Craving Overseas Travel? Check Out These 6 Offshore Islands (Besides Pulau Ubin)


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With the ongoing travel restrictions, year-end holidays to Bintan aren’t an option right now. But if you’re running out of places to re-explore on mainland Singapore, perhaps it’s time to start visiting our offshore islands instead. While Pulau Ubin is probably the most well-known of Singapore’s islands (Sentosa is far too modernised to count), there are many other islands nearby with plenty to offer as well. Check out these islands and plan your next visit!
Note: To ensure safe distancing measures are in place, visitor capacity at these islands may be limited. Be sure to check NParks’ Safe Distancing Portal before visiting.
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.
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.
Note: During the ongoing Kusu Pilgrimage Season (17 October to 4 November), visitor capacity at Kusu Island is limited to 500 people per day, with a maximum of 50 passengers on each hourly ferry departure. In addition, there is a limited capacity of 30 people for the temple and 15 people for the shrines. If you wish to visit Kusu Island during this period, you’ll need to make a reservation in advance via https://go.gov.sg/kps2020.
If you’re looking for a real getaway even though you can’t 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.
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. Unfortunately, chalet and bungalow rentals are currently suspended due to COVID-19, so you won’t be able to stay overnight.
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.
Do note that in line with current safe distancing measures, the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park Public Gallery on St John’s Island has a maximum capacity of 10 visitors at once. In addition, visits will be limited to 15 minutes during crowded hours to ensure that others are allowed to enter.
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.
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