A 10.2 square kilometre island to the northeast of Singapore, Pulau Ubin is widely considered the ‘final frontier’ of the local countryside. While rapid urbanisation has spread across most of country, Ubin remains a chilled out getaway with a laid-back vibe, making it one of the most interesting places for a visitor to see in Singapore. Pulau Ubin is Malay for Granite Island, owing its name to its granite quarries. Whether you’re planning a day trip or an overnight camping adventure, here are some fun experiences to enjoy on Pulau Ubin.

Explore Ubin Town

Getting to Pulau Ubin is easy. Head to the Ferry Terminal near the Changi Village Hawker Centre and hop onto a bumboat. The standard ticket price means you’ll wait until the boat is full, but if you’re in a hurry, you can get the boat to leave immediately by paying a higher fare.

Ubin Town is right next to the main jetty, and you’ll be able to spend some time meandering through it at a leisurely pace. Enjoy a fresh seafood meal or check out the wayang (Chinese opera) stage while you’re here. Even if all you have is an hour, wandering around this little settlement is a great way to get a feel of what Singapore was like in the ‘good old days’.

Cycle to a Malay Village

If you're a fan of scenic cycling, you'll be pleased to know that Ubin Town has no shortage of bicycle rental establishments. In fact, many visitors use Ubin Town as a starting point for cycling tours of the island.

Cycling along the northern route will bring you to farms, rubber plantations and a traditional Malay kampung or village. Some cooking schools teach you how to whip up traditional cuisine in kampung houses, so look online and book ahead if you’d like to explore this option. 

Check Out Chek Jawa

Chek Jawa is a natural intertidal flat and one of the most significant areas for biodiversity in Singapore. Home to a number of ecosystems and rare species, Chek Jawa consists of forest, mangrove, rocky and sandy shores, lagoons and a coral rubble area.

You can get to Chek Jawa by bicycle or by hiring an ‘Ubin taxi’, a 12-seater van, in Ubin Town. Bear in mind that you will have to walk into Chek Jawa as vehicles are not allowed here. Guided tours are a rewarding way to experience the area, but you are welcome to explore independently as well.

Camp Overnight

If you want to get out of the city but don’t want to get on a plane, camping overnight on Pulau Ubin is an adventure worth trying. You’ll need to apply for a camping permit, register at the Police Post, and stick to designated campsites.

Convenience stores in Ubin Town make it easy for you to stock up on supplies. Campsites usually come equipped with simple squat toilets and non-potable drinking water, but you will need to bring your own drinking and cooking water. The experience is nothing like what you’d imagine in a busy urban centre like Singapore, but definitely something to write home about!

Day trip, overnight, or just a jaunt for a few hours, Pulau Ubin is best enjoyed if you are a little prepared. Aside from wearing good walking shoes and comfortable clothing, bring a hat, sunglasses, sunblock and lots of insect repellent. Despite the cool breeze on your face when you’re cycling, you can get dehydrated pretty quickly in tropical Singapore, so drink lots of water. And of course, be aware that Ubin is not just a unique place, it’s also home both for people and for fragile ecosystems. So leave only footprints, and take only photographs.