6 Offshore Islands To Visit In 2019 (Besides Pulau Ubin)
STORY: Janelle Yong
17 February 2019
Let’s face it: Pulau Ubin is usually the first thing that comes to mind when anyone mentions Singapore’s islands. (Sentosa is far too modernised to count.) But there are many other islands nearby with plenty to offer as well. Check out these islands, and plan your next visit!
1. Coney Island
No, there’s no theme park on this island, unfortunately. But this island, which is also known as Pulau Serangoon, has a wild, untamed charm to it. Aside from being overgrown with greenery, there’s an abandoned mansion hidden on the island. (Warning: The old villa is fenced up and structurally unsound, so stay away!) Coney Island is popular with cyclists due to its rugged terrain, which provides a satisfying challenge. Do note that in accordance with its rustic shtick, this island lacks artificial lighting and consequently closes at 7 pm for safety reasons.
2. Kusu Island
Can you guess what this island is known for? It’s all in the name: Kusu is the Hokkien word for “Tortoise”. Legend has it that this island was created when a giant tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. Nowadays, Kusu Island is a pilgrimage site for Muslim and Taoist worshippers to pay their respects at the Malay shrine and Chinese temple respectively. Aside from its religious heritage, this island is also a haven for tortoises, with the aptly–named Tortoise Sanctuary housing hundreds of wild tortoises.
3. Lazarus Island
If you’re looking for a real getaway but don’t want to go all the way to Bali, Lazarus Island is the perfect spot. Tranquil and untouched by crowds, this island’s pristine beaches and crystal–clear waters are the very definition of paradise. Just lie back, relax, and be sure to snap a photo for Instagram. Be warned though: there are no amenities on this island, not even toilets; hence the lack of crowds.
4. Sisters’ Islands
As the site of Singapore’s first marine park, the Sisters’ Islands are a thriving habitat for aquatic life. Dive into the deep waters and explore on your own, with the help of underwater signboards, which provide information about the creatures you might encounter. Alternatively, sign up for one of NParks’ intertidal guided walks, which are conducted during low tide, allowing you to get up close and personal with marine life while still on land.
5. Pulau Hantu
Despite its morbid name, this island isn’t actually haunted (as far as we know). Instead, the name is a reference to the middle part of the island, which becomes submerged during high tide. With its vibrant coral reefs that boast an abundance of marine biodiversity, Pulau Hantu is a popular haunt for water activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling.
6. St John’s Island
This island is almost like an outdoor cat cafe! St John’s Island is ruled by a sizeable population of stray cats, and they’re fond of human attention. If you get tired of cat–watching (highly unlikely), bring a picnic basket with you and enjoy the picturesque scenery. You can even rent a chalet or bungalow and stay overnight.