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Exploring Ubin Island In Singapore


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Shauna Kang



Singapore, often known for its urban landscapes and modern developments, is also home to a hidden gem of natural beauty – Ubin Island. Located just a short boat ride away from mainland Singapore, Ubin Island offers a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.


This small island, with its picturesque landscapes and tranquil surroundings, is a paradise for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Ubin Island, also known as Pulau Ubin in the local Malay language, is a great destination to explore if you want to experience the unspoiled beauty of Singapore’s countryside.


Stepping onto Ubin Island is like stepping back in time. Time seems to slow down as you wander through its lush greenery, rustic villages, and untouched landscapes. The island retains much of its traditional charm, with its simple wooden houses, winding pathways, and traditional fishing villages that seem untouched by modern development.


One of the unique aspects of Ubin Island is its tranquil setting and the absence of cars. The island is refreshingly free of the noise and pollution typically associated with urban areas. Instead, you’ll find yourself surrounded by the chirping of birds, the gentle hum of insects, and the lapping of waves against the shore.


Ubin Island is also famous for its rich biodiversity and natural beauty. As you explore the island, you’ll encounter lush forests, mangrove swamps, and coastal habitats, each hosting a wide variety of plant and animal species. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the opportunity to spot various migratory birds while nature enthusiasts will enjoy discovering the island’s unique flora and fauna.


Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Ubin Island has something for everyone. From hiking and cycling through its pristine wilderness to exploring its unique ecosystems, Ubin Island offers a myriad of activities that can be enjoyed by individuals, families, and groups alike.


This article will serve as your comprehensive guide to exploring Ubin Island in Singapore. We’ll delve into its fascinating history, provide information on how to get there, and highlight the top activities and attractions that you shouldn’t miss. So, strap on your adventure shoes and get ready to discover the beauty that awaits you on Ubin Island!


History of Ubin Island

Ubin Island has a rich history that dates back centuries. Originally known as Pulau Batu Ubin, which means “Granite Stone Island” in Malay, the island played a significant role in Singapore’s early development.


The granite quarries on Ubin Island were discovered in the early 1800s and quickly became a booming industry. The granite extracted from Ubin Island was used to construct many of Singapore’s iconic landmarks, such as the Causeway that connects Singapore and Malaysia, and the Raffles Hotel.


During the peak of the granite industry in the 1960s, Ubin Island had a population of over 2,000 people, mostly consisting of workers and their families. The island was bustling with activity as workers labored in the quarries, extracting granite and processing it for various construction projects.


However, as Singapore’s urban development progressed, the demand for granite decreased, leading to the decline of the quarrying industry on Ubin Island. By the 1970s, the quarries had ceased operations, and many of the workers left the island in search of other opportunities.


Since then, Ubin Island has transformed into a peaceful haven and a designated nature reserve. The abandoned granite quarries have been reclaimed by nature, forming scenic landscapes that attract both locals and tourists. The island’s transition from an industrial hub to a nature sanctuary reflects Singapore’s commitment to preserving its natural heritage.


Today, Ubin Island is managed by the National Parks Board of Singapore and is a popular destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The island’s rich history is still evident in its traditional villages, historic sites, and cultural landmarks.


One of the prominent landmarks on Ubin Island is the German Girl Shrine, also known as the Wei Tuo Da Tian Shang Di Miao. This shrine was built in memory of a German girl who died on the island during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II. The shrine serves as a reminder of the island’s tumultuous past and pays tribute to the lives affected by the war.


As you explore Ubin Island, you’ll come across remnants of the island’s past, including old wooden houses, traditional fishing jetties, and abandoned machinery from the quarrying era. These remnants offer a glimpse into the island’s history and add to its rustic charm.


By understanding the history of Ubin Island, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for its transformation and its significance in Singapore’s development. It is truly a place where history and nature intertwine, creating a unique and captivating destination for visitors to explore.


Getting to Ubin Island

Getting to Ubin Island is fairly easy and adds to the sense of adventure and exploration. Here are the steps to reach this charming island:

  1. Step 1: Head to Changi Point Ferry Terminal
    The first step is to make your way to Changi Point Ferry Terminal, located at Changi Village. You can easily reach the terminal by public transportation, taxi, or private car. If you prefer public transportation, you can take the MRT to Tanah Merah Station and then transfer to Bus 2 or 29 to Changi Village. Alternatively, a taxi ride from the city center to Changi Village will take around 30 minutes.
  2. Step 2: Purchase Ferry Tickets
    Once you arrive at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, head to the ticket counter and purchase your ferry ticket to Ubin Island. The ferry ticket fare is affordable and typically includes the return trip as well. It’s recommended to check the ferry schedule in advance and allow ample time for your visit.
  3. Step 3: Board the Bumboat
    After purchasing your ferry ticket, proceed to the designated boarding area and wait for the arrival of the bumboat. Bumboats are traditional wooden boats that serve as the main mode of transportation between mainland Singapore and Ubin Island. The short boat ride takes approximately 10 minutes, providing a scenic journey across the water.
  4. Step 4: Arrival at Ubin Island
    Once you arrive at Ubin Island, you can disembark from the bumboat and start your island adventure. There are no entry fees or permits required to explore the island, allowing you to freely explore its various attractions and natural wonders.

It’s important to note that the operating hours of the bumboat services may vary, so it’s advisable to check the schedule in advance. Bumboats typically operate from early morning until late afternoon, returning to Changi Point Ferry Terminal at regular intervals throughout the day.


When planning your visit to Ubin Island, consider the time you’ll spend on the island. It’s advisable to allocate at least half a day to fully appreciate the island’s beauty and engage in various activities. Remember to pack essentials such as sunscreen, insect repellent, and drinking water, as facilities on the island are limited.


Exploring Ubin Island begins as soon as you set foot on the bumboat. Embrace the sense of adventure and embark on an unforgettable journey to this rustic and captivating slice of Singapore’s heritage.


Things to do on Ubin Island

Ubin Island offers a plethora of activities and attractions to keep visitors entertained and engaged. Whether you’re a nature lover, outdoor enthusiast, or cultural explorer, there is something for everyone on this charming island. Here are some of the top things to do on Ubin Island:

  1. Explore the Chek Jawa Wetlands
    The Chek Jawa Wetlands is a must-visit destination on Ubin Island. This unique ecosystem is home to a diverse range of marine and terrestrial species. You can wander along the boardwalks, observe the rich biodiversity, and even spot some migratory birds. Don’t forget your binoculars!
  2. Cycling and Hiking Trails
    Ubin Island is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy cycling and hiking. Rental bicycles are available near the ferry terminal, allowing you to explore the island at your own pace. There are well-marked trails that take you through scenic landscapes, rustic villages, and hidden beaches. For a more challenging hike, you can trek to Puaka Hill, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  3. Visiting the Ubin Quarry
    The abandoned granite quarries on Ubin Island have been transformed into picturesque landscapes. The Ubin Quarry, also known as Ketam Quarry, is a popular spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts. Take a stroll around the quarry and be captivated by the clear turquoise waters and the surrounding lush greenery.
  4. Wildlife and Nature Spotting
    Ubin Island is teeming with wildlife, making it a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Keep your eyes peeled for flying squirrels, pangolins, and various species of birds as you explore the island’s forests and mangroves. You can also visit the Butterfly Hill, where you’ll find a diverse range of colorful butterflies fluttering around.
  5. Try Local Cuisine on Ubin Island
    Don’t miss the chance to sample some delicious local cuisine on Ubin Island. There are several seafood restaurants and stalls that serve up fresh and flavorful dishes. Indulge in mouth-watering seafood specialties such as chili crab, black pepper prawns, and grilled stingray.
  6. Camping and Accommodation Options
    For those who want to extend their stay, Ubin Island offers camping facilities. You can pitch a tent and spend a night under the stars, surrounded by nature’s tranquility. There are also basic accommodations available for those who prefer a more comfortable stay.

These are just a few highlights of what Ubin Island has to offer. Each visit to the island is a unique and personal experience, with opportunities to discover hidden gems and create lasting memories. So, lace up your shoes and immerse yourself in the wonders of Ubin Island!


Exploring the Chek Jawa Wetlands

One of the main attractions on Ubin Island is the Chek Jawa Wetlands, a unique and biodiverse ecosystem that showcases the beauty of nature. Spread across 100 hectares, the Chek Jawa Wetlands offer a fascinating blend of marine and terrestrial habitats, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts.


The Chek Jawa Wetlands are home to an incredible array of flora and fauna, including mangroves, seagrass lagoons, and coral rubble shores. The rich biodiversity of the area has earned it the status of a designated nature reserve.


To explore the Chek Jawa Wetlands, visitors can embark on a guided tour or explore independently along the well-maintained boardwalks and trails. Whichever option you choose, be prepared to be amazed by the natural wonders that await you.


As you stroll along the boardwalks, you’ll have the opportunity to witness the intricate interplay between land and sea. Keep your eyes peeled for various marine creatures such as crabs, mudskippers, and prawns in the shallow pools. You might even spot the elusive seahorses that are native to the area.


