Are you itching to hike some trails in Singapore? The ultimate Pulau Ubin hiking guide will bring you through the ins, outs, hows, and nows (which is when you should be hiking).
WWB writer and Singapore resident, Evelyn Ngui gives you insights into Pulau Ubin that only an insider knows.
You may think that Pulau Ubin Singapore is just good for a weekend stroll along the beach, but there may be endless possibilities yet! It used to be the hot place for school camps or Outward Bound School (OBS), but now it is being revived by fresh interest in the island.
Read on to find out the best spots to visit on your Pulau Ubin guide:
- The Sensory Trail Garden
- Pekan Quarry Viewpoint
- Puaka Hill
- Ketam Mountain Bike Park
- Ketam Quarry Viewpoint
- Chek Jawa Wetlands Boardwalk
- Tree Trail
Also, some tips on hiking Pulau Ubin:
- Getting To Pulau Ubin
- Getting Around Pulau Ubin
- History Of Puaka Hill
- Must-See Sights Along The Journey to Puaka Hill
- Lesser-Known Things to Do At Pulau Ubin
- Pulau Ubin Hiking Essentials
- FAQs About Pulau Ubin
DISCLOSURE: The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, AT NO EXTRA COST to you. I hope you find the information here helpful. Thanks!
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The Sensory Trail Garden
Distance from the main jetty: 400 meters (4-minute walk)
Ever imagined getting yourself lost in an enchanted forest? This Sensory Trail Garden is perfect to satisfy your wanderlust and kickstart your Pulau Ubin hiking journey.
You’ll find fruit, herbs, and vegetable gardens along the Pulau Ubin walking trail squared off in wooden plank fences. Please refrain from picking any, for they belong to the farmers who cultivate the land.
Walk a little further and you’ll find yourself at a secret beach!
Pekan Quarry Viewpoint
Distance from the main jetty: 600 meters (8-minutes walk)
Home to the white herons, the Pekan Quarry Viewpoint used to be one of the granite quarries excavated for urban construction in Singapore. Now, it stands majestic as one of the most accessible lakes on Pulau Ubin!
P.s. Pekan (meaning “town” in the Malay language) Quarry was previously known as Ho Man Choo Quarry.
Distance from the main jetty: 1.8KM (24-minutes walk, or a 10-minute cycle)
Past the Sensory Trail Garden, Pekan Quarry Viewpoint, and the iconic Ah Ma Drink Stall along Jalan Jelutong is the trail up to Puaka Hill. The Pulau Ubin trail is not indicated by signs and you may just pass it by.
Look out for Puaka Hill’s Merbah Hut to know that you’re on the right track! You’ll arrive at a lookout point 5-minutes in, and “summit” barely ten minutes later.
The view that takes your breath away will be worth all the cardio exercise.
Ketam Mountain Bike Park
Distance from the main jetty: 3KM (15-minutes cycle)
Pulau Ubin hiking is not just about scenic strolls and slow walks, for even the adrenaline junkies can get their fix here! At the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, there are three different levels along the 10KM cycling trail.
The Blue Square trail is perfect for beginners, with no inclines but some bumps along the trail.
The Black Diamond and Double Black Diamond are for intermediate and advanced cyclists who can tackle the steep inclines and rocky paths. No judgment whichever trail you choose! You may also check out statistics by avid cyclers Trailforks on their cycling adventures.
Ketam Quarry Viewpoint
Distance from the main jetty: 3KM (15-minutes cycle)
Situated along the same area as the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, you’ll find a picturesque spot of another lake – the Ketam Quarry Viewpoint! If you’d like to, pack a picnic lunch and have it here, just enjoying the sounds of nature without the hustle and bustle of city life.
P.s. Use the “lalang” (cogon grass, or imperata cylindrica) as a backdrop for portrait shots here.
Chek Jawa Wetlands Boardwalk
Distance from the main jetty: 3.6KM (18-minutes cycle)
Located along the eastern coast of Pulau Ubin, the Chek Jawa Wetlands is a must-visit if you want to encounter wildlife and be immersed in nature. The 1KM-length boardwalks circle the coastal line as well as the mangrove area, so make sure that you visit during the low tide to catch all the beautiful scenes!
Take the Mangrove Loop to visit the 7-floor high Jejawi Tower for views of the entire area.
P.s. Spot wild boars, monitor lizards, mudskippers, crabs, and bright birds along the wetlands!
Distance from the main jetty: 50 meters (2-minutes walk)
If you want to chart a walking trail that can guide your Pulau Ubin adventure, consider the Tree Trail that starts just off the main jetty (at the Ubin-HSBC Volunteer Hub) and ends at the Chek Jawa Wetlands!
