singapore islands

SINGAPORE: Singapore is known for its skyscrapers, shopping centres, extensive public transport, and bustling mainland. However, the islands beyond the mainland are waiting to be explored.

Tamara Hinson of Independent UK shared the taste of adventure she found from Pulau Ubin, Lazarus, and Kias Island, away from the bustling mainland.

Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin has long been on the radar for many Singaporeans, yet its allure often takes a back seat to the mainland’s attractions, described as “a world away from mainland Singapore” by Tamara.

Pulau Ubin
Photo: Instagram/richardabitong

However, for those willing to venture beyond the bustling cityscape, the rustic island offers an escape, just a 15-minute boat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

Home to around 40 residents, many of whom are descendants of former quarry workers, Pulau Ubin paints a picture of Singapore’s past.

Once a thriving hub for granite extraction, the island now embraces its natural beauty, with lush reserves and scenic trails replacing industrial sites.

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Visitors trade motorised vehicles for bicycles, immersing themselves in the island’s serene atmosphere. Also, the place has no hotels, but tourists can stay at campsites.

Tamara also shared that she toured with her bicycle and found an old wayang (Chinese opera) stage and a Chinese temple, noting that many quarry workers were Chinese immigrants.

One of the island’s highlights is Chek Jawa Wetlands, boasting six diverse ecosystems teeming with wildlife.

The wetlands offer a glimpse into Singapore’s biodiversity, from flying foxes to bamboo bats. Lucky observers may even spot dugongs gracefully navigating the waters separating Pulau Ubin from Malaysia.

However, Pulau Ubin is just the beginning of Singapore’s island adventures.

Lazarus

Lazarus is just a 20-minute boat ride from Marina South Pier, offering tourists its secluded charm.

Singapore city from Lazarus Island
Photo: Facebook/Travelyns Around The World

While previously frequented by day trippers, recent additions of eco-friendly accommodations have transformed Lazarus into an overnight destination.

Visitors can explore mangrove forests, deserted beaches, and vibrant marine life, all within reach of the mainland.

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According to Tamara, the water is filled with fish, including leopard rays, barramundi, and longfin groupers, known for their leopard-like colour.

Connected to Lazarus by a causeway, St John’s Island reveals its own history as a quarantine centre for immigrants.

St. John's Island
Photo: Facebook/Christina Titti Hedén Leksell

Both islands are largely reclaimed by nature today, offering explorers a tranquil retreat. As dusk falls, the islands take on an eerie yet enchanting aura reminiscent of an adventure straight out of a movie.

Kias Island

For those seeking a taste of the unknown, Kias Island offers a glimpse into Singapore’s untamed side. With its rocky shoreline and elusive monitor lizards, Kias shows the region’s rugged beauty.

Kias Island
Photo: Instagram/lawchang68

Visitors can savour the solitude as night falls, with Marina Bay Sands’ distant lights serving as a reminder of the nearly bustling mainland.

While Singapore’s mainland may steal the spotlight, exploring smaller islands like Pulau Ubin, Lazarus, and Kias offers a glimpse into Singapore’s tranquil side.

As Tamara said, “Don’t get me wrong. I’ll always love every inch of Singapore, but for a walk on the wild side, you can’t beat its islands.” /TISG

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