The Chek Jawa Wetlands are a haven for birdwatchers as well, with over 170 species of birds recorded in the area. Here, you can spot migratory birds such as the Pacific Golden Plover and the Whimbrel, as well as resident birds like the Collared Kingfisher and the White-bellied Sea Eagle. Binoculars are highly recommended to get a closer look at these beautiful feathered creatures.


Another highlight of the Chek Jawa Wetlands is the 20-meter high Jejawi Tower. Climb up this observation tower to get a panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes, including the lush mangroves and the shimmering sea. The view from the top is truly breathtaking, offering a unique perspective of the wetlands and its diverse ecosystems.


For an immersive experience, consider joining a guided tour led by knowledgeable volunteers or park rangers. These experts will provide valuable insights into the various species and ecosystems found in the Chek Jawa Wetlands, enriching your visit with their expertise.


It’s important to note that the accessibility of the Chek Jawa Wetlands is influenced by the tides. The wetlands are best explored during low tide, when the marine life is more visible and the intertidal areas can be accessed. To plan your visit accordingly, it’s advisable to check the tide timings beforehand.


Visiting the Chek Jawa Wetlands is a unique opportunity to witness the beauty and diversity of Singapore’s natural heritage. Step into this ecological treasure trove and be captivated by its stunning landscapes and the harmonious coexistence of land and sea.


Cycling and Hiking Trails

Ubin Island is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a network of well-maintained cycling and hiking trails that showcase the island’s natural beauty. Exploring Ubin Island on two wheels or by foot allows you to immerse yourself in its tranquil landscapes and discover hidden gems along the way.


Cycling is a popular activity on Ubin Island, and renting bicycles is convenient and affordable. As you pedal along the winding paths, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, rustic villages, and breathtaking coastal vistas. The flat terrain of the island makes it suitable for cyclists of all levels, from beginners to seasoned riders.


There are several recommended cycling routes on Ubin Island, each offering a unique perspective of the island’s beauty. The Coastal Loop takes you along the island’s coastline, with picturesque views of the sea and opportunities to spot wildlife. The Sensory Trail is a shorter route that focuses on the island’s natural sounds and scents, allowing you to appreciate the serenity of the surroundings.


For those who prefer to explore on foot, Ubin Island also offers a range of hiking trails that cater to different fitness levels. One popular trail is the Puaka Hill Trail, which leads to the highest point on the island. The hike offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is particularly breathtaking during sunrise or sunset.


Another notable trail is the Butterfly Hill Forest Walk, where you can spot a variety of butterflies fluttering around the lush vegetation. This trail also showcases the island’s rich biodiversity, with opportunities to spot birds, insects, and other wildlife along the way.


As you traverse the cycling and hiking trails on Ubin Island, take the time to appreciate the tranquility and serenity of the surroundings. Enjoy the refreshing sea breeze, listen to the chirping of birds, and embrace the feeling of being immersed in nature.


It’s important to come prepared for your cycling or hiking adventure. Wear comfortable attire, bring a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun, and carry plenty of drinking water. Insect repellent is also recommended, especially if you are exploring the trails during the early morning or late afternoon.


Whether you choose to cycle through the island’s scenic landscapes or opt for a hike to one of its lookout points, Ubin Island’s cycling and hiking trails offer a rewarding and unforgettable experience. So, put on your walking shoes or hop on a bike and embark on a journey of exploration and discovery.


Visiting the Ubin Quarry

One of the intriguing attractions on Ubin Island is the Ubin Quarry, also known as the Ketam Quarry. This abandoned granite quarry offers a unique and picturesque landscape that shouldn’t be missed during your visit to the island.


The Ubin Quarry was once an active site for granite extraction, playing a vital role in Singapore’s early development. Today, the quarry has been reclaimed by nature, creating a stunning and serene setting with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and towering cliffs.


To reach the Ubin Quarry, you can follow the well-marked walking trails from the main village area. As you walk towards the quarry, you’ll pass through lush greenery and may encounter remnants of the quarrying era, such as abandoned machinery and rusty railway tracks.


Once you arrive at the Ubin Quarry, you’ll be captivated by the sheer beauty of the surroundings. The sparkling emerald waters contrast against the granite cliffs, creating a stunning visual spectacle. You can take a leisurely stroll around the quarry, perched on the observation deck to admire the view, or even dip your toes in the cool water on a hot day.


Photography enthusiasts will be delighted by the unique photo opportunities that the Ubin Quarry presents. The vibrant colors of the water and the sculpted granite cliffs make for stunning backdrops that are sure to impress.


