Kelong-ing for Singapore?

Now that you have finally clicked on that link to find out what the CHEATING (not the marital kind…hee) was about, we’d like to introduce you to kelong Singapore style. Many people associate Kelong with the surrounding countries of Singapore rather than our island country itself.

For some it would be a surprise that there are many of these structures dotted all around the fringes of our little red dot. Except, these are not of the same kind you’d come to expect when you google this term.

My experience was a short half day on a company sponsored event that led to the discovery of a vastly different side to our modern progressive city. It is probably not geared up for the visiting tourist, but it is a side of Singapore that you might not think is there. There is certainly a lot more to this island than you’d like to believe!

 1400hrs Starting out from Changi pier in the eastern end of the island, we chartered ferry boats to take us directly to the ‘Kelong’.

IMG_0067Changi ferry point is a small and quiet pier where smaller “bum” boats lay anchor in what can only be described as an idyllic island scene. Not something you would normally associate with the fast lives that most Singaporeans will allude you to feel.

We can tell you a lot more about Changi point, but that would be an article for another day! First you make your way to the jetty. IMG_0069Now we did not take photos of how to walk to the exact point, but look out for signage. You really cannot miss it since there should be many people walking in the same direction.

The ride takes about 10 minutes and takes you through the tiny body of water that separates Singapore from Malaysia. Actually, you will be traveling within Singapore’s territorial waters, as you will be on the south side from Pulau Ubin, the little red dot’s largest offshore island. So no need for passports. As you leave the pier, you will past the end of Changi coast park, culminating in a stretch of quiet yet pristine looking sand beach.

The kelong itself is not a true one in the sense of traditional design. IMG_0076IMG_0073The main part of the structure is more of a floating platform. We saw large drum-like structures beneath the platform that serves as a form of floatation support.

You can have lunch or dinner here, and in between make use of the facilities. Started as a fishery, visitors can also buy fresh fish. The only downside is that there is no packaging to help you take it back home.IMG_0080IMG_0081

The stated GPS location of the Kelong is: 01’23’52″N – 103’57’42″E (not that you will use it anyway). Nice to know.

However, its not as if you will drive your boat there. You’d need to take a bum boat ride from Changi ferry point for S$100 per boat, one way – yes you basically charter the boat to take you to the kelong. Call up the kelong should you want to make the trip. This one’s contactable via their website.

The boat can take up to 12 persons at a time (babies count as one too), though and be sure to tell the operator when to come back for you. if not, call them via the kelong. Now it is a good thing to know that the boats cease to operate after 8pm as required by Singapore’s Maritime authority.

Location of Smith Kelong

You can also take ferries from Changi point to various points of Malaysia but that would be another article.

1730hrs You can explore the kelong, fishing your own dinner and ask for a tour of the facilities. If not, there are other recreational alternatives!

Kelong Satellite viewThe satellite photo shows that this fishery kelong is one of a cluster that line the southern shoreline of Pulau Ubin. Most folks coming here are families or large groups such as us.

And seafood is the thing that all come for. One feature of the kelong is that you can fish for your own catch in a “sure catch” pond (this is so Singaporean kiasu). It costs S$35 to fish and the restaurant will prepare it for you. Rods and bait are provided! Now if you are not into hooking the live bait, well ask the staff for help.IMG_0087

This is not a particularly large restaurant, there are only five tables sitting 10 people each. There is no 2-person table, so no romantic candlelight dinner.

One thing though is that the restaurant cannot serve alcohol. So while you can BYO, there is no large refrigeration to keep it cold. We brought our own ice packs though and had a great time sipping wine and/or beer while playing pool at the back of the eating area. IMG_0088Bear in mind that they do not take plastic, cash only.

So bring sufficient cash with you! The roof of the kelong seems to be inviting, but there is no access to that level, which could offer a better view. Hopefully that will change.

Nice way to end an evening with the sunset before taking a ferry ride home. Needless to say, you enjoy this best on a clear day. IMG_0085This activity is viable for a half day, particularly from the afternoon onwards. Why not try this out?

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