No passport needed and just 15mins by ferry, Pulau Ubin offers a unique experience for families who wish to get off the mainland island!
*Updated 15 Feb 2022: Added information on getting to Changi Point Ferry Terminal
Photo Credit: NParks
Satisfy your family's overseas craving with a short 15min ferry trip to Pulau Ubin! The island offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of mainland Singapore, and the opportunity to soak in the rustic vibes and enjoy a healthy dose of outdoor fun! So how do you get there and what do you do there - follow our family's guide to visiting Pulau Ubin.
How To Get To Pulau Ubin?
Board the ferry at Changi Point Ferry Terminal, which is located beside the Changi Village Hawker Centre, for the 15min boat ride to the island. The ferry runs from 6 am to 7 pm, and departs once they have 12 people onboard (this may change according to the ongoing safety measures).
Once you arrive at the terminal, simply let the boat coordinator know the number of people in your party and he will arrange a boat for you. The most recent fees are $4 per person (used to be $3 + $2 with bike) for one way, and is paid directly to the boat driver. Additional fee of $2 apply if you are bringing your own bike.
Going on a boat ride as the first thing of the outing is great in preparing the kids for an entire day of adventures!
TIP: remember to withdraw cash before going to the island! There are no ATMs on the island and you will need this for renting bikes on the island, having your meals and buying refreshments.
Getting to Changi Point Ferry Terminal
We received a number of queries about getting to Changi Point Ferry Terminal, in particular if there is free parking. The main reason for the confusion is that when you search for Carpark at Changi Point Ferry Terminal on Google, you receive information for Changi Ferry Terminal which is a completely different place.
By Car: For those driving, do note that parking is available at the open air carpark (Lorong Bekukong) beside the terminal and is chargeable at $0.60 per 30mins all days. Alternative (but more expensive) parking is available at Village Hotel and CSC @ Changi I.
By Bus: Take buses 2, 29, 59, 109 to the Changi Village Bus Terminal (it’s located next to the Changi Village Hawkers Centre).
By MRT: You can get to Tampines MRT Station (EW2), and board Bus No. 29 to Changi Village or get to Tanah Merah MRT Station (EW4) and board Bus No. 2 to Changi Village.
Arriving At Pulau Ubin
Photo Credit: Roots.sg
Pulau Ubin is a really small island that you can explore in a day. Once you arrive at the Pulau Ubin Ferry Jetty, you will have to option of heading left to the Pulau Ubin Taxi Kiosk to book a mini-bus taxi to bring you around the island or to venture a little further beyond to the town area to rent bicycles.
There are a couple of bicycle rental shops in Ubin Town where they provide different bicycle options including children's bikes, tandem bikes and bikes with child seats too. Prices starts from $10, and you should shop around to get a good deal!
Things To Do At Pulau Ubin
1. Visiting Chek Jawa Wetlands
For many families, Chek Jawa Wetlands is the main attraction on the island. It is located at the eastern end of Pulau Ubin and is about 3km from the jetty. It is approximately 100 hectares and is a unique natural area, where six major ecosystems – sandy beach, rocky beach, seagrass lagoon, coral rubble, mangroves and coastal forest - meet!
To get to Chek Jawa, you can choose to cycle, rent a van or take a 40mins walk from the jetty. For those who choose to cycle, it will take about 10 to 15mins and along the way, you will encounter a steep gravel hill. If you are with young kids, we advise to dismount and push your bike! Once you arrive at Chek Jawa Wetlands, bicycles and vehicles will have to be parked at designated lots near Punai Hut. So, do remember to ask for a bicycle lock when you rent your bicycle.
Do note that Chek Jawa is an intertidal area, with various ecosystems unveiled at low tides of 0.5 metres and below. To get the best experience, do refer to the tide timings and aim to visit when the tides are retreating. Or arrange a guided tour organised by NParks, at $60 per group (max. 5 pax). You may be interest to know that the opening hours of the wetlands is from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm.
2. Explore Chek Jaya Broadwalk and Jajawi Tower
Photo Credits: NParks
There are 2 ways for you to experience the Chek Jawa Wetlands. Choose between the the Coastal Loop (600m) and Mangrove Loop (500m) boardwalk with lookout platforms, a floating pontoon, and shelters. Through the educational panels and directional signs along the boardwalk, you and your kids will learn about the rich biodiversity on the island too. Both routes can be completed in about one and a half hours or factor in more time for the younger ones!
