The last time we went to Pulau Ubin, the kids were just five and two. So when we mentioned Ubin during our recent Changi Cove staycation, neither remembered that we took a ferry there with their grandma three years ago, had lunch there, before they both started whining about how hot it was and we left soon after. I didn’t refresh their memory either, some things are best left forgotten.
This time, I wanted to bring them to Chek Jawa. We’ve brought them cycling at Pasir Ris and walking at Sungei Buloh Nature Park recently, and while they still complained about the heat, they did enjoy themselves, okay, to a certain extent. Anyway, I’m determined to get them outdoors more often so they don’t have much of a choice…
While we originally wanted to cycle to Chek Jawa from the Ubin ferry terminal, we eventually chose the easy way out and took a van there instead. The van drivers were milling about near the bike shops. We paid $4 per person, to and fro. I think it works out to being less costly than renting four bicycles, even though bike rentals are cheaper compared to, say, East Coast Park.
I wanted them to enjoy Chek Jawa so thought cycling there which would take an hour or so, on some fairly uneven ground for the last half of the journey, would result in them being too tired. So we hopped on the van and reached the Chek Jawa board walk in 15 minutes or so. There was a family with young kids who cycled all the way to Chek Jawa, so it’s definitely doable. Perhaps next time!
There was a short walk from the drop off point to Chek Jawa wetlands.
We started off with the coastal boardwalk, which took us out to the sea, ending with the wetlands. Unfortunately the tide was coming in so we could not see as many creatures as we would have liked. We saw tiny fiddler crabs, lots of them, fishes, and a dog jumping in for a swim.
It looked like a pristine coastline, but unfortunately was filled with lots of rubbish when seen up close, empty plastic bottles, plastic bags and even what looked like a disused fridge.
Thankfully the little one was happy to walk most of the time…
Except for a short ten-minute phase when she said it was too sunny for her. I gave her my shades, her papa carried her, and then she decided she was fine to walk (and hop and skip) again.
While the boys were interested in looking for crabs, fish and other creatures and spent a long time trying to photograph them, I walked ahead with Shannon most of the time.
We spent half an hour sitting here waiting for the boys, while she was captivated by the fiddler crabs crawling all over the sand.
I realise it’s too tiny to be seen here but I had no inclination to go nearer to them… The things sticking out are pencil roots and the crabs are the orange spots dotting the sand.
So they both went down to the sand, but naturally by the time they got there, the crabs had gone back into their homes…
Shannon’s proudest moment was when she made it up the Chek Jawa viewing tower by herself.
A family picture using a selfie stick their papa got from his Teachers’ Day dinner!
All in, it was a fruitful morning. We spent about two hours at Chek Jawa, stopped for a drink at a coffeeshop near the jetty, before hopping on the ferry back to lunch at the hawker centre and then the air-conditioned comfort of Changi Cove Hotel.
Then the next morning, we attempted to see the sunrise. “Attempted” because we woke up at 6.15am and made it to the Changi Boardwalk.
Chek Jawa wasn’t the most comfortable for these urban-bred kids, but at least it made for good fodder for Jason’s Chinese holiday homework – “What I did during the September holidays”.
I thought the teacher was smart to ask to have it typewritten – so much easier than reading the pencil scrawls of eight-year-olds. And using hanyu pinyin to type it out meant he would not have to constantly ask – How do I write this word…