Unveiling Pulau Ubin A Journey to Singapore's Hidden Gem
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Unveiling Pulau Ubin: A Journey to Singapore’s Hidden Gem

Legend tells of a race where a frog, a pig, and an elephant raced to Johor, facing petrification for losing. None succeeded; the pig and elephant formed Pulau Ubin, while the frog became Frog Island, known as Pulau Sekudu.

Pulau Ubin is a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and a slower pace of life. Located just off the northeastern coast of Singapore, it’s an enchanting destination that offers a refreshing escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

If you haven’t set foot on this little slice of rusticity yet, we’re hoping this guide will be useful should you decide to visit Pulau Ubin soon.

Things to Know

— From kjhunt

Toilet and shower facilities: Available (but could be under maintenance, so inquire with NParks first at 1800-471-7300)

Numbers to call in case of emergency: 995/999, 63750000

Operating hours

Ubin Volunteer Hub, 9 AM to 5 PM

Ubin Living Lab office, 7 AM to 7 PM

Chek Jawa Wetlands, 9 AM to 5 PM

Pulau Ubin resembles a boomerang and lies northeast of mainland Singapore. Originally five islets divided by tidal rivers, bunds were built for prawn farming, uniting them into a 1,020-hectare island. 

Nearby are Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) and Pulau Sekudu (Frog Island) to the south. Tourists often travel to Pulau Ubin for a 1960s Singapore experience. It houses one of the last kampongs, preserving rustic charm from that era.

To help you plan your Pulau Ubin trip, the NParks website helpfully provides a tide table for added safety, as there could be high tide and flooding, especially at the start of the year.

Rustic Charm

Pulau Ubin is often referred to as the “last kampong” (village) in Singapore. It retains the rustic charm of old Singapore with its traditional wooden houses, village roads, and simple way of life. 

Visiting the island feels like stepping back in time.

Natural Beauty

The island is home to lush forests, wetlands, mangroves, and scenic coastlines. Check out Jawa Wetlands, a designated conservation area that’s a haven for biodiversity with its diverse ecosystems, including mudflats, seagrass lagoons, and mangroves.

Relaxing Atmosphere

The laid-back atmosphere of Pulau Ubin is a stark contrast to the fast-paced lifestyle of mainland Singapore. Visitors can relax, unwind, chill privately, and enjoy the serene surroundings without the noise and crowds of the city.

Gorgeous Golden Hours

Pulau Ubin boasts some of the most breathtaking sunsets in Singapore. The western shores of the island provide the perfect vantage points to witness the sun sinking below the horizon in a spectacular display of colours.

Rich Cultural Heritage

The island holds traces of its past with its temples, shrines, and historical sites. There are scheduled heritage-guided walks if you wish to know more about the island’s historical significance.

Kampong Cuisine

Pulau Ubin offers a chance to savour traditional Malay and Chinese cuisine. Local eateries serve up delicious seafood and local dishes, providing a taste of the island’s cultural heritage.

Best Time to Go 

— From tlwc_sgn 

Pulau Ubin’s peak season typically coincides with Singapore’s dry season, which runs from March to August. During these months, the weather is generally more favourable, with lower chances of rainfall and more comfortable temperatures. 

If you prefer to avoid crowds and enjoy a quieter experience, you might consider visiting Pulau Ubin during the shoulder seasons, which are the transitional periods between peak and off-peak seasons.

These are generally the months of February and September. Keep in mind that weather patterns can vary, so it’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and plan your visit accordingly.

How to Get Around

— From pulauubin.sg 

Getting to Changi Point Ferry

By Bus: Take the 2, 29, 59, or 109 Bust to Changi Village Bus Terminal. 

By MRT: Board the Tampines East or Tanah Merah MRT to Changi Village Bus Interchange.

By Taxi: Tell the driver to take you to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal at 51 Lorong Bekukong.

Getting to Pulau Ubin

To reach Pulau Ubin, catch a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (next to Changi Village).

Schedule: Bumboats run from 6 AM to 7 PM, taking around 10 minutes to get to Pulau Ubin. Departure times are flexible, as bumboats require 9 to 12 passengers before setting off. 

