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Pulau Ubin is a living time capsule that makes a fantastic day trip for any visitor to Singapore.
A visit to Pulau Ubin island is worth it if you’ve ever wondered what life in Singapore looked like in the past. Prepare to step back in time and enjoy the 10 best things to do in Pulau Ubin.
Cutlure recommends heading to Pulau Ubin early in the morning when the temperatures are cooler, especially since the bumboat schedules are not fixed. To get to Pulau Ubin, you need to first get to the Changi Point Ferry Terminal (not to be confused with the Changi Ferry Terminal). Taking a taxi from the city centre will cost you about $40 SGD. Alternatively, you can take bus 2 or bus 9 from Tanah Merah which will take 45 minutes and cost $2 SGD per person.
Once you arrive at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, follow the signs to Pulau Ubin that direct you downstairs to a waiting area. There is no schedule for the bumboats – they just leave whenever there are 12 passengers ready to go.
The journey costs $3 SGD per ride, and lasts between 15 to 20 minutes.
Once you arrive on the island, turn left at the end of the pier to reach Pulau Town – where you can rent bikes, buy water and begin your adventure.
You can expect a mix of flat and rough terrains in Pulau Ubin, which is why a bicycle is the best option to navigate. With an area of just under four square miles, the island is the perfect place to explore in a day – full of gorgeous coastline and photogenic scenes to take in the fresh air. Bike rentals in Pulau Ubin are not as costly as mainland Singapore – just $7 – 10 gets you a decent mountain bike for the rest of the day. When riding do look out for wild animals, potholes or drains along the way to keep yourself safe.
The Chek Jawa wetlands are one of the main attractions of Pulau Ubin and home to a thriving ecosystem of the country’s largest collection of wildlife. To access Chek Jawa, you need to park your bicycle and travel by foot since the boardwalks are fragile and narrow. The wetlands mostly consist of mangroves, rocky shores and a sandy shore. During low tide, expect to see the small marine creatures like mudskippers, crabs and smaller fish. For a richer understanding of the wildlife in Check Jawa, join a guided walking tour and learn from the experts.
If you prefer exploring nature from a unique point of view, Culture Trip recommends renting a kayak and navigating your way through deep mangroves like a true adventurer. Offered by Adventures by Asian Detours, The expeditions are broken up into three main difficulty levels (and corresponding session times), costing between $79 and $95 SGD for adults. Together with your expedition leader, you can look forward to a fun and challenging adventure and discover first-hand how complex and beautiful Pulau Ubin’s mangroves are.
After a long adventure exploring Pulau Ubin, many people opt to spend the night under the stars. There are several designated camping spots on the island, alongside bigger hotels and resorts. There are no permits required to camp in Pulau Ubin, but be sure to have sufficient battery, food and water throughout to last you through the night. Sleeping in complete darkness surrounded by the sounds of birds and insects makes for a startling contrast to the dazzling lights of the city across the water.
With daily life getting more and more stressful every day, an afternoon of adventure in Pulau Ubin can serve as a welcoming break from the digital world. The island has a rustic charm and a tranquil demeanour that can be traced all the way back to Singapore’s origins as a fishing village. There are locals that live on the island and if you have the chance do speak to them to find out more about their lives – who knows, you might even uncover stories that even Singaporeans may not know.