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Pulau Ubin

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Weather:

Ideal Time: 3 - 4 hours

Timings:

Boats to Pulau Ubin: 5:30 AM - 9:00 PM

Entry Fee:

Boat ride to Pulau Ubin: SGD 3 per passenger
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Pulau Ubin, Singapore Overview

Pulau Ubin is a 10.2 square kilometre island lying northeast of Singapore. Translating to Granite Island in Malay, Pulau Ubin is considered to be one of the last places where one can truly enjoy and experience Singapore for what it used to be, before rapid urbanization set in. It is one of the last two kampongs of Singapore and is located just a 15-minute boat ride away from the mainland.

Pulau Ubin is the perfect vacation island with something to offer for every type of traveller. It has an exciting and adventurous bike trail for those interested in mountain biking. Other than mountain biking, visitors can also simply explore the island on a bicycle. The island is beautiful and is filled with enchanting lakes, lush green forests and wide rolling meadows. A variety of rare birds can often be seen and heard among the trees. The island also has a hill, called the Puaka Hill, which provides a perfect hiking opportunity. Visitors can go kayaking among the mangroves and or enjoy a night amidst the peace of Pulau Ubin at the numerous camping sites across the island. The main attraction of Pulau Ubin however, is the Chek Jawa Wetlands which is a marvel of nature. The biodiversity of Chek Jawa is very rich, given the fact that six different ecosystems converge there. Various types of rare and unique flora and fauna can be spotted by visitors on their tour of Chek Jawa.

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The Chek Jawa Wetlands is the most popular place for sightseeing in Pulau Ubin. It is a natural intertidal flat, with very rich biodiversity and is managed by the National Parks Board of Singapore. Chek Jawa is very unique as six major habitats meet and mix here. These habitats include mangroves, forests, lagoons, rocky and sandy shores, and a coral rubble area. Tours are conducted every day at Chek Jawa, although visitors are welcome to explore it on their own too. Visitors can explore the 1km boardwalk which loops around the mangroves and the coast and is hence called the Mangrove and Coastal Loops. They can also climb up the 20m tall Jejawi Tower which provides them with a breathtaking view of the entire island. It is advisable for tourists to time their visit to Chek Jawa when the tide is at 0.5m or below, as that is when the various ecosystems are revealed.

Chek Jawa can be reached by taxi or bicycle from Ubin Town. No vehicles and bicycles are allowed within Chek Jawa, and hence bicycles and vehicles have to be parked at selected lots near Punai Hut. Tourists can also walk to Chek Jawa from Ubin Town, which is approximately a 40-minute walk.

Timings: 8:30 AM - 6:00 PM

The island of Pulau Ubin was used for its granite by the British. The granite mined on Pulau Ubin was used to construct the Horsburgh Lighthouse in 1850, as well as the Singapore-Johor Causeway. The granite outcrops of the island are magnificent to look at from the sea, as their grooves and fluted sides create furrows and ridges on each granite rock slab. Other than granite mining, residents of the island also engaged in farming and fishing. However, the granite quarries were shut down in the 1970s, and soon after residents started leaving. Today, the abandoned granite quarries have been reclaimed by vegetation or are filled with water.
In the 1880s, the island was populated by Malays, which was the beginning of a thriving Malay Community on the island. With around 2000 people residing on the land between the 1950s and 1970s, a school was built in 1952. However, enrolment fell as mainland Singapore developed and the school closed down in 1985. It was demolished in 2000. Several campsites were also established on the island, with the first one being opened in 1967. The poultry farmers on the island had to ship their livestock to the mainland due to an avian influenza outbreak in 2005. This further decreased population on the island. As of 2012, there were only 38 people who permanently resided in Pulau Ubin.

  • Biking: One of the most popular activities to do at Pulau Ubin is biking. It houses the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, which was built in 2007, and is around 8 km long. Running through thick jungles and open terrain, it has various steep and short climbs and descents. Each section of the trail is well marked about its level of difficulty. Visitors can either bring their own bikes or rent the bikes available there. Visitors can also casually explore the entire island on bikes, stopping by lakes, farms and rubber plantations. Visitors can also stop by the various little stalls and enjoy various types of traditional dishes made from fresh seafood.
  • Mangrove Kayak Adventure: Visitors can take a four-hour kayaking journey through the mangroves of the island, experiencing the beautiful and unique biodiversity of the region. Kayakers can spot a number of unique wildlife like jellyfish, black-capped kingfishers, otters, hermit crabs, white-bellied sea eagles, Oriental-pied hornbills and even pink dolphins. These kayaking journeys have to be booked beforehand and a minimum of two people are needed to book. The minimum age allowed is 9 years and children below 12 years must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  • Hiking: Visitors interested in hiking can hike up Puaka Hill. It is a very steep hike and takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete. On the top of the Hill, visitors are greeted with a magnificent view of Ubin Quarry.

  • Explore Ubin Town: Ubin Town is the tiny settlement at Pulau Ubin and is located right next to the main jetty. It is a sleepy little town and caters to the visitors with stalls serving fresh seafood and staging traditional Chinese opera called 'wayang'. Visitors can take a leisurely walk around this small town and truly experience what Singapore used to be like during the olden days.
  • Sensory Trail: Pulau Ubin is heaven on earth for nature lovers. They can go on walks along beautiful trails, go bird watching and even relax on the bank of a beautiful lake. The Sensory Trail is one such trial which is 15kms long and is decorated with native flowering plants, bushes and fruit trees growing along its path. It even has a vegetable and spice garden which has plants like basil, turmeric, curry leaf tree, winged bean and ginger.
  • Butterfly Hill: Another interesting place to visit is Butterfly Hill, which is home to over 140 types of butterflies. Visitors can spot various types of butterflies ranging from the Black Veined Tiger, Common Bluebottle to rare ones like the Dwarf Crow.
  • Pekan Quarry: What was once an old granite quarry is now a beautiful lake surrounded by lush green forests. Tourists can hear and spot various types of birds in these forests including the rare Oriental Pied Hornbill. The Quarry is a fifteen-minute walk from the jetty, and is located west of Ubin's main village.

Season Live Seafood is a tiny restaurant that has been serving delicious seafood for 20 years. The most popular of them are Chilli Crab, priced at SGD 40.00 a kg and Sambal Squid Rings priced at SGD 8.00. It is closed on Tuesdays.

There are several designated campsites at Pulau Ubin where visitors can camp through the night. Visitors will have to apply for a camping permit and register at the police post. Camping at Pulau Ubin is the perfect getaway from the busy life of Singapore. Visitors can relax under the trees and have a lovely calming experience.

  • If camping, visitors must register at the Police Post.
  • It is advisable that visitors carry their own water, insect repellant and wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • Visitors are also advised to carry hats, sunglasses and sunscreens as it can get quite hot on the island.

Pulau Ubin is a fifteen-minute bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The fare ride per passenger is SGD 3.00. Each bumboat leaves as soon as it is filled with 12 people. Passengers can also pay SGD 36.00 if they want the boat to leave immediately.

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