I was up bright and early ready for an adventure. Not wanting to waste time, I headed to Changi Point Ferry Terminal ferry terminal. There was a short wait before we boarded a bumboat. Let’s go.
Welcome to a hidden gem of Singapore – Pulau Ubin. Nestled off the northeastern coast, this idyllic island is a haven for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts alike. With its untouched beauty and rustic charm, Pulau Ubin offers an escape from the bustling city life, bringing you back in time to a simpler way of living.
Immerse yourself in the untamed wilderness as you explore the island’s lush forests, tranquil mangroves, and serene beaches. Whether you choose to cycle along the scenic trails, hike through the Chek Jawa Wetlands, or kayak through the tranquil waters, Pulau Ubin promises unforgettable experiences at every turn.
Discover a world rich in biodiversity as you encounter rare and endangered species, including the Oriental Pied Hornbill and the elusive wild boars. Uncover the island’s fascinating history, from its past as a granite quarry to its present-day status as a nature reserve. Interact with the friendly locals who still reside on the island, and savor traditional cuisine at the humble restaurants.
The history and culture of Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin holds a rich history that dates back centuries. Originally inhabited by a Malay fishing community, the island served as a source of granite for Singapore’s early development. The remnants of the granite quarries can still be seen today, adding a touch of industrial heritage to the island’s natural beauty.
I came across a disused quarry during my visit. The water was the most spectacular shade of blue, perhaps partially due to the granite that used to be mined in the area. Back in the 1960’s there were a few thousand settlers working on quarrying the granite; now there are only about a hundred villagers living on the island.
The island’s name, Pulau Ubin, translates to “Granite Island” in Malay, reflecting its historical significance. Despite its industrial past, Pulau Ubin has managed to preserve its natural landscapes and cultural heritage. The island is home to a small community of villagers who continue to live a simple and traditional way of life, offering visitors a glimpse into the past.
Getting to Pulau Ubin
To reach Pulau Ubin, take a short ferry ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The ferry, bumboats, operates daily from early morning until late afternoon, with regular departures every half an hour. The journey to the island takes approximately ten minutes, offering stunning views of the surrounding waters and the Singapore skyline in the distance.
Upon arrival, you’ll step foot onto a world untouched by modernization. Pulau Ubin is a car-free island, so the primary modes of transportation are bicycles and walking. Rent a bicycle at the jetty or bring your own to explore the island at your own pace.
Exploring the natural beauty of Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is a nature lover’s paradise, boasting a diverse range of ecosystems and breathtaking landscapes. The island is predominantly covered in lush forests, home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. Explore the well-maintained trails that crisscross the island, leading you through dense foliage and providing glimpses of the island’s hidden treasures.
One of the highlights of Pulau Ubin is the Chek Jawa Wetlands, a unique ecosystem teeming with marine life and mangrove forests. Take a guided tour or wander through the boardwalks to discover the rich biodiversity that calls this area home. Marvel at the vibrant coral reefs, spot rare birds, and learn about the importance of conservation efforts in preserving this fragile ecosystem.
Chek Jawa Visitor Centre
We were very surprised to see a brick building which was open to the public; The Chek Jawa Visitor Centre. It looked quite out of place and reminded us of home. Hardly surprising as we realised that it was modelled on a traditional Tudor style house of the 16th century. It was originally used as a resort home by British Chief Surveyor, Langdon Williams.
Wildlife and biodiversity on Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin is a sanctuary for wildlife, with numerous species finding refuge in its protected habitats. Keep your eyes peeled for the Oriental Pied Hornbill, a majestic bird with a distinctive black and white plumage. These beautiful creatures can often be spotted perched on treetops or flying overhead, their melodious calls echoing through the forest.
Another iconic resident of Pulau Ubin is the wild boar. These elusive creatures roam the island freely, often seen foraging for food in the undergrowth. While they may appear intimidating, it’s important to observe them from a distance and not to feed or provoke them.
Pulau Ubin Island is known for its population of monkeys, Macaques. They monkeys can be found roaming freely throughout the island, often seen near the main village and along popular trails. It is important to exercise caution and avoid feeding or approaching these monkeys.
Activities and attractions on Pulau Ubin
Beyond its natural beauty, Pulau Ubin offers a range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Embark on a kayaking adventure and paddle through the calm waters surrounding the island, exploring hidden coves and mangrove forests. Alternatively, try your hand at fishing or crabbing, learning traditional techniques from the locals.
For those seeking a more leisurely experience, take a leisurely stroll along the island’s picturesque beaches, such as the sandy shores of Ketam Beach or the rocky coastline of Noordin Beach. Bask in the tranquility of these pristine spots, far away from the crowds and noise of the city.
Dining and accommodations on Pulau Ubin
While Pulau Ubin may be a small island, it still offers a variety of dining options to satisfy your taste buds. Visit one of the local restaurants or food stalls to savor traditional Malay cuisine, such as nasi lemak or mee goreng. Indulge in fresh seafood dishes, including chili crab and black pepper prawns, caught by the island’s fishermen.
Accommodations on Pulau Ubin are limited, with only a handful of guesthouses and campsites available. For a truly immersive experience, consider spending a night under the stars at one of the campsites, surrounded by nature’s symphony. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping and the gentle rustling of leaves, rejuvenated by the island’s peaceful ambiance.
Tips for visiting Pulau Ubin
– Plan your visit during the weekdays to avoid crowds, as weekends tend to be busier with local and international tourists
– Take Cash. there are no ATM’s and they do not take credit cards on the island. There is no admission fee, nor opening or closing time, although the bumboats only run during daylight hours.
– Bring insect repellent and sunscreen, as you’ll be spending a significant amount of time outdoors.
– Dress comfortably in light and breathable clothing, suitable for the tropical climate.
– Pack water and snacks, as there are limited food and drink options on the island.
– Respect the island’s natural environment and wildlife by following designated trails and not disturbing the animals.
Sustainable tourism on Pulau Ubin
As an eco-conscious destination, Pulau Ubin places a strong emphasis on sustainable tourism. The island’s natural beauty and unique ecosystems are fragile, requiring careful preservation and conservation efforts. Visitors are encouraged to minimize their impact on the environment by practicing responsible tourism, such as picking up litter, refraining from damaging vegetation, and respecting wildlife habitats.
By supporting local businesses and engaging in eco-friendly activities, you contribute to the island’s sustainable development and help ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy its untouched beauty.
Pulau Ubin offers a truly unique and immersive experience for those seeking to reconnect with nature and indulge in the island’s rich cultural heritage. From its captivating history to its diverse wildlife and stunning landscapes, Pulau Ubin has something to offer every traveler.
Escape the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary on Pulau Ubin, where breathtaking scenery and heartwarming hospitality await. Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other – are you ready to explore the untold beauty of Singapore’s Pulau Ubin?