Two of the Singapore folk tales we’re learning about in our unit study take place in Singapore’s southern islands – Kusu Island and Sisters’ Islands.

Island Cruise ferry boat

Last Sunday, we took a half day trip via Singapore Island Cruise to St. John’s Island and Kusu Island.  It’s too bad the regular ferry trip doesn’t stop at Sisters’ Islands; you need to charter a boat if you want to go there.  At least we still saw the Sisters’ Islands on our way.

For $15 per adult, $12 per child below 12 years old (including admission to the 2 islands), the boat ride was pleasant enough.  Our kids, my husband and I were taking turns sitting on the upper open-air deck for the nice view and breeze and the lower airconditioned deck when it got too hot.

Due to some unexplained delay, our 3:00pm ferry left Marina South Pier at about 3:15pm.  We

St. John's Island

arrived in St. John’s Island at about 3:35pm (20 min ride).  Unfortunately for us, even though we were delayed in leaving Marina South Pier, the ferry still left St. John’s Island at it’s regular schedule of 3:50pm, leaving us with just 10-15 minutes there including the walk to and from the dock :(  Pity, St. John’s Island is bigger than Kusu, and was nice and peaceful.  Because of its history as a quarantine zone, a penal settlement and a drug rehabilitation center, St. John’s would have been interesting to explore.

After another 20 minute ferry ride, we arrived at the smaller Kusu Island.  We saw the 2 big marble tortoises and the tortoise shelter.  We climbed the 152 steps leading to the 3 kramats (holy shrines of Malay saints) and saw the stone wall filled with wishes for good health and prosperity.  We went into Da Bo Gong Chinese temple and saw fishes and a big turtle swimming in the lagoon underneath.

Marble Tortoises on Kusu

After half an hour of exploring the little island, we parked ourselves in a nice, quiet cove.  Unlike the more popular and commercial beaches of Singapore which are crowded on weekends, this one was almost deserted.  We spent an hour on the beach, playing with the sand and looking at the sea creatures exposed during low tide.  We saw many star fishes and hermit crabs, some corals and lots of seaweed.  Highlight of our trip to Kusu Island :)

Thanks to a tip from, we knew there wasn’t any food sold on the islands so we brought our own snacks and drinks.  Forgot the sunblock though, must bring it next time.

If you’re looking for a nice, quiet Singapore beach or just a day spent somewhere other than Orchard Road, try going to the southern islands of Singapore.  I’m glad we did :)

Marina South Pier

Enjoying the boat ride

Sisters' Islands

Picnic area in St. John's

Beach on Kusu Island

Tortoise Shelter

Da Bo Gong temple

Kramat on Kusu

Offerings and wishes @ kramat