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Have you ever dreamt of getting up close and personal with wild sea creatures like horseshoe crabs and mud lobsters? All that may seem impossible in an urban jungle like Singapore, but you only need to know where to look. Find some much-needed break from the hustle and bustle right off the north-eastern coast of Singapore: Pulau Ubin, which is also part of the Changi Precinct.
That’s right. This island is a paradise for nature lovers and a popular haunt among day-trippers. Besides offering a window into Singapore’s yesteryears, it’s also home to a diverse ecosystem teeming with greenery and wildlife. With few buildings in sight, it’s an offshore enclave steeped in old-school kampung vibes.
In this article, we’ve rounded up some of the best things to do in Pulau Ubin — be sure to read on before you step on the ferry!
Fun-filled outdoor activities for nature lovers
1. Chek Jawa Wetlands
If you’d like to learn more about the island’s rich ecosystems, simply head to the East end of Pulau Ubin to explore the Chek Jawa Wetlands. Having said that, this wetland is located a distance away from the main jetty. Rather than cycling or walking, consider switching up your mode of transport by hiring a van service instead!
Easily spotted near the main jetty where visitors disembark, these vans help transport you to the wetlands in a jiffy; in no more than 15 minutes. Fitting up to 6 passengers, rides are priced at S$12 for a one-way trip, and S$24 for a return trip.
While there, you’ll find a 1.1 km long boardwalk that runs along the coast and mangrove area; ideal for a walk as you gaze down at both plant and marine life. It comprises six natural habitats — namely the sandy beach, rocky beach, seagrass lagoon, coral rubble, mangroves and coastal forest. This is also a popular spot for guided tidal walks and picnics, so it’s likely that you’ll come across people soaking in the tranquil atmosphere over some packed lunch.
To catch a view of your surroundings from up high, climb the nearby 20-metre tall Jejawi Tower for a chance to spot rare birds like the colourful Collared Kingfisher and Straw-headed Bulbul that typically lurk on high trees. Make sure to have a pair of binoculars in hand!
A trip to Chek Jawa is a great way to teach children about the importance of nature. For those on the hunt for unique family activities, do search up any coastal cleanups that could be occurring at your time of visit. You know what they say when it comes to keeping coasts litter-free: every bit of effort counts!
2. Puaka Hill
What’s a trip to Pulau Ubin without an IG-worthy photo? To get to the best (and most popular) photo spot on the island, you’d first have to power through some rocky terrains and thick growths of wild ferns by hiking up Puaka Hill, and of course, with a trusty monopod. Be sure to be well-prepared with the required sporting accessories and equipment like water bottles and water-resistant cases.
Start your journey by walking west along Jalan Jelutong road, and stay on the left even after it branches off into two roads. You’ll come across Jelutong Bridge, a temple and a small lookout — but don’t be fooled by the false summit just yet. Continue trekking on the trail till you reach a wider view.
At 74m tall, the hike might leave you panting for a bit. But you’d be richly rewarded with a vast view of an old granite quarry and waters of the deepest blues, making it one of the best trekking places in Singapore. On a clear day, you’d even catch sight of Changi Airport and the towering buildings of Singapore’s business district from the vantage point. It’s known to be the highest point of Pulau Ubin, after all.
True explorers will know this to be true too — it’s not always about the destination, but the journey. Keep your eyes peeled on unique sightings while making your way to the top.
Some must-see sights during the ascent: a majestic Banyan tree and a Butterfly Hill within Jelutong Campsite.
Heart-pumping adventures for thrill-seekers
3. Kayak through the mangroves
For those in search of more exhilarating activities, consider hopping on a mangrove kayaking adventure! It might seem unnerving (especially for beginners), but rest assured that you’ll be in good hands even when embarking as a family with young adventure seekers.
An experienced guide will help navigate you through the deep waterways whilst sharing precious information about the island’s rich history. The calm waters of the mangroves will greet you with immediate serenity, and you’d even get to observe rustic houses, come across local villagers and discover diverse wildlife as you paddle down the stream.
Pay close attention to the calls of cicadas and spot mudskippers (even wild boars and otters if you’re lucky). Truth be told, you’re likely to get splashed at some point while kayaking; so it’s best to be decked in covered shoes and pack an extra set of clothes. Swap out the usual shopping trip this weekend for nature-inspired family activities.
