Pulau Ubin is in essence, the last 'kampung' (village) in Singapore. Pulau Ubin is an island off Changi. A stroll through Ubin takes you back to Singapore in the 1960's with the simpler pleasures of life.
Ubin is a great day trip spent walking or pedaling (bicycles can be rented on the island) through rustic roads under swaying coconut palms, exploring shady trails in overgrown rubber plantations, checking out secluded beaches and flourishing mangroves. On Ubin, the food tastes better, air is fresher and sights and sounds so soothing to the soul.
Ubin is ideal for leisurely strolls. There are well-marked roads and trails to explore. Stop by the NParks Information Kiosk (Open 8.30am - 5.00pm) near Ubin jetty for a free map and information on the latest happenings.
Also available for hire are 'taxis' comprising panel vans that can take up to 12 persons. Drivers will wait at Ubin jetty for potential passengers. These can be hired by the hour as well as for specific destinations. Many of the drivers are experienced and can bring you to special places or to look for special things. Rates are negotiated before the journey begins. Van drivers will give you their name cards so you can call or page them on your handphones when you are ready to go home, or you can pre-arrange a pick-up time upon your arrival.
Permits are not required to camp at Mamam Beach or Jelutong campsite, availability is on a first come first served basis. However, campers are advised to drop by the Ubin NParks Info Kiosk (at the Ubin Jetty) for some camping do and don'ts and register their particulars at the Pulau Ubin Police Post (to the right of Ubin Jetty) with the local police post for ease of contact in case of emergencies. There is also a Celestial Ubin Beach Resort on the island.
History: Shaped like a boomerang, Pulau Ubin (Granite Island) is situated just off the north-eastern corner of mainland Singapore. The 1020-hectare island was once a cluster of five smaller ones separated by tidal rivers, but the building of bunds for prawn farming has since united these into a single island. Two other islets, Pulau Ketam (Crab Island) and Pulau Sekudu (Frog Island), lie to its south. Ubin is largely a series of undulating, granite hills. The granite from Pulau Ubin was used in the construction of Horsburgh Lighthouse. Tongkangs ferried the huge rock blocks (30 by 20 feet) from the island to Pedra Branca, the site of the lighthouse, in 1850 and 1851. Later, the granite was also used to build the Singapore-Johor Causeway that was officially completed on 11 June 1924. In the 1960s, granite mining supported a few thousand settlers. In the 1970s as the granite quarries closed down and jobs dwindled, residents began leaving. Much of the original vegetation was cleared for the cultivation of rubber and crops like coffee, pineapple, coconut and jasmine. Today, abandoned granite quarries remain as picturesque relics of Ubin's history, while forests and grasslands have regenerated to cover up the ravages of the past.
The demand for "taxis" on the island started in the 1990s to cater to the worshippers at the distant Thai temple in the middle of the island. In the past, old taxis from the mainland were a common sight on Ubin. Nowadays, modern vans are more common.
In the 1880s, a number of Malays led by Endut Senin, from the Kallang River were said to have moved to the island that began the thriving Malay community on the island. Bin Kiang School was established in 1952 for the increasing number of children, from money donated by the resident Chinese. Lessons prior to this were conducted on the village wayang stage. With a student population that once numbered 400, enrolment fell as the Singapore mainland developed. The school closed in 1985, and was demolished on 2 April 2000. There was also a private Malay school around 1956 at Kampung Melayu, which closed in the late 1970s.
Outward Bound Singapore (OBS) was established in 1967 at Pulau Ubin, by Dr Goh Keng Swee, while the National Police Cadet Corps (NPCC) opened its 25-hectare site camp located between Kampung Bahru and Kampung Noordin. The camp is called Camp Resilience where Secondary 2 and 3 NPCC cadets have a 3 day 2 night stay for training. Secondary 2 NPCC cadets go to Adventure Training Camp (ATC) while Secondary 3 NPCC cadets go to Survival Training Camp (STC). lt was opened officially on 10 August 2004.
On 3 June 2005, the Singapore Government ordered that all the farmers rearing poultry on the island were to ship them to mainland Singapore and rear them in government-approved farms by 17 June 2005, in the wake of the avian influenza. In exchange, the local inhabitants were offered HDB government housing packages, although they could choose to live on the island.
Address: Take a bumboat leaving from Changi Jetty (Changi Point Ferry Terminal - 51 Lorong Bekukong, Singapore 499172).
Bus Stop Number 99009: Services 2, 29, 59 and 109.
At Changi Point Ferry Terminal, to get to the bumboats, go down the stairs at the Terminal. This Terminal also serves those going to Penggerang, Johor. So be sure to join the correct queue for Pulau Ubin. Bumboat can take maximum 12 passengers, boats will leave when they have 12 persons or you can pay $30 and go straight away.
Information is correct as at 26 October 2014. Please visit the destination website for latest updates.