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The Not So Luxurious Island of Pulau Ubin

Singapore
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My first Friday lecture was cancelled and a few of us decided to travel to Pulau Ubin, an Island just off the northeastern tip of Singapore. After recent trip to Sentosa Island, I had imagined a similar environment from Pulau Ubin. I couldn’t have been more mistaken. My travel book describes the Pulau Ubin as “Left behind by developments on the main island, Ubin was for a long time the last stronghold of old Singapore”.

The journey involved a short bus ride to the MRT station, the Green Line MRT all the way across the country (approx 1 ½ hrs) then a second bus to the Changi Point Jetty. What I can never get over with all methods of travel in Singapore is that the do not operate on a time schedule, busses get there when they get there (with or without you). I was misled to believe we would be taking a ferry, instead we waited for 8 other people to show up (the boat doesn’t leave at a certain time, it leaves when it has 12 people ready to go), and then we were escorted down to the docks and began loading up the “bum boat” (NOT Ferry). I still don’t understand exactly what defines a ferry vs. bumboat, but this definitely was a bumboat (I guess that is all you can expect from a $2.50 boat ride)!

About fifteen minute later we arrived at Ubin, immediately we could see the entire town without really having to leave the dock. There are less than 100 people who live on Pulau Ubin, it is just 5 miles across and 1 mile wide, and I can confidently say we saw EVERYTHING. Since there wasn’t much to the town besides a convenience store, restaurant and a few religious establishments, we decided to rent mountain bikes and explore. A 3-hour bike ride up hills and through jungle allowed us to see and experience all that is Pulau Ubin.

After the bike ride we ate at the local restaurant that served a combination of Asian food family style. We thought we would get adventurous and ordered a dish of Ostrich. Ostrich doesn’t taste as unusual as it sounds, it actually tastes similar to chicken but much more chewy. After we returned the bikes and waited for the bumboat to fill up so we could head home.
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