As the name suggests, this trail leads you through at least ten different trees that include durian, jackfruit, banana, and even cocoa! The 3KM-length trail loops through the center of the island and you will even spot the Village Head’s House and the iconic Malay House.
Getting To Pulau Ubin
To get to Pulau Ubin, head on to Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The bumboats here operate on a sea schedule – the Pulau Ubin ferry schedule is such that they leave only when there is a full load of passengers (12 in total) and appear when it is time to pick up the next load.
Although the boats appear small, fret not! You will be safe in the hands of these seasoned boatmen (as long as you keep to the safety instructions).
Changi Point Ferry Terminal address: 51 Lorong Bekukong, Singapore 499172
How to get there:
- Take a 20-minute bus 109 from Pasir Ris MRT Station (East-West Line)
- Take the 20-minute bus 29 or 59 from Tampines East MRT Station (East-West Line)
- Drive and park at Changi Village Public Car Park
Bumboat operating hours: 7 AM – 6 PM
Cost: S$4 (USD 2.93) per passenger, S$2 (USD 1.47) per bicycle (cash only)
P.s. If you wish to bring a date and impress her, you can always pay a full loads’ cost of passengers for a “private” ride to Pulau Ubin!
Getting Around Pulau Ubin
This Pulau Ubin guide recommends taking a bicycle ride around the island!
Although you have the option of walking, cycling, or taking a taxi, cycling is arguably the best way to enjoy the island views at your own pace. The well-paved roads on the island attest to its bicycle-friendly reputation.
Cycling: Rent a bicycle starting from S$5 (USD 3.67) per day, or S$35 (USD 25.67) per day for a mountain bike. If you enjoy getting to know the island intimately, consider the organized bicycle tours available.
Check out the bicycle tours by:
Walking: It takes more time and effort, but we all know that this sometimes makes the adventure all the better! You may travel on the 10sq km island by foot, although we recommend bringing along a Pulau Ubin map, and a bottle of water.
Taxi: In reality, the taxis on the island are minivans that can seat up to 10 passengers. Opt for a taxi if you wish to travel to only one location promptly. Prices start at S$2 (USD 1.47) for a short trip and S$35 (USD 25.67) at an hourly rate (negotiable).
History of Puaka Hill
The legend goes that Pulau Ubin was formed from the tale of three animals who dared each other to reach Johor (the south-most state of Malaysia, bordering Singapore) from the mainland of Singapore.
The loser would then receive the punishment of being turned into stone.
Lo and behold, all three animals did not succeed and therefore the elephant and the pig formed the iconic Pulau Ubin today. It may be out of context, but Puaka Hill could be the snout of the pig or the trunk of the elephant.
In the Malay language, Pulau Ubin was called the “Granite Stone Island”, due to a large amount of granite available on the island. The granite was then used to make floor tiles for the housing, lighthouse, and causeway development on the mainland.
The island was also known as “stone hill”, with the highest point (74-meters) being Puaka Hill. The picturesque lake from the summit viewpoint of Puaka Hill is one of the deep granite quarries (Ubin Quarry) from the island.
Must-See Sights Along The Journey To Hike Puaka Hill
- Butterfly Hill
Butterfly Hill is within the campgrounds of the Jelutong Campsite, near the main jetty.
This site is about the size of a football field and holds up to 140 species of butterflies. Based on the advice of local butterfly expert Khew Sin Khoon, a home for butterflies to showcase their beauty for visitors was created.
Drop by this magical location on a sunny day and you can easily see up to 20 species of butterflies! A drop of magic at the start of your hiking at Pulau Ubin.
- Pekan Quarry Lake
Next up, you will find one of the oldest quarries of Pulau Ubin – now a natural habitat for roosting herons. Peer over the fence, take in a breath of fresh air, and continue on your hike.
You won’t miss the scenic lake as a large bamboo tree waving in the breeze will greet you a short walk from Butterfly Hill.
- Ah Ma Drink Stall
Keep left along Jalan Jelutong for a refreshing treat! Ah Ma Drink Stall has been in service since 1955, providing coconuts from Thailand to quench your thirst.
Madam Ong Ang Kui, the spritely owner of this stall insisted on harvesting coconuts around the island daily until her children protested out of concern for her health! She now sources coconuts directly from Thailand and serves them directly to customers herself. She is one of the famous gems that contribute to Pulau Ubin attractions.
- Jelutong Bridge
The dam that divides the mangroves is known as the Jelutong Bridge. It cuts directly across the mangrove trees hugging the riverbanks and leads to Puaka Hill. Interestingly, the dam was previously built to prevent predator fish from preying on the prawns bred by island locals.
