My friends and I had a day off from school one Monday, so we decided to spend some time away from our mundane lives by getting out of the house, and getting some fresh air! So of course, we decided to abandon city life for a day, and embrace the untamed and wild nature of our neighboring island, Pulau Ubin.
A few months ago, I coughed out a rather large amount of my allowance to repair the film camera that my dad bought 28 years ago from a secondhand shop: The Canon AE-1.
When my friends and I decided to explore a small island near Singapore called Pulau Ubin, I immediately knew that this was my chance to load my new-old camera with some slide film and take it for a spin. We literally left the ‘digital grind’ behind, forget the skyscrapers and digital SLRs!
Pulau Ubin is the complete opposite of fast-paced Singapore, with only about a hundred villagers living there today, it is one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna. From the eyes of an urbanite like myself, Pulau Ubin is such an amazing place to be in, with cheap, yummy, seafood and great, au naturale, sights that you won’t find in Singapore.
From Changi Point Ferry Terminal, it’s a one-way boat ride for only $2.50.
Renting a bike for the entire day costs only $10 or $8, if you know how to speak the right Chinese dialect and haggle for a reasonable bargain. Be prepared with lots of water and some snacks, because although Pulau Ubin is a very small island, the only mode of transportation available are your legs. Not as if it’ll matter anyway – Mother Nature, in all her glory, will envelop all of your senses, and you’ll be so overwhelmed, and simply forget that you were even tired in the first place!
There’s nothing greater than breathing in the fresh air, hearing the crickets echo in the woodland or taking in the vast, turquoise sea, hoping it’ll imprint in your mind forever, like a painting.
Also, Pulau Ubin is pretty famous for the Chek Jawa wetlands, which is among the last few places left with a natural rocky shore. In December 2001, the government called off reclamation plans of the Chek Jawa area after a biodiversity survey conducted by conservationist volunteers. If you’re lucky, and the tide is low, you can walk along the boardwalk and see lots of sea life! (We weren’t very lucky that day, unfortunately.)
While exploring Pulau Ubin, you’re going to encounter some animals. Pulau Ubin is known to have lots of dogs, which are very friendly – trust me. Don’t worry about them biting you or barking at you! The dogs are far from the true ‘dangerous’ wild hogs. That’s right people, get ready to get up close with some hogs! While we were there, we saw a family of hogs attack an unattended bicycle because somebody had left some of their lunch in the basket. Just keep your distance to be safe, but my friends and I hiked a little into the forest to get a closer look at them. They were just hungry.
If you have some extra time, take your family or friends along and have a day trip to Pulau Ubin! And don’t forget to bring along your film camera. I loved how this set of photographs came out and I love shooting with slide film on the Canon AE-1.