Ubin Island, Singapore
Ubin Island (Pulau Ubin) or as it is fondly called, bicycle island, is a small ‘boomerang shaped’ island (10.19 km2) that is situated in the north eastern corner of mainland Singapore. It used to be occupied by few thousand granite miners in the 1960s but now only about a hundred villagers live there. With the flora & fauna still preserved without the presence of modernization, it is one of the last rural areas in Singapore. The island is a paradise for bird lovers & watchers as it forms part of the Ubin–Khatib Important Bird Area as it ‘hosts’ significant numbers of visiting and resident birds.
How to get to Pulau Ubin:
Get to the Changi Jetty (also known as Changi Point Ferry Terminal) nearby the Changi Village Hawker Centre next to the bus terminal.
Take a bumboat from this jetty but be sure to take the right lane when you queue as the jetty also have ferries to Penggerang, Johor. Bumboat fee per person is $3 and if you bring along your own bicycle, you will be charged additional $2. The bumboat service is from morning to sunset but you can always arrange for your own timing by paying extra charges. You will reach the island having experienced the unique & enjoyable bumboat ride which only takes about 10 minutes.
To Do & See:
Most people visit the island for a day trip.
Pick up your map of the island at the National Parks information kiosk (open 8.30am-5pm daily).
The ‘town’ area is a little space where you can find wooden houses converted into bicycle rental shops, some restaurants and tiny provision shops.
Rent a bike to explore the island. Its cheap and an easier way to explore the island. It’s a great place for cycling lovers and enthusiasts as there a three cycling trails that you can get on. The trails will bring you along old plantations, quarry pits, ‘kampung’ houses and mangrove swamps. You can also hire taxi van, which you must fix the price before getting in as it is not a metered taxi, to explore the island.
I decided to be a bit more adventurous (also because cycling and stopping every now & then to take pictures will not be ideal) and concluded to just walk around. The weather was not kind and the gravel road leading to Chek Jawa quickly became a challenging uphill walk. My exploration came to a halt soon as I was tired walking under the hot scorching Sun & at one point along my trek I got spooked looking at a huge tree (with a ‘room’ under the tree) that really creep me out. That’s also when I realised that I was all alone at the area and I really felt uncomfortable standing there. I felt as though someone was watching me. Having my fear, the hot sun and my tired legs take over me, I decided to turn back and get back to the town. I can always go back & the next time I’m there, I’m definitely getting myself the bicycle 🙂
What I missed was the beautiful view of the beach at Chek Jawa, the cooling breeze, the two boardwalks, the lookout jetty and the 21-metre high Jejawi observation tower. There is also the cottage built in Tudor-style behind the Information Counter known the House No. 1 which is said to be the only remaining house with a fireplace in Singapore.
Other activity you can also do there (for the more adventurous one) is to camp in the island. Permits are not required for camping but clean water may be an issue for some. For those creature comforts, if this is too much to ask of yourself to do, there is a resort in Ubin (Celestial Ubin Beach Resort) where you can book the chalets.
Some of my pictures in & around Ubin (and of course the tree that spooked me!):