“Hopping” seems to be the “in” thing now, most commonly used by youngsters today to describe their adventures or trails from one cafe to another, know as “cafe-hopping”. If coffee is not your cup of tea, how about islands instead? Time for island hopping!
Did you know that Singapore has over 60 natural and man-made islands off the main island? If you don’t feel like taking your passport with you the next time you make an “overseas” (or rather, over-the-seas) trip, a visit to one of these islands will bring a fresh change of scene and make a fun family outing. Here are 5 islands surrounding Singapore which are easily accessible. You can be there and back in a matter of hours!
Known as “Granite Island” in Malay, this popular island receives thousand 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’s center.
Accessible by bumboat from Changi Point Ferry Terminal in Changi Village.
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’s 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 also 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 different timings. These popular walking tours accommodate up to 45 people at a time and get booked up pretty quickly!
Take a round-trip ferry ride from Marina South Pier to get here.
The charm of this island lies in its wilderness. Coney Island houses a wide variety of habitats, including coastal forests, grasslands, mangroves and casuarina woodlands. The different habitats in the park allow for diverse wildlife: from butterflies to the Oriental Magpie Robin and, if you are lucky, you might even spot the roaming Brahman bull! The island is also home to a wide variety of flora, of which some are critically endangered, such as the Horsfieldia irya and Calophyllum inophyllum. Avoid the beaches, as there are sandflies. If you really want to visit the beaches, be sure to cover up!
Take bus service 84 from Punggol bus interchange to Punggol Road End. Walk or cycle to Coney Island from the mainland via the Punggol Promenade nature walk.
If you are seeking an island with a pristine beach, Lazarus Island is just the place for you. 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 and inviting turquoise waters. Cool off after your dip in the sea in any of the three pavillions by the beach. 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 a you take a leisure stroll along the bridge from Lazarus Island to St John’s Island, where Sir Stamford Raffles 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.
Take a round-trip ferry ride from Marina South Pier to St. John’s Island