Do you love the sun, the sand, and the sea? Here are 10 Singapore offshore islands you can visit and spend a day at. From cycling around rural Pulau Ubin, to enjoying white beaches at Lazarus Island, to visiting lost forts in Sentosa, there’s definately something for everyone in and around Singapore’s offshore islands.
1. Pulau Ubin
Pulau ubin is well known as a rural getaway for many Singaporeans who come here to cycle, enjoy nature, as well as to have sumptuous seafood by the waters edge. However, there are some sites on this island that holds some history and mystery that not many people know about. Ubin also has some history related to WWII. See here and here for more things to see and do in Pulau Ubin. Getting there: Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Each ride costs $2.
2. Coney Island
In the early days, and for a long time, Coney Island was an island retreat popular with families looking for picnic spots. In later years, the island became popular for water-skiing, boating, and fishing. Previously people have to hire boats from Punggol boatels or Changi Point to get here. Today it is part of Punggol New Town, a unique ‘Waterfront Town’ linked by two bridges/dams to mainland Singapore. Getting there: Walk accross via the East Dam (near Lorong Halus Wetland) or the West Dam (across Punggol Promenade). Currently undeveloped but will be open to public in 2015.
3. Pulau Semakau
Visit Semakau Landfill to explore the diverse array of plants, corals, birds and animals which reside on the island next to what mostly used to be our trash – incineration ash and non-incinerable waste. Come, see and smell for yourself how an operational landfill that, contrary to popular perception, is clean, green and exists in harmony with nature. A visit to Semakau Landfill will also offer every visitor the chance to learn about Singapore’s future challenges in solid waste disposal and the need to reduce waste and recycle to extend the lifespan of the landfill. Getting there: Book a tour via the NEA website.
4. Sisters’ Islands
Legend has it that a pair of sisters, Minah and Lina, drowned in the sea here during a storm years ago. When the storm subsided, the sisters were nowhere to be found. Instead, two islands emerged at the point where they had drowned. Originally named Subar Laut (3.9 hectares) & Subar Darat (1.7 hectares), these two tiny islands are now known as Sisters’ Islands. Getting there: Take a ferry from Marina South Pier ($18 for a two-way trip).
5. Kusu Island
On Kusu Island (“Tortoise Island” in Chinese), you can find attractions which include a Malay shrine and a Chinese temple with an interesting legend woven around them. Legend has it that a giant sea turtle turned into an island to save 2 shipwrecked sailors – a Malay and a Chinese. As an act of thanks, the two men built a Chinese temple, Malay shrine and a huge turtle sculpture on the island. Getting there: Take a ferry from Marina South Pier ($18 for a two-way trip). Same ferry stops over at St John’s Island.
6. St. John’s Island
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. Check out some photos of the island here. Getting there: Take a ferry from Marina South Pier ($18 for a two-way trip). Same ferry stops over at Kusu Island.
7. Lazarus Island & Pulau Seringat
Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat is part of a group of 8 islets collectively known as Singapore’s Southern Islands which include Sentosa, St. John’s Island, Kusu Island, Pulau Tekukor and the two Sisters’ Islands. The main attraction on these islands are the prestine white beaches and clear waters. Getting there: Walk across the reclaimed paved bridge from St. John’s Island.
8. Pulau Satumu
The island’s name means “One Tree” in Malay and the Raffles Lighthouse is located on this island. Getting there: Pulau Satumu is one hour’s boat ride from the Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal. The lighthouse is accessible only by boat, and visitors are only allowed to view it from a distance due to an exclusion zone that surrounds the tower. However, it will soon be open to the public as part of NHB’s Lighthouse Trail.
9. Sentosa Island
Sentosa, which translates to peace and tranquility in Malay is often rfered to as Asia’s Favourite Playground. There’s something for everyone here – there’s Universal Studios, beaches, outdoor rides and attractions, and even WWII venues like abandoned forts and pillboxes. Getting there: You can get there by car, foot/monorail (from harbourfront), or cable car (from mount faber).
10. Pulau Hantu
“Hantu” is the Malay word for ghost and Pulau Hantu is aptly named as “island of ghosts”. It was here that ancient Malay warriors once dueled to the death and their ghosts is said to wander the isle. Pulau Hantu is actually made up of two islets: Hantu Besar (Big Ghost) and Hantu Kecil (Little Ghost). Hantu Besar has two swimming lagoons and a public toilet with fresh water. Both islets have shelters and picnic areas complete with swaying palms, surrounded by white sands and rich reefs. There is even a tiny patch of mangroves. Getting there: Charter a boat from West Coast Pier or Marina South Pier.