Travel

7 Of The Best Islands To Discover In Singapore

By Morgan Reardon
5th Aug 2022

Sunny Kusu Beach.

Do you think that Singapore is all Michelin star restaurants, buzzing rooftop bars and world-class shopping? Well, you’d be right, but beyond the sparkling city skyline lies a cluster of dreamy islands, perfect for those seeking everything from R&R to nature-filled adventures.

The islands are calling your name, so pack your towel and swimmers, and grab that book you’ve been meaning to read, these are Singapore's best islands to discover.

Sentosa

Let’s kick it off with the one you’ve probably heard of, or have seen blowing up your Tiktok—Sentosa. The island, located off Singapore’s southern coast, is a true playground for all. Packed with luxury resorts, day spas, Universal Studios, a myriad of beaches, water and adventure parks, an aquarium, museums, restaurants and nature walks – here, the hardest part of your trip will be deciding what to do first. We recommend booking a night or two (Capella is our top pick) so you can cover as much of this unique island as possible.

How to get there: From mainland Singapore at HarbourFront, stroll across the Sentosa Boardwalk take the cable car or take the Sentosa Express monorail. Alternatively, Sentosa is just a 15-minute drive from Marina Bay.

Pulau Ubin

This small but stunning island, nestled between Singapore and Malaysia, is ideal for those looking for an island day trip. Packed with rustic charm, Pulau Ubin was once home to granite quarries but today is a hotspot for adventure seekers and nature lovers. Best explored via two wheels, there’s a bunch of epic bike tracks to tackle that weave through the lush greenery. Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of the island’s residents along the way—wild boars and hornbills. Be sure to stroll along the kilometre-long boardwalk at the Chek Jawa Wetlands, and step back in time as you wander through old school kampong (traditional village) houses, some of the last remaining in Singapore.

How to get there: Take a 10-minute bumboat ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal.

Sisters’ Island

Legend has it that this set of islands got their name from two sisters who drowned after trying to escape from pirates. Despite the morbid folklore surrounding the islands, they’re breathtakingly beautiful to look at. Home to Singapore’s first marine park, the conservation area spans 40 hectares filled with coral reefs. A popular snorkelling spot, you’ll spy more than 250 species of hard coral, seahorses, octopus, black-tip reef sharks and clams under the water. The park is also home to Singapore’s first turtle hatchery where turtles can incubate and hatch safely.

How to get there: Catch a ferry from Marina South Pier.

St John’s Island

If floating away your troubles in a sparkling lagoon sounds like your kind of paradise, then a trip to St John’s Island is a must. Stroll around the island, brimming with greenery, pack a picnic and cool off at the beach or in the lagoon. At low tide you’ll be able to spy all the incredible marine life that call St John’s home. Animal lovers will be stoked to know the island is also home to a crew of cats who are always up for a snuggle and pat. And if you’re loving island life so much, you can even stay the night at one of the bungalows. You can also explore the area on a free guided tour too so you can listen to an expert as you explore this stunning wonderland.

How to get there: Catch a ferry from Marina South Pier.

Lazarus Island

Those craving sugar white sand beaches fringed by palm trees will want to head to Lazarus Island. This place oozes zen vibes, with day-trippers in search of a tropical sun-soaked excursion throwing a towel down on the sand and floating in the clear turquoise waters. Forget the Maldives, this place is where you’ll want to unwind. Remaining largely untouched, you’ll want to pack all your supplies (snacks, water and sunscreen) as there are no convenience stores on Lazarus.

How to get there: Catch the ferry from Marina South Pier to St John’s Island and take the link bridge from the jetty.

Kusu Island

Kusu, which means tortoise in Hokkien, is an island steeped in history and mythical tales. Locals will tell you that a giant tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. Today, the island is home to a famous tortoise sanctuary that houses hundreds of them. On the island’s beaches, you can even snorkel side by side with them. On dry land, there are an array of sacred sites to check out, like the Da Bo Gong Temple, built in 1923. If you can’t find it, just follow the scent of burning incense and the sound of softly spoken prayers.

How to get there: Catch a ferry from Marina South Pier.

Coney Island

Not to be confused with the arcade-filled New York version of the same name, Singapore’s Coney Island is awash with flora, fauna and zen vibes. Here you’ll find sprawling grasslands, dreamy casuarina woodlands, and mangroves fringing coastal forests. Amongst them, you’ll be able to spot around 80 different bird species, all providing a tranquil soundtrack as you explore the island. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the long-tailed macaques (a small monkey) that call Coney Island home. The best way to explore this rugged beauty is via bike - there’s a boardwalk that snakes through the mangroves to the beach and the 2.5km Coney Island Park Connector. This island’s sustainable efforts (conserving water and energy and recycling natural elements) score extra points with us.

How to get there: From Punggol Point Park, it’s a 500-metre walk along the Punngol Promenade Nature Walk to get to the island’s west entrance. 

Ready to explore Singapore’s natural beauty and throw a towel down on the island’s beaches? We know we are. There’s so much to see and explore in Singapore—not to mention plenty of outdoor adventures too. For more info, head to Singapore Tourism

Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by Singapore Tourism and endorsed by Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.

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