A legend tells not only a story, but draws people to the monument for which it was made. A small yellow-colored shrine might not be attention worthy to many, but a German Girl shrine in a small island in this part of the world is certainly something to stir one's curiosity. According to sources from the internet, in 1914 after WWI, right in this island, a little German girl whose father was a coffee plantation owner, was running away from British soldiers. Unfortunately she fell over the cliff and died. Labourers who discovered her body later performed the last rites for her and her ashes were housed in an urn which was later enshrined. The original urn was lost sometime later, believed to have been looted by robbers who thought it was a valuable rare chinese antique. The urn was later replaced by another although the ashes were lost together with the original urn. Today, what is on the alter table in this shrine is a small doll. This shrine is said to be popular among 4D and Toto punters who believe the German girl's spirit would bless them with good luck.
After crossing over Jelutong bridge (from Jetty), not far ahead to the right-side of the track is Merbah Hut. This hut marks the start point to a hike up the highest hill in P. Ubin, Bukit Puaka, with the highest elevation reaching between 70 to 80 metres. There is no conspicuous signboard to catch the attention of passer-by to this viewing point. This makes Merbah hut an important landmark. Park your bike by the hut, lock it and follow the trail by the side up until you reach the peak where the trail ends. Along mid-hill there is also a viewing point, a good respite to catch different view as well as taking a breather before pressing ahead to the top. Once at the top, enjoy the nice view overlooking Ubin quarry on one side while the other side where a huge boulder sits, a tiny glimpse of Changi airport control tower in the distant horizon is still possible. If you are tempted to climb on top of the huge boulder, do be extra careful.
According to sources in the internet, this temple, also known as Lily Pond Temple, has a history of over 80 years. It is located just before Jelutong bridge if you are heading westward from the Jetty. There is a signboard by the main road with an arrow hinting the direction you should proceed if your are heading for it. Sitting at an elevated ground and overlooking a dilapidated pond, this temple is still in operation. There are a few dogs belonging to the temple but please fear not, they are docile and harmless.
Wading bare-foot during low tide in Chek Jawa conservation ecosystem requires permit application and a guide. Check with National Parks (Singapore) on the application process. There are other places of attraction in Chek Jawa that do not require permits, such as P. Ubin's House No. 1 , Coastal Boardwalk, Mangrove Boardwalk ,and Jejawi Tower. The cycle to Chek Jawa is an arduous journey, especially the stretch from Kelichap Hut onwards. Again, with reference to sources from internet, P. Ubin's house number 1 was a retreat belonging to the British Chief Surveyor in 1930s. Now it has become a visitor centre. Enjoy the sea breeze at the sea-facing side of the house. The coastal boardwalk is just another elevated platform hugging close to the coastline and connects to another section that brings the visitor into mangrove area without getting their feet wet or stuck in the swampy mud. Coastal boardwalk is an open area, hence heat from the afternoon sun can be unbearable.
1 of Singapore's richest ecosystems, Chek Jawa is a unique natural area where 6 major habitats meet & mix. Slated for land reclamation in 1992, the wonderful secrets of Chek Jawa were unveiled only in December 2000. As public attention was drawn to this site, thousands of Singaporeans flocked to visit this wetland treasure. At the same time, appeals from nature lovers & the general public led to a review of its reclamations plans. After carefully considering all public submissions & extensive consultations with scientific experts & relevant government agencies, it was announced in 2001 that reclamation works would be deferred as long as Pulau Ubin is not required for development.
New amenities @ Chek Jawa Wetlands, Pulau Ubin have been opened to the public from Sunday, 8 July 2007, which will allow visitors to conduct their own DIY tour of Chek Jawa every day of the week. The amenities, including a visitor centre with viewing jetty, over 1 km of boardwalk (Mangrove and Coastal Loops), & the 21-metre Jejawi Tower, are part of a long-term sustainable visitor management plan to protect the rich biodiversity there.
Chek Jawa is an intertidal area, with its various eco-systems unveiled @ low tides of 0.5 m & below. Do refer to the tides when you plan for a visit to avoid disappointment on September, October, November & December.
