It's adventure time! Here are six exciting things to do in Pulau Ubin to make the most of your day.
Want a day trip with a difference? It’s worth heading over to Pulau Ubin, a rustic island located just off the East Coast of Singapore. It’s home to Singapore’s last authentic kampung (village) and one of the most unique cultural experiences you can enjoy beyond the city. The bumboat ride is fun, the cycling is a good laugh, and there’s plenty of nature to see on the little island – plus, the whole shebang is affordable! Here’s what to do on your adventurous day out.
What to bring and how to get there
Two things you need in your arsenal of island necessities: sunscreen and insect repellent. The sun’s rays in non-forested areas can be seriously intense, so don’t skimp on the layers of sun protection for your face. You’ll want to spritz on insect repellent generously to stave off pesky mosquitoes, too. And, to relieve those bites, a tube of Mopiko or SuuBalm will come in handy.
The fun begins at Changi Village Ferry Terminal. Arrive early in the morning to avoid spending the bulk of your day under the scorching afternoon sun. A one-way trip to the island will cost you $4, and will only depart when 9 to 12 passengers are in line. There’s an additional cost of $2 if you bring a bicycle along. Want to skip the waiting? The ferryman will take your group for a fee of $48.
Things to do in Pulau Ubin
1. Go on a temple run
You’re not likely to miss the shrines and temples dotted across the island of Pulau Ubin. A popular one that most come to visit is the German Girl’s shrine on the southern coast. The story goes that it was established in 1914, after a German girl fell off a cliff escaping from British soldiers.
Don’t forget to stop by Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple as well. It’s decorated in colourful, fluttering prayer flags, making it stand out from its spot amidst a sea of green trees. The main temple contains various religious statues including one of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. If you’re feeling brave, you can even explore the graveyards and gravestones of Pulau Ubin that are shrouded in vegetation. Be warned that there have been plenty of ghostly sightings on this little island, though…
2. Hit the waters on a kayak
For a unique way to experience Pulau Ubin’s rugged terrains, hit the waters on a kayak. Choose from three expeditions organised by Adventures: the beginner-friendly Mangrove Kayaking is perfect for wildlife-seeking adventure junkies, while Ubin Bisect Kayaking takes you on a challenging 8.27km trail from one end of the island to the other. But for a real workout, hit the open seas with Round Ketam Kayaking. It’s an adrenaline-pumping journey that’ll take you around Ketam Island while learning better paddling techniques.
3. Go on two-wheeled adventures
Unlike the biking trails of Singapore’s well-manicured paths, cycling in Pulau Ubin is a real adventure. Rent from one of the bike shops in the village and follow the signs to the main attraction: Chek Jawa. Make sure your phone and portable charger are fully juiced up – there are plenty of scenic ponds, paths, quarries and kampung houses for you to photograph along the way.
If it’s an adrenaline-pumping adventure you seek, go on the physically challenging Ubin Bike Trail Adventure. You’ll be pushing your legs and glutes to the limit thanks to steep uphill paths. But the speedy downhill slopes, wildlife spotting, quarry views and hidden scenic spots are worth the week-long ache.
4. Explore the island on foot
Lace up those hiking shoes ’cause there’s plenty to see. Take a 40-minute walk to Chek Jawa Wetlands, where you’ll be greeted by gorgeous sea views, a natural rocky shore and a mangrove swamp at the end of a boardwalk. Something else hikers should strike off the bucket list: Puaka Hill, the highest peak of Pulau Ubin. Be careful, as the trail is steep (especially when you’re going downhill). But the peak will grant you breathtaking quarry views and even distant CBD views of Singapore.
5. Surround yourself with nature
Prefer immersing yourself in the island’s impressive natural landscapes? Learn about Ubin’s native plants, fruit trees and herbs at the Sensory Trail or see rare species of butterflies at Butterfly Hill. Alternatively, go birdwatching at Pekan Quarry, which is home to a variety of feathered creatures including hornbills, herons, egrets and sunbirds.
6. Go camping
If detaching yourself from urban life is the goal, a night on Ubin’s shores should do the trick. While you don’t need a permit, be sure to inform Pulau Ubin Police Post so they’ll look out for you. Note that camping is only permitted on Jelutong, Mamam Beach or Endut Senin campsites. Strict guidelines apply as Ubin’s untouched environment is precious – these may include no campfires, littering, tying ropes or tent lines to the trees, or cutting off branches.
So, what are you waiting for? Hop on a ferry to Pulau Ubin and begin your adventure!