Re-carving Memory at Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Have you ever been to a place with someone which you thought at that time was the perfect person for you to come with but now you kinda regret your decision back then? I have.

Now, I never regret any travel plans that I took in the past. However, in this particular case, I regretted the company rather than the destination.

Pulau Ubin is a small island in Singapore which is great for biking, hiking and kayaking. Ever since I heard of it, I was obsessed on getting my feet on to that island and explore it for myself. It sounded like a great alternative to the busy city, and well, I have been to Singapore many times so I always love seeing parts of the city that are unexplored by my eyes.

At that time my sister offered a groupon voucher for a biking and kayaking package which was quite cheap. As I was going to Singapore, I told her to buy me two tickets, for me and my “friend”. Yes, I decided to take a guy to this place. Right before my supposedly relaxing day exploring Ubin, we got into an argument. I seriously didn’t want to go to Ubin with him, but I have already spent some money on the ticket and didn’t want to waste it. So silly me thought, “hmm, I can handle this just for a whole day – what’s the worst that could happen?”.

Well apparently the answer to that was : A LOT!

I don’t need to explain what really happened, but let’s just say we were annoying each other and really couldn’t stand being with each other at that time. However, we made a promise to go to Ubin and I wasn’t going to waste my opportunity. The bus ride to the ferry terminal was silent. The boat ride to the island was silent. As we got to the resort and rented our kayak, it was too a rather silent and awkward kayak ride. When it was time for us to go biking, it started raining. It wasn’t a drizzle, it was more like a storm. Seriously, wind was blowing violently, the tree in front of me looked like it was going to collapse. Thunder and lightning were constantly going at it and after around 2.5 hours, it stopped.

It’s like even nature didn’t like the fact we were hanging out!

As soon as the weather calmed down, we immediately rented our bikes, and it was already around 3PM so we really didn’t have much time anymore to go around. And guess what? The bikes didn’t even have gears, and we were on quite rough terrain. Right. I get it. This was NOT the fun time I had in mind.

I did however saw a really gorgeous quarry and a glimpse of a huge wild boar. But I was in a completely foul mood at the end of the day and just didn’t enjoy Ubin as I expected.

LUCKY FOR ME, this May I had the chance to re-explore Pulau Ubin with Singaporean travel buddy, Pamela. No guys were involved this time and I had in mind a great adventure.

Before taking the ferry, Pamela had this amazing idea to take lunch from the food court. We decided to queue for 20 minutes for a really famous nasi lemak there, and it was probably the best decision ever as I knew from my previous visit to Pulau Ubin, the food at the restaurant there are quite expensive. I definitely brought a better companion this time round (and a pretty food-smart one too!).

We were so relaxed, taking our time and rented a 10SGD bike for the whole day (this time WITH GEAR!). The route we took was totally different to the one I had previously taken. My sister was practically yelling at me the last time I came here for being so foolish missing out Chek Jawa. So this time round, I told Pamela that we just had to see this Chek Jawa.

The biking trek was ok, we were almost always out of breath but it was an overall enjoyable ride. Passing by huge trees and taking water break every now and then, we were in a completely non-rushable mood!

Bikes were not allowed to enter Chek Jawa so we left our bikes in front of the gate while watching wild boars crossing paths with us. So cute!

Chek Jawa is a cape with different types of ecosystems such as mangroves, coastal forest, etc. The place has this amazing wooden pathway allowing its guests to check out each ecosystem more comfortably. I was having so much fun!

Being near the water, analyzing the clear blue water and seeing different types of ecosystems. Time was not a problem and we stopped several time just for the sake of gorgeous views and nibbling our sandwich. In the middle of the path there was even a watch tower, Jejawi Tower it was called, where we could climb and see an amazing view of Singapore from afar. It was truly a bliss.

And I even spotted a small Muslim cemetery!

Finishing our small trek, we decided to find a place to sit down and eat our lunch. As we biked, we were accompanied by small kids, who were so much better on bikes than us! We saw an amazing quarry, ate our delicious nasi lemak and went back to the city (after a refreshing chendol at the food court!) with a huge smile.

Travel is all about carving memory, right? The good ones and the bad, but I was relieved I could override my previous Ubin experience. Ubin is such a great island with so many things to do, probably my favourite place in Singapore, and I would’ve hated to have only bad memory of the place.


For me, choosing the right travel partner is crucial, they will always be there in your travel memory. Coming back to Ubin and re-do the whole experience may seem a little weird for some of you, but for me it made perfect sense. I know that I can’t do it every time something bad happen when I travel somewhere, but Singapore is an important place for me and it was important for me to re-carve my memory at Pulau Ubin. I guess I may be a perfectionist?

Lesson learned for me, choose your travel partner wisely!

What do you think? Do you think it was silly of me to go back to Ubin? Have you ever had the same experience?

How DEW travelled there

Take the MRT to Tanah Merah, then take bus no. 2 to Changi Village. Find the ferry terminal (perhaps after trying out a few food stalls at the food court :P) and take a boat to Pulau Ubin. The boat ride is 2.5 SGD.

To rent a bike, simply pick one of the bike providers on the island, a bike for a whole day costs around 10SGD.

39 Comment

  1. Now I’m so angry with myself. How could I miss this place when visiting Singapore last time? It’s just perfect to chill out and have some rest. Beautiful landscape and the sky was so clear!

