Synopsis
Stepping back in time starts with the bumboat ride across. A beautiful laid-back island with rubber plantations, abandoned granite quarries, small farms, including prawn farms, and scattered wooden houses.

A quick way to see the island is to take a local taxi-cum-guide. A more thorough and enjoyable way is to cycle around the island - you can hire bicycles cheaply.

How much time you will need: 2 to 5 hours.

What we thought of it: Worth a visit if you love rustic life; want to see what Singapore looked like in the 1960s; love cycling through tropical surroundings or have some extra time to spare.
Address & Contact Information
Addr: Pulau Ubin, Singapore

Tel: (65) 6542 4108
(National Parks Management Office)
To See & To Do
Bazaars and Street Markets
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Historical
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Short Trips From Singapore
Nature Related Attractions
Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom
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Chinese Garden
East Coast Park Beach
Japanese Garden
Jurong BirdPark
Labrador Nature Reserve
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Pulau Ubin
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Page Information
Page created on 12 Nov 2007
Page last modified on 16 Aug 2011

Review
Pulau Ubin (Granite Island) is a small island east of Singapore. A nature-lover’s haunt, it is laid-back and a reflection of the yester-year of mainland Singapore. You will experience this even on the boat-ride across. Do look out for floating fish farms just as you arrive on Pulau Ubin.
On the island, you can walk, rent a bicycle or hire a local taxi-cum-guide to go round the island. There are not many roads on Pulau Ubin - three main routes with two of them heading north before one branches out to the northeast whilst the last one heads west. The best is to cycle so you can cover more ground and enjoy the nature at the same time.
Kids love the cycling through rubber plantations and gentle dirt tracks. The roads are generally safe as there are not many cars on the island though you should always keep to the side when you stop to rest. There are also shelters and drink-stops scattered throughout the island to take a break.
A must-see is the inter-tidal flat with plenty of wildlife, Chek Jawa, which consists of six different eco-systems in one small area: coastal hill forest, mangroves, rocky shore and sand bar, seagrass lagoon, and coral rubble area. Leave your bike at the Punai Hut and take a short walk to the Visitor Centre. From there, you can walk around the coast and through the mangrove quite comfortably on the boardwalk without hurting the fragile eco-systems.
Formerly a major granite quarrying location, there are relics of old quarries found around the island. Scenic as they may be, they are dangerous with unstable rock terrains and deep waters and should most definitely be avoided. Most are fenced up but you can still enjoy the view from behind the fence.
Evidences of other past industries such as the rubber plantations, prawn farms and fruit orchards can also be found around island. Some farms are still lived-in though only at a subsistence level. One such farm, that is also a drink-stop, is found close to Mamam Beach. You'll get to see and feel the authentic life of the 60s - toilet over the river, fruit and vegetable plantation for livelihood and a wild boar as a pet. Apparently the wild boar responds if called by name!
On return, do stop by the main village, where the bicycle shops are, and have a tasty local seafood meal before taking the boat back to Changi. Try some local fruit too - they would have been grown on the island.

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Tips
  • Make sure you have sufficient time to visit Pulau Ubin. The boat will only run when there are 12 passengers. On weekends, there are plenty of visitors coming and going. However, on weekdays, the wait is a little longer. Alternatively, you can choose to charter the entire boat by paying the equivalent fare for 12 passengers.
  • Make the NParks Information kiosk near the jetty your first stop to pick up a map of the island.
  • If you decide to hire the local taxi/van drivers, make sure you negotiate the price, the number of places he's taking you and the flexibility to stop at places to walk around. By the way, taxis on Pulau Ubin are mainly mini-vans, and are not as grand as those in mainland Singapore.
  • There a number of bicycle rental shops - take your time to check them out. Make sure you choose a bike with good brakes and gears as the terrain can be a little hilly.
  • If you visiting Chek Jawa for the marine wildlife, check the times for low tide before coming. You will get to see more at low spring tides.
Things to Bring
If you want to stop for a dip in the sea, bring swim-wear and a towel. There are public toilets at Noordin Beach and Mamam Beach (both up north).

Food is only available at the main village. So if you want to spend more time exploring the island, you should bring some food with you. However, with Singapore's hot weather, you should only pack dry snacks or food that won't spoil in the heat.

You can buy cold can drinks or fresh coconuts at some of the scattered houses or wooden shelters, though it is useful to bring along drinking water.

Bring along a mosquito repellant as certain spots do tend to have mosquitoes, especially after a rainfall.

Opening Times
Opening times: Bumboats operate from sunrise to sunset. The NParks Information kiosk is open from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Best time to go: Morning - when the air is fresh and cool.

Admission Fees
Free

How to Get There
• You have to get to Changi Village first:

By Taxi - All taxi drivers know Changi Village. This is the fastest and easiest way to get there. Tell them to let you alight at the jetty for Pulau Ubin.

By MRT - Alight at Tanah Merah MRT Station on the East-West line. Take SBS bus 2 to Changi Village bus interchange and walk towards the car park. The jetty for Pulau Ubin is next to the car park.

Alternatively, alight at Tampines MRT Station on the East-West line. Go to Tampines Interchange and take SBS bus 29 to Changi Village bus interchange.

• From Changi Village, it is a 15-minute bumboat ride to Pulau Ubin (cost: $2 per person).

Attractions Around Changi
Changi Beach Changi Museum
Changi Village and Boardwalk Johore Battery
Pulau Ubin Singapore Airshow
Location Map