This National Day, bring your family to the islands surrounding Singapore for a fun outing! You can be there and back within a few hours!
Home to coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves and casuarina woodlands, the charm of the island lies in its wilderness. The different habitats in the park allow for diverse wildlife, from butterflies to Oriental Magpie Robin and also houses a wide variety of flora, of which some are critically endangered.
If you are making your way to Coney Island, we would recommend you to go for the complete Punggol experience. Drop by Punggol Stables to ride a horse for $10, or buy some carrots from the counter to feed the horses and get up close with them! Before you venture into Coney Island, get some refreshments and visit the toilet in Punggol Settlement! There is only one toilet in Coney Island, located at the East entrance which is located 2.4km from the West entrance (where you enter Coney Island) – it would be best to explore the island with a bicycle, just in case you need to respond to nature’s calls. Check out the turtle pond at Punggol Settlement, the Lorong Halus Wetland (a 10-minute cycle away from the East entrance) and the Punggol Waterway Park after exploring Coney Island!
If you are seeking for an island with a pristine beach, Lazarus Island is just the place. Located at the south of Singapore and tucked quietly in between St. John’s Island and Kusu Island, Lazarus Island welcomes beachgoers with its natural sandy beach and inviting turquoise waters. Cool off after your dip in the sea in any of the three pavilions by the beach on the island. During low tide, one can also venture onto the reefs where they are teeming with marine life. If you want to catch up on your reading in peace, mornings are the best time to visit the island. There are no direct ferries to Lazarus Island, but the island is linked to St. John’s Island by a paved bridge.
St John’s Island
Take in the marvelous view of Singapore’s city skyline as your take a leisure stroll along the bridge from Lazarus Island to St John’s Island, where Sir Stamford Raffles (“Milestones of Singapore – Our Story”) first anchored in 1819 and had a historic meeting with the local Malay chief. Formerly used as a rehabilitation centre, the island is now transformed into a holiday escape from the hustle of city life. Enjoy a day picnic amidst the greenery and flora and frolic in the lagoons on this idyllic island. Near the jetty are toilets that come with shower facilities and you can rinse off after your swim. Cat lovers will adore the huge population of friendly cats on the island as well. To truly enjoy the tranquility of the island, holiday bungalows are available for hire for overnight stays and can accommodate up to 10 people. And while you are there, revel in nature as you barbeque with friends and family with the barbeque pits that are available for use.
Just a five-minute boat ride away from St. John’s Island jetty lies Kusu Island. Affectionately known as “Tortoise Island” in Mandarin, legend has it that a turtle turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. The famous Chinese temple with beautiful surroundings is a short walk from the ferry terminal and thousands of Chinese devotees flock there for a pilgrimage in October. There is also a Malay shrine in the middle of the island and many wishes are written on the stones nearby the shrine. With two swimming lagoons, picnic facilities and a tortoise sanctuary, this southern island is definitely one to explore.
These islands are home to active marine life and are great for leisurely water activities. Snorkelers will be thrilled to find hard and soft corals, giant clams, sea horses, octopuses and even black-tip reef sharks. What more, the rare Neptune’s Cup Sponge is found right here! Visitors to the islands can enjoy their picnic lunches or start a barbeque with the barbeque pits that are available. Camping is allowed on the island with a permit from Sentosa Leisure Group. For those who want to explore on foot, Nparks conducts guided walking tours at various times. These popular walking tours accommodate up to 45 people and get booked up pretty quickly!
Known as “Granite Island” in Malay, this popular island receives thousands of visitors on weekends! It offers intrepid adventurers lots of wild green spaces and biking trails, as well as the Chek Jawa Wetlands, one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems. Ascending the 20m high Jejawi Tower is a must-do for a fantastic view of the entire island! The combination of the hill and gorgeous blue waters of the abandoned quarries are also a sight to behold. There is even a charming Edwardian cottage that serves as a visitor center. For those who are interested, check out a quirky shrine – German Girl Shrine, located near Ketam Quarry at the western side of island. Devotees pray to the spirit of a German girl who is now regarded as a local deity and offerings of cosmetics and perfumes fill up the altar!