Saturday, December 12, 2015

What and where is Pulau Ubin island in Singapore?


Pulau Ubin lake - mySGmyhome.com
A Pulau Ubin lake (former quarry)
You may have heard from friends, family or colleagues about a place called "Pulau Ubin".  So you're wondering what is Pulau Ubin and where is it?

What is Pulau Ubin island?

Well, it's an island. "Pulau" means "island in the Malay language.
It's an island of Singapore that is a 30 minute bumboat ferry ride from the main Singapore mainland. That's right, it is still in Singapore, so it's a place of santactury and a great place to let yourself be with nature.

It's actually of the  few little islands in Singapore that have been purposed for use as a nature island. As most of Singapore's islands (yes Singapore has more islands) are used for different purposes (e.g., leisure, military, chemical/ energy and waste). In this case, it's more the leisure and nature island so you'll find it is sometimes used for school camps, etc.
I generally find Pulau Ubin island to be great for the adventurous type of person. That is, those who keen to explore nature and bike/ walkways. If you're one of those  really adventurous and sportly types, it's a great place to test your biking/ cycling skills in some cycling and BMX tracks that they have on the island.

You can also discovering a new place on foot or riding around on a bicycle. You can bring your own bike or hire one there.


So how to get to Pulau Ubin island in Singapore? 

There is only one way to get there and that's by bumboats. Bumboats operate from Changi Point Ferry Terminal from about 6am until about  8-9pm. It really depends on the bumboat drivers but normally those are the typical operating hours. Here's my guide on how to get to these bumboats and to Pulau Ubin for more details.

What to do at Pulau Ubin, Singapore?

Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com

Follow any of the many walking/ cycling trails

There are trails in all directions at Pulau Ubin island. With the key directions being towards the east, west and north, with most people heading westwards towards a wetland called, "Chek Jawa Wetlands". There's a diamond cycling track and a bunch of other cool tracks depending on your cycling appetite. 

Pulau Ubin Maps/ trails:

Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com
Pulau Ubin map from Singapore National Parks


Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com
Chek Jawa Wetlands boardwalk

Check out Chek Jawa Wetlands, Pulau Ubin, Singapore

The pathway there is flat at first, but do expect some steep hills up and down and to walk at times. When you do reach the main area before the wetlands entry you'll feel relieved and pleased, and may even play witness to a few wild hogs grunting about. The trail towards Chek Jawa is made of bitumen, while others are rougher pathways.
The Chek Jawa Wetlands park is only open from 8:30am to 6:00pm. It's the typical "must see", "must do" part of the island. You'll see a cool little cottage musuem there and boardwalks and the like.
Please also note that there is a bicycle bay where you'll need to park your bicycle. It's normally quite safe (as there is only one way off the island, i.e., via bumboat..) but just note where you have parked your bicycle for later.

Check out the wild boars (seasonal)

You may also see some wild boars as I did - see quick video below and also here.  You may not see them, but if you're lucky enough to see them, it's quite interesting to see. Something different from mainland Singapore.


Hire a bicycle at Pulau Island, Singapore

When you arrive there are a few bicycle stores you can hire bicycles from. There are normal push bicycles and a dual seat bicycle (with two seats for two people). Prices range from $8-10 for a bicycle a day on normal weekends. Public holidays it's much busier and it is more expensive to hire bicycles (Up to $15 SGD on public holidays). So aim to arrive before midday to secure a bicycle - otherwise I suggest you bring your own to the island.

Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com
View from a Pulau Ubin seafood restaurant 


Eat some Pulau Ubin seafood, drink some coconuts there

You can eat at one of the seafood restaurants. There are about 3-4 main restaurants on the island. There's also coconuts that are sold at mini marts in town and also at drink stores scattered around the island. Coconuts cost around $3.00-3.50 SGD each and seafood prices are similar to those at coffee shops in town. At last check, one restaurant was selling chilli crabs for $45.00 SGD a kilo, but it's quite seasonal so be sure to check as you order.
Pulau Ubin - mySGmyhome.com
Bumboat fares

Destination: Pulau Ubin, Singapore
Costs: $2.50 SGD per person, $2 SGD per bicycle for one way. 
Opening hours: 6:00am to 8:00pm (there may be further bumboats available after 9:00pm but please be wary of lower frequency)
Surroundings: Three-four seafood restaurants, one motel (Celestial resort motel), scattered drink stores, a mini mart, four bicycle hire stores