Pulau Ubin: a glimpse of Singapore’s kampung life

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Day Trip to Pulau Ubin, Singapore blog post
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If you have been to Singapore several times and visited all the touristy places, then you should take a day to this relaxing travel destination called Pulau Ubin and explore the eastern part of Singapore during your next visit. The island gives you a glimpse of how kampung (village) life looks like back in the 1950s – 1960s when Singapore was still in its early development.

Here’s a little video I made during one of my trips to the island and it includes the neighborhood around Changi Village too.

Have I convinced you to make a day trip to the island yet? I have compiled this little Pulau Ubin guide/itinerary just for you!

Getting There

Pulau Ubin. Photo by Zairon / CC BY-SA
Pulau Ubin. Photo by Zairon / CC BY-SA

Pulau Ubin is located northeast from mainland Singapore and the easiest way to reach there is by taxi to the Changi Point ferry terminal or if you’re on a budget, you can go by public transport. Take the MRT to Tanah Merah (green line) and exit the station from Exit B, then you’ll see a bus stop. From the bus stop, take bus 2 and stop at Blk 5 (1 stop), the terminal is 4 minutes’ walk from there. The ferry ticket costs $3 per person and the ferry will depart once there are 10 – 12 passengers.

Another important thing to note is that after 5 p.m. there are little to no passenger going back to the mainland so if you decide to stay after sunset, you may need to pay $36 for the whole ferry ride alone, and if you do, remember to tell the boat captain and make your arrangement known, because they stop working at 6 p.m. Technically they are operating from 5.30 a.m. to 8 – 9 p.m., however, make sure you tell them your plan unless you want to camp there for the night.

Bum boat ride to and from Pulau Ubin
Bum boat ride to and from Pulau Ubin

What To Do

Having stayed in Singapore for 12 years, I love this teeny tiny island because it’s relaxing and very laid back. You can walk and explore the island, bike around, have a picnic, and read your book in peace. If the weather and your pocket permit, staying there to watch the sunset is worth the $36 you paid for the trip back.

There are a few bicycle rental places to rent a bike from and explore the whole day. The price goes between $7 – $10, depending on the bike you choose. Make sure you bring cash as the villagers only accept cash payment. I can’t recommend food places though as I always bring plenty of food, snacks, water, and mosquito repellent. Throughout your trip there, you can expect to see wildlife, mangroves, quarries, temple, and a few shrines.

Bicycle rental at Pulau Ubin
Bicycle rental shops at Pulau Ubin. Photo by Alex.CH / CC BY
One of the quary at Pulau Ubin
One of the quarry in Pulau Ubin. Photo by Zairon / CC BY-SA

A Little Bit of Mystery

During my first few visit there, I spotted a yellow building that is quite interesting. The funny thing is that I didn’t know that it was a shrine dedicated to a German girl who locals believed had died there while trying to escape from the British military during World War 1 in the 1910s. The sign read Berlin Heiligtum (Berlin Sanctuary) for crying out loud! At least I should have been able to pinpoint that it’s German because of “Berlin” hah! I thought the place is unique and creepy at the same time since there was a barbie doll at the altar.

I just found this information when I started writing this post and did my research (I’m the type that goes to a place first then do the research later!). You can google this shrine and find out the creepy story behind the barbie doll if you’re into that kind of thing. The shrine has undergone multiple renovations since it’s an old one made almost entirely of wood so it doesn’t look as ominous now.

The German Girl's Shrine in 2007.
The German Girl’s Shrine in 2007. Photo by yuhui on Flickr
The German Girl's shrine (renovated) in 2016
The German Girl’s shrine (renovated) in 2016. Photo by Kars Alfrink on Flickr

Last but not least, another interesting landmark on the island is the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple. The temple is decorated with colorful prayer flags and pay tributes to Hindu, Buddha, and Malay deities. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of this temple and there’s no creative common image I can use, but google can help you with that for sure.

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This photo is edited by me and originally by Zairon / CC BY-SA

If you are looking for inspirations for other less touristy places in major cities, take a look at my Rome Guide. Have you visited Pulau Ubin? Share your experience in the comment below.


  1. Thank you for sharing your experience and providing helpful information about visiting Pulau Ubin. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the glimpse of Singapore’s kampung life on this serene island. Your transportation tips and details about the ferry service are particularly valuable for those planning a visit.

  2. I’ve never visited Singapore, but your post provides very good and enticing reasons to plan a trip.

    • Yes, this island just has an “old-life” vibe to it! Singapore’s mainland is super modern though

    • Thank you! Singapore is a great place to visit. The city-state has a wide arrange of attractions from laid-back to super happening places. You can travel to Malacca and Johor Bahru by bus too from here, or take a plane to other SEA destinations 😀

  3. Thanks for sharing your guide on Pulau Ubin. I never considered traveling there before. Based on the pics and your descriptions, it sounds like an amazing place!

    • Yes it’s such a nice place to just relax and imagine how life used to be in the 50s or 60s Singapore.

  4. The Berlin Heiligtum is interesting, I have never heard about that before. Truly you got a one of kind tour while you were there which makes the experience even more fun, great photos too!

    • Thank you, yes the place is very interesting, you can find new things there even on your second or third visits, just have to look for it. I for one didn’t know the story behind that building on my first visit!

  5. I’ve been to Singapore a few times and have always enjoyed it, but I think seeing this side of Singa would be so welcome! It’d be a different experience, less busy (probably) and less luxurious (in some cases). I’ll keep this in mind for my next visit@

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