Singapore itself is an island, but did you know that it owns some of the nearby surrounding islands too? Besides Sentosa Island, which can be accessed on Singapore itself, there are several offshore islands that are worth exploring.
1) Pulau Ubin
Pulau Ubin, literally Granite Island’ in Malay, is probably the most popular and well-known island among locals and tourists. It is an island located off eastern Singapore with a rich diversity of flora and fauna. The lifestyle in Ubin is more rustic and slow than what you usually see in Singapore. There are no high-rise buildings and villagers usually get around by cycling. Since cycling is usually the main mode of transportation, it is highly advised that visitors rent bicycles to explore the island. Rental of bicycles are usually priced from S$3-S$7/hour. One of the key attractions in Ubin, the Chek Jawa Wetlands is one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems and was officially opened on 7 July 2007. Visitors to the island can also join guided walks conducted by volunteers.
Things to do: Explore Chek Jawa, rent bicycles and cycle around the island, join a guided walk
How to get there: By taking a ferry from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. A one way ticket costs S$2.
2) Lazarus Island
Lazarus Island is one of the 8 islets collectively known as Singapore’s Southern Islands which also includes Sentosa, Kusu Island and the Sister’s Islands. Since the island is relatively new, there aren’t many people there, let alone food stalls. Compared to Pulau Ubin, Lazarus Island pales in terms of activities. However it makes up for that as being one of the few islands with pretty white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters.
Things to do: Buy food before entering the island. The island does not have any food stores within its vicinity.
How to get there: By taking a ferry to St. John’s Island and then to Kusu Island at the Marina South Pier. Cost of a ticket S$18 (adult) and S$12 (child)
3) Kusu Island
Kusu Island, where ‘Kusu’ literally means ‘Turtle’ or ‘Tortoise’ in Chinese, is one of the Southern Islands in Singapore. In Malay, the island is also known as Pulau Tembakul. Legend has it that a tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors – one Malay and a Chinese. It is one of the reasons that the island is home to a Malay shrine and a Chinese temple. An interesting fact to note would be that on the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, close to 90,000 devotees will visit the Kusu island to pay their respects at the shrine and temple.
Things to do: Visit the Chinese temples/Malay shrines and pay a visit to the hundreds of tortoises at the Tortoise Sanctuary.
How to get there: By taking a ferry at the Marina South Pier. (see the section on ‘Lazarus Island’ for more details)
4) Sisters’ Islands
Sisters’ Islands are also part of the Southern Islands in Singapore and are located to the south of the country. The two islands are named ‘Big Sister’s Island’ and ‘Little Sister’s Island’ to pay tribute to legend of the two sisters who drowned in the sea.
Things to do: Diving/Snorkelling/Swimming, guided walks, overnight camping
How to get there: By taking a ferry from Marina South Pier ($18)
In addition to these islands, there are other islands that Singapore owns but I felt these were the ones most worth visiting. Some essentials to bring would be mosquito repellant and sunscreen. Also, no passports are needed since there isn’t immigration. 😛 I do hope this article has been of some help to you. Happy visiting!
By Sarah Chua, ASEAN Correspondent from Singapore