Island-Hopping Through Hidden Beaches Unknown to Even Singaporeans

Island-Hopping Through Hidden Beaches Unknown to Even Singaporeans

Much has been said about Singapore’s skyline and well-known Sentosa beach but little has been made known about Singapore’s islands.

If you’re looking to spend your labour day somewhere less crowded, or better no crowd at all, go island-hopping in Singapore and discover the other side of Singapore you’ve never seen before!

Believe it a not, Singapore has 63 islands, and some boast of charming beaches that remain hidden! It’s hard to imagine Singapore has any place at all that’s not developed, but this is what made these islands so alluringly attractive even to Singaporeans!

A walk through the past at Pulau Ubin

Day One of your island-hopping trip starts with reminiscing the past.

A 15 minutes boat trip to Pulau Ubin is a half-century step back in time. Pulau Ubin is one of the last remaining islands unspoilt by modern development. Although water is rationed and electricity is scarce, this small island housed a bunch of cheerful villagers who still lived in 1960s style wooden houses.

Most people come here to take pleasure in the rural charms and the slow pace of life as they cycle through the woods and Chek Jawa, a wetland reserve which boasts a pristine shoreline ecosystem, and wallow in the last remnants of old Singapore. If you’re lucky (or not), you might even catch a glimpse of wildlife animals like boars, hornbills and even mouse-deers.

There are also a lot of excited mosquitoes waiting to strike, so be sure to carry your insect repellent at all times.

How to Get There: Go Changi Point Ferry Terminal and take wooden bumboats to Pulau Ubin Jetty.

Price: S$2 per trip (S$4 two-way)

From St. John’s to Kusu via Lazarus Island

Spend a day to visit St. John’s Island and Kusu Island while making a brief stop at Lazarus Island along the way. It may sound like a lot of places to go, but trust me, there is enough time for three islands in one day.

St. John’s Island

Image credits:

One sweeping view across St. John Island and you would not believe that this beautiful island teemed with marine life and alluring beaches used to be the dumping ground for immigrants contracted with infectious diseases such as cholera, beri-beri and leprosy in the late 19th century. Not to mention, it was later transformed into a jail and drug rehab center.

Despite its dark past, St. John Island has transformed. Today, this mountainous island has become a heavenly hideout that offers refuge for Singaporeans to be away from the weary city slickers – an escape from the stresses of a busy day at work. It is home to a wide range of recreational outdoor activities suitable for all ages, including treading the lagoon to see a plethora of exquisite coral reefs, trekking through the deep bushes and dolphin spotting by the water.

For a more rounded experience, you can also sign up for a guided nature walk tour.

Kusu Island

Kusu Island, also known as Palau Tembakul (Peak Island), is known for its religious Chinese temple and Malay shrines.

One of the many Singapore’s legends speaks that a tortoise transformed itself into a giant island in order to save two shipwrecked sailors – Malay and Chinese – thus the temples and the shrines. So Kusu Island is also sometimes known as the tortoise island.

Image credits: discoversingapore

The only time when the island is packed with people is during the 9th day of the Chinese New Year. The Chinese devotees will flock into the island to visit the isolated Chinese temple where Da Bo Gong (God of Prosperity) and Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy) are residing.

The Malays, on the other hand, will climb 152 steps to reach the three keramat shrines that stand at the peak of the hill to pray for wealth, good marriage, good health, harmony and children.

Image credits:

Image credits:

Less known to the public is Kusu Island’s picturesque view of lagoons, beaches and its various aquatic plants and animals. You’ll also get to see countless wild tortoise in this area too!

Picnic Lunch @ Lazarus Island

If you think Sentosa is Singapore’s bestest beach, come to Lazarus Island, the pristine beach with the most defined coastline cut above the over commercialised Sentosa. I’m not exaggerating.

Image credits:

Image credits: thecuratedblackbook

Although there is no pretty coral reefs and amazing sea creatures for you to snorkel at, this relatively undisturbed beach is an excellent spot to enjoy a picnic together while you appreciate the soft, sandy beach in a lovely long-sweeping affair.

Since Lazarus island is undeveloped, there is no transport to the island, and the only way to go to the beach is to cross the jetty from St John’s Island. Amenities are almost non-existent in this place. Also, don’t be surprised if you see the beach littered with rubbish washed ashore from the sea. Other than that, it’s a great place to drop by for a short hour before the beach is turned into another Singapore resort.

How to Get There: Go to Marina South Pier and take a ferry to St. John and Kusu island. Lazarus is a jetty-walk away from St. John’s island.

Price: S$18 Two-way

Admire all beautiful sea creatures at Pulau Hantu for free!

Another great place for an exciting outdoor activities is Pulau Hantu. Yes, you didn’t hear it wrong, it’s a ghost island, but i’m pretty sure you won’t “see” anything because this island was a small sand bar submerged at high tide and reappeared at low tide. Its constant appearance and disappearance led it to be called “ghost”.

Image credits: pulauhantu

Despite its less-than-welcoming name, Pulau Hantu is a popular haunt among Singaporeans for fishing, swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving. The island’s abundance of coral reefs and marine life makes it an ideal training spot for diving.

Pulau Hantu is made up of two smaller islets – Pulau Hantu Besar (Big Ghost Island) and the Pulau Hantu Kechil (Little Ghost Island) – both are great places to settle down for a nice, cozy picnic.

How to Get There: The only way to go Pulau Hantu is by Charter boats at the West Coast Ferry Terminal.

Price: Price may vary

Barbecue night at Sisters Island

Image credits: Thaejas

Sisters island (also known as Pulau Subar Laut in Malay) is another island with legends of its own. According to myths, there were two close sisters who lived in the island – Minah and Linah. When Linah was forced to leave the island and marry the chief of pirates, Minah jumped into the strong currents and swam after them but was drowned. Unable to accept her sister’s death, Linah dived into the wave and joined Minah. The next day, the villagers saw islands on the same spot where the two sisters had died.

This Southern island of Singapore has the strongest currents among its other islands and many people come here for its ideal snorkelling and diving opportunities to ravel in the variety of fantastic reefs, corals and other sea creatures.

There are also huts and barbeque pits for those who’re looking for a adventurous cookout experience.

How to Get There: The only way to go Sisters Island is by Charter boats at the West Coast Ferry Terminal.

Price: Prices may vary

About Author


Angela is a History enthusiast who indulges in exploring the whirlwind of events happened during the two World Wars. The one place she wouldn’t miss in her travel itinerary is to visit the Historical monuments. Her favourite movie, Schindler’s List, fuelled her desire to one day visit Schindler’s enamelware factory that eventually rescued over a thousand Jews.


Related Posts