For a more adventurous experience, you can climb up the sides of the quarry to get a panoramic view of the entire area. However, it’s important to exercise caution and ensure your safety while navigating the steep inclines.


Visiting the Ubin Quarry is not only a visual treat but also an opportunity to reflect on the island’s history. The remnants of the quarry serve as a reminder of the island’s past as a bustling granite extraction site and its transformation into a natural haven.


Remember to practice responsible tourism while visiting the Ubin Quarry. Respect the surroundings, adhere to any safety signage, and avoid leaving any litter behind. By doing so, you’ll help preserve the natural beauty of the area and ensure that future visitors can appreciate its allure.


Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking a tranquil spot to unwind, a visit to the Ubin Quarry is a must during your time on Ubin Island. Immerse yourself in the serenity and beauty of this unique attraction, and let it leave a lasting impression on your Ubin Island experience.


Wildlife and Nature Spotting

Ubin Island is a treasure trove of biodiversity, offering a wide array of wildlife and natural wonders to discover. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, birdwatcher, or simply appreciate the beauty of the great outdoors, Ubin Island is the perfect destination for wildlife and nature spotting.


As you explore the island’s forests, mangroves, and coastal areas, keep your eyes peeled for the rich variety of wildlife that calls Ubin Island home. From mammals to reptiles and avian species, there’s always something fascinating to observe and admire.


Ubin Island is particularly known for its resident and migratory bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Grab your binoculars and venture out to spot birds such as the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Pacific Golden Plover, and the elusive Oriental Pied Hornbill. The island’s diverse habitats provide ample opportunities to witness different species throughout the year.


Don’t forget to visit the Butterfly Hill, where you can witness a stunning collection of butterflies fluttering among the lush foliage. The sight of these colorful creatures dancing in the sunlight is a truly mesmerizing experience.


As you wander through the island’s forests and mangroves, keep an eye out for native wildlife such as the Long-tailed Macaques and Oriental Whip Snakes. You may also come across the elusive Sunda Pangolin, a pangolin species native to the region.


The Chek Jawa Wetlands, with its diverse habitats, offer a fantastic opportunity to explore marine life. During low tide, you can observe marine creatures like crabs, prawns, and mudskippers in the tidal pools. Lucky visitors might even spot seahorses or other marine species.


For a chance to witness nature’s breathtaking beauty, time your visit to Ubin Island with the blooming of wildflowers. Certain areas of the island, such as the Pekan Quarry and Butterfly Hill, come alive with vibrant colors when wildflowers are in bloom.


Remember to tread lightly and respect the natural environment while wildlife and nature spotting on Ubin Island. Keep a safe distance from the animals, avoid feeding them, and refrain from removing any plants or animals from their natural habitats.


Ubin Island offers a rare opportunity to connect with nature and encounter Singapore’s diverse wildlife up close. So, embark on an adventure of wildlife and nature spotting, and immerse yourself in the wonders of Ubin Island’s natural beauty.


Try Local Cuisine on Ubin Island

Exploring Ubin Island is not just about immersing yourself in its natural beauty; it’s also an opportunity to tantalize your taste buds with the local cuisine that the island has to offer. From mouth-watering seafood dishes to traditional Malaysian flavors, there are plenty of delicious options to satisfy your culinary cravings on Ubin Island.


One of the must-try foods on Ubin Island is the fresh seafood. As an island surrounded by the ocean, Ubin is renowned for its seafood delicacies that are sourced directly from the local waters. From succulent, juicy crabs to plump and flavorful prawns, you can indulge in a seafood feast like no other.


For a truly local experience, be sure to try the infamous chili crab, a Singaporean favorite. The sweet and savory sauce paired with the succulent crab meat creates a mouthwatering combination that you won’t soon forget. Other popular seafood dishes to sample include black pepper prawns, butter garlic crayfish, and sambal stingray.


Aside from seafood, Ubin Island also offers a taste of Malaysian cuisine due to its proximity to Malaysia. Malay dishes such as nasi lemak (coconut rice served with various accompaniments), mee goreng (fried noodles), and satay (grilled skewered meats) can be found at local eateries on the island. These dishes are bursting with flavors that will satisfy your cravings for authentic Malaysian cuisine.


Vegetarians and vegans need not worry, as Ubin Island also has options to cater to plant-based diets. Look out for establishments that serve vegetarian versions of popular dishes, such as mock meat dishes and vegetable stir-fries. Fresh fruits and vegetables are widely available, allowing you to create your own delicious and healthy meals.