These expeditions are suitable for novices and are priced from S$98 per pax.
4. Ketam Mountain Bike Park
Not much of a water sports person? Rejoice in knowing that Pulau Ubin’s Ketam Mountain Bike Park is the first bike park to be built according to International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) standards! Cycling in Singapore can be tough, but this is nothing like the city’s flat concrete pavements.
Located west of the island around the fringe of Ketam Quarry, bike trails found in this bike park boasts race-grade features — anything from technical climbs to rock descents that are sure to thrill even the most seasoned two-wheeled riders.
City-dwellers, here’s your chance to ride off the beaten path. Comprising three grades (the Blue Square, Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond), these trails offer different intensities. The start may seem fairly easy with flat, single tracks that cut through lalang fields (best for beginners), but it gets steeper along the way. You’d soon find dirt roads and rock-littered trails with steep uphills that require more balance and composure. Having all your valuables in a backpack will make the journey a whole lot easier!
Don’t worry, there will be plenty of opportunities for cyclists to stop and catch their breath whilst soaking in majestic views overlooking the quarry.
Delicious delicacies for the foodies at heart
5. Season Live Seafood
After all the exploration and calorie-burning activities, here’s where you can get fresh coconut juice to hydrate yourselves.
Season Live Seafood is a laid-back waterfront restaurant where diners get to savour classic dishes like chilli crab, sambal squid rings and cereal butter prawns with the waters off Ubin serving as a backdrop.
For the optimum dining experience, try getting a table near the water’s edge to enjoy a refreshing sea breeze. Like most zi char places and eateries on Pulau Ubin, Season Live Seafood is no-frills — simple decor, plastic chairs and no air-conditioning. Still, its biggest plus is its seaside location and nostalgic vibes.
Opening Hours: Monday, Wednesday to Friday — 8.30am to 5:30pm, Saturday and Sunday — 8.30am to 6:00pm
6. Melah Cafe
Located right by the jetty of Pulau Ubin, Melah Cafe is a quaint, Muslim-owned and Halal eatery. Don’t be fooled by its simple exteriors! Though the cafe may not be fancifully adorned, it still offers hearty meals of great quality.
Run by Nolelah, a former resident of Pulau Ubin, you’d find authentic and traditional Malay dishes like nasi lemak, mee siam, lontong and mee goreng. In fact, many visitors have dropped by for a taste of these homely dishes, made with recipes passed down by Nolelah’s mother.
Having said that, the eatery is only open during the weekends and Public Holidays—so bear that in mind should you plan to drop by!
Opening Hours: Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays — 6:30am to 4:30pm
Sometimes, all we need is an idyllic environment and some island hopping to get back to the swing of things. For weary souls running out of things to do in Singapore, a short trip out to Pulau Ubin does wonders to rejuvenate the senses!
If you’ve made it thus far, here’s some great news for you. Everyday Tour Company is now offering a 20% discount for all readers on their guided Pulau Ubin Tour! Use promo code CAGxETC when you book a tour for two person here.
This is a half-day tour, where you’ll get to explore Chek Jawa by foot and taxi-vans. It’s your chance to learn more about their mangrove ecosystem, flora & fauna, native animals, as well as local wild edibles and the communities of Pulau Ubin.
Tips while exploring Pulau Ubin
- Safety is of utmost importance when on an offshore island, and The Ubin Living Lab is available to provide first-aid to those who need it. Learn more here.
- Do remember to always wear a mask, except when engaged in strenuous exercises.
- In case of any emergency or accident, contact 995/999
- Police Hotline: 6375-0000
- National Parks Board Helpline: 1800-471-7300
How to get to Pulau Ubin:
Hop on a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (51 Lor Bekukong, Singapore 499172). The ride costs S$3 and takes approximately 10 minutes. Simply pay an additional $3 for those who prefer to bring their own bikes.
Singapore is no stranger to a vast number of places prime for a weekend of tranquility, especially with places in the east within the Changi Precinct. Cycling enthusiasts can look forward to exploring more of Singapore’s east side by going on the trails around Changi Precinct, which covers East Coast Park, Bedok, and the quaint Hub & Spoke café. If you’re looking for the next weekend activity, look no further!
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