4 Singapore islands to check out besides Ubin

Rustic fun and adventure awaits you at Singapore’s Southern Islands

Singapore has other islands for rustic adventures besides Ubin, you know
Singapore has other islands for rustic adventures besides Ubin, you know
20 May 2016

Singapore has other islands for rustic adventures besides Ubin, you know

Okay, so we may not have pristine and white sandy beaches like Boracay’s, or have as large a variety as Indonesia or Thailand when it comes to island-hopping options. But our humble isles serve up a load of rustic fun and adventure as well. Best part is you don’t need a passport to enjoy a slice of rural charm. These islands, part of Singapore’s Southern Islands, are where you can head to.

Photo: Singapore Island Cruise

Sister's Island
Sister's Island
20 May 2016

Sister's Island

Designated a marine park in 2014 and made up of two tranquil islands called Pulau Subar Laut (Big Sister’s) and Pulau Subar Darat (Little Sister’s), the pair are separated by a narrow but deep channel that cannot be swum across (don’t say we didn’t warn you!). Beaches are rocky but its clear blue waters are great for snorkelling, although you should keep to the sheltered bays when you do so.

Keep your eyes peeled for long-tailed macaques on land and coral reefs, fish, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and more, often buried deep in the sand, in water. Because there are a lot of shady palm trees, it’s a great spot for a lazy picnic.  

If you are into underwater marine life (and have logged at least 20 dives with one local dive within the past two years), you can try Singapore’s first Dive Trail at Pulau Subar Laut, developed by NParks.

Two separate trails are available - the shallow trail will take divers around a loop to a maximum depth of 6m. The deep trail will reach a maximum depth of 15m.

Note: Overnight camping is no longer allowed on the island.  

St John's Island
St John's Island
20 May 2016

St John's Island

Formerly a quarantine station for cholera cases detected among immigrants, and eventually leprosy as well, this hilly island is now an idyllic getaway with swimming lagoons, beaches, trekking routes and soccer fields, as well as plenty of flora and fauna. It also houses several bungalow chalets. If you are a cat lover, this island will make you purr with its large stray cat population ambling about. To make your money’s worth (a boat ticket to Kusu and/or Saint John’s costs S$18), cross a paved bridge to get to Lazarus Island (pictured), where there’s a sandy beach a short stroll away. Li Guoli, a manager from Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services, said the beach is secluded and pretty. “It’s quite a clean beach compared with East Coast, which may be too commercialised,” he said. While these two spots are popular among anglers, like at Sisters’ Island, you are not allowed to camp overnight here.

Kusu Island
Kusu Island
20 May 2016

Kusu Island

Known as “Tortoise Island” in Mandarin, this spot boasts a rich heritage with a Chinese temple, the Da Bo Gong Temple built in 1923, and the shrines of three Malay saints located on the island. It receives scores of devotees during the ninth month of the lunar calendar (which falls between September and November), who go there for a pilgrimage. Li said during that month, his company runs continuous trips daily, “like a taxi”, and people need not keep to the scheduled times - they just turn up and queue. Trips begin from 5.30am to 5pm, but they head directly to Kusu Island and do not stop over at Saint John’s Island, he added. Hundreds of tortoises are housed at the island’s Tortoise Sanctuary, with dozens more at the Chinese temple. There are also two lagoons, beach shelters and barbecue pits for you to laze and snack your afternoon away. Overnight stays are not permitted here either.

Photo: Singapore Heritage Board

Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu
20 May 2016

Pulau Hantu

Made up of two islets, Pulau Hantu Besar (Big Ghost Island) and Pulau Hantu Kechil (Little Ghost Island), here is a popular destination for fishing, scuba diving and snorkelling enthusiasts. Catch sight of mangroves, corals, and marine life such as clownfish, anemone shrimps and giant clams, or pull out a mat for a leisurely gathering at the shelters or picnic areas. You can walk across the shallow lagoon between the two islands at low tides, but make sure you head back before high-tide hits. Not afraid of the “hantus” (ghosts)? You can camp overnight here, with a permit.

Photo: Intothewildsingapore.blogspot.com

This story first appeared on TODAY
Story by Joy Fang

Report a problem