Who knew that Singapore was home to its own islands that aren’t just Sentosa Island? Not me. I was only familiar with Bintan and Batam islands in Indonesia that are popular weekend trips for local Singaporeans looking for a quick getaway.
St John’s Island and Kusu Island are two of Singapore’s most popular tourist destinations, located just a short ferry ride from the mainland. Visiting these islands is an excellent way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful day surrounded by natural beauty.
St John’s island is connected to neighboring Lazarus island by a footbridge and is home to perhaps the best beach in all of Singapore. Many people make the weekend trip to Lazarus for a quiet beach getaway!
How to get to St John’s Island and Kusu Island?
The ferry ride from Singapore to St John’s Island takes approximately 30 minutes, and the journey is a beautiful one. The ferry terminal is the Marina South Pier Terminal. It is located in the southeast tip of Singapore south of the Gardens by the Bay.
You can reach the South Pier terminal by taking the North-South (Red color) MRT line to the Marina South Pier station where you will be right next to the ferry terminal. Alternatively, you can bike from the CBD to the ferry terminal which is my preferred way of getting around.
Island hopping for the Singapore Southern islands
The Southern islands of Singapore consist of St John’s, Lazarus Island, and Kusu island. St John’s and Lazarus are connected together by a bridge so essentially it is just two different islands. The ferries that make this journey sell tickets as a one off island hopping ticket. With this ticket, you can hop on and hop off at each island depending on how long you want to spend.
How much is the ferry from Singapore to St John’s Island?
There are two ferry companies that make this journey from the Marina South Pier, Island Cruises and Marina South Ferries. Both ferries are exactly the same in design and size so it doesn’t matter which ones you take. The ferries depart at the exact same times every day of the week.
The cost of the ferry is $15 SGD for a return trip ticket per person. Tickets can be purchased online beforehand or just simply at the ferry terminal in person. Here is the ferry schedule below.
St John’s Island and Lazarus
St John’s Island, also known as Pulau Sakijang Bendera, is a small island located just off the southern coast of Singapore. Once a quarantine station for immigrants, the island has since been transformed into a serene getaway for visitors. With its crystal-clear waters, sandy beaches, and lush greenery, St John’s Island is a perfect destination for those looking to unwind and relax.
As you approach the island, you’ll be struck by the sight of its turquoise waters and pristine beaches. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff who will help you get settled in and provide you with information about the island.
One of the main attractions on St John’s Island is its beautiful beaches. There are several beaches on the island, each with its own unique charm. Lazarus Beach is one of the most popular, known for its soft white sand and clear blue waters. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and even go kayaking or paddleboarding here.
Another popular attraction on St John’s Island is the Marine Laboratory, which houses a variety of marine life, including sharks, rays, and sea turtles. Visitors can take a tour of the facility and learn about the importance of marine conservation. There are also several hiking trails on the island that offer stunning views of the surrounding area.
Camping on St. John’s island
Camping overnight is a popular activity on St. John’s island. Plenty of people pitch up tents on this island and sleep for the night before taking the morning ferry back to Singapore. This isn’t something I’m particularly keen on doing but the option is there for you.
If you do miss the last ferry off the island, you might be forced to camp so don’t be that person!
After spending the day on St John’s Island, visitors can take a short ferry ride to Kusu Island, located just a few kilometers away. Kusu Island, also known as Tortoise Island, is famous for its legend involving two mythical tortoises who helped a shipwrecked sailor. According to the legend, the sailor was stranded on the island and was helped by a pair of tortoises who transformed themselves into a temple and a shrine.
Today, visitors can visit the temple and shrine on Kusu Island and pay their respects to the mythical tortoises. The island is also home to several other attractions, including a mosque and a beach. The beach on Kusu Island is much smaller than those on St John’s Island, but it still offers a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.
Tips for visiting St John’s Island and Kusu Island
Before you embark on this trip, make sure to get a few things prepared beforehand!
Bring food and water
If you’re planning to spend your whole day on the islands, absolutely make sure to bring food and water. There are NO SHOPS on either island so if you forget to bring lunch, you will be starving until you get back into the city. The ferry terminal will have drinks and food for sale albeit mostly junk food.
In addition, make sure to take your sunscreen, bugspray, beach towels, etc. if you’re planning to have beach time.
Bring a bike on the island
I’m a big fan of biking in Singapore so it’s only natural I took my bike to these islands. The Singapore to St. John’s island ferries do allow bikes to be brought on board. Most people took foldable bikes but I was somehow able to fit my big Dutch bike onto the boat. Having a bike allowed me to explore the island without getting boiled alive by the sun.
Nevertheless, the islands are quite small and you don’t need a bike to see the whole island.
Plan your ferry routes accordingly
As you’ve seen with the the ferry schedules, there are only departures every two hours. They arrive on each island at different times so if you miss one you’ll have to wait another two hours. Whatever you do, do not miss the last ferry!
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