7 Days of Island-Hopping: The Island Getaway Special (Singapore Edition)

Touted as a food lover’s paradise and a shopper’s haven, not many are aware of the fact that Singapore also has more than 60 outlying islands – some of which make excellent getaways from the hustle and bustle of city life. Here, we bring you a list of Singapore’s best kept island secrets, complete with what these islands have to offer!

  1. St John’s Island, Lazarus Island, Seringat Island

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St John’s, Lazarus and Seringat Islands are usually visited together, as they are connected and can be easily accessible from each other by foot. They are found south of Singapore and make up part of Singapore’s southern islands. A little history about the islands – in the late 1800s, St John’s Island was a quarantine site for cholera patients. In the 1950s, the quarantine centre was converted to house political prisoners and later on, was used as a rehabilitation centre for opium addicts.  St John’s Island has since been redeveloped with accommodation and (basic) cooking facilities – you can choose to book either the holiday bungalows or camp dormitories. Also on the islands are barbecue pits, the Tropical Marine Science Institute, a basketball court and a football field. Or, if you wish, visit for a simple picnic, chill out by the beach, and spot some wildlife in the crystal clear waters if you are lucky!

15312820981_c111277e1b_o(Linkway between St John’s and Lazarus Island)

465070886_e4f3ca7116_o-1(Wildlife on the islands- Image courtesy of Wild Singapore)

Note: There are no stalls on the islands, so remember to bring along your own food and water. There are also many cats on the island, so do take note if you’re not a fan.

15129246070_de921a7427_o(It’s rude to stare.)

Getting there:
30 minutes by ferry from Marina South Pier.
Check ferry schedule and prices here.

2. Kusu Island

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Just a 15 minute ferry ride from St John’s Island is Kusu Island. Kusu Island literally means “Tortoise Island”. Kusu Island is named after a popular local legend, which tells the story of a magical tortoise that turned into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. Some of the popular attractions on the island include the Da Bo Gong & Na Du Gong Chinese Temples, as well as three kramats or holy Malay shrines. Kusu Island is also well-known for its beaches and lagoons.

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Note: Overnight stay is not permitted on Kusu Island.

Getting there:
30 minutes by ferry from Marina South Pier.
Check ferry schedule and prices here.

 

3. Pulau Hantu

Pulau Hantu, which means “Ghost Island” in Malay, is made up of two small islets located to the south of mainland Singapore. The two islets are separated by a shallow lagoon which quickly fills up during high tide, causing the “middle” of the island to disappear. Many have attributed Pulau Hantu’s name to this phenomenon.

Despite the fact that Pulau Hantu is located close to Pulau Bukom, where chemical industries and an oil refinery is located, there is a wealth of marine life waiting to be discovered here. If you are an avid diver or are into snorkelling, you’ll be surprised to find these gems just beneath the water. Some may even be exposed during low tide.

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465105636_0c1298822d_o (Picture courtesy of Wild Singapore)

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You can view this video of Pulau Hantu (01:04 onwards), which shows the rich marine life underwater (seahorses galore!). There are also mangroves on the island if you’re a nature lover. 🙂

Note: There are public toilets and shelters on the island, but these are all very basic. Remember to bring along sufficient food and water for the day! Overnight camping is only permitted with written consent from Sentosa.

Getting there:
Charter a private boat from Marina South Pier or West Coast Pier here.
Prices can be negotiated with the ferry operator.

4. Sisters’ Islands

444441461_b6ffb9526f_o(The Sisters’ Islands – image courtesy of Wild Singapore)

A 40-minute boat ride from Singapore, the Sisters’ Islands and its surrounding waters are Singapore’s first ever marine park. Sisters’ Islands are made up of two islands – Big Sister’s Island and Little Sister’s Island. Legend has it that a long time ago, there was a pair of inseparable sisters, Minah and Lina. A pirate came along and asked for Lina’s hand in marriage, and when rejected, decided to kidnap her. To save her, Minah jumped into the water, but the trio drowned in the midst of a storm. The next day, two islands appeared where Minah and Lina had drowned, thus giving rise to the name “Sisters’ Islands”.

A treasure trove of rich marine life and biodiversity, you can go on dive trails or intertidal guided walks. Visitors are strongly encouraged to join guided walks by NParks, free of charge. Sign up here today!

444441447_f4d85ce0b2_o(Rich corals and marine life in the waters surrounding the Islands)

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Getting there:
Charter a private boat from Marina South Pier or West Coast Pier here.
Prices can be negotiated with the ferry operator.

 

5. Coney Island

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Located off the north-eastern part of mainland Singapore, Coney Island recently opened its doors to the public. This place screams rustic – there are virtually no developments on the island – in fact, facilities here are so basic (if any) that there is only one toilet on the entire island! Still, if you want a day’s respite from the hustle and bustle of city  life, take time out to cycle around the island or take a morning stroll. There used to be a cow living on the island, but news has it that it’s since passed on 😦

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Note: There is no street lighting, so the park is only open from 7am to 7pm. There are no food/drink stalls as well. Some places are not sheltered so it can get very hot near noon time. Beaches are home to sandflies, so do come prepared.

Getting there:
From Punggol interchange, take bus 84 to Punggol Point Park/Punggol Settlement.
Walk about 500m east along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to get to Coney Island West Entrance.

6. Pulau Ubin

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Perhaps the most oft-visited of the offshore islands (after Sentosa), Pulau Ubin definitely has lots to offer, even if you are a returning visitor.  Located north-east of Singapore, the island is often described as Singapore’s last remaining kampong. Pulau Ubin literally means “Granite Island”, owing to the many (now abandoned) granite quarries found there.

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If it is your first time on the island, we suggest you rent a bicycle from one of the bicycle shops located near the main jetty, to tour the island. Some of the things to do on the island include visiting the granite quarries, mangroves, and cycling on the trails. You can also visit the beaches and Chek Jawa, a virtually untouched marine wildlife haven, where you can see corals, seagrass, nudibranches, octopuses  and mud crabs, amongst others. NParks offers guided walks to Chek Jawa for a nominal fee here.

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(Chek Jawa Visitor’s Centre)

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(Chek Jawa)

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(Sea grass varieties at Chek Jawa, courtesy of Wild Singapore)

Note: There are a few eateries at Pulau Ubin, and roads are generally more well paved than other offshore islands. Public toilets are also relatively easily available.

Getting there:
30 minutes by ferry from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

7. Sentosa

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Perhaps Singapore’s most popular offshore island, Sentosa needs no further introduction. Home to a variety of hotels, eateries, shopping malls, beaches, a casino and even a themed park (Universal Studios!), you can easily spend three full days exploring the island.

1024px-resorts_world_sentosa(Resorts World Sentosa / Universal Studios Singapore)

26200712436_c0b23b0ac8_o(Rasa Sentosa Resort – beach view)

The place is well connected by bus and monorail services. You can also get around in a taxi. If it’s your first time visiting, you might also want to treat yourself to a cable car ride!

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More information on Sentosa can be found on its official website here.

Getting there:
By cable car, bus, taxi, monorail, or bicycle.
Details here.

***

Have we excited you enough? Make a day trip to one of these islands today and discover a whole new side of Singapore!

*This is a non-sponsored post.

xoxo,
The Bears
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