Sunday, 21 July 2013

Pulau Ubin Wilderness

One of the best place to see wildlife in Singapore is Pulau Ubin!  Pulau Ubin is an off-shore island about 10 minutes boat ride from Singapore.  It is situated in the north east of Singapore. It is probably one of the last place to experience rural life living in Singapore.  There are still a few villages left on the island.

Map of Pulau Ubin 

It is easier to see some species of animals at Pulau Ubin compared to mainland Singapore. These animals include the Common Palm Civet, Wild Boar. It is also where Greater Mousedeer can be found.  If you are lucky, you may come across a pangolin too.  

Wild Boar along the beach
Common Palm Civet can be quite common at Pulau Ubin.  But they are active by night.
Pulau Ubin is the one place in Singapore where Greater Mousedeer is found

Pouched Tomb Bat can be found roosting in roof attics.

Pangolin hiding behind a tree.

Oriental Whip Snake - One of the common snakes found at Pulau Ubin 

How to get there?

Hire a taxi to Changi Village Jetty and get on to a bumboat to get to Pulau Ubin. Each bumboat can carry 12 passengers and typically the boatman will wait till there are 12 passengers before he set off. Each ride is SGD 2.50.  The last bumboat back to mainland Singapore is around dusk time.  

Where to Stay?

Celestial Resort is the only accommodation available at Pulau Ubin.  It is a resort targeted more for the local people who wants a break from the city life.  As Pulau Ubin is a rural area, there is nothing much you can do after dusk. If you are a tourist, I would not encourage staying over at the island unless you are serious about spotting wildlife at night.

You may also be interested in the following links:

Gardens By the Bay

Supertrees and OCBC Skyway with Marina Bay Sands at the background
One of the highlights of Gardens by the Bay is the Supertree. Supertrees are tree-like structures with heights in the range of 25-50 metres. They are actually vertical gardens! More than 200 species and varieties of bromeliads, orchids, ferns and tropical flowering climbers are planted on the Supertrees.

In addition, the 11 Supertrees are fitted with photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy. When night falls, watch the Supertrees come alive with dazzling light displays!

Supertrees at night with light display

Close-up of Supertrees
A view of Marina Bay Sands from Gardens By the Bay at night

There is an elevated walkway called the OCBC Skyway that link the Supertrees. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the gardens. There's also a dining place up there! Visit this link for details.

A view of Marina Bay Sands from Gardens By the Bay in the day
Supertrees with 2 domes and Singapore Flyer
One of the attractions is the Cloud Forest. The Cloud Forest is built in one of the dome, featuring a 35-metre tall mountain covered in vegetation shrouding the world's tallest indoor waterfall. It showcases plants found in tropical highlands up to 2000 metres above sea level.

Inside Cloud Forest Dome
Bridge view in Cloud Forest

For more information, please visit this link.

How to get there?

Hop on to the MRT Circle Line and get off at Bayfront MRT Station (CE1), take Exit B and follow the directions.

Where to stay?

  1. Marina Bay Sands - The most spectacular hotel in Singapore with world-class entertainment, shopping, restaurants and casino. Walking distance to Gardens by the Bay! How about hotels near Marina Bay Sands? Hotels around F1 Singapore Grand Prix?
  2. Swissotel The Stamford Hotel - One of the tallest hotels in Southeast Asia, located at the heart of the city with a shopping mall, restaurants and it is near City Hall MRT! Check out hotels near City Hall
  3. Marriott Hotel - A Five-star hotel in the Orchard Road shopping belt. 
  4. Hotels along Orchard Road shopping belt.

You may also be interested in the following links:

HSBC TreeTop Walk

Starting point of the TreeTop Walk

TreeTop Walk Suspension Bridge
Some facts about TreeTop Walk

The HSBC TreeTop Walk is the first of its kind in Singapore. It is a free-standing suspension bridge that connects to two hills, namely Bukit Peirce and Bukt Kalang in MacRitchie forest. It is about 250m long at highest height of 25m. You will get to experience a bird's eye view of the plants and animals that live in the forest canopy. You can start your walk from Venus Drive Carpark. See map below.

Map of TreeTop Walk
Some animals encountered along the trail.

Slow Loris 
Colugo with young
Common Tree Shrew
Wagler's Pit-viper
Dwarf Gecko

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Friday from 9am-5pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 830am-5pm.
Close on Monday except Public Holidays for research and maintenance.

How to get there?

Getting around in Singapore can be done by taxi. Hire a taxi to get to a car park along Venus Drive.
There will be directions from the carpark. You will be walking on a trail along side to a stream before reaching secondary forest fringe beside Island Country Club.  From there, directions will bring you to a NParks Ranger Sation. Visit the toilets, top up your water bottle if you need to.  Then climb up along the slope of Bukit Kalang and you will reach the starting point of TreeTop Walk. 

You may want to visit the Jelutong Tower too.

Where to stay?

  1. Swissotel The Standard Hotel - A Five-stars hotel with shopping mall. Very accessible with City Hall MRT station nearby. Check out hotels near City HallHotels around F1 Singapore Grand Prix?
  2. Marina Bay Sands - A landmark Five-stars Hotel with shopping mall, casino, close vicinity to Bayfront MRT station and easy access to Gardens By the Bay. Other hotels nearby?
  3. Marriott Hotel -  A Five-stars Hotel right in the shopping belt of Orchard Road. 
  4. Hotels along Orchard Road shopping belt.

You may also be interested in the following links:

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Gir National Park - The only place to see Asiatic Lion

If you think that the only place to see Lions in the wild are in Africa. Then you are wrong! Asia has lions too - Asiatic Lions! 

Asiatic lions used to exist from Middle East to India. Today, most has disappeared and India's Gir National Park is the last place to see Asiatic Lions now. They are only about 200-300 asiatic lions left in the wild. So see them before they go extinct! 

 I stayed in Gir Birding Lodge in Sasan Gir for 3 nights. The lodge is just a stone throw from one of the entrance to Gir National Park. Safari rides to Gir National Park can be arranged with the lodge. Gir National Park comprises of 1412 sq km of dry deciduous forest, acacia scrub with semi-evergreen flora and grasslands. Common fauna in the park consists of sambar deers, spotted deers, nilgai, indian gazelle, wild boar and jackal.


How to get there?

The nearest international airport to Gir is Ahmedabad International Airport.  It is about 390km from Gir, about 8 hours drive.

Ahmedabad can be reached from New York/New Jersey (Air India), Kuwait (Kuwait Airways), Dubai (Emirates), Qatar (Qatar Airways) and Singapore (Singapore Airlines).

Where to stay?

There are some lodges near the park.