While here, don't forget to climb the seven-storey high (20m) Jejawi Tower! Get a view of the tree canopy and observe the nature in action, such as birdlife. And Daddies - here's your chance to point out Pulau Tekong and share stories of your army days!
3. House No. 1
The visitor centre is a restored Tudor-style house built in the 1930s. It is located at the entrance of Chek Jawa, and is known as House No. 1. In the ground floor, you will find information panels and interpretive displays that depict the history and beauty of the natural heritage in Chek Jawa. You will also find toilets in the centre to use before you enter or leave the wetlands.
4. Stroll Through The Sensory Trail Gardens
Photo Credits: NParks
Located to the right of the jetty, the Sensory Trail is an easy trail that takes about an hour to complete. The trail allows families an opportunity to explore the island's wonderful nature through different senses as you go through the backyard planting of the Pulau Ubin village home, where you will find fruit trees such as papaya, banana, rambutan and breadfruit. You will also see the different vegetables, spices and herbs that the villagers used to plant for their own consumption.
5. Have An Adventure At Ketam Quarry and Ketam Mountain Bike Park
Moving towards the west of the island, you will find Ketam Quarry and the Ketam Mountain Bike Park. Ketam Quarry is the last granite quarry to be closed on the island in 1999. In fact, many of the residents on the island may have been previous employees of the quarry who decided to stay on the island after the closure.
Around the fringe of the quarry, you will find Ketam Mountain Bike Park - a 45 hector area that is the first in Singapore to meet international standards for mountain biking competitions! It features 10km of mountain bike trails catering to both leisure cycling and international competitions. The Ketam Mountain Bike Park consists of three tracks with different International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) ratings to cater to cyclists of different skill levels.
- Blue Square: for beginners; trail has steep slopes as well as narrow tracks with poor traction
- Black Diamond: for middle-skilled cyclists; consists of long step climbs, drop-offs and challenging obstacles
- Double Black Diamond: for the pros; these trails have a variety of extra steep climbs and drop-offs, sharp corners and tricky obstacles
6. Climb Up The Puaka Hill
Photo Credits: NParks
Located next to Ubin Quarry, you will find the highest point at Pulau Ubin. Puaka Hills stands at 74m, and by hiking up the hill and conquering the winding path, your family will be rewarded with the breathtaking views of Pulau Ubin! You may recognise the view from the many iconic images of the island.
Food on Pulau Ubin
There are four restaurants operating on the island. This includes, Encik Hassan's shop next to the jetty. The shop was not operating for a while and resume operation on weekends recently. The shop sells homemade malay dishes like mee rebus, mee siam and nasi lemak.
'Cheong Lian Yuen' is the another food establishment that is near to the Ubin jetty. It serves seafood and has a small alfresco dining area in front of the restaurant. Opposite the Wayang stage, there is a small restaurant, 'Sin Nam Huat', which features snapshots of Ubin history all over the wall. run by two sisters, it serves seafood and traditional 'Kopi' (coffee) and 'Teh' (tea).
Along the road towards Ubin Volunteer Hub is another seafood restaurant. 'Season Live Seafood Restaurant'. It has an alfresco dining area which offers a sea view facing the Ubin Jetty and mainland Singapore.
Tips For Families Visiting Pulau Ubin
1. Time your trip
Ferries run from 6 am to 7 pm. We recommending visiting early in the morning on the weekends - a situation of having a sufficient flow of visitors to fill the boat and not having all the "good" bikes already rented out when you arrive.
Also, if you plan to leave the island after 6pm, please make arrangements with the boat operator. If there are no boats available at Pulau Ubin jetty for your return trip, please call the NParks hotline at 1800-471 7300 for assistance.
2. Dress Appropriately (You AND Kids)
The family will likely get hot and sweaty, and probably pretty dirty too. So activewear will be a great choice, and we highly recommend wearing proper shoes too! If you need help getting proper sports attires, you can also visit these stores for your sporting needs!
3. Bring Your Own Water
The water on the island is not portable, and you are encouraged to bring your own water for the trip. If you forget or run out, you may purchase water from the stalls on the island too.
4. Enough Cash
You will need it for the boat, bikes, food, drinks... and there are no ATM available on the island. So be sure to withdraw enough at the Changi Village Hawker Centre before boarding the ferry!
5. Must Bring!
Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, wet wipes and a comfortable backpack to store everything in! You don't want to come back feeling too dirty, getting sunburnt and riddled with mosquito bites, and having an aching shoulder! You may also wish to bring a change for the kids (just in case)!
Have you gone on a family trip to Pulau Ubin? Share with us your pictures and experiences on our socials so that we can share it with other families too!