Pulau Ubin is a small island located to the north east of Singapore and is one of the last undeveloped areas of the country. Legend says that the island was formed when three animals—an elephant, frog and pig—challenged each other to a race; the losers would be turned to stone. As none of the animals could finish the race, the elephant and pig were turned to stone and became Pulau Ubin and the frog became Pulau Sekadu (Frog Island). Whether the legend is true or not is up for debate, but the truth is that the island is made of granite, a fact that thrilled the English when they were settling the area.
Nowadays, the island is an oasis of green with old wooden homes and jetties and abandoned plantations and quarries illustrating the traditional kampong village, a side of Singapore that is mostly absent on the mainland. Many Singaporeans visit the island during the summer months for recreation—there are plenty of hiking and biking paths—and tourists have taken note and followed suit. One of the most popular aspects of the island is Chek Jawa, a former coral reef that allows visitors to get an up-close glimpse at a variety of marine wildlife. There are several restaurants that specialize in seafood and have amazing views, so don’t worry about going hungry during your day of exploring.
To get to Pulau Ubin from the main island of Singapore, it’s just a 10- or 15-minute bumboat ride from the Changi Point Ferry Terminal. The bumboats run from about 6 a.m. to about 8 p.m. and each boat can fit 12 people. The fare is $2.50 Singapore dollars (SGD) each way, $2 SGD for a bicycle. The boat operators will wait until the boat is full before departing, but if you want to get there more quickly, you can rent out the whole boat for $30 SGD.