From Ah Ma Drink Stall, walk on ahead.
- Sungai Jelutong
Later in the morning kayakers will hug their precious kayaks and lay them onto the water at the Sungai Jelutong, just left of the Jelutong Bridge. It is one of the lesser-known activities of Pulau Ubin. If you’re not an avid hiker, you can consider kayaking.
After the Sungai Jelutong, you will arrive at Merbah Hut, the landmark to the start of your Pulau Ubin hiking up Puaka Hill.
Lesser-Known Things To Do At Pulau Ubin
- Kampong Tour
This is one of the two tours held by NParks as part of their Pulau Ubin guide to the island.
Every third Saturday of the month, this tour brings you to a quarry, nature trails, an old school site, heritage spots, and an old kampong house. Drench yourself in the rustic village life you never got to experience!
Cost: S$60 (USD $44.01)
Time: 2 hours
- Mangrove Kayaking
Adventures by Asian Detours provides mangrove kayaking sessions that are beginner-friendly and guided by an Expedition Leader. Although they market the experience for “adventure seekers”, all levels of kayakers are welcome.
Two sessions are available daily and all equipment is provided. However, a change of clothes is recommended in case you get wet during the session.
Cost: S$95 (USD $69.69)
Time: 4 hours
- Ubin Fruit Orchard
This was previously a fruit orchard owned by a resident on Pulau Ubin. It houses up to 350 fruit trees on land approximately one hectare in size. The more common fruit trees are the durian, rambutan, mango, and starfruit trees.
P.s. Every third Saturday of the month, a Rustic Reflections Tour that includes the fruit orchard will be held by NParks.
Time: At your own pace
- Restored Kampong House Visit
This is one of the better-known Pulau Ubin places of interest. The restored Chinese Kampong House is also known as Teck Seng’s Place and is one of the five houses restored by the local authorities. Teck Seng was previously a resident of Pulau Ubin who ran a poultry farm.
Teck Seng’s Place is open two weekends each month (2nd and 4th weekend) and on public holidays from 10 AM to 2 PM.
Time: At your own pace
Pulau Ubin Hiking Essentials
To get the most out of your trip, these are the recommended items to bring along for your adventure hiking in Pulau Ubin!
- Sturdy walking or hiking shoes (hint: get them waterproof)
- A good hat (to keep out the sun)
- Insect repellant
- Strong backpack
- Water bottle
- Map of Pulau Ubin
- Portable power bank to charge your mobile phones
- Cash (there are no ATMs on the island)
- A spirit of adventure!
Make sure that you are dressed in comfortable, sweat-proof clothing that is adaptable for walking, cycling, or hiking.
You do not need to bring a passport as Pulau Ubin is part of Singapore.
If you intend to spend the night at Pulau Ubin, there are three campsites where you may set up camp. Take note that there is no Pulau Ubin resort available on the island.
- Jelutong Campsite (closest to the main jetty)
- Maman Campsite (Northern part of Pulau Ubin)
- Endut Senin Campsite (Western part of Pulau Ubin)
Minimal facilities are available at the campsites – bring your water and food, while being prepared to use shared toilets. There are no shower stalls on the island.
FAQs about Pulau Ubin:
- How Long Is The Pulau Ubin Hiking Trail?
The hiking trail up Puaka Hill, the highest point on Pulau Ubin, takes 30 minutes. There are many other trails you can consider on Pulau Ubin, such as the Sensory Trail, Cycling Trail, or Tree Trail.
- What Time Should I Go To Pulau Ubin?
To get the most out of your day, plan to reach Changi Point Ferry Terminal in time to catch the 7 AM boat to Pulau Ubin. The morning hiking trails at Pulau Ubin will be effortless before the hot and sunny weather Singapore is known for hits at noon.
By then, you can choose to relax by having a coconut drink at Ah Ma Drink Stall or a picnic at the Ketam Quarry Viewpoint.
- What Is So Special About Pulau Ubin?
Pulau Ubin contains one of the last villages of Singapore. It is rare to enjoy the rustic village scene within an hour of travel from the mainland of Singapore. Both locals and tourists enjoy the change of scenery in the outdoors without the hustle and bustle of city life.
Take a change in scenery and consider going for a Pulau Ubin hiking journey, the not-so-hidden secret of Singapore!
You can opt for a trail in nature, up the steep treks, or on boardwalks by the coastal line. Walk, cycle, or even grab a taxi at the charming island after your hike.
Dressed in your hiking best, you will encounter wildlife, wrestle with nature trails, and experience the bliss of childhood. The experience is second to none!
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