so there was no chance for a photo. 

Surrounded by the sounds and smells of nature all around…

Peering through the grills at the gleaming barnacles coating the columns holding up the boardwalk. We didn’t see many crabs or starfish since the tide was more than a metre high. We didn’t expect to see much, since I had checked that low tide of about 0.7m was at 8am, and we couldn’t have made it there that early. Still, it was great just being there! 

Nipah (sea coconut or attap chee) fruit falling onto the sandy shore

Spindly mangrove roots peeking out

As the boardwalk ended, we entered the mangrove area. It simply amazes me, that the area comprises 6 ecosystems. Coastal Hill Forest,  the Mangrove Forest, its Rocky Shore, the Sandy Shore and Sand Bar, the Seagrass in the Lagoon and the Coral Rubble. 

Nipah thriving in the mangrove – beautiful yellow flower!

View from the top – the Jelawi tower actually sways! It was worth the climb up with the kids though. Both gamely climbed the many flights of stairs themselves.

Looking straight down some 7 storeys this is what you see – lots of treetop green with a boardwalk running through it

Making herself at home, shoes off, biscuit in hand…
A quaint colonial style bungalow has been converted to a Visitor’s Centre, with lots of interesting information on the flora and fauna of Chek Jawa
Well-conceived info boards
Learning about diverse shore life in a glance

Let me help you – don’t spill!

Think they were singing an action song – not self-conscious at all
We copped out and opted for a van, which on hindsight was a great decision given the ages of our kids and the fact that I am not a confident cyclist. The 10 minute one-way journey would have taken us about an hour to trek by foot otherwise! I did feel a bit apologetic that the cyclists had to stop and move to the sides as we trundled down the mud path… 

The quaint zinc-roofed town square

I’ve been to Ubin many times but mostly for Outward Bound School (I’ve actually been through the 3-day, 5-day and 21-day OBS, believe it or not!) and it’s been more than 10 years since I last set foot on the little island.

Since OBS activities are conducted on the other side of the island, I wasn’t familiar with the little town area, choc-a-bloc with bike shops. It did seem quite commercial, and the van uncle candidly told us that the seafood was imported from the mainland anyhow, and prices weren’t exactly cheap. Still, Ubin with its zinc roofs and gravelly ground with kampong attap houses dotted along the trails is as rustic as it gets for urbanites like us! It was good to be able to transport ourselves to such different surrounds via a 10 min bum boat ride! 

At the bum boat dock – a last photo of bustling Ubin

返回‘大陆’的行程 –  吹海风

We’d love to go back again, perhaps when the kids are slightly older. This trek round the boardwalk was quite tiring for them!

  4 comments for “Pulau Ubin 2013 – exploring Chek Jawa with two preschoolers

  1. August 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Hey Lyndis, looks so fun and lotsa things to see and learn about nature/the wild. I would probably wait till the kids are older before venturing there though, as the prospect of dealing with a two-ish yo on a hot little island doesn’t appeal to me enough! 🙂

    • August 14, 2013 at 9:11 am

      It was quite windy on the boardwalk actually. If you want somewhere quite different, no harm heading there! Bum boat is a fun experience in itself. 🙂

  2. August 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

    How fun! Hope to do this with the kids too soon! (Tho yes, prob better when they are slightly older.)

    • August 14, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Yes, I think they will find it more meaningful (and educational) when they are older! 🙂

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