Bumboats, Bike Rides, and Bars in the Sky — Additional Activities in Singapore

As my stay in Singapore has now continued well past what I had initially planned, I’ve managed to break away from my quest to try every available dish in Singapore (an absurdly impossible notion, but again, more on that later) and have squeezed in a few additional sites around the city in an attempt to show a few more facets of this fascinating country.

My first stop was to check out the seedy nightlife scene on the infamous Geylang Road — a street known for a gritty mix of raucous bars, street walkers, food stalls, and neon lights.  After experiencing it for myself, however, I will admit that the “infamous” term may be a bit strong.  Although there was quite scene to see, it is still located in Singapore after all — meaning that the element of danger and the risk of treading into an unsavory neighborhood was fairly low.  Who thinks a city needs a criminal element to have character anyway?

The revelers up and down Geylang

The scene from above

The atmosphere of Geylang is perfect, however, if you’re just looking for a plate of Beef Hor Fun and a few Tiger beers

Pulau Ubin Island:

Although the urban sprawl of the city’s growth has claimed the majority of the available real estate on the small island of Singapore, there are still a few pockets of undeveloped land that have remained untouched.  One such place is the tiny island of Pulau Ubin, located just off the Northeast corner of the main island, near the airport.  To get there, you’ll have to take the MRT (the city’s metro system) almost as far as it’ll take you, then catch a bus to a ferry terminal along the coast.  For only a few dollars, you can then hire a bumboat from the terminal to ferry you over to the smaller island itself, where you can rent a bike or simply trek around the trails, seeing what Singapore used to look like before the construction crews showed up and modern development took over.

The bumboat ride is almost as fun as seeing the island of Pulau Ubin itself

As soon as you step off the boat and onto the jetty, you’ll quickly realize just how far you’ve come from the concrete heart of the city

I opted for a bike rental — though much like the ATV ride in Cappadocia, this is the type of picture most would warn you against taking…

Though there is very little commercial activity on Pulau Ubin aside from a few restaurants and rental agencies immediately adjacent to the jetty, there are luckily a few refreshments stands set up along the trails, where they’ll gladly crack open a fresh coconut for the weary explorer.  And yes, that is my beast of a bike parked in front, which I joking dubbed “The Red Dragon” in honor of the upcoming Chinese New Year

Getting back into the heart of the Singapore, there was one last thing on my itinerary that I absolutely had to do before leaving.  There has been a growing trend over the last few years of various office buildings, apartment blocks, and skyscrapers opening swanky rooftop bars, complete with 360-degree, open-air views over the city (just taking a quick glance at the listings, I found close to 2 dozen to choose from).  So I threw on my best clothes (which isn’t saying much) and headed for the tallest one I could find: the 1-Altitude bar on the roof of the 1 Raffles Place building.  Behold:

63 floors, straight up

The first drink is a bit expensive…

…but the view makes you completely forget about that $25 beer you’re holding

You can actually see they haze of the humidity in the air

But now she’s gone, and I don’t worry, Oh I’m sittin’ on top of the world

That’s about all I’ve got for now.  I still have another post in the works, as promised, showing the culinary side of the city — which I’ll have up in the next few days.  And going forward, I’ll finally be leaving the city of Singapore soon and heading North into Malaysia (with Melaka likely my first destination).  Until then, Cheers!


I recently purchased a new camera (still nothing fancy, though) and have been trying to test its limits with a few high-contrast night shots.  These last two photos have nothing to do with this post, but I thought they were pretty cool, so I going to go ahead and post them anyway (as a side note, Singapore has some seriously photogenic bridges).  Enjoy:

About andrewamiet

I'm a 29 (now 31) year-old former desk jockey who is now making my way around the world, experiencing all of the sights, sounds, tastes, people, and culture that the world has to offer.

16 Responses to “Bumboats, Bike Rides, and Bars in the Sky — Additional Activities in Singapore”

  1. Awesome pictures! Great writing, too!

  2. A true off-the-beaten-path adventure! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Awesome photos! Singapore seems like a city I could live in. Do they have KFC on those days when you need a reminder of home?

    • It’s funny you should say that — I was just thinking to myself that of all of the places I’ve visited, this would be the one I’d most want to live in. And I have tried to avoid KFC as much as possible, but unfortunately their reach has even extended half-way across the world, as I still seem them everywhere!

  4. That new camera is quite nice. It looks like you are taking HDR images with the contrast you are getting. Keep grinding that rignant

  5. Find a publisher…there is a beautiful coffee table book in this venture!TT

  6. Reblogged this on toodleoodopp and commented:
    I love pictures of places. They are the best way to motivate me when I’m feeling bummed, because they remind me of what all I haven’t done yet.

  7. Thanks so much for the tour of Singapore! From the rooftop of a skyscraper to the roadsides of Pualu Ubin, all your photos were fantastic. My favorite, besides seeing you above the city, was the shot of “The Red Dragon” parked by the refreshment stand. You are as explorer! Bon Voyage!

  8. Lovely pics!! Any plans of visiting India??

  9. Hi there. I’m from the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore and am keen to use one of your photos of the Geylang back-alleys with tables & chairs neatly set up (3rd pic from the above post) for a non-commercial publication that I am doing which looks at Singapore’s urban and security development over the decades and how unsafe spaces have now become a lot safer thru subtle touches like better alleyway lighting. Would really like to hear your thoughts on this via email. Thank you.

    • Hello Stewart — you are certainly welcome to use the photo for your publication, and thank you very much for asking! For a higher resolution version, you can click on the photo in the blog post, then click on the “View Full Size” link at the bottom-left-side of the dialogue box. If that doesn’t work, let me know and I can email you a copy, too.

      Good luck on your project and I’ll be curious to see how it turns out!


  1. A Final Farewell from Singapore | Temporarily Lost - September 16, 2013

    […] appetite.  And in case you’re curious, you can find my previous entries on Singapore here, here, and here (that last one was a food post, too, so definitely check it out if you’re […]

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