Itching for a getaway or a day trip over the long weekend? With Phase 2 in effect, you can island-hop without a passport right here in Singapore! Did you know that Singapore has 63 islands, including natural and man-made islands? These gorgeous islands have plenty of activities and attractions that you can enjoy while still maintaining safe distancing. Fun fact: Did you know that Singapore used to own Christmas Island that we now know belongs to Australia? We have more places to explore in Singapore than we think! Why not be a tourist in your own country during this period to satisfy your wanderlust? Here are 5 offshore islands you can visit over the weekends without a passport.
Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services
Looking to have a serene and romantic beach getaway on an island that is NOT Sentosa? Lazarus Island is exactly what you are looking for. Known as Singapore’s best island escape, Lazarus Island overlooks a beautiful lagoon with white sands that are perfect for an unforgettable day out. You can take a romantic stroll and dip your toes in the sand or swim in the glittering turquoise waters. This 800-meter stretch of beach is perfect for a picnic with your loved ones and to celebrate any special occasions. Plus, you can be assured that you are safe distancing at this beach as the island is usually not plagued by crowds.
To get to Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to St John’s Island. Upon disembarkation at St John’s Island, turn left to walk across the causeway connecting these islands.
Image Source: Singapore Press Holdings
If you are planning to visit Lazarus Island, you might as well explore St John’s Island as the ferry will disembark here. This island has a very interesting history that history buffs would appreciate. St John’s Island was once a quarantine station for cholera patients, lepers, and unwell immigrants that were headed to Singapore during a period where cholera was spreading throughout the archipelago. Visiting the island during this period of Phase 2 would perhaps make you think a bit more about how Singapore has grappled with diseases over the years.
Don’t let its history put a damper on your mood – St John’s Island now offers a nice slice of nature with one of the cleanest lagoons for swimming out of all the other offshore islands. You can take a relaxing dip around the shores or go snorkeling to explore the marine life with its colorful corals. You can also go on a trekking route where you can catch a breath-taking skyline view of our mainland.
You will find even more amenities on this island than Lazarus Islands such as chalets or bungalows that you can rent to stay overnight. These chalets come with a kitchen and the campsites come with basic cooking amenities that are perfect if you want to have a barbeque party.
To get to St John’s Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry ride from Marina South Pier to the island. For children, the round-trip ferry ticket will cost $12.
Image Source: Sim Ding En at Wonderwall.sg
Did you know that Punggol has its little island called Coney Island? Coney Island is located beside the Punggol Waterway and it was launched as part of the up and coming Watertown Punggol. It was planned to be developed into a commercial and residential area with a beach facing the Johor Strait. Fortunately for us, Coney Island has not been developed to be an urban jungle and still sports a remote and rustic ambiance.
You can rent a bicycle from Punggol Jetty or Punggol Point and cycle your way from Punggol Waterway to Coney Island. Admire the scenic waterside view as you cycle on the promenade, you might even catch a glimpse of a wild otter if you are lucky. Birdwatchers, rejoice! There are plenty of brightly colored birds to admire at the natural forested walkways as you make your way to Coney Island. Once you reach the island, explore its hidden beach and the Lorong Halus wetland!
Aside from cycling there, you can take Bus 84 from Punggol Interchange and alight at the northern end of Punggol Road. You can also take a taxi or drive to this northern end. From the northern end, walk across the walkway from Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to Coney Island.
Opening Hours: Open daily; 7 am – 7 pm (Daily)
Image Source: NParks
The most popular offshore island aside from Sentosa is Pulau Ubin. Pulau Ubin, which is Malay for “Granite Island” pays tribute to its history where granite quarries used to operate there back then. Here, you will be rewarded with a rustic version of Singapore where you will be surrounded by the lush greenery, mangrove swamps, a tranquil sea, and one of the last remaining kampungs in Singapore.
Rent a bicycle and cycle to Chek Jawa Wetlands to admire the rural floral and fauna which includes a beach, mangroves, and the forest. Climb up the seven-story high Jejawi Tower to admire the jungle from above. If you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of hornbills and other wild animals. You can try out various biking trails such as the Ketam Mountain Bike Park, Free Ride Skills Park, and Dirt Skills Park, or try hiking at Pulau Ubin’s Puaka Hill. If you are headed to the island over the weekend, make sure to try out Maleh Café, a Muslim-owned establishment, near the Pulau Ubin jetty which is only available over the weekends!
To get to Pulau Ubin, take a $6 round-trip bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal to the island.
Image Source: lifeguide.sg
Also known as Tortoise Island, Kusu Island is a popular site of pilgrimage as it housed the famous Da Ba Gong temple and three keramats (gravesite of saints). Two major pilgrimages are made to these sites every year. Did you know about the old legend of Kusu Island? The legend goes that there was a giant tortoise that miraculously turned into an island to save a Malay and Chinese men who were shipwrecked. To show their gratitude, it was said that these men built a temple and a shrine in honor of the tortoise. You will also find tons of tortoise statues around the island.
Make sure to visit the tortoise sanctuary where you can watch these reptiles in action! There is also a beach and lagoons that you can dip your feet or swim in. Kusu Island is a place where multiple cultures and religions meet, making it a rich heritage site that you should visit at least once!
To get to Kusu Island, take an $18 round-trip ferry from Marina South Pier to Kusu Island. The ferry will have a stopover at St John’s island first before it heads to Kusu Island.
Image Source: Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services
Who says you can't travel and satisfy your wanderlust in Singapore? There is more to Singapore than our busy cityscape and the glitzy Sentosa Island! Have an enjoyable getaway or a day trip at one of these offshore islands and experience the many tranquil beaches, glittering lagoons, rich culture and heritage that they have to offer! But make sure to always wear a mask when you are out and about, and remember to practice safe distancing! If you are planning to explore these islands, use this Singapore travel guide to island-hop without a passport! So switch your busy office for the beach instead over the long weekend!