Cook over a fire, gaze at the stars and see a wild boar in real life? You’ll get all that and more with a Pulau Ubin camping trip!
We are excited about the news that NParks campsites reopen with effect from 18 March 2022 (and you can apply for camping permits from 15 March 2022, 10 am!) while SLA campsites reopen on 29 March. Camping has been one of the kids’ most memorable experiences so here’s our review of what to know before you go on a camping trip to Pulau Ubin!
Pulau Ubin Camping permit
Did you know camping at Pulau Ubin is free? We tried to go on a Saturday and made a booking on the NParks website. Even though we submitted our Pulau Ubin camping application three weeks before the intended date, we only got a reply two days before and it got rejected because the campsite was full. It was a bit of a disappointment but we then decided we’d have more luck going on a weekday. We submitted another Pulau Ubin camping application and this time it got approved two days before the actual camping date trip.
Do note the safe distancing rules related to camping here.
Getting to Pulau Ubin
There’s a daily bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal between 6am and 7pm that costs $3 per person for a single trip. The boat trips are rather irregular – they only leave when 12 people are on board and there’s an extra $2 charge if you’re BYOB (bringing your own bicycle).
Pulau Ubin Camping: equipment you’ll need to bring
We purchased our tent and inflatable mattresses with Amazon Prime and picked up sleeping bags from Decathlon. You’ll also have to do a bit of planning before you go camping on Pulau Ubin because there are no shops there, and the restaurants close at 5pm on weekdays. This means you’ll have to bring food and snacks with you. At night, we lit a fire to cook hot dogs and make smores (what’s a Pulau Ubin camping experience without roasting marshmallows!?) In addition to proper camping equipment and food, you’ll need to bring plenty of water, a first aid kit and a few simple activities such as board games or card games. Wet wipes would be a good idea, too, because while there is a toilet for public use, there is no space to take a shower. I’d also recommend bringing a portable fan because it can get stuffy at night and a good torch light because there are little to no street lights once it’s dark out. There’s also no ATM, so bring cash with you, which you’ll need to rent bikes or pay for meals at the restaurants.
Pulau Ubin camp sites
There are three campsites at Pulau Ubin to choose from – Jelutong, Mamam (currently closed) and Endut Senin. We opted for the Jelutong Campsite. It was a great choice since it’s closest to the ferry, which was quite a relief since we had plenty of gear with us. The weekends can get very crowded, so I’d recommend a Pulau Ubin camping trip on a weekday if you want to avoid the crowds. When we went, we pretty much had the campsite to ourselves.
Watch out for wild boars!
Be warned: you will be visited by wild boars, and it can be a pretty intimidating experience. They are rather scary and we chased them off with sticks, but they will come back when you are sleeping. If you have food outside, they will lick or eat it. So it’s best to keep your food inside the tent. If there are things you need to leave outside, hang everything high up in the trees so the boars can’t reach it even if they stand on their hind legs. Besides the boars, you’ll also hear some noise from the generators at the nearby fish farms.
Read More: Where to see wild animals in SG
What to do on Pulau Ubin
If nature is your cup of tea, you can bird-watch with the kids, visit the abandoned quarries and identify native plants by exploring Pulau Ubin. There’s also a fruit orchard at Pulau Ubin that you can tour as well as kayaking and visiting Chek Jawa Wetlands.
Little adventurers will love the various biking trails – there are cycling routes that are kid-friendly and flat but others are steep. Beware the Ketam Trail which is Singapore’s first purpose-built mountain biking trail. The island is well sign-posted, marking out trails for beginner and advanced cyclists. If you are into hiking, you will love the various hiking opportunities as you spot local sights like the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple and the German Girl Shrine.
Have fun with your Pulau Ubin camping trip and take plenty of snaps for that family album!