Living City: At work in a kayak through the mangroves of Pulau Ubin

Basil Edward Teo
The Straits Times
Wednesday, Jan 3, 2017

Twice a week, kayaking leader Malvin Foo spends three hours on public transport, going from his home in Clementi to his job in Pulau Ubin.

Despite the long travel time, he enjoys every trip to the island.

"To me, going back to Ubin to kayak is like recharging. I don’t feel like it’s a form of work," said the 32-year-old.

As a kayaking leader for outdoor adventure company Asian Detours, Mr Foo leads an average of 10 participants at a time into the mangroves of Pulau Ubin. 

"Once you enter the mangrove on your kayak, the mood and air changes. There’s a drop in energy, and you can see it on the faces of my participants," he said.

The basic mangrove kayaking programme takes participants on a 2½-hour journey through mangroves in the western part of Ubin.

Another programme is the longer "bisect kayaking" trip that takes enthusiasts on a four-hour journey cutting through from the north of the island to the south.

Through the guided tours, Mr Foo hopes to raise awareness of the importance of Pulau Ubin’s mangroves to Singapore’s ecosystem.

“You take a short bumboat ride over, walk for five minutes, grab a kayak and then you start,” he said, on the convenience of experiencing the natural beauty of the mangroves.

In this episode of Living City, which explores Singapore's little-known spaces and places, The Straits Times Video visits the mangroves of Pulau Ubin.

The Straits Times

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.