St. John’s Island

St John’s Island has all the makings of an idyllic getaway. Soak up the sun, enjoy a picnic on the sandy beach, explore the island’s many winding tracks or simply laze the day away by the lagoon. The 39-hectare island is also a haven for a host of flora and fauna, as well as the Tropical Marine Science Institute and Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore’s Marine Aquaculture Centre.

Saint John’s Island, previously known as Pulau Sakijang Bendera, is one of the Southern Islands in Singapore. It is located approximately 6.5 km to the south of the main island of Singapore, off the Straits of Singapore and the only way to get to the island is via ferry from Marina South Pier. Ferry schedules here. We crossed paths with the Admiral Cheng Ho cruise along the way.

Saint John’s Island formerly housed a quarantine station for cholera cases detected among immigrants in the late 19th century, and starting from 1901, victims of beri-beri were also brought to the island. By 1930, the island gained world recognition as a quarantine centre screening Asian immigrants and pilgrims returning from Mecca. The quarantine station was eventually also used to house victims of other diseases, such as leprosy. When mass immigration was closed in mid-20th century, the island was used to house a penal settlement and a drug rehabilitation centre.

St. Johns Island has now been transformed into a tranquil getaway with swimming lagoons, beaches, picnic grounds, trekking routes and soccer fields. One thing I found strange though was this life guard tower, as next to it was a sign saying there is no lifeguard on duty :)

Also located on the island is the Tropical Marine Science Institute, Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore’s Marine Aquaculture Centre. A detention centre for illegal immigrants still remains. We took a walk around the island and found many old style houses which serve as staff quarters now.

Another strange item on this island is an over-sized bench, I wonder what other weird and wonderful inhabitants resided here in the past. Cockerels and hens roam the island freely and it was nice to sit and watch the little chicks follow mummy around.

[google-map-v3 style=”width: 100%;” height=”350″ zoom=”12″ maptype=”roadmap” mapalign=”left” directionhint=”false” language=”default” poweredby=”false” maptypecontrol=”true” pancontrol=”true” zoomcontrol=”true” scalecontrol=”true” streetviewcontrol=”true” scrollwheelcontrol=”false” draggable=”true” tiltfourtyfive=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkermashupbubble=”false” addmarkerlist=”1.219519,103.847684{}butterfly-2.png” bubbleautopan=”true” showbike=”false” showtraffic=”false” showpanoramio=”false”]