| a food & travel journal|

Pulau Ubin Just a stone’s throw away from Singapore mainland, about 15 minutes away on a “bumboat” lies Pulau Ubin or Ubin Island, an untouched sanctuary of tropical, untamed wilderness where time seems to be remembered only by the rising and the setting of the sun.

This small 10km2 island is essentially the last ‘kampung’ (village) in Singapore. A stroll through Ubin takes you back to Singapore in the 1960’s with the simpler pleasures of life…vegetation, lush forests, no electricity or running water. Today, about a hundred villagers still live there, happy to leave behind the bustling, fast-paced metropolis that is mainland Singapore. With all the conveniences of today I find it so impressive that someone would choose a more difficult life per say. I mean, once upon a time that’s the way things were so people made the best of what they had but today, choice is so abundant…to willingly choose that sort of life says a lot about these people and how little they need to make them happy. But that’s a story for another day…

The adventure starts as soon as you join the queue for the bumboat at Changi Point Ferry Terminal. As you pull in, just a short ride later, all cares are left behind. It felt a little Robinson Crusoe to us as the difference between mainland Singapore and Ubin Island is very striking. It really did feel like stepping back in time.

Ubin makes for a fun day-trip excursion if you enjoy the outdoors. We spent it cycling through rustic roads and sometimes rough terrain under swaying coconut palms and through lush forests exploring shady trails, secluded beaches and flourishing mangroves. To be honest, there’s really not much to do but to cycle your way through the island where you can then explore certain parts on foot. We walked the whole length of the boardwalk and climbed to the top of the observation tower for a beautiful uninterrupted view of only the sky, trees and the sea with its ombre of blue and green colors.

While we do enjoy the rustic, we found the island to be really under-potentialized in its offerings. There were not many dining options and what water-side restaurant and “resort” they have are really 1-star. Definitely a lot of potential for a charming seaside restaurant or bungalows that can lure people to Ubin for the weekend. Nonetheless, it was a lovely escape from our daily life and a fantastic way to spend a day off.

If you do plan to visit, make sure to read my small tips below and check out the signboard below for bumboat fares and details!

Pulau UbinPulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau UbinGeneral Tips:

Admission to the island is free. There are no opening or closing hours for the island per say however the bumboats only run during daylight hours so plan accordingly. Trust me, you do not want to be left behind there! We were joking that being stranded in that forest at night would be terrifying, a little bit reminiscent of that horror movie whose name I can’t remember for the life of me! The truth is there is nothing to be afraid of but my imagination likes to run away with me sometimes! lol

Be prepared for rough trails, a lot of bugs and harsh sun (and probably humidity). Dress accordingly, don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellant and lots of water! Stay hydrated.

There’s not much to do on the island besides cycling so keep that in mind. Don’t expect a walk in the park, especially in that weather!

Dining options are extremely limited so if you’re a fussy eater, come prepared with a few snacks or even a picnic basket, which is actually not a bad idea if you can manage to find a spot on the small grassy lawn facing the water.

Voila…have fun!

Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin  Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin Pulau Ubin




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  1. August 13, 2014

    Is most of the island a wetlands area? Because if it is, this may be why the island has remained largely undeveloped. I don’t know about Singapore but we have pretty strict laws and building codes here in the States. You can’t just build a resort on undeveloped land because you feel like it. If the island is a protected sanctuary for animals and plants, this may be why it has not been developed. We need to preserve the precious few areas of undisturbed wilderness that we have. Not everything should be tailored for humans. :)

    But this does seem like a slice of paradise and a nice way to spend an afternoon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 15, 2014

      Hey Amelie! It was a wonderful way to spend the way! Haha definitely NOT everything should be for humans! The best part about the island is how raw and wild it feels! I wasn’t at all alluding to taking away from that! I was referring to the options that already exist on Ubin. I personally found them to be very shabby and uninviting. I think sprucing up the existing seaside restaurant and resort (in the same rustic feel of the island) would give Ubin even more appeal because you would have a reason to spend even more time there!

      Have you ever been to Singapore btw? ( :


      • August 20, 2014

        I have never been to Asia! I would love to go out there someday. It’s just a bit far (and expensive) for me right now. Someday I hope to get out there (including Singapore!).


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