Chek Jawa Guided Tour is a tour that you must exercise kiasu-ism when you do booking. When I did my booking for June guided tour, I put a reminder on my calendar as early as January to remind myself to book on 1 March, the date when booking for June opens! It is very popular especially on dates that suited us in June holidays. Mind you, there are limited dates for these tours, so you really have to plan well. If you wish to check out booking and guided tour dates, click here.
On the day of the tour, we met my BFF family at 7am at Changi Jetty. It was rare for our kids to wake up so early and we were rewarded with sighting this beautiful sunrise!
We took the boat from Changi Jetty that sits maximum 12 pax, with each paying $3 for the ride to Pulau Ubin.
The ride was about 10 minutes and when we had reached the Pulau Ubin Jetty, we took a van to Chek Jawa. We have to pre-book the van prior to our trip (Scroll to the end for all the details and cost for the tour). The van could accommodate all 15 of us, 8 adults and 7 kids. The van ride took about 10 minutes to Chek Jawa and we had to get down and walk a 100m stretch of road to the information kiosk, the meeting point where we met our tour guide from Nparks.
There were a few more tour groups, each with its own tour guide. The tour guides are volunteers and I thought they are really doing a good thing to volunteer their time to educate us on the ecosystem of Chek Jawa. We were very lucky to have our tour guide who was very patient to answer the kids’ questions and very knowledgeable on Chek Jawa. His instructions and explanation were very clear and shared lots of analogies in simple terms to help us understand the flora and fauna.
Before we started the tour, our tour guide prep us with a few instructions:
- Go to toilet before we start as there will not be a washroom until we return to the information kiosk 2 hours later.
- Apply mosquito repellent before we start the tour
- Do not shout or scream when you see the little creatures like crabs, mudskippers, etc, as they are shy and might go into hiding, leaving the groups behind to see less of them.
There were 2 kinds of pavement: one is like the one above on grainy pavement and the other is on wooden pavement.
The kids were very cooperative and did not shout in excitement when they sighted mudskippers and crabs. Soon we came to a bird viewing tower which was 4 and a half storeys high! The kids were all game to climb, including my Master 4, which was a huge relief! No pain, no gain! And we get to see quite a good morning view!
We saw Hornbills, Straw-headed Bulbuls, and if you are lucky, you can catch a Kingfisher too!
Do you know that Nipa Palms are very, very useful trees? Nipa Palm leaves can be used for roofing and those will make Attap Houses. Their fruits are the Attap Seeds that you eat in Ice-Kacang and the Nectar from the flowers is the Gula Melaka!
Do you know what is this big lump of shit-looking thing?
This is fresh mud churned out by the mud lobster when it is extracting nutrients in the ground! Because of this wonderful movement of the mud lobster, it loosens up the soil within and as time goes by, it creates many mounds which our tour guide explained that these mound are akin to a “condominium” whereby the mud lobster is the landlord and sublets to many tenants which are the other creatures living inside the mounds! Sounds really amazing! Of course, many would ask if these mud lobsters are delicious, and the answer provided by the tour guide would be if they eat mud, what would you think they will taste like? LOL!
Another very useful tree is the Mangrove tree! Our tour guide cracked us up when he told us that Mangrove Trees are like Kiasu Parents. Why is this so? Just like the Kiasu Parents who want to give their kids a headstart in life and start to give brain training and such to babies in the wombs, the Mangrove Trees have baby pods that start germinating when they are up in the tree and not yet fallen to the ground. So, when the moment each baby pod falls to the ground, like what you see in the picture below, they do not need to waste time germinating and immediately start to grow! This is how competitive Mangrove Trees are because they have to constantly fight for space all around!
Mangrove Trees have branches which secure to the floor to protect and minimize damages to those living near the Mangrove Swamps in times of Tsunami. Their tree trunks are used for construction wood piles to build the foundation for buildings.
CHEK JAWA COASTAL BOARDWALK AND SEAGRASS LAGOON
This must be the highlight of the Chek Jawa Wetlands.
In order to protect the Chek Jawa Wetlands, volunteers walked out to the Seagrass Lagoon early in the morning before we reached this place just to bring us all the interesting living things that make up the beauty of this place.
While we slowly walked to the lagoon, we were told that the boardwalk over here was made this way with gaps in between so that sunlight can shine through and plants can grow.
While we had prep our kids on how dirty they would get the shoes here, we were surprised that it was not so bad! Our shoes emerged quite clean except for the base. The tour guide told us that we should try to follow his footsteps so as to minimize the damage here in case we stepped and killed living creatures under the surface. He also warned us not to touch any creatures unless he told us to, because some of them may be poisonous.
Here are the interesting living things we saw!
SEA WEEDS / SEA SPONGE
It was a good educational tour and soon the morning sun got hotter and we completed the tour in time to move into the shaded greenery again.
More information on Chek Jawa Guided Tour:
Boat: We reached the jetty at 7am to take the boat to Pulau Ubin. Each ride costs $3 per person to and $3 per person back.
Van: We contacted Mr Tan for the Ubin van transport to Chek Jawa. This contact was shared by my friend. I think there should be other van transport operator, you may call up Nparks to find out. Mobile: 91183729. Cost – $60 for back and forth trip. It could sit all 15 of us (8 adults and 7 children)
Guided Tour – $60 per group regardless of how many people in your group to the maximum of 15. During booking, you need not indicate how many people to go. So, even up to the day before, you can have more people until you reach maximum 15 people. Link: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/pulau-ubin-and-chek-jawa/what-to-see/chek-jawa
Things to bring –
Mosquito Repellent and patches (we sprayed generously but still got bitten by mosquitoes. However, the bites did not itch after a short time.)
Caps and umbrellas
Wear light colour clothes and comfortable covered shoes. Track shoes preferred. Or Boots like my little one did.
Bring water and snacks.
Enjoy your trip!!