Thursday, May. 13, 2010

Singapore, but Not as We Know It

Best Urban Escape
Pulau Ubin, Singapore

The bumboat is cramped, stinks of petrol and sweat and leaves the rickety wooden pier near Singapore's Changi Airport whenever the crew feels like it. Nevertheless, the 15-minute ride, weaving around the hulls of supertankers to Pulau Ubin, a tiny island a few miles off Singapore's eastern edge, is worth it. Near the shore lies some of the best seafood to be had in Singapore: chili crab, drunken prawns, sambal fish and squid and all the rest. But Pulau Ubin itself is the real delight. With its bike paths (only a few vehicles are allowed on the island), atap huts, virgin rain forest, macaques, pythons, monitor lizards and, most appealing of all, its almost complete silence and solitude, Pulau Ubin is a throwback to tropical backwater Asia, a refuge for those seeking the sweetness of the slow.

KNOW BEST: Can't Wait?
If you don't want to depend on the bumboat's schedule, you can charter it for $24 and sail at will.