To complete your culinary adventure on Ubin Island, be sure to indulge in some sweet treats. You can try local desserts like ice kacang (shaved ice dessert with various toppings), cendol (a sweet coconut milk drink with green pandan jelly and palm sugar), or durian pastries if you’re adventurous enough to try the infamous “king of fruits”.


When visiting local eateries on Ubin Island, be prepared for a casual dining experience. Most establishments are simple and rustic, providing an authentic and laid-back atmosphere that matches the island’s charm.


So, as you explore Ubin Island, take the opportunity to tantalize your taste buds with the delectable offerings of local cuisine. Immerse yourself in the flavors and aromas of the island, and savor the unique culinary delights that make Ubin Island a truly gastronomic paradise.


Camping and Accommodation Options

For those looking to embrace the complete Ubin Island experience and spend more time immersed in its natural beauty, camping is a fantastic option. Ubin Island offers camping facilities, allowing you to truly connect with nature and create unforgettable memories under the stars.


Ubin Island provides designated camping areas where you can set up your tent and enjoy a night surrounded by the island’s tranquil ambiance. Camping on Ubin Island offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the busy city life and embrace a simpler, more rustic lifestyle.


If you choose to camp on Ubin Island, it’s essential to come prepared. Bring your own tent, sleeping bags, and camping gear, as these are not provided on the island. It’s also advisable to bring insect repellent, torches, and sufficient drinking water. Basic toilet facilities are available at the campsites for your convenience.


When selecting a campsite, consider your preferences and needs. The East and West Campsites are popular choices, offering basic amenities such as picnic tables and barbecue pits. These campsites are near the main village area, providing easy access to facilities and eateries.


For a more remote and secluded camping experience, you can opt for the Mamam Campsite, which is situated deep within the island’s wilderness. This campsite offers a more immersive experience, surrounded by nature’s tranquility and providing a true escape from the modern world.


It’s important to note that camping permits are required for overnight stays on Ubin Island, and they can be obtained from the National Parks Board. Make sure to obtain your camping permit in advance to secure your spot and avoid any disappointment.


If camping is not your preferred option, Ubin Island also offers basic accommodation facilities for those seeking a more comfortable stay. There are simple lodges and guesthouses available, providing modest amenities such as beds, bathrooms, and common areas. These accommodation options cater to different group sizes and budgets, ensuring there is something for everyone.


Staying overnight on Ubin Island allows you to fully immerse yourself in its natural wonders. Wake up to the sounds of chirping birds, breathe in the fresh air, and witness the beauty of the island’s landscapes at different times of the day.


Whether you choose to camp under the stars or stay in basic accommodation, spending the night on Ubin Island is a unique experience that allows you to fully appreciate its tranquility and natural charm. So, pack your camping gear or book your accommodation, and prepare for an unforgettable overnight stay on Ubin Island.



Ubin Island, with its captivating landscapes, rich history, and abundant natural beauty, is a hidden gem in Singapore waiting to be explored. This charming island offers a myriad of experiences for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful escape from the city.


As you step foot on Ubin Island, you’ll be transported to a world where time seems to slow down. The island’s rustic villages, winding pathways, and untouched landscapes create a sense of serenity and tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere in Singapore.


From exploring the Chek Jawa Wetlands and witnessing the diverse flora and fauna, to embarking on cycling and hiking adventures through its pristine wilderness, Ubin Island offers a wide range of activities that cater to every interest and fitness level.


The island also holds a significant place in Singapore’s history, with the remnants of the granite quarrying industry serving as a tangible reminder of its past. The Ubin Quarry, with its crystal-clear waters and majestic cliffs, reveals the island’s transformation from an industrial hub to a natural sanctuary.


Ubin Island also satisfies the palate with its delectable local cuisine. Feast on fresh seafood dishes, indulge in traditional Malaysian flavors, and savor the taste of authentic Ubin Island hospitality.


Whether you choose to camp under the starry skies or stay in comfortable accommodations, spending a night on Ubin Island allows you to fully experience the island’s enchanting charm and immerse yourself in its natural wonders.


Ubin Island is a testament to Singapore’s commitment to nature conservation and preserving its natural heritage. Visiting this island is not just about leisure; it’s an opportunity to appreciate and protect the beauty of Singapore’s countryside.


So, venture beyond the cityscape and explore the untamed beauty of Ubin Island. Discover the serenity of its landscapes, encounter the richness of its wildlife, and connect with the tranquility of nature. A visit to Ubin Island is an experience that will leave you with lasting memories and a deep appreciation for Singapore’s natural treasures.