10 fun reasons to visit Pulau Ubin – Singapore’s rustic off-shore island – this month

Jan 10, 2017

Pesta Ubin, a festival highlighting the island, will run for five weeks beginning on May 14, 2016.

Take a boat tour through the secret mangroves of Pulau Ubin, kayak in the calm waters of the Ubin Quarry and embark on a night walk to spot the nocturnal creatures of the island. These are just some of the highlights at the longest open house event held to date on the island, rustic off-shore island Pulau Ubin

Called Pesta Ubin – Pesta is Malay for festival or party, it starts tomorrow and runs till June 12. More than 50 activities have been lined up, from nature walks and cycling tours to kayaking expeditions and nature sketching.

Besides familiar faces in previous Ubin open houses such as veteran nature guide Subaraj Rajathurai, green groups such as Nature Society (Singapore) and private companies such as Asian Detours, there are a number of new participants this time.

One of them is Dr Dan Friess and his group of volunteers from the Restore Ubin Mangroves or R.U.M. initiative. The group, comprising nature enthusiasts and mangrove researchers, will be conducting guided walks and boat tours of the mangroves at the south-eastern part of the island.

Another newcomer is Morocco-born photographer and visual artist Juria Toramae who works in Singapore. She will be putting up an exhibition called Islands Of Memories featuring 51 photos of things and people found in Ubin. Her exhibition will be shown at the shop of retiree Henry Lim, who has also offered his space for a free “kampung photo shoot” where people can don sarongs and red clogs for photos. At the same venue, visitors can also colour copies of the Pulau Ubin Fun Map. Drawn by nature lovers 15 years ago, the intricate map is filled with details of places in Ubin, some of which are already lost.

Here are some other highlights of Pesta Ubin:

Open house at Pulau Ubin fish farms

Meet fish farmers on Pulau Ubin and learn how sea water fish are reared at some of their farms.

When: May 14 – June 12, 10am-5pm
Cost: S$15 per person
Info: To register, leave a private message at the Sea Angel Facebook page with your name, mobile number, number of people in your group and date and time that you want to visit the farm

Treasure Ubin

Find out how well you know Ubin town by taking part in this treasure hunt which features 10 hidden treasure tags in the main village of Ubin. Take a selfie with each tag and upload it onto social media with #TreasureSG, #TreasureUbin and #PestaUbin and stand a chance to win prizes such as books, vouchers and goodie bags.

When: May 14 – June 12
Cost: Free
Info: No registration required. Go to the Treasure SG Facebook page and Instagram (@TreasureSG) to find the clues and start the treasure hunt

SEE ALSO: 4 ways Singapore’s Coney Island is staying wild

Mad for Musang! with Cicada Tree Eco-Place (for children)

Try to spot a musang (above) or common palm civet as it looks for its dinner. Along the way, they may even spot other shy nocturnal wildlife such as the Buffy Fish-owl. Learn why these animals are important to the ecosystem.

When: May 27, 7.30-10pm
Cost: S$10 per child aged five years and older
Info: Meet at 42 Pulau Ubin, opposite the Wayang Stage, three minutes’ walk from Ubin Jetty

Night macro photography workshop with Nicky Bay

Try your hand at night macro photography with celebrated macro photographer Nicky Bay (his photo above) and capture nocturnal creatures as they emerge from their hideouts to hunt.

When: May 28, 7pm-midnight
Cost: S$120 (includes materials for flash diffuser and chartered boat ride back to Changi Ferry Terminal), payable by bank transfer
Info: To register, e-mail nicky@bay.to with your name, contact number and a description of your macro photography experience (meeting point at Uncle Lim’s shop, 42 Pulau Ubin, opposite the Wayang Stage, three minutes’ walk from Ubin Jetty)

Discover Ubin with Strix Wildlife Consultancy

Join Subaraj Rajathurai from Strix Wildlife Consultancy as he conducts this nature walk and shares fascinating stories about the history and heritage of Pulau Ubin.

When: June 1 and 8, 8-11am (assemble at 7.40am)
Cost: S$15 per person, with proceeds going to the Vertebrate Study Group, Nature Society (Singapore)
Info: No registration required. Maximum 40 participants (meeting point at assembly area opposite the HSBC Volunteer Hub, about six minutes’ walk from Ubin Jetty)

SEE ALSO: Heritage tours around Singapore for history and nature lovers

Family nature camp with Cicada Tree Eco-Place

Experienced nature guides from Cicada Tree Eco-Place will lead at least three guided nature walks along Ubin kampung trails. Families also get to spend a night in tents at a campsite at the rustic Ubin Living Lab (above).

When: June 3, 9.30am – June 4, noon
Cost: To be confirmed
Info: Go to pestaubin2016.blogspot.sg for updates (meeting point at Ubin Jetty)

Boat tour of Ubin Mangroves with Restore Ubin Mangroves (R.U.M.) Initiative

In these 1.5 hour tours, learn about unique mangrove plants and animals from volunteers with R.U.M., a ground-up community effort to restore mangroves at Pulau Ubin.

When: June 4, 9am, 11am and 1pm
Cost: Free
Info: No registration required (meeting point at assembly area opposite the HSBC Volunteer Hub)

Balik Chek Jawa

Volunteer guides will be stationed along the boardwalk (above) at Chek Jawa to point out the thriving wildlife at the wetlands, which were saved from reclamation in 2001.

When: June 5, 9am-noon
Cost: Free
Info: No registration required (meeting point at Chek Jawa information kiosk)

SEE ALSO: Singapore Botanic Gardens: 5 lesser known spots we love

Mangrove kayaking expedition with Adventures by Asian Detours

Join experienced kayak guides as they lead you on a short open sea jaunt before entering the serene mangroves of Ubin.

When: June 5, 9.30am to before 2pm
Cost: S$35 per adult, S$30 per child
Info: Register at pestaubin2016.blogspot.sg (meeting point next to Ubin Jetty, at the beach behind the bicycle shops)

Kayaking at Ubin Quarry

Explore Ubin Quarry (above) with instructors from Outward Bound Singapore and Republic Polytechnic, who will share the history and snippets about the wildlife of the quarry, which is usually closed to the public.

When: June 11, 10am-5pm
Cost: Free. Maximum 250 participants
Info: For more details, go to www.obs.nyc.gov.sg and www.rp.edu.sg (meeting point at the “Y u so like dat” drinks stall)

– ADAPTED FROM AN ARTICLE ON STRAITSTIMES.COM BY LEA WEE