Singapore is constantly changing and new development projects are popping up rapidly every year. It’s becoming more difficult to locate a slice of what Singapore used to be like in the old days.
Pulau Ubin, is exactly that, it hasn’t changed its ways since Singapore become a nation and it feels like your going back into Singapore’s deep past. This makes Pulau Ubin a must see on your next visit to Singapore, just to get a glimpse of the old times.
How to get to Pulau Ubin
It’s extremely easy to reach Pulau Ubin and will take you around one hour from the city center of Singapore to reach the island. This makes Pulau Ubin a perfect day trip if you plan to spend more than 24 hours in Singapore.
To reach Pulau Ubin, head to Tampines or Pasir Ris on the green MRT line, they are closely located to the Changi airport MRT station.
From here, grab a bus to Changi village, from Pasir Ris, take bus number 109, (Will say Changi village in front), then you’re on the correct bus.
Changi village is where you will find Changi point ferry terminal and Changi village food court.
For SG$2.50 (around £1.25) you can wait at the Changi point ferry terminal, for a bumboat (Yes thats what they are called!) to take you to the island of Pulau Ubin. Simply follow the signs and pay on the boat, you will have to wait for 12 other passengers to fill up the boat, but this happens rather frequently, you won’t be waiting very long.
Explore Pulau Ubin
Once your bumboat has reached the island, welcome to Palau Ubin! Spend some time Walking around the main square, soak it all in and get a feel for the old school style of Pulau Ubin’s miniature port town.
Pulau Ubin only has a handful of restaurants located on the island, you can try some fresh seafood next to the jetty, but apart from that, you’re limited to choice compared to Changi village hawker market (More info at the bottom of the post).
Renting a bike in Pulau Ubin
To explore the island this is best done on a bike, to find the best bike hire on the island, avoid renting a bike close to the jetty. They normally are the rental bikes which are most frequently used and most expensive.
(Many places in Pulau Ubin to rent bikes, located within walking distance to the jetty)
Walk through all the hassle just off the jetty, take a left through the village and walk to the end, here you will find the best quality bikes at the most affordable price, worth the little 2 minute walk.
I paid SG$10 for 24 hours, no ID or deposit needed (its a very local place). The guy was very smiley! Easy to spot him and his bike shop!
Pick up a free Pulau Ubin map
(Remember to pick up a free map from the national parks tourist information centre)
Once you have your bike, just around the corner is a tourist information center where you can pick up a free map to navigate around the island. Handy to have in your pocket in case you get lost, you can return the map along with your bike at the end so it can be used by another visitor.
Camping in Pulau Ubin is free
Did I mention camping is free in Pulau Ubin? Yes! All you have to do is bring a tent and register at the police station, located on the right of the jetty, easy! Great way to save on accommodation in Singapore if you don’t mind the hour commute to Singapore city center.
Many campsites on the island too, easy to find with a map or by following the signposts.
Explore: Chek Jawa Wetlands
One thing you must do in Pulau Ubin is cycle to the Mangrove area located along the newly developed Chek Jawa Wetland Jetty. Directions are easily sign posted, it’s difficult to get lost. Once you reached Chek Jawa, park up your bike, walk around the new developments Jetty area and explore the mangrove’s.
If you happen to be on the island around 12:00-13:00pm, this Is the best time to explore the mangrove wildlife whilst the tide is low (varies every season), simply head to the promenade and walk around at a leisurely pace, you will also find an information counter here for more information.
You can also explore an old colonial residency On the island of Pulau Ubin, which looks completely out of place as it has a Tudor design. Here you will find the only fire place to be found in Singapore (a fireplace? What were they thinking?).
(Now its job is to house one of the islands few vending machine’s)
It’s funny to see as its perfectly located on the island and you have to question if it really was a working post or simply a holiday residency for the elite. Well, it seems to have worked and now it plays host to one of the islands few vending machines for a light refreshment, funny how things turn out.
Cycle around and get lost
The rest of the island is easily connected with cycle paths, the best tip I can give is to cycle around and get lost, fun way to explore Pulau Ubin, and craft your own adventure, it’s easy to do as all the road network together.
Don’t forget to chat with the friendly locals and ask for directions, they are very interested by all the visitors to their island. It’s a stunning tropical island and you can spend a good half day/full day depending on your cycling level ability and how well you can handle the heat.
Enjoy a coconut with Mr Sol
For refreshments along Pulau Ubin’s cycling route, if you happen to spot Mr Sol hanging around his pickup truck, be sure to stop off for the best coconut and conversation in town! He changes location around Pulau Ubin, if you spot him, say hi from Travel Dave! I admire his simple island life and his little coconut business, top guy!
Once you have explored the stunning island of Pulau Ubin, simply return to the jetty, drop off your bike and grab a tugboat Back to the island of Singapore.
Changi village hawker is a must visit
Be sure to stop off at Changi village hawker center on the way back, it’s one of my favorite Hawker spots in Singapore with a wide selection of local Singaporean fusion dishes worth trying.
Make the most out of this unique opportunity. Arrange to have your Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner here, too good to miss! Travel Tip: The most popular dish to try at Changi village hawker is the Nasi Lemak.
Looking for a place to stay in Singapore? Check out these luxury Singapore Airbnb spots at affordable prices you should totally check out.
Enjoy your trip and be sure to have an adventure exploring the old style traditional version of what Singaporean life used to be like on the island of Pulau Ubin.
Thank you for reading my blog post, if you would like to ask any questions or share further useful tips with other travellers about Pulau Ubin, feel free to post below in the comment section, thank you.