Arrange ahead with boat operators for departures from Pulau Ubin after 6 PM. If no boats are at the jetty, call the National Parks Board at 1800-471-7300.

Cost: S$4 per person (additional S$2 for bicycles). But please verify fares with the operator first.

Getting around on the Island

Explore the trails on foot, by bike, or with local van services.

Things to Do

Marvel at winged beauties on Butterfly Hill

— From arkin_aydan

Butterfly Hill is a purpose-built knoll for butterfly conservation and display, housing around 140 butterfly species within a football field-sized area.

A community-driven conservation success, Butterfly Hill involves local expert Khew Sin Khoon who guided the planting of over 50 butterfly-attracting plant species. These include nectar plants for adult butterflies and host plants for caterpillars.

Check out the Chek Jawa Wetlands

— From southeast_asia_com

Chek Jawa, a prime Singapore ecosystem, is a distinctive convergence of six major habitats. You can explore the unique ecosystems, observe diverse wildlife, cross the boardwalks, and learn about the area’s flora, fauna, and conservation efforts.

Situated at Pulau Ubin’s east, 3 km from the jetty. Encompassing 100 hectares, Chek Jawa boasts six ecosystems: sandy beach, rocky beach, seagrass lagoon, coral rubble, mangroves, and coastal forest.

You can rent a van, bicycle, or walk 40 minutes from the village to reach it. 

Chek Jawa’s intertidal flats are best explored during low tides below 0.5 meters, revealing abundant marine life. Higher tides submerge the area. 

The island’s nature guides offer one-hour tours to unveil Chek Jawa’s remarkable natural wonders. Costing $60 per tour (15 people maximum per group), only online payments are accepted. 

Snap pics at the Pekan Quarry Floating Wetlands

— From sanzr1val

Pekan Quarry has transformed from a disused site into a thriving freshwater habitat. The initial floating wetlands in 2015 were expanded into usable wildlife space by the National Parks Board in collaboration with various stakeholders. 

More wetland transformation followed, serving as nesting and roosting sites, benefiting herons, kingfishers, otters, and dragonflies. 

Check out the heron platforms that mimic heron nesting spots, accommodating various species with distinct height preferences for nesting. 

Commonly seen species in the area include grey herons, black-crowned night herons, purple herons, and great-billed herons.

Cross the Chek Jawa Boardwalk and climb the Jejawi Tower

— From aekommer

From the visitor centre, you can select two routes at Chek Jawa Wetlands: Coastal Loop or Mangrove Loop with platforms, pontoon, and shelters. Both routes take about 1.5 hours.

Educational panels and signs along the way showcase info about the wetlands’ biodiversity. 

During your journey, ascend the 21-metre Jejawi Tower, offering a bird’s-eye view of the canopy and diverse wildlife. The tower is named after the adjacent native Malayan banyan tree.

Visit the Pulau Ubin Quarries

— From mercurialzzu

Pulau Ubin boasts six quarries: Balai, Kekek, Ketam, Pekan, Petai, and Ubin. Once mined to around 40 m depth, they’ve transformed into viewpoints and biodiversity habitats. 

All quarries are now inactive.

Have a peaceful stroll near the Sensory Trail Pond

— From camera_plus_lens

You can have a nice stroll along the Sensory Trail Pond to reach the village-style Sensory Trail Garden. Observe how the ponds have been transformed into habitats for wildlife, including birds, insects, and aquatic life.

The Sensory Trail Garden allows visitors to experience the atmosphere of a traditional village home through backyard-style planting, showcasing a variety of plant species.

NParks collaborated with Ngee Ann Polytechnic students for habitat enhancement at the four combined ponds, creating a single waterbody. Students designed and planted fauna like waterhens, herons, kingfishers, dragonflies, and more.

Relax at the Ubin Fruit Orchard

— From dmlglobal

Next, visit the Ubin Fruit Orchard, a highlight of NParks’ Rustic Reflections Tour every third Saturday. Located on Jalan Ubin, it’s Singapore’s first arboretum for fruit trees. 

