TOP THINGS TO DO IN PULAU UBIN

Singapore wasn’t always the shiny, built-up city that it is today – and glimpses of its past as a trading hub and fishing port remain in Pulau Ubin, located 15 minutes northeast of the city by boat. The untouched island is home to Singapore’s last kampung (Malay for ‘village’), and forested and wetland areas teeming with wildlife. Pulau Ubin, so named after the abandoned granite quarries that dot the area, is perfect for a day trip or overnight stay. We round up the top things to do to make the most of your time there.
Ubin Town

Explore Ubin Town

Located next to the main jetty, Ubin Town offers the first glimpses of life on Singapore’s offshore island. Admire the wayang (Chinese opera) stage, or feast on locally farmed seafood sourced from one of Pulau Ubin’s 60 floating fish farms. If the season’s right, you’ll even find tropical fruits including durians, rambutans and jackfruit for sale along the jetty.

Kampung

Uncover farms and Singapore’s last kampung by bike

Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or hobbyist, Pulau Ubin offers all manner of mountain biking trails or less challenging, albeit rocky, routes to ply. Kick off from Ubin Town, where most bicycle rental establishments are located, and take the northern route to farms, rubber plantations and a traditional Malay kampung. Alternatively, for a (literal) taste of traditional cuisine, book ahead for a cooking class taught from a century-old family home – one that includes foraging for wild herbs to prepare dishes including nasi kerabu, or herbed rice with fried chicken and condiments. Be sure to also try these local dishes 'round Singapore


chek jawa

Steep yourself in biodiversity-rich Chek Jawa 

A mangrove, rocky and sandy shores, lagoons and a coral rubble area: these are the surrounding areas that make up Chek Jawa, a natural intertidal flat that’s home to several ecosystems. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check against this tides table before making for the wetlands. Getting there’s easiest by bicycle – or, for larger groups, rent a 12-seater van in Ubin Town that’ll take you to the general area. Guided tours are also available, but we reckon the best experience involves exploring the area solo. Apart from the 1-kilometre Mangrove and Coastal Loop boardwalk, the 20-metre-tall Jejawi Tower offers bird’s eye views of the rustic island.


Boar

Go wildlife-spotting

Pulau Ubin teems with wildlife – which you may spot while on your jaunt (or cycle). Keep a keen eye out for long-tailed macaques, wild boars, otters and hornbills or, if you’re lucky, the straw-headed bulbul, whose distinct melodious call often rings through the island’s jungle.
 
 
pulau ubin camp

Make a night of it 

No, we don’t mean partying your night away – the beauty of the island lies in its untouched ruggedness that’s best experienced with an overnight stay at one of two campsites: Jelutong, which faces the mainland and can accommodate campfires, or Mamam, which sits further north of the island. It’s as close to the wilderness as you’ll get in Singapore, but the extent of your roughing it out probably ends there; you’ll find toilet facilities and non-potable drinking water located close by both campsites.

Be sure to apply for a camping permit before registering at the island’s Police Post, and stick to the designated sites to avoid trouble. While Ubin Town has convenience stores for some basic camping needs, it’d be best to bring your own drinking water.
 
 
pulau ubin

What to pack

The weather in Pulau Ubin is no different than Singapore, so expect extreme humidity in the tropical climate. Be sure to pack plenty of water, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and insect repellent – plus an umbrella or raincoat, should the weather take a turn for the worse. Since there aren’t any ATMs on the island, draw sufficient cash from the POSB or OCBC machines at Changi Village Hawker Centre prior to boarding your bumboat. 

Uncover more essential tips before travelling to Singapore here. 
 

Chek Jawa

Getting there

Pulau Ubin is just 15 minutes away by boat. 

Make for the Ferry Terminal near Changi Village Hawker Centre – the fastest way there is by taxi or Grab – and hop onto a bumboat (daily 5.30am-9pm) for $2/person (single trip).

Boats only depart when at least 12 passengers are on-board, but if you’re in a hurry, you can get the boat to leave immediately by paying a higher fare. It’s also an extra $2 if you’re bringing a bicycle with you.