Chek Jawa Opening Hours: 0830 to 1800 hrs
If you wish to visit the intertidal flats @ Chek Jawa:
1. Please call Pulau Ubin Hotline (Tel: 6542-4108) or visit the Information Kiosk between 0830 & 1700 hrs to book a visit. As demand for the guided tours is high, please book early to avoid disappointment. Each booking call is entitled to make reservation of up to maximum 10 places. A booking number would be given for successful booking.
2. On the day of visit, please register with your booking number at the basketball court @ the respective registration time. If you are unable to make the visit, please call the hotline to cancel your booking.
3. Arrangement will be made for taxis to fetch you to & from Chek Jawa. The taxi ride takes 15 mins & costs SGD2 per person one way. Alternatively, you may wish to rent or bring a bicycle & cycle to Chek Jawa.
4. On reaching Chek Jawa, nature guides will be @ hand to take visitors on a 45 mins walk to experience the amazing marine life there. Participants must wear appropriate covered footwear e.g. sneakers & canvas shoes (slippers & sandals are not suitable). Please follow the instructions of the guide & stay on the designated route.
Cycling is a great way to explore Ubin at your own pace.
There are many routes to choose from. Paved roads reach all major areas for easy access. Off the road routes range from easy trails to challenging ones.
There are also bicycles for rent to suit every preference. Mountain bikes, tandem bikes, tricycles, even bikes with side carts for babies or really lazy partners.
Remeber to ask for a basket to be attached to your bike for your belongings. Its FOC;p
I rented my bike for $3 a day. When we went further on, we saw another shop renting the bike for $2 a day.
There is an unique pre-war English Cottage called House No. 1 near Chek Jawa. It is a delightful home under pine trees, facing mainland Singapore.
The two-storey building has a lovely airy verandah and comes complete with fireplace. It was built in the 1930's in the English Lytyenseque or Tudor style.
It was said to be an originally vacation home for the resident British medical officer. Some says, it was constructed for the then Chief Surveyor, Langdon Williams, as a retreat.
It is said the home was later taken over by a rubber company and the local rubber estate manager stayed in it.
The property is not accessible to the public as the structure is not safe.
Toa Pek Gong, Keramat Shrine, Thai Temple, German Girl's Shrine, The Ma Zu Temple can all be found on Pulau Ubin.
Many will travel all the way from mainland Singapore and bring their incense to worship their idols.
The Community Centre in Pulau Ubin started as a community hall made of zinc and wood. It was built in 1961 with contributions from residents. In 1966 it was converted into a Community Centre.
In addition to community activities, kindergarten classes were also held there. The Community Centre was renovated in 1993. The basketball court in front of the Community Centre also hosted movie screenings for residents.
Noordin Beach has white sandy beaches and a view of Johor across the Straits. It is a popular camping site.
It has a beautiful sunset view.
Permits are not required to camp at the beach. However, campers are advised to inform the police officers at the Pulau Ubin Police Post.
Upon reaching the island, you'll find an info kiosk not too far from the jetty. Approach those officers there for a map of Pulau Ubin or sign up for one of their cool guided tours (free, every 4th Sunday of the month)
Of course, if you're bloody *** like me, you can always print out a map before you go. Click on the link and print.
You can walk at the newly constructed boardwalk (around June/July 2007) around Check Jawa.
There are 3 paths you can take:
1. Mangroove boardwalk
2. Beach boardwalk
3. Lookout Jetty
There's also House no.1 that has a gallery of all sorts of animals and plants you can find in Check Jawa.
Check Jawa is a nature reserve under National Parks located at the eastern coast of Pulau Ubin.
You can reach there by van (around 10 minutes drive) or trek (around 40 minutes).
The van will cost you $2 per person per trip (check my transportation page).
Heading out to the west of the island, you will pass several abandoned quarries where granite was onced mined.
Walk up to the rim of the quarry and you will be greeted with panoramic view of Pulau Ubin.
Note: swimming in the quarry lakes is strictly forbidden.
The information kiosk is approximately a minute walk from Pulau Ubin jetty where the bumboats dock. Call or visit them to enquire about guided tours out to Chek Jawa. Pick up a free leaflet with a map of the island showing the main walking and cycling trails.