Pulau Ubin

Trip Start Dec 27, 2012
1
6
9
Trip End Jan 07, 2013


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What I did
Chek Jawa Wetland Reserve
Altitude 1

Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, January 2, 2013

On my first full day without Rufio, I hailed a taxi and headed toward Changi Point Ferry Terminal to catch a bumboat toward Pulau Ubin. I took a seat on a bench next to a lethargic calico to await the arrival of a few more travelers. The bumboats to the island service all day, but will only make way when a minimum of 12 guests arrive. When I arrived, only 4 others waited, not including the cat. After 20 minutes the captain deemed we had a substantial crew to make the sojourn.

Pulau Ubin is the last of Singapore's traditional kampong fishing village, although the term "village" might even be too expansive for Ubin. After departing the bumboat I checked the information kiosk, which in fact provided little information. I walked down the short main strip of the village, dotted on either side primarily by bicycle rental shops. I procured a ladies cruiser from the only shop open at 9 am and set off for the Chek Jawa wetland preserve. I followed the coastal walk and the mangrove walk, admiring an assortment of birds, marine life, botanical beauty and other wildlife along the way. After the preserve, I spent another two hours biking the lush trails around the island. Famished, I made my way back to the village to return my cruiser and lunch on seafood.

I didn't have to wait quite as long for the bumboat back to the ferry terminal, and just as I began to give up faith on hailing a taxi, a yellow beacon pulled into the station. I hopped in and instructed the driver to take me to the nearest MRT station in an attempt to save the S$20 the morning trip cost. Within minutes I was at the Pasir Ris station, which happened to be the line I used two days prior to get to the Eastern Singapore district. Still dismayed I didn't get to see the "possibly best examples of Peranakan architecture in Singapore" and with some time to spare, I alighted again at Paya Lebar and headed in what this time I was certain was the right direction. 

In a few minutes I was in the general vicinity of the row houses, although quickly discerned that the map on my guide app was slightly incorrect. Summoning what was left of my luck and wanderlust, I started off again not entirely sure where I was going. As it happened, I stumbled upon the row houses in no time at all. After I uttered an "oooh, prrreetttyy" to myself and walked along aimlessly for some time, I made my way back to the MRT for the trip back to Orchard. Another obscure Singaporean sight was checked off my list. 

As reparation for having to spend the Christmas holiday alone in a foreign land, Rufio's boss granted him a special expense allowance for a dinner date with me upon my arrival. We took the opportunity to make a reservation at Stellar at Altitude 1, a restaurant on the 62nd floor of the 1 Raffles Place building in the Marina Bay area. Rufio was excited to beat our previous high flying dinner of 61 floors at the Banyan Hotel in Bangkok.  The experience and service was wonderful, as we designed our own 5 course meals at a window seat overlooking the city. After a gluttonous meal of swordfish sashimi, smoked eel and cod, duck-in-a-nest of foie gras, Victorian lamb and a decadent "caramel experience", we considered retiring for the night given the drizzly weather that marked our drive to the restaurant. However, as we exited a manager suggested we try the lounge on the top floor. Surprised it was open in the rain, we excitedly took the elevator to the 63rd floor where we sipped Scotch on the rocks as we took a 360-degree tour of the city's lights during a brief respite from the drizzle. We expertly picked out sights and regions around the city as a DJ spun house tracks in the corner. After our drinks our full bellies summoned rest, so we hailed a taxi back to the hotel for the evening. 

Altitude-1 
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