About Kusu IslandOne of the favourite destinations for a day trip from Singapore is Kusu Island. It is a preferred destination for the weekend because of its proximity from the city and almost magical landscape. Mother nature can be witnessed in different hues ranging from beaches to lagoon