Ideal Time: 3 - 4 hours
Open Time: Boats to Pulau Ubin: 5:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Cost: Boat ride to Pulau Ubin: SGD 3 per passenger
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.
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.
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.
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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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