08 March 2018

Chek Jawa - Easy Family Adventure!

For an easy 'overseas' adventure, take the family to Chek Jawa at Pulau Ubin! The boardwalk there is open every day, free entry, no need a guide to visit!
Wild boar crossing! Getting close to nature at the Chek Jawa Boardwalk
If we show respect, we can enjoy
close encounters with the wild life there.
Here's more of what you can see and do at Chek Jawa with lots of videos!

Arriving at Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, earthern paths take you to the start of the boardwalks.
Chek Jawa boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs
The mangrove boardwalk takes you through a tunnel of mangrove trees, where you can spot lots of crabs, mudskippers, and interesting plants.
Balik Chek Jawa for Pesta Ubin 2017
The green tunnel of mangrove forest.
Here's a video clip of typical sightings on the mangrove boardwalk: tree climbing crabs, flying seeds of the Mangrove wax plant and Weaver ants building a nest.
Exploring mangroves on the Chek Jawa boardwalk
Chek Jawa is one of the few places in Singapore where you can see lots of Nipah palms up close.  This fascinating palm is the source of attap roofing for kampung  houses, and attap chee in our ice-kacang!
Nipah palm (Nypa fruticans) at Chek Jawa boardwalk
Jejawi Tower, built next to the humungous Jejawi fig tree gives you spectacular views of Chek Jawa and Pulau Tekong, Malaysia and mainland Singapore. When the tree is producing figs, it attracts lots of birds, as well as squirrels, monkeys and wild boar. It's also a great spot to view soaring eagles.
Chek Jawa boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs
Here's a video clip of the view from the top of Jejawi Tower.
Aerial views from the Jejawi Tower on the Chek Jawa boardwalk
As the boardwalk loops towards the sea, we see majestic Bakau mangroves with stilt roots. Playing among them, lots of tiny mudskippers. Get a closer look at mangrove seedlings, interesting plants like the intriguing Ant House plant and more!
Exploring mangroves on the Chek Jawa boardwalk
The boardwalk then loops out toward the sea, giving us a great view of the rocky shores and coastal forest.
Chek Jawa boardwalk
Here's a video clip of the coastal forest seen from the boardwalk. Natural coastal forests are now rare in Singapore as we have lost most of them to development.
Exploring coastal forests on the Chek Jawa boardwalk
Chek Jawa also has lush seagrass meadows. At the right tide, you can get glimpses of large carpet anemones among Ribbon seagrass.
Seagrass meadows from Chek Jawa boardwalk
Seagrass meadows from the Coastal boardwalk.
These tidal flats are great feeding spots for shore birds.
Great billed heron  (Ardea sumatrana) with Black eeltail catfish (Plotosus canius)
This Great-billed heron was seen from the boardwalk.
Many people think it's only worth it to visit Chek Jawa at low tide. Actually, there is lots to see at high tide that you can't see at low tide. Here's a video clip of some of the large Needlefish that often forage at Chek Jawa at high tide.
Needlefishes (Family Belonidae) from the Chek Jawa boardwalk
If we're lucky, we might spot Otters!
Smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata)
The boardwalk loops back to the Information Kiosk and House No. 1, which acts at Chek Jawa's Visitor Centre. Here, you can learn more about Chek Jawa's marine life.
Sharing Chek Jawa and Ubin with Youth Corps Singapore
From House No. 1, there is a jetty that brings you closer to Pulau Sekudu aka Frog Island. Which is also part of the Chek Jawa ecosystem.
Pulau Sekudu from Chek Jawa House No. 1 jetty
Wild boar are often encountered near the van drop off point. Baby wild boar are particularly adorable - they look like brown furry striped watermelons! But please don't feed them. These wild animals can find their own food in the forest. Which is healthier for the wild boar.
Wild boar with piglets (Sus scrofa)
We should do our part to avoid unpleasant incidents by not leaving food and drinks in the bicycle when we park it the Chek Jawa gates.
Wild boar (Sus scrofa)

Chek Jawa essentials

  • The 1.1km boardwalk is open 8.30am to 6pm. Free entry. No need a guide to visit. More details on wildsingapore and NParks.
  • There are earthen paths to and from the boardwalk, so it is not suitable for wheelchairs and a little challenging for prams. 
  • There are toilets and drink vending machines at Chek Jawa Information Kiosk, but these don't work if the generator (for electricity) is down. So stock up at Ubin Town.
  • You can cycle to Chek Jawa but have to park your bicycles outside. Please don't leave anything in your parked bicycle.

How to get to Pulau Ubin?

Chek Jawa is on Pulau Ubin, and it's an adventure just to get to the island. More details on this wildsingapore page. Here's a video clip of the bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin from Changi Point (Changi Village).
Let's take a bumboat to Pulau Ubin!

How to get to Chek Jawa?

Once you arrive at Ubin Jetty, you can hire a van to take your family to Chek Jawa. Or hire bicycles to ride there. Here's a video clip of the van 'taxi stand' and bicycle shops right next to Ubin Jetty.
Getting around on Ubin

Upcoming guided Chek Jawa activities

Chek Jawa intertidal walks with Ubin NParks

During low tide at Chek Jawa, join intertidal walks led by volunteer guides. More details by NParks.
Chek Jawa intertidal public walk by NParks

These tours are now open for registration. $60 / Group (for a maximum of 15 people). Please register in the Waitlist once Event is Fully Booked.

  • 21 Apr (Sat) 8am
  • 20 May (Sun) 8am
  • 21 May (Mon) 9am
  • 4 Jun (Mon) 8am
  • 5 Jun (Tue) 8am
  • 18 Jun (Mon) 8am
  • 19 Jun (Tue) 9am
  • 20 Jun (Wed) 9am

Free monthly tour for families by the Naked Hermit Crabs

Specially for families with kids, volunteers of the Naked Hermit Crabs conduct free guided tours of the Chek Jawa boardwalk every month. The tour stays on the boardwalk and does bring you to the shore. The next walk is on 18 Mar (Sun)! Subscribe to their blog or like their facebook page for updates on their next walks.
Chek Jawa boardwalk tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs
See and learn more
with the Naked Hermit Crabs!
Chek Jawa Open House

10 Jun (Sun): Balik Chek Jawa. FREE, no registration required, just come to Chek Jawa! Volunteer guides will be stationed all over the boardwalk to share about Chek Jawa's amazing wildlife. This Chek Jawa Open House is supported by the community who love Chek Jawa and offered once a year as part of Pesta Ubin.
Balik Chek Jawa for Pesta Ubin 2017
The community coming together to share
during Balik Chek Jawa 2017.

Protecting Chek Jawa

It remains urgent that we share with as many people as possible, the treasure that is Chek Jawa. Chek Jawa has no protected status.

The landuse plan by the Ministry of National Development shows some of the shores that may be lost by 2030. In the North, the plans include a road link (black line) from the mainland jumping off at Punggol, crossing to Pulau Ubin through Chek Jawa to jump off to Pulau Tekong before circling back to the mainland on Changi East. Proposed reclamation (in yellow) will bury Pasir Ris shores, Pulau Sekudu and Chek Jawa as well as a large amount of shore at Changi Beach. More in this blog post.
click on image for larger view.
click on image for larger view.

This article is written for Celebrating Singapore Shores as part of International Year of the Reef 2018.

Celebrating Singapore shores for IYOR 2018 logo

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