Looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city? Hop on a bumboat ride and you’ll reach a very different side of Singapore in just 15 minutes. Welcome to Pulau Ubin, the most popular offshore island in Singapore, right after Sentosa.
A small island rich with history, the island still has many Malay kampongs (villages), with Pulau Ubin Village being the island centre. It is common to sight wooden houses, duck ponds and even stray chickens on the island – something rare to find on the main island of Singapore.
The largest natural intertidal flat in northern Singapore, Chek Jawa is located on the eastern tip of Pulau Ubin. Several different ecosystems can be seen here, and they provide refuge for plants and animals that are no longer common elsewhere in Singapore. Admission is free at the boardwalk at Chek Jawa, which is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are also guided tours available around Chek Jawa. Each tour costs $60, and allows up to a maximum of 15 people in a group. Check out the schedule for more information.
Nearly every inch of the rustic enclave is covered in greenery. Take some time and explore the abandoned granite quarries (Ubin means granite in Malay).
You can also take a walk along the coastal and mangrove boardwalks. Sign up for eye-opening guided tours organised by NParks and nature groups, such as the Naked Hermit Crabs. Venture out during low tide in search of marine life, like the knobbly sea star and peacock anemone.
For cyclists, you can rent a bicycle (from $6 to $10) to ride around the island the whole day. If you’re a thrill-seeker with a thirst for adrenaline, head down to any of these bike parks – Ketam Mountain Bike Park, Free Ride Skills Park and Dirt Skills Park – to test your wheels.
For the adventurous, you can book a kayaking tour. With kayaking adventures ranging from 4 to 6 hours, you can paddle along the coast and enter the mangroves dotting the island.
By Cheryl Lim, April 23, 2018 / Parts of this article first appeared on Her World, 2015.