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Guide To Pulau Ubin: 6 Lesser-Known Things To Do On Singapore's Rustic 'Kampong' Island

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Faruq Senin  •  Oct 14, 2020

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[Updated: 16 June 2021] Singapore's Phase 2 has led us to uncover more of what the country has to offer. From pristine beaches to the only hot spring in Singapore, its last kampong and more, who knew there were so many hidden gems in Singapore? One place that's a world away from the bustling city is Pulau Ubin! Many of you might have visited Pulau Ubin for school camps or the Outward Bound School (OBS). Some of you may have also gone cycling or hiking on the island. But there's more to this rustic island than meets the eye. If you're planning to rediscover Pulau Ubin, we've done up this guide just for you 🤗 Here are 6 lesser-known things to do on Pulau Ubin that you should try this 2021!

How to get to Pulau Ubin

Credit: Dannis Cee on Facebook If you're new to Pulau Ubin or perhaps need a refresher on how to get there, we've got you covered. Make your way to Changi Point Ferry Terminal at Changi Village and catch a bumboat to Pulau Ubin. The ride is about 15 minutes and costs $4 per person one-way ($6 if you're bringing your own bicycle). There is no specific schedule for the bumboats and they will leave for Pulau Ubin once there are 9 to 12 passengers. The bumboats generally run from 6AM-7PM but it's best to head over earlier in the day. 

Lesser-known things to do on Pulau Ubin

1. Sign up for tours to find out more about life in a kampong

Credit: Kirby Wong on Facebook Besides being a spot for cycling and hiking, Pulau Ubin also has a small number of villagers who still call the island home. The next time you're there, why not find out more about life in a kampong by going on one of the two tours organised by NParks? The Rustic Reflections Tour will bring you to Pulau Ubin's former headman's house and Kampong Melayu as well as to a rubber plantation, a restored Chinese kampong house and more. The Kampong Tour will bring you to a quarry, various nature trails, an old school site and heritage spots and an old kampong house. Both tours last about 2 hours and are available every third Saturday of the month from 9.30am to 11.30am. Find out more about the tours here!  P.S. Love exploring new places? Check out these 5 hidden hiking trails in Singapore.

2. Go mangrove kayaking

Credit: Embassy of Finland in Singapore on Facebook If you're looking for an adventure amidst nature and wildlife, sign up for a mangrove kayaking session with Adventures by Asian Detours. The 4-hour adventure will introduce you to Pulau Ubin's scenic mangroves, led by an Expedition Leader who will tell you more about the natural formations. It's beginner-friendly too as the waters are very still. The best part is that you can hop on a tandem kayak with your friends or family! Adventures by Asian Detours also has other tours that let you explore Ubin's flora and fauna such as Ubin Bisect Kayaking, Round Ketam Kayaking, Ubin Bike Trail and more. Check out the tour here. P.S. Check out these 9 outdoor activities that are perfect for everyone!

3. Uncover tropical fruit trees at Ubin Fruit Orchard

Credit: Wang Pu Paulus on Facebook Once a fruit orchard belonging to a resident, the Ubin Fruit Orchard has around 30 species of trees and 350 fruit trees that are commonly found in a kampong. You can find all sorts of fruit trees here like rambutan, lychee, chiku, starfruit and more! Directions: Getting here is pretty straightforward - follow Jalan Ubin past the Sensory Trail and Teck Seng's Place and you'll spot the Ubin Fruit Orchard signboard.

4. Go off the beaten path at Sensory Trail

To truly immerse yourself in Pulau Ubin's nature, go off the beaten path at the Sensory Trail. The walk will take you about 1 hour and you'll get to experience Pulau Ubin's "backyard", where there are papaya and banana trees among others. There are also various vegetables, spices and herbs that the local villagers used to plant back in the day. Go off track and you'll get to meet a quiet beach too! Directions: Start from the trail beside the Pulau Ubin Police Coast Guard or opposite Teck Seng's Place along Jalan Ubin.

5. Get your adrenaline fix at Ketam Mountain Bike Park

If the regular cycling trails in Ubin don't excite you, then get your fix of adrenaline at the Ketam Mountain Bike Park ! This is the first cycling trail in Singapore to meet international standards for mountain biking competitions. There are three tracks to choose from here and they cater to both leisure and pro-cyclists 🤗 You'll also get a chance to admire the scenic Ketam Quarry here! 

6. Visit a restored Chinese kampong house

Credit: Alvin Pfeiffer on Facebook When walking or cycling along Jalan Ubin, you'll be able to spot a restored Chinese kampong house by its blue and yellow exterior as well as Chinese lanterns. Teck Seng's Place was once owned by a provision shop owner till 2005 and now, it's been conserved as a model Chinese kampong house. The house is open every 2nd and 4th weekend of the month and public holidays (10AM-2PM) and you can have a peek into how kampong life was like back then.

If it's your first time in Pulau Ubin...

First time in Pulau Ubin? Not to worry! You can choose to hike or cycle your way through the island. At the main village, you'll find several bicycle rental shops so just choose one that suits you best. Remember to bring some cash before you leave mainland Singapore. For first-timers, we recommend following the main trails that you can find on the Pulau Ubin website or Google Maps. You'd also want to head over to some of these must-see spots on the island:

Chek Jawa Wetlands

 Make your way to Chek Jawa Wetlands and discover the rich marine wildlife there. Here's where 6 major ecosystems meet! Go on the boardwalk to witness the biodiversity of the area and make your way up the 7-storey high Jejawi Tower for a stunning panoramic view. Find out more here. Opening hours: 8.30AM-6PM

Puaka Hill

For an adrenaline rush, hike up Ubin’s tallest hill, Puaka, and you'll be greeted with a breathtaking view at the top, which overlooks the Ubin quarry 😍 The route here is beginner-friendly and it takes around 10 minutes to reach the top. Directions: Enter Puaka Hill via Jalan Endut Senin. You'll pass by Puaka Hill Hut before you'll meet the trail to head up. Besides these two spots, don't miss out on a visit to Ah Ma Drink Stall and Warung Pak Ahmad too! These two stalls are iconic to Pulau Ubin and you'll be able to get some refreshing drinks to quench your thirst.

Halal food in Pulau Ubin

 There's a Muslim-owned eatery called Melah Cafe right next to the Pulau Ubin jetty which sells halal food like nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee siam and mee goreng. The eatery opens on weekends and closes quite early by around 4.30PM. So, if you're heading to Pulau Ubin on a weekday instead, check out our halal food guide to Changi Village! So, if you're planning a weekend out to uncover more of Singapore, set aside some time to explore Pulau Ubin's charms 😍