To the world and most Singaporeans, our Little Red Dot is known for her lush greenery and clean streets, bustling Orchard Road and ever-vibrant nightlife and skylines. However, many don’t realize once you look past the touristy spots, there’s so much more to Singapore than meets the eye.
If you have a penchant for exploring new ground and want to get away from the skyscrapers just for a day, here’s our guide to island hopping in Singapore!
No plans for this weekend? Check out St John Island, Lazarus Island and Kusu island — it’s the perfect getaway from the hustle of city life.
You’ll want to start your journey at Marina South Pier, accessible via MRT at the end of the North-South Line. You can purchase tickets (S$18) there for a round trip from the pier to St John’s/Lazarus Island, then to Kusu Island and back to Marina South Pier. Remember to check the ferry schedule so you can plan your trip accordingly!
Your first stop, St John’s Island, is about a 15-20 minute ferry ride away, so just sit tight and maybe take a power nap before you disembark!
ST JOHN’S ISLAND
When you arrive at St. John’s Island, you’ll be greeted by a vast expanse of beach-land and shaded pavilions hidden amongst the tall trees. It’s the perfect place to enjoy refreshing waves of the ocean, basking in the warm sun.
As you stroll along the beach, keep an eye out for some trinkets you can bring home – seashells and crab claws. We were lucky enough to find a whole crab shell with its claws still intact!
Other than beaches, surround yourself in the abundance of greenery St John’s Island has to offer. They provide much-needed shade when the sun gets too harsh. It really reminds us that it’s fine to immerse ourselves in nature for a few moments without a care in the world.
To get to Lazarus Island, all you need to do is cross a bridge once you turn left from the Ferry Terminal at St John’s Island! The link-bridge is surrounded by azure waters and plenty of places to snap a nice photo. Since it’s so quiet, the entire road on the link bridge is a picture-perfect scene for you to enjoy as well!
If you fancy a swim and somewhere to lie down and take a nap under the sun, Lazarus Island’s white sandy beaches might be right up your alley. Though the beaches are relatively smaller than those of Sentosa and Bali, the aquamarine-coloured waters are still ever-so enticing.
The sandy beaches are also a popular spot for picnics! Cook up some simple pasta salad, bring a loaf of bread and your preferred toppings, some chips and some drinks and you’re all set for a hearty meal with your friends or family!
For those who love cats and furry creatures, if you’re lucky, you may spot some island cats. They’re super friendly and seem quite used to affection from humans!
The last stop for the day is Kusu Island. “Kusu” means Turtle or Tortoise in Hokkien, and that’s exactly what you’ll find at the island’s temple. Tortoises are said to live extremely long lives and are extremely important to the island.
Pray at the temple located just behind the Chinese pavilions and bridges. The temple is dedicated to the God of Prosperity and the Goddess of Mercy. It is a serene and picturesque scene that highlights the importance of Chinese culture in today’s modern world that is otherwise much forgotten and overlooked.
You can also make a wish on the wishing tree there! It is believed that tying a yellow cloth around the tree grants wealth, good marriage, health and harmony! If a wish comes true, believers come back and offer thanks, occasionally untying the cloths they have bound around the tree.
While taking the ferry back to the mainland, it’s as if you’re being transported back to reality from a day-long dream you’ve just enjoyed. Let’s be thankful for the presence of such getaway spots in Singapore, reminding us that there’s more to life than just the typical rat-race.
31 Marina Coastal Drive
Nearest Station: Marina South Pier