Camping in Singapore
So you’re looking for another destination for a weekend getaway, but you’re on a budget. Well, it’s time to consider camping in our own backyard. While most of us stopped our tent adventures at OBS, camping is still a cheap and fun getaway option.
Roast marshmallows over a campfire, share stories about your greatest fears, and build – or at least try to build – your tents. With camping no longer permitted at Changi Beach Park, and Sisters’ Islands, you’re only legally allowed to camp at 6 places to go camping in Singapore. Here’s a guide to them all.
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
1. Lazarus Island – Scenic escape from the city
Lazarus Island is only a 45-minute boat ride from Singapore’s mainland.
Everyone probably agrees that the best thing about Lazarus Island = its powdery stretch of beach that faces the open sea. Here’s where you can pitch your tent as you kick back and feel like you’re on a faraway private island – there aren’t many people around during the weekdays!
Pitch your tent before enjoying a dip in the water, or go on a stroll to spot some of the island’s local kitty cats. Also, expect nights here to be proper dark – perfect for stargazing on a cloudless night.
Image credit: Michelle Verma-Kozłowska Facebook
To camp here, you’ll have to apply for a Temporary Occupation Licence on the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) website at least 2 weeks in advance – booking is free. If you’d like to “upgrade” your stay, there’s also the option to book a cabin by Tiny Away Escape at Lazarus Island which comes complete with bedrooms and bathrooms.
Getting there: Book an Island Cruise ferry ticket (from $14.90) or Marina South Ferry ticket (from $14).
2. Pulau Hantu – Pitch a tent on a private island
Image credit: affan mohdnoor via Google Maps
For hardcore campers who want to rough it out like Bear Grylls, Pulau Hantu is as wild as Singapore gets. You’ll really be on your own here, without 7-11s or the backup plan to book a Grab home. Pulau Hantu translates as “Ghost Island” in Malay, and legend has it that Pulau Hantu was born so spirits of 2 great warriors of the sea could live on. Be warned, faint-hearted souls.
Image credit: @brandonlimsy via Instagram
The 13-acre island will be all yours come nightfall. To reward you for your guts, you’ll be treated with unbeatable zen, a private white sand beach and reefs for snorkelling.
Be sure to apply for an SLA permit at least 2 weeks in advance. Alternatively, you can also contact the Southern Islands Management (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name, contact number, camping dates, and number of campers at least 7 days in advance.
Image credit: Singapore Adventurous Group Facebook
Getting there: No regular ferry service is available, but you can hire a private boat through West Coast Pier or Marina South Pier. Costs vary, but are approximately $40/pax for a minimum of 10 people.
3. East Coast Park – Catch the break of dawn
Image credit: @dotzsoh via Instagram
Every Singaporean has been to East Coast Park, but few have seen its beauty from dusk till dawn. A home away from home, camp here if you’re looking for somewhere that offers both comfort and adventure. You’ll be fully equipped with barbecue pits, *clean* toilets, and even a trusty old Macs for when the pit gets taken over by noob chefs.
Image credit: Chun-chong CHAI via Google Maps
ECP will keep everyone entertained with sandcastle building, in-line skating, prawning, and water sports like surfing and kayaking.
Image credit: Chun-chong CHAI via Google Maps
Get a permit to camp here – in areas D and G of the park only – by applying online via AXS or at an AXS machine when you arrive. It’s free to reserve a campsite, but you can also book bbq pits online at $16-$20 a pit.
Getting there: The nearest MRT is Bedok Station
4. Pasir Ris Park – Accessible location near an MRT
Image credit: @gornniwat via Instagram
#Couplegoals isn’t complete without a romantic night under the stars. Pasir Ris Park is the perfect choice for camping on the quieter side of the island, yet fuss-free with all the modern facilities you need. Chill in the tent as you watch planes fly past and stay up all night talking about your dreams.
Image credit: @avingtans via Instagram
When the day breaks, you can explore a 6-hectare mangrove trail, get lost in a maze garden, learn stand-up paddle boarding, or feed some ponies at Gallop Stable. This will surely be a special date that you’ll look back on with fond memories when you grow old.
Pasir Ris Park’s Maze Garden.
Likewise, you need to apply for a camping permit online via AXS or at an AXS machine at the park. Camping is permitted in Areas 1 & 3 right beside the waterfront. As an added bonus, the campsite is walking distance from Pasir Ris MRT so you won’t have to take any ferries or drive.
While most things are available at your “campsite”, for first-time campers, be sure to read our first-hand tips below.
Getting there: The nearest MRT is Pasir Ris Station
5. West Coast Park – Plenty of activities in the area
Image credit: @neo_bh via Instagram
West Coast Park is the play haven. Not just for young kids, but for everyone who’s a child at heart. There are several massive play areas – from a flying fox installation to a spider web maze, and even a ninja obstacle course. Right beside it, you’ll even find a giant lawn where you can run freely and let your worries be set free on a kite.
