East Coast and Pulau Ubin Information
The scenic region along the south-eastern part of Singapore, stretching north and east to Changi Airport and beyond, is known locally as the East Coast. It is famous for its palm-lined beaches, legendary seafood eateries, bicycle lanes and sporting events. The area spans roughly 185 hectares, and encompasses several distinct lifestyle areas – each offering different activities to suit the entire family.
East Coast Park, with its beautiful, 15-kilometre coastline, is Singapore’s urban getaway spot, very well visited on weekends. During morning and evening hours, joggers, cyclists and practitioners of all manner of martial arts take advantage of the fresh sea breezes and peaceful ambiance. Weekends belong to families, who settle in for the day around barbecue areas. Some even spend the night on the beach, since this is the only area in Singapore where camping is allowed.
The park’s theme is "Recreation for All," and its choice of activities is broad indeed. For relaxation, just settle back under the swaying palms along the beach and watch the ships passing offshore. Join the sand-castle builders, enjoy a picnic or hang out with good company and refreshments at Club Mana Mana. For more action, there are bowling alleys, volleyball courts, bike and kayak rentals, schools for sailing, surfing and inline skating, and even a lake for cable skiing and wakeboarding.
Several excellent seafood restaurants and hawker centres are strategically positioned along the coastline, to make sure you’re well looked after. Try the East Coast Seafood Centre, which boasts several top-quality seafood restaurants. In some you’ll choose your fresh fish, crab, prawn or lobster straight from the aquarium. The chilli crab and black pepper crab are legendary and not to be missed.
Further north along the coast, as you approach Changi Airport, the bike lanes become quieter while the sky gets busier. Changi has been awarded the title of World’s Best Airport for many years, and it certainly lives up to its reputation. Its three terminals offer more than 70,000 square metres of shopping space, rooftop gardens, a luxurious pool and spa, playgrounds, restaurants, movie theatres and areas set aside specifically for entertainment, leisure and indulgence. It’s no wonder Changi’s terminals aren’t only crowded with travellers – many local families and couples love to relax and shop here, especially on weekends.
Whether arriving or departing Changi Airport, make sure you allow some time to explore the new and ultra-modern Terminal 3, and the shopping areas of Terminal 2. Shuttle trains and busses connect all terminals.
Passing by the airport you’ll come to Changi Village. This lovely little community is home to such attractions as the Changi Beach Club, Changi Sailing Club and Changi Boardwalk. Both clubs’ facilities are reserved for members only, but their restaurants and bars do welcome visitors. The boardwalk is well worth a visit. Its charming trails, such as Sunset Walk, Cliff Walk and Beach Walk offer glimpses of giant heritage trees and lush greenery, as well as breathtaking panoramic views. You can begin your walk along these trails from Changi Village, or any one of the clubs.
At Changi Village Jetty you can catch a rustic bumboat; for a few dollars, you’ll be ferried across to Pulau Ubin, a small island ten minutes off the coast. Pulau Ubin is one of Singapore’s last remaining rural areas – here you can still witness the old kampong (Malay for "village") lifestyle. Originally a granite quarry, Pulau Ubin is known today for its abundant and varied forest and marine life, and is home to projects for hornbill conservation and seahorse monitoring.
Chek Jawa, a 100-hectare wetland area on the island’s south-eastern tip, recently became a focus of attention because of its enormous biodiversity. At low tide, the National Parks Board offers free guided tours, highlighting and explaining how unique it is to find such a variety of distinct ecosystems in one small area: sandy beach, rocky beach, sea-grass lagoon, coral rubble, mangrove forest and coastal forest.
Pulau Ubin also offers several bicycle trails; bikes can be brought to the island by boat, or rented upon arrival, at quite moderate rates. Bikes with child seats are also available. Ketam Mountain Bike Park is one of Singapore’s best mountain bike trails, stretching through more than 8 km of thick jungle, with steep climbs and breathtaking descents. Experienced mountain bikers rate it "a blast!"
When you arrive on Pulau Ubin, be sure to ask what time the day’s last boat departs for the trip back Singapore. You’ll want to be back to the boat dock well before the last scheduled trip. The reason is that if you happen to be the last party of the day, and there aren’t enough people in your party to fill a boat, you may be asked to pay a special "private trip" rate, for passage in a boat that isn’t full.
We recommend exploring the East Coast Park and Pulau Ubin on weekdays, to avoid the weekend crowds, and for the best opportunity to enjoy the areas’ rich tropical beauty. Also, be sure to bring along your mosquito repellent and sunscreen, especially when heading for Pulau Ubin!
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