Pulau Ubin | Eco-Friendly Attractions & Day Trips from Singapore

Featured photo-Pulau Ubin walking bridge

The small rural island of Pulau Ubin is a surprising find in busy urban Singapore. The island of granite quarries has a small human population and an abundance of vegetation and wildlife. Many of the animal species found on the island, particularly birds, are listed as threatened species and find a haven here. Pulau Ubin has a growing tourism industry and is easily accessible by boat.

Pulau Ubin-Ketam Mountain Bike Park

Things to Do on Pulau Ubin

Mountain biking is by far the most popular activity on Pulau Ubin. The island has an 8-kilometer mountain bike trail called Ketam Mountain Bike Park. The trail was developed as part of Pulau Ubin’s tourism strategy and most riders bring their own bikes. The trail has steep climbs and descents as well as sections that vary in difficulty. Each section is clearly marked in terms of difficulty. Visitors who do not have a mountain bike of their own can usually rent one from Pulau Ubin no. 25 Bicycle Rental shop by the Pulau Ubin Jetty Entrance on the island or one of several other bike rental shops on the island. The trail winds through a variety of landscapes from open meadow to thick jungle.

Pulau Ubin-wildlife

Wildlife in Pulau Ubin

A rarity in urban Singapore, quiet Pulau Ubin has lush vegetation and plenty of wild spaces. This rural population of fewer than 100 people shares its space with wild animals including birds, monkeys, and wild boars. The island does not have much in the way of urban development and is a refreshing wild paradise in the midst of a very industrialized urban country. Most of the buildings are made of wood and have escaped modern concrete construction.

Pulau Ubin-Ecological Projects

Ecological Projects in Pulau Ubin

With a comparative wealth of natural habitat and wild space, it’s no surprise that Pulau Ubin is home to ecological projects. The National Biodiversity Centre runs a monitoring and data gathering project tracking local seahorse and pipefish populations. The centre has also implemented the Hornbill Conservation Project. The project aims to aid in the breeding and encourage the recovery of the local population of Oriental Pied Hornbill which was once extinct in the area but is starting to re-establish populations on islands like Pulau Ubin.


Pulau Ubin-Chek Jawa Wetlands-Pekan Quarry

Nature Tourism on Pulau Ubin

The natural environment of Pulau Ubin is a major draw for travelers looking for a contrast from the busy concrete jungle of most of Singapore. The island has been a draw for mountain bikers and nature enthusiasts for decades and is a place to find some quiet spaces.

Chek Jawa Wetlands

The coastal boardwalk at Pulau Ubin Chek Jawa Boardwalk stretches along the coast and through the mangroves and offers visitors a closer look at the wide variety of marine life living on the former coral reef and along the rocky coast. Chek Jawa Wetlands is a protected area and pedestrian access to the flats can be limited. There is a viewing jetty and tower as well as guided tours through the ecosystem. The viewing jetty is connected to a small kiosk-style visitor center. The visitor center, tower, and boardwalk can be accessed free of charge. Marine life in Chek Jawa is varied. Local species include starfish, sponges, and sea anemones. Monitor lizards are often found nearby, and the local bird life is plentiful. Chek Jawa Wetlands is made up of seven distinct but interdependent ecosystems and is shared by the plants and animals that live there.

Sensory Trail

Pulau Ubin’s innovative Sensory Trail is a flat and easy 1.5 km trail winding through a lush garden of native plants. The fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables grow here along with spices including turmeric and ginger to engage the senses of sight, smell, and touch. It is located in the southern part of the island.

Pekan Quarry

Pekan Quarry is an old granite quarry which has been converted into a lake. The pretty environment is home to lots of birds and wildlife including the Oriental Pied Hornbill, and is a beautiful spot for photos. It is located west of Pulau Ubin’s main village and is a short walk from the jetty.


Pulau Ubin-Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple

Historic Sites in Pulau Ubin

The island currently has a very small number of permanent residents but it has not always been so. Pulau Ubin once had a population that numbered in the thousands as well as the infrastructure to support the population including schools, the last of which closed in 1985.

Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple

One physical remnant of this more populous time is the Fo Shan Ting Da Bo Gong Temple. The temple is a Chinese temple built with a unique Chinese Opera theater. Visitors are welcome and the site is one of the major cultural tourism sites on the island.

German Girl Shrine

The mysterious German Girl Shrine is an out-of-the-way site with uncertain origins. Located far from the main areas of Pulau Ubin near the Ketam Quarry, the shrine is dedicated to the memory of a young German girl who is said to have died while running from the British army in 1914. Visitors often bring her gifts and offerings of cosmetics. The shrine has been renovated and maintained for over 100 years and is accessed off the Ketam Mountian Bike Trail. Some villagers report sightings of her ghost, and one brought her a Barbie doll after being repeatedly requested to do so in a dream.


Pulau Ubin-cafes-food

Cafés on Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin is known for the natural environment and for the unique cafés that serve visitors near the jetty. Be sure to stop in to one of them and try the food and drinks on Pulau Ubin

  • Maleh Café is one of the first cafés visitors see upon arrival at the jetty. It serves food and coffee and has great views from the seating area. Most structures on the island are just bursting with this sort of rustic charm.
  • Season Live Seafood is a cute and scruffy seafood joint located near the jetty. It has a menu of seafood staples and has been an established island food favorite for decades. Many people stop here to eat and drink after hiking or mountain biking.
  • Stop in to Cheong Lian Yuen for a beer and a bite to eat. This simple joint is a favorite for “refueling” after hiking or mountain biking. The food menu features chicken, fish, and seafood. It is located right next to Maleh Café near the jetty where bumboats arrive and depart.

Yak Hong-coconut drink

Drinks Stalls on Pulau Ubin

A quirky feature of the island and a place to grab a refreshment is the “Y you so like that!” drinks stall. A hand painted sign with the title words marks the stall, and it is a favorite stop of locals and tourists. Yak Hong is another small food and drinks stall on the island. These small shops are run by friendly locals and contribute to the relaxed and casual atmosphere on Pulau Ubin. The slow pace and easy attitude makes the island a perfect escape.



Getting to Pulau Ubin

Visitors to Pulau Ubin typically arrive by bumboat. Tickets are sold as one-way fares and the trip across the water takes about 10 or 15 minutes. The bumboats do not have a regular schedule but will leave once they have a full load of passengers, typically seating 12-15 people at a time.

bicycle tours-mountain biking

Getting Around on Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin is a very rural island with a few paved but mostly gravel roads and a landscape dotted with granite quarries. Bicycles are available to rent at several locations on the island and can usually be rented by the hour or by the day. Mountain biking is a popular activity on the island and many people use bicycles to get around on a daily basis. The gravel roads and paths are well suited to hiking and mountain biking. Transport vans and trucks are available for hire by visitors who do not wish to bike or hike.


Hotels-Celestial Ubin Beach Resort

Check In, Step Out

Check in to Celestial Ubin Beach Resort on the island of Pulau Ubin. The resort offers an extremely convenient location at 8V Pulau Ubin Island as well as a children’s playground and rooms with a balcony or terrace.

Step out to Butterfly Hill, a special conservation area designed to attract over 140 species of butterfly including some formerly thought to be extinct. About a football field in size, Butterfly Hill is packed with plant species meant to feed and attract both butterflies and caterpillars.

Hotels-Changi Cove

Check In, Step Out

Check in to Changi Cove hotel located at 351 Cranwell Road, Changi, just a short bumboat ride over the water from Pulau Ubin. The hotel offers air conditioning and free wi-fi in all guest rooms.

Step out to Teck Seng’s Place and get a glimpse into life on Pulau Ubin in the 1970s. The house, which once belonged to Mr. Chew Teck Seng and his family, is a model Chinese kampong house which operates as a museum giving an immersive experience into ordinary life on Pulau Ubin when the island had a substantially larger population .


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