Is Pulau Ubin Safe to Visit Solo?

Nestled in the northeast of Singapore, Pulau Ubin island lured me in with the promise of tranquillity and rustic natural beauty. Away from the bright city lights and bustling lifestyle, this small island offers an idyllic wildlife-filled escape, right on Singapore’s doorstep.

Approximately 10.19 square kilometres in size, the lush island of Pulau Ubin is popular for cycling or walking through its many trails and boardwalks, with many interesting natural landmarks and historic points of interest to stop at.

But as a solo female traveller, the question of safety naturally crossed my mind and I found myself wondering “is Pulau Ubin safe to visit?” Especially as I had heard it’s an absolute contrast from the urban metropolis of the mainland: quiet and somewhat isolated.

After a little research, I decided to go for it and set out alone to explore Pulau Ubin on a hot and sunny Saturday morning.

Bombing around this nature-abundant island alone on a bike was absolutely my highlight of my trip Singapore and so I’d hate for people to skip it based on safety concerns.

So after venturing there alone recently, here’s what to expect and why I think Pulau Ubin in Singapore is a safe place to travel solo for a day trip.

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So, is Pulau Ubin Safe?


1. Crime Rates

Statistically speaking, incidents on Pulau Ubin are infrequent. While precise figures are challenging to find, you can take comfort from Singapore’s overall status as one of the safest countries in the world.

According to a 2020 study, Singapore came out as number one in the travel safety index which takes the top 50 most visited countries and ranks them on seven safety factors. 

The city-state boasts low crime rates and stringent security measures, and this commitment extends to Pulau Ubin too.

National Parks Board officers patrol the island, ensuring the safety and well-being of all visitors. I bumped into friendly volunteers walking around litter picking in small groups. You’ll also notice a police station just to the right of the jetty so you can have peace of mind knowing there is law enforcement on the island.

As always, don’t show off or leave valuables unattended or take any unnecessary risks, and you should be safe visiting Pulau Ubin alone. That being said, I did leave my hire bike unchained out of sight when I had lunch (I noticed locals did this with their bikes too), so I do think the risk of a crime like this is pretty rare.

2. Locals & Unwanted Attention

One thing I really like about Singapore (and which is quite unusual in many parts of Asia) is that I didn’t feel like I stood out or drew attention, despite being a caucasian woman and an obvious tourist. This was the same on Pulau Ubin too. 

My interactions with locals, including dining alone, were extremely pleasant and I didn’t feel even slightly intimidated or uncomfortable. 

Showing skin such as bare legs isn’t an issue in Singapore either (unless in temples or other places of worship) and many Singaporean women wear shorts or skimpy tops, so I felt comfortable to do the same on Pulau Ubin, (which is great considering I was doing physical activity in the heat!)

Overall, I felt like I blended in and the locals were totally cool and welcoming. It’s awesome to experience locals as allies to solo female travel.

3. Cycling, Road & Trail Safety


Hiring a bike and cycling around the island, including hitting up the trails at the Ketum Mountain Bike Park is a popular activity on Pulau Ubin. Accidents on bikes of course happen, so it’s worth getting a helmet with your bike hire and ensure you test the bike before hiring it, including trying the brakes.

In fact, there have been a few deaths on Pulau Ubin over the years from people sustaining head injuries from crashing or falling off their bikes, especially around the steep Jalan Wat Siam road (grimly dubbed ‘Cemetery Road’ by locals).

The roads are relatively quiet, but the ‘main’ road is pretty much a single tarmac lane where the odd vehicle or small truck may pass you. Locals are well aware of tourists on bikes but you’ll just need to take care around corners and keep to the left hand side.

If you’re not an experienced or confident mountain biker but want to hit up the dedicated park, then just stick to the blue trails. Or, you can opt for just cycling the main sights which are accessed on pretty flat gravel tracks or roads. 

All trails are clearly marked and well maintained. You’ll also find notice boards with a map of Pulau Ubin dotted around so you shouldn’t get lost.

4. Beware of Wildlife

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A terrible photo but spot the monkeys!

I was drawn to Pulau Ubin in part for its unique wildlife after hearing about the island being a haven for many species like monkeys, bats, deer, owls and other incredible birdlife like hornbills. In fact I lost count of how much different wildlife I actually saw.

I spotted macaques after about five minutes of cycling and I admit, seeing a big group of them on the road where you need to pass is a little unnerving. The trick is to not act like a threat, cycle slowly giving them a wide berth, or even get off and walk your bike instead and avoid direct eye contact. Adults might attack if you seem like a threat to their young, so give baby monkeys an especially wide berth.

Of course, don’t feed the monkeys or eat in front of them and you won’t attract their attention (or get a fine!)

I also saw a huge water monitor lizard swimming in between the mangroves which can often be found sunbathing on paths too. Although they’re shy creatures, don’t provoke them into defensive behaviour.

I also read signs about wild boars around the Chek Jawa wetlands which did freak me out a little. Luckily I didn’t encounter any, but they will only charge if they feel threatened or are violently startled, so take it easy and stick to the paths (i.e. don’t walk off into the forest). 

Wildlife is of course unpredictable and we’re guests in their home, so respect it, and you’ll no doubt have nothing short of an incredible nature experiences on the island, like I did. 

5. Be Sun & Heat Smart


To be honest, one of the biggest threats of Pulau Ubin is the relentless heat and humidity. Both cycling and walking in the heat is super tough – be prepared to have a cathartic sweat!

Drink lots of water, slather on high SPF sunscreen, keep skin covered in light, breathable clothing and seek out shade whenever you can. 

6. Mozzies

Mosquitoes thrive in hot and wet conditions so the tropical climate of Pulau Ubin is a mozzie haven, especially between May – October. That being said, bring some mosquito spray with you.

Dengue Fever cases are currently increasing in Singapore. You may see lots of healthcare posters around about how to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes as they’re pumping campaigns (and medical research) into decreasing infections.  

7. Tides, Boats & Water safety


As well as cycling, another popular activity is to kayak the mangroves of Pulau Ubin which is a fantastic way to spot wildlife and get to know the island’s natural beauty more intimately.

You can book this online in advance (however there must be a minimum of two people) or you can try your luck at joining a group or hiring one when you get there.

The kayak tours are guided, so you’ll have someone showing you the way, but despite this you should of course wear the provided lifejacket, be aware of tides and poor conditions which can make the sea choppy. 

Also lookout for ‘bumboats’ (the small passenger ferry boats to the island) and other vessels navigating the open waters.

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In terms of access to and from the island, boats run whenever they’ve reached a worthwhile capacity (usually 9-12 people) and operate roughly between the hours of 6am – 7pm.

I got onto boats within mere minutes both arriving to and departing from Pulau Ubin, however you might not want to leave the island too late, just in case you can’t get back easily.  

Overall, my personal experience of travelling around Pulau Ubin for a day trip from the city felt really safe, and it was so energising and empowering to explore the island solo. It’s a fascinating place and an insight into a side of Singapore you really don’t expect.

Although this is based on my own experience, yours may well be different. Like you normally would when you go somewhere new alone, take the necessary precautions such as telling someone trusted your whereabouts, or even go with a group (like this guided bike tour) if you’re unsure or nervous.

If you’re planning on visiting Pulau Ubin solo, then my advice: go for it, you’ll have a blast!

Going travelling Soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

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Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for the passport you are travelling with

Inspiration: to kick-start your next adventure, how about Lonely Planet’s Guide to the World?

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