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8 islands to visit
while you're in Singapore

Discover another side of Singapore just a short boat ride away.

By Where Singapore Staff | Oct 02, 2017

Sisters' Islands

Named for a legend that two sisters were blown away by a storm and each landed on one of the islands, these two getways have plenty of scenic beaches. Snorkelling is a favorite pastime here—the surrounding waters hold some of the richest reefs around, with both hard and soft corals.

How to get there: 
Via ferry ($18 for a two-way trip) from Marina South Pier (31 Marina Coastal Dr., 6534-9339, S(018988)). A permit from Sentosa Leisure Group is required for overnight camping.

Coney Island

This island attraction boasts a colorful ecosystem comprising 80 species of birds like the nationally critically endangered spotted wood owl and the black-crowned night heron as well as rare plants previously thought to be nationally extinct. There are boardwalks taking visitors through the island’s forest and mangrove habitats leading to the beach. Sign up for a guided tour, which takes you through the 600 sq meter Haw Par Beach Villa, designed by Singaporean architect Ho Kwong Yew in the 1930s and built by the Haw Par brothers of Tiger Balm ointment fame.

How to get there:
Walk about 500 meters east along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to the Coney Island West Entrance.

Pulau Ubin

This lush sanctuary offers nature lovers plenty of wild green spaces and biking trails. Check out the Chek Jawa wetlands, one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems, and you might catch glimpses of hornbills, wild boars and more during your treks. The gorgeous blue of the abandoned quarries are a sight to behold, too. Don’t miss the annual outdoor festival Pesta Ubin which offers activities like walks, cycling and kayaking expeditions, and opportunities to sample durians and homestyle cuisine.

How to get there:
Take a bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal (51 Lorong Bekukong, S(499172)). Each ride costs $2.

Pulau Hantu

This southern island is especially popular with divers and snorkelling enthusiasts—it boasts sheltered beaches, lagoons that are safe for swimming and an attractive variety of corals, home to marine creatures like clownfish, damselfish, wrasses and seahorses. The island is also favored by campers and day-trippers for its pristine environment.

How to get there:
You’ll have to charter a boat from the private operators at West Coast Pier (60 West Coast Ferry Rd., S(126979)). Do note that you will have to apply for a permit from Sentosa Leisure Group if you want to camp overnight.

Pulau Semakau

Another island south of Singapore, this one is best known for being the site of Semakau Landfill, which occupies the eastern part of the island. The landfill (filled with ash from incinerated waste) is engineered so the island remains clean, unpolluted and odor-free. In recent years it has turned into a real eco-getaway with flourishing mangrove habitats and a healthy coral population.

How to get there:
Book a tour with the National Environment Agency.

Kusu Island

Kusu Island is the easternmost of the southern islands, and is most strongly associated with local myth and folklore. Devotees flock here during the ninth month of the lunar calendar to pay their respects at the Chinese temple, which is a shrine for the deity Tua Pek Kong. Besides its religious associations, the island is also known for its scenic lagoons, clean beaches and biodiversity. Do note, however, that camping is not allowed there. 

How to get there:
Hop on a ferry ($18 for a two-way trip) from Marina South Pier (31 Marina Coastal Dr., 6534-9339, S(018988).

St John's Island

Located 6.5km south of Singapore, this island used to be a quarantine station for Chinese immigrants suffering from cholera. Its current reality is a healthier one: there are picturesque lagoons, beaches, picnic grounds, trekking routes and soccer fields, and bungalow chalets that can accommodate up to 60 people.

How to get there: 
Take a ferry from Marina South Pier (31 Marina Coastal Dr., 6534-9339, S(018988)). Prices for a two-way trip are fixed at $18 for adults. 

Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat

You can take a path from St John’s Island to Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat. Seringat was formerly a standalone island, but a reclamation project has now linked the two. The beach overlooks a gorgeous lagoon that is great for swimming.

How to get there:
Walk across the causeway from St John’s Island.

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