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Sentosa: The State of Fun

Island Hopping in Singapore: From Sentosa to Pulau Ubin (2024)

Singapore, often termed the ‘Little Red Dot’, is not just about its towering skyscrapers and bustling city streets. Beyond the mainland lies an archipelago of over 60 islands, each with its own unique charm and story. From the tourist-favored Sentosa to the rustic beauty of Pulau Ubin, island hopping in Singapore offers a diverse range of experiences. Dive in as we take you on a journey across these enchanting isles.

1. Sentosa: The State of Fun

Location: Just off Singapore’s southern coast

Highlights: Universal Studios, S.E.A. Aquarium, Adventure Cove Waterpark

Sentosa, easily the most famous of Singapore’s islands, is an entertainment paradise. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or a laid-back beach day, Sentosa has it all. Ride exhilarating roller coasters at Universal Studios, marvel at marine life in the S.E.A. Aquarium, or simply bask in the sun at Palawan Beach. With seamless connectivity through cable cars, monorail, and pedestrian boardwalk, accessing Sentosa is a breeze.

2. Pulau Ubin: Step Back in Time

Location: Northeast of mainland Singapore

Highlights: Chek Jawa Wetlands, Ketam Mountain Bike Park

Experience Singapore as it was in the 1960s. Pulau Ubin, with its wooden houses, gravel roads, and abundant greenery, feels like a world apart from modern-day Singapore. Cycling is the best way to explore the island. Visit the Chek Jawa Wetlands to witness diverse ecosystems, or challenge yourself at the Ketam Mountain Bike Park. For a dose of culture, stop by the Wei Tuo Fa Gong Temple. Don’t forget to try some fresh seafood at the local eateries before you leave!

3. St. John’s Island: Tranquil Retreat

Location: South of the main island

Highlights: Lagoons, serene beaches, marine biodiversity

Once a quarantine station for cholera cases, St. John’s Island is now a serene getaway, perfect for day trips. Its turquoise lagoons and tranquil beaches make it an ideal spot for picnics, swimming, and trekking. It’s also a great place for snorkeling, with a rich array of marine life waiting to be discovered.

4. Kusu Island: Blend of Nature and Myth

Location: South of Singapore

Highlights: Kusu Pilgrimage, pristine beaches, tortoise sanctuary

Kusu Island, which means ‘Tortoise Island’ in Chinese, is steeped in folklore. The island is famous for its annual Kusu Pilgrimage, attracting thousands of devotees. Apart from its religious significance, Kusu Island boasts clear waters and beautiful beaches. Don’t miss out on the Tortoise Sanctuary, where hundreds of tortoises reside.

5. Sisters’ Islands: Singapore’s Marine Park

Location: South of the main island

Highlights: Marine biodiversity, public guided tours, snorkeling

Comprising Big Sister’s Island (Pulau Subar Laut) and Little Sister’s Island (Pulau Subar Darat), the Sisters’ Islands are home to Singapore’s first marine park. Dive into its waters to encounter over 250 species of hard corals, seahorses, and other marine life. Though visits are free, consider joining a public guided tour for a comprehensive experience.

Tips for Island Hopping in Singapore:

  • Plan Ahead: While some islands are easily accessible, others may require advanced bookings.
  • Stay Sun-Safe: Singapore’s tropical climate means intense sun. Carry sunscreen, hats, and hydrate frequently.
  • Respect the Environment: Many of these islands have delicate ecosystems. Always ensure you don’t leave litter behind and be cautious about not disturbing wildlife.
  • Bring water and snacks: There are not many shops or restaurants on some of the smaller islands, so it’s a good idea to bring your own water and snacks.
  • Local Delicacies: Some islands, like Pulau Ubin, offer local dishes. Don’t miss out on tasting authentic islander cuisine.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes:You’ll be doing a lot of walking, so it’s important to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Be Prepared For Delays: Ferry schedules can sometimes be delayed due to weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

In conclusion, island hopping in Singapore unveils a side of the nation not commonly showcased in tourist brochures. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, adventure seeker, or just someone looking to relax by the beach, Singapore’s islands promise memories to last a lifetime. So, on your next trip to this cosmopolitan city, take a detour and explore its lesser-known insular treasures.

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