Area 3 is the heart of the park where all the main attractions are, and that’s where you can pitch your tents after applying for a permit online. Have a taste of the wild and admire the stars, but still have all the necessities of 21st century life. With 7-11 closeby, bbq pits – reserve one via AXS for $20 – and supper options right across the highway, WCP is the epitome of 1st world camping.
Getting there: The nearest MRT is Clementi Station.
6. Pulau Ubin – Experience the “kampung life”
There’s no camping without getting out of your comfort zone – apart from glamping, that is. An overnight stay in a tent on Pulau Ubin is sure to keep you on your feet, as you’ll be far away from the comforts of the mainland.
A 10-minute bumboat ride away, you’ll feel like you jumped into Back to the Future – SG version. It’s one of the last real kampungs in Singapore, where less than 100 villagers still live the idyllic life of the 60s under old wooden roofs. Staying overnight means you have time to ride up granite hills, explore Chek Jawa and its mirror-like tide pools, and immerse yourself in the rustic village.
View the mainland from Jelutong Campsite.
You can make Jelutong, Mamam Beach or the Ubin Living Lab Campsites your home for the night. If you’re new to camping, choose Jelutong as it’s right next to Ubin town and even has facilities for a campfire. While toilet facilities are available, the water isn’t suitable for drinking or bathing. So remember to pack dry shampoo and talcum powder!
Note: Pulau Ubin’s Endut Senin campsite is currently closed for maintenance until further notice.
Apply for a camping permit online via AXS.
Getting there: Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to Ubin Jetty ($4 per trip).
Pro tips for your camping in Singapore
We might be a small city, but there’s still a ton of places we can go to escape and have little adventures. Remember there’s life beyond the web and many wonders of nature for us to explore a short journey away – we just need to pick a spot and get packing.
Of course, you don’t want to get psyched up for a camping trip only to realise that you forgot to bring the most important thing – tents. Here, we give you the low-down on all the things you need to know about camping in Singapore, from applying for permits to other life-saving tips.
How to apply for a camping permit in Singapore
- East Coast Park, West Coast Park, Pulau Ubin, and Pasir Ris Park – Campers above 16 years old with a valid residential address in Singapore can apply for a permit online or from any AXS station. Display the permit outside the tent at all times.
- Pulau Hantu & Lazarus Island – Apply for a Temporary Occupation License at least 2 weeks in advance or by contacting the Southern Islands Management (email@example.com).
- These are the only places where outdoor camping is allowed. Do note that camping in Singapore is no longer permitted at Changi Beach Park, Noordin Beach in Pulau Ubin, and Sisters’ Islands.
Things to bring
1. Tents. From the most basic ones to things that look more like sheds, make sure they can survive both wind and rain. Scan your surroundings before setting up your tent – watch out for rat holes! Buy a tent from only $24.90 at Decathlon if you don’t already have one.
2. Sleeping bag. Invest in an airbed or inflatable pillow for utmost comfort.
3. Lots of water and drinks. To stay hydrated. Coconut water, like the 1L packs from Coco Life, will be useful as coconut water hydrates better than water.
4. Torch light/battery-powered lamps + extra batteries. They’ll be useful as lights that you can hang inside your tent.
5. Head lamp. It’s a lifesaver for pitching tents in complete darkness. We got ours on sale at under $5 from Decathlon – no need for anything fancy here.
6. Dry shampoo and talcum powder. In case you won’t be able to shower.
7. A portable charger for phone addicts. Please don’t bring a flat one.
8. Mess tins, solid fuel and disposable cutlery for cooking. For a full camping experience. Don’t use 2 solid fuels in one as the fire will be too strong. To replace, just put it above the old solid fuel and they will mesh together.
9. Food. Hungry campers are the worst. Pack simple fare like bread and spread, or level up your chef game like we did. We combined instant noodles with sausages and baked beans for our own easy-to-make Korean army stew!
10. Trash bags. Clean up after you cook, especially in the islands, or deal with stray dogs nosing around your tent for food in the middle of the night.
11. Tons of tissue paper and wet tissue. They always come in handy, especially if toilets are unavailable or unclean.
12. Ziploc bags. Waterproof all your valuables at night in case it rains.
13. A jacket. It can get cold at night.
14. Swiss knife. Great for just about everything.
15. Mosquito coils/insect repellent. You don’t want to get bitten by sandflies or get Zika!
Stay cool with Coco Life when you go camping in Singapore
Besides forgetting your tent which will be your home for the night, the last thing you’d want while camping is to be short on water. And carrying a gallon of water isn’t exactly an option when your bag’s going to be filled with a scroll of things to bring.
Instead, bring a few packs of Coco Life, made from 100% coconut water. They come in 330ml and 1L packets, perfect for whichever need you have. It contains natural electrolytes to supercharge your hydration levels on-the-go, and a sip of this will put water to shame. Grab one for your next camping adventure in Singapore!
Find out more about Coco Life here
This post was brought to you by Coco Life.
Originally published on 29th September 2016. Last updated by Kezia Tan on 5th May 2023.
Cover image adapted from: Chun-chong CHAI via Google Maps, @neo_bh via Instagram, Michelle Verma-Kozłowska Facebook
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