Sitting atop Puaka Hill, in Pulau Ubin island, is one of the most scenically serene and tranquil places to be. You could go into a trance just staring at blanks – quietly, undisturbed by a factory, vehicular or human noises. Often hikers only visit Chek Jawa in Pulau Ubin but this short 2.2 km trek route, opened in recent years, is the spot where the peace within, that you could be seeking, lies.
Pulau Ubin can only be reached via ordinary looking bumboats from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The Ferry terminal is next to the Changi Village Bus Terminal. There is a big hawker centre there so you can dig into some Nasi Lemak before proceeding for your trek. The bus terminal has following buses numbers plying – 2, 29, 59, 109 – and bus 89 runs on the Loyang Avenue route.
Leave for Pulau Ubin
Just like the bum in its name, the bumboats don’t have any fixed schedule! Whenever there are 10-12 passengers ready to go to Pulau Ubin, a boat will sail charging 3 SGD per person, one way. If you have kids or in a group, you can negotiate slightly on the total amount! The Changi point ferry terminal has (half decent) toilets. One more thing, you don’t need to carry your passport to go Pulau Ubin.
At Pulau Ubin
From the Pulau Ubin jetty, look for the boards with map and routes. This is Singapore – so really everything is written everywhere; there are maps every 700m-800m so you really cannot lose your way. There are shops at the jetty to hire bikes (for 10 SGD each) or snack around. Do note Pulau Ubin shops aren’t cheap as you may hope, looking at limited crowds and unimpressive decor of the outlets. So use your hard earned money, wisely. For Puaka Hill trek, you don’t need bikes.
The route to Puaka Hill is normal (not challenging) and it’s only the last 10 minutes of the climb, that you find a moderately steep hike. What makes up for all the efforts is the breathtaking view at the peak along with the sight of the granite quarry and the borders of Malaysia. It makes perfect sense to sit around there for an hour or two chatting with your friends (assuming it’s neither too sunny nor too rainy) and soaking in the pure fresh air. On the hike route, you can chance upon an odd monitor lizard, stray dog or monkey – each of whom won’t bother you.
Once the hike is done, return back to Singapore and have a good fresh meal! Nasi Lemak, Mutton Redang, Sambal Goreng and a steaming cup of tea/coffee is recommended.
Bus fare to reach the place : 1.5 * 2 = 3 SGD
Boat ride to Pulau Ubin : 3 * 2 = 6 SGD
Meal: 6 SGD
Time: 4 hrs including a boat ride, waiting time and meal time!
Credits: Ardeshir Talati who was my buddy for this trek and helped in taking few of the clicks above.