You can discover and learn about a variety of fruit trees, including durian, rambutan, and starfruit, which were commonly planted in kampungs (traditional villages).

Formerly a resident’s orchard, the one-hectare site showcases around 350 kampung-style fruit trees, including rambutan and starfruit, presenting over 30 species.

Practice sustainability at the Ubin Living Lab

— From lotsovisits

Ubin Living Lab (ULL) spans 2.1 hectares on Pulau Ubin’s former Celestial Resort site. Launched in November 2016, ULL facilitates research, field studies, environmental education, and community outreach. 

This is where you can take part in habitat restoration, wildlife monitoring, and other hands-on conservation activities to contribute to the island’s preservation. 

You can also participate in educational programmes and workshops that focus on nature, ecology, and sustainable practices!

The building’s design emerged from collective input gathered since 2014. The Main Block contains a field studies lab, meeting rooms, seminar spaces, two dormitories, an NParks office, and a first-aid room for visitor support.

Cycle on the Ketam Mountain Bike Path

— From audreylimpereira

For thrill-seekers and adventurous bikers, the Ketam Mountain Bike Path awaits to the west. This 10-kilometre trail presents daring slopes and rocky descents, a true challenge even for experienced enthusiasts.

Ketam Mountain Bike Park offers three tracks with varying International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) ratings:

  • Blue Square for beginners, featuring steep slopes and narrow tracks
  • Black Diamond for intermediate cyclists, featuring step climbs, drop-offs, challenges
  • Double Black Diamond for advanced cyclists, featuring extra steep climbs, sharp corners, and tricky obstacles

Cyclists are advised to rent helmets from Ubin’s bicycle shops or bring their own. In steeper slope zones, signs prompt cyclists to dismount and walk for safety.

Go fishing

— From travel_and_catch

Raring to bring your favourite fishing rod to the island? Angling enthusiasts can enjoy fishing on Pulau Ubin, but remember that fishing is not allowed in any of the island’s quarries.

Always choose secluded spots away from people and activities and maintain a respectful distance from other park users. You can show your respect for nature by cleaning up your area, including lines and hooks.


— From pulauubincleanup

Seeking a unique and rewarding experience? The Ubin Volunteer Programme invites you to contribute your skills and time to nurture its natural heritage. 

Consider joining as a volunteer, whether you’re interested in guiding, restoring habitats, researching wildlife, gardening, photography, design, and more. 

Please be aware that NParks Conservation volunteers must attend an orientation to understand their work and how you can contribute effectively.

Learn about the park’s heritage

— From scindiakarthik

Join a 2-hour, 2.2-km walk through Ubin’s natural and cultural heritage. Each tour costs S$60 (maximum of 15 people per group).

Starting at the Ubin Volunteer Hub, the trail covers spice trees near Jelutong campsite, Butterfly Hill, Pekan Quarry, Sensory Trail Ponds, Kampong House, Old Bin Kiang School site, Toa Pek Kong Temple, and lastly, the Wayang Stage. 

Learn about spice use, historical sites, and island trivia. Discover the Ubin Volunteer Hub’s 1970s role and Tua Pek Kong Temple’s construction date. 

It’s the perfect introduction to the island’s heritage.

Where to Eat

Encik Hassan’s Shop

— From 5_au_bout_du_monde

Address: Right next to Ubin Jetty

Hours: Open for weekend breakfast, lunch, and dinner 

Pricing: $

Exit Ubin Jetty, and on your left, you’ll find Encik Hassan’s eatery, serving for over 30 years. Although it closed after Encik Ali’s passing, it reopened in 2017, preserving his legacy.

It serves authentic Malay fare including mee rebus, mee siam, and nasi lemak, all lovingly prepared in-house.

Melah Cafe  

— From jasonxllow

Address: 9 Pulau Ubin, Singapore 506808

Hours: Weekends, 6.30 AM – 3 PM

Pricing: $

Don’t miss Melah Cafe’s heavenly lontong, available only Sundays and sells out before 11 AM! Homemade mee rebus, mee siam, and nasi lemak are just like how a Malay mom would make them—with love and from scratch! 