    1. Ubin is a very underrated place in Singapore! Not many people know/want to visit this place. Not to worry though Agness, there’s always a next time πŸ˜‰

  2. Oh! So it’s “friend” and not “cousin”. Got it! #wrongfocus

    1. Iya mun! Kali ini tentang “friend” bukan “cousin” – itu nanti beda post! Hahaha!

  3. Looks like a lovely place – good that you got to do a revisit and get a better memory of it!

    1. Ubin is an amazing place, and yes I’m glad I got to go back!

  4. So… Singapore happens to have an island? How come I didn’t know about this island before? Haha. Would loveeee to visit Pulau Ubin someday!
    Kayaknya asik yaaa sepedaan disana. Sepi lagi tuh kayaknya ^^

    Anyway, you should definitely come back! And carve more good memories πŸ˜‰

    1. Yes! I definitely recommend Ubin, it is truly an amazing place! Actually, it wasn’t that quiet actually haha but it is definitely a great place to hike/bike. You should go next time!

  5. a “friend” uhmm…. I might know him ya :p
    I think it’s completely fine to re-visit a destination. I do that a lot and always get different experience. Still fun though πŸ™‚
    Ubin looks like a great place for relaxing, I should probably check it out next time

    1. Yep Deb you know him! Now I need to recarve memory in Bali muahahahha – yup Deb, Ubin is definitely a great place!

  6. Sis, itu tarif-tarifnya harga kapan? 2014 kah? Ke sana ah mingdep ~

    1. Itu saya jalan bulan Mei 2014 πŸ™‚

  7. I’m happy you got to override your bad memories with some great new ones. Why would it be silly, it looks like a gorgeous place πŸ™‚
    For me, the bad experiences came from being in a bad mood during the trip, but I’ve always tried to make the most of it.

    1. It is a great place! Oh yeah I’ve had those bad mood during my trips but sometimes when you’re somewhere amazing it’s easy to forget the bad mood πŸ˜‰

  8. I agree. It doesn’t matter what other people say. Much like the weather, your travel mates definitely affect the way you remember a place or experience. Ubin looks like a lovely place! That wooden walkway out into the water is gorgeous!

    1. Ubin is truly great, I’m glad I got to enjoy this part of Ubin with a good friend instead of my previous companion!

  9. Travel buddies MATTER! A LOT!
    I went for the supposedly most exciting journey of my life … well, now it’s just a pretty nice journey instead. I still love the places I visited and don’t regret any of it, but I do wish I had shared it with someone else. Lesson learnt.
    *no offense. semoga yg bersangkutan ga baca*

    1. That is true! Sometimes if the journey is important, it’s best to do it solo. So sorry to hear about your experience, hope you get to re-visit!

  10. wuuuhuuuu serunya ke Pulau Ubin, mauu diajakin ke sini dong ggy, btw itu babi hutan kan? liar gitu?

    1. Hayuk kapan kamu ke Singapore pas aku di sana juga? Iya itu babi liar, tapi gak serem kok, itu pas bawa anak-anaknya juga, lucu!

  11. Aggy – Totally right decision to go back. A beautiful place deserving of good company.

    1. Happy you agree Bev! A good company does make a whole lot difference πŸ™‚

  12. It’s great that you went again and had a wonderful experience. I don’t think you can write off most things if the first time isn’t great (with the odd exception). I found that even if a place is “okay”, sometimes visiting again a couple of years later or with different company can make a world of difference.

    1. I agree! I was positive that Ubin was great, just my bad luck the first time with the horrible company and storm. Absolutely had a blast second time round!

  13. Kayaking in Singapore? I had no idea! Glad you got a chance to “do over” – most people aren’t so lucky!

    1. Most people don’t know that you can do so much more than shopping in Singapore! Yes I went kayaking and biking in Singapore! All amazing! So happy that I could return and do it again!

  14. Aggy,
    I have been to Singapore a very long time ago (way before you were born I am sure (1973). I didn’t get to explore that much, as I was on a business trip and they worked us 12 hours a day minimum. One thing I will never forget is the coffee at the hotel we stayed at. It was the best coffee I have ever tasted and I couldn’t stop drinking it. It tasted like chocolate, but was coffee.

    Nothing I have tried and none of the upper scale coffee shops have been able to duplicate this magnificent beverage. One day I hope to return and seek out the coffee again. Thanks for bringing this memory back.

    1. Wow that sure is a long time ago! (you’re right I wasn’t born yet!) Which hotel was this?
      Singapore is really a great place, so many things to do and not to mention great things to eat too! Hope you get to return there soon Mike!

  15. This made me laugh out loud – clearly the lesson here is to go adventuring with a food loving girlfriend, not some sullen boy! In Canada we often say that the best test of a relationship is to go on a canoe ride together – easiest way to tell if one day you’ll want to strangle each other! So maybe it’s kinda the same with kayaks…. PS – Wee wild boars? SO CUTE!

    1. LOL yes Vanessa! Very well summarized! Kayaking is definitely a test for relationship :))

  16. Wonderful, honey. Sometimes you have to give a place a second chance πŸ™‚

    1. I agree! So much better to give a place a second chance to see its real beauty!

  17. Ugh, Groupons are about as trustworthy as the devil. At least the destination was amazing!

    1. Hah! Very true! Groupons are evil πŸ˜€

  18. Where in the island was the wild boar and the wooden pathway?

    I finally went to pulau Ubin, Yeay! Didn’t have enough time to explore it as much as you did, but I had the right companion, so we had a great time nonetheless. This time I decided to write it in Indonesian, on my other blog

    1. I followed the pathway called Chek Jawa. It’s actually quite popular in Ubin and where people usually go, should be easy to find. Ubin is great, it’s always worth it coming back again to explore other parts of the island. Glad you had a great time πŸ™‚

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