23 April 2013

Do tourists like Pulau Ubin?

From some foreign media articles, Pulau Ubin appears to be a highlight for some tourists visiting Singapore.
Free guided walk by the Naked Hermit Crabs at Chek Jawa.
Today, tourism industry players said "more must be done to develop home-grown tourism offerings if Singapore's "go local" strategy is to work" during the recent Tourism Industry Conference 2013. The only mention of a nature place in the article was Sungei Buloh.

Perhaps they should read what tourists have to say about Pulau Ubin? Here's some snippets.

The best reason to visit Pulau Ubin is to escape the modern world, a rare feat anywhere these days. Although it's less than 15 minutes by boat from mainland Singapore, the difference could hardly be more pronounced. It's one of the few places in the city-state where nature runs unfettered. From the moment I boarded the bumboat from the dock near Changi Airport, it felt as if I were not in Singapore anymore.
From Singapore's Pulau Ubin offers a step back in time by Andrew Bender, Special to the Los Angeles Times 30 Dec 12;

It offers a calm contrast to the tropical city of skyscrapers where men in suits rush to and fro with a mobile phone pressed to their ear. To journey to Pulau Ubin is not stressful either. It takes only ten minutes in a gently rocking 'bumboat' to reach the islet. Those who seek refuge here invariably get chatting with other cyclists or outdoor enthusiasts who come to the island to admire the lush greenery.
from Life in Singapore's slow lane on Pulau Ubin by Christian Roewekamp Monsters and Critics 8 Mar 11;

The article began with glittery tourist attractions in Marina Bay, the author says "I laughed when one of its developers called it a "heritage" building. But it predates independence, he pointed out, and that makes it historic."

The author ends with "There are equally pockets that feel very ancient and untouched. You can see monkeys and monitor lizards on Pulau Ubin as well, perhaps the most atmospheric of all the excursions that Singapore has to offer. In terms of atmosphere and pace, Ubin couldn't be further from the energy and dynamism of downtown. Proof indeed that Singapore has far more to offer those on holiday than simply a place to change planes."
from Singapore: the rise and rise of a modern city by Claire Wrathall The Telegraph 10 Jan 11;

Among Singapore's gleaming skyscrapers is some of the world's best shopping and eating. But within an hour of the urban jungle is a real jungle. Take a bumboat to the tiny island of Pulau Ubin and a quick winter trip to Singapore can become a tropical Asian adventure. But whether it is party animals or jungle animals, sophisticated restaurants or untouched rainforests, Singapore can offer them all.
from Singing praises of Singapore: nature makes for Uniquely Singapore by Bob Roberts Mirror 6 Feb 10;

At the weekend, Singaporeans used to flock to Sentosa Island, a grimly Disney-like resort that could have been in Florida. But there is a greener, more beguiling alternative now at Pulau Ubin, a largely undeveloped island off the north-east coast that has been turned into a conservation area. It is like a community frozen in time, a reminder of pre-independence Singapore, before the good times rolled. Returning by taxi to the Shangri-La - for cocktails under the stars, followed by yet another sumptuous meal - takes less than half an hour. But, at another level, it feels like leapfrogging from the 19th century to the 21st in one exhilarating bound.
from Revisiting Singapore's Shangri-La by Max Davidson The Telegraph 14 Jan 08;

Spectacular slivers of nature survive in densely packed business paradise: Pulau Ubin is a 4-mile-long, mile-wide sanctuary of woods and wetlands with a population in the dozens. A second wilderness retreat, Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, is much closer to Singapore's urban core yet seems more remote.
from Off the urban path in Singapore by Tony Shuga, American-Statesman 21 Sep 08;

Pulau Ubin a preferred destination for business travellers too?

During the APEC Summit held in Singapore in 2009, a delegate made his own way to Pulau Ubin: Canadian business delegate Peter Barnes, who hails from Ottawa, took a day off on Sunday and ventured alone by train and bus to Changi Village, before hopping onto a bumboat to Pulau Ubin. "The people in the street were very helpful with directions ... I didn't get lost at all," Mr Barnes said.

Foreigners living in Singapore know of and appreciate Pulau Ubin too!
In Nothing to do in Singapore? That's rubbish Pulau Ubin was one of the places highlighted in the article: "Too often, I have heard friends whine about how "there's nothing good to do here". Funnily enough, the one friend who consistently disagrees with that notion is non-Singaporean. Graeme, a Scotsman who loves trying different dishes at hawker centres, is always urging me to "expand my horizons".
by Victoria Barker, My Paper Asia One 12 Dec 08;

What makes Pulau Ubin attractive to some tourists?

From the articles above, I sense it is because Pulau Ubin is different  from (and opposite to) the rest of Singapore. Pulau Ubin is authentic. Not artificial or artificially created. With real nature, real history, real people. Some of the people living on Pulau Ubin have been there since before modern Singapore came to be. Pulau Ubin is indeed "an escape from the modern world".

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