Cheong Lian Yuen

— From one_plain_breath

Address: 20 Pulau Ubin, Singapore 508275

Phone: +65 6542 1147

Pricing: $$


If you’re craving traditional Chinese fare and fresh seafood while on the island, you won’t be disappointed.

Upon entering Ubin, you can spot Cheong Lian Yuen which offers seafood by the beach. It serves zhi-char, garlic-fried prawns, and the unique must-have garlic fried sweet potato leaves.

Sin Lam Huat

— From hal091065

Address: 40 Pulau Ubin, Singapore 508291

Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 5 PM

Pricing: $

Across from the Wayang stage, Sin Nam Huat offers seafood and traditional kopi (coffee) and teh (tea). The restaurant is adorned with Ubin history snapshots on the walls and is managed by two sisters.

We recommend trying the fried squid, fried noodles, and Kampong chicken at this eatery!

Season Live Seafood Restaurant

— From 703w33

Address: 59E Pulau Ubin, Singapore 508309

Hours: Mondays and Wednesday to Friday, 10 AM – 6 PM; weekends, 10 AM – 6.30 PM

Phone: +65 6542 7627

Pricing: $

En route to Ubin Volunteer Hub, you’ll find the Season Live Seafood Restaurant, featuring al fresco dining with a sea view of mainland Singapore.

Its specialities include dishes like drunken prawn, battered squid rings, and deep fried mango fish.

Provision Fruit and Drink Stores

— From kfganyougy

Address: 49 Jln Endut Senin, Singapore 508296

Phone: +65 6214 0772

Pricing: $

The Ubin Village Centre shops offer snacks, drinks, and desserts like chendol, ice kacang, and ice cream. Look for ad hoc sales of seasonal fruits like durian, rambutan, mangosteens, and chempedak at provision stores.

Ah Ma Drink Stall

— From stylediarylis

Address: Jln Jelutong, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Hours: Daily, 9 AM – 4 PM

Phone: +65 9346 7438

Pricing: $

Located near Jelutong Bridge, Ah Ma Drink Stall is overseen by Madam Ong Ang Kui and her daughter. An Ubin native, Ong tends to over 90 durian trees planted by her late husband and offers drinks and fruit from these trees at her stall.

Sip on fresh coconut juice, bottled water, or canned soft drinks to rehydrate after all that walking.

Personal Outdoor Cookouts and Picnics

— From ms.bratinelaa

Of course, you can cook your own food and have a picnic if you’re planning to stay a bit longer in Pulau Ubin. Designated cooking areas include

  • Ubin Multi-Purpose Hall: This facility provides cooking amenities and a covered area for groups to prepare meals.
  • Ubin Volunteer Hub: The hub features a designated cooking area where visitors can cook their meals in a communal setting.
  • Camp Sites: Some camping sites on Pulau Ubin have designated spots for outdoor cooking. Check with the respective campsite authorities for guidelines.

While camping, avoid open fires to prevent risks to you, your belongings, and public property. Properly discard litter to deter unwanted wildlife like wild boar, monkeys, and insects from gathering.

Where to Stay

While most would consider Pulau Ubin a day trip, others like the idea of staying overnight on the island. Camping on Pulau Ubin offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and relish the island’s serene ambience.

For overnight stays on this charming island, camping sites are available throughout. 

Jelutong campsite is a brief 6-minute walk west from the jetty, while more daring explorers can opt for the Maman campsite to the northeast or Endut Senin beach to the west.

What to Bring to Pulau Ubin

Here’s a handy checklist of items you can bring on your next Pulau Ubin trip:

  • Cash since there are no ATMs on the island and the vendors only transact the old-fashioned way
  • Mosquito repellent to protect your skin, especially on the nature trails
  • Sunblock or sunscreen since you’ll likely be exploring when the sun is out
  • An umbrella or raingear since the weather in Singapore can be sunny one moment and rainy the next
  • Comfortable clothes like hiking boots or running shoes and moisture-wicking shirts and bottoms
  • Fishing gear if you plan to go fishing
  • Cycling gear if you plan to go biking
  • Your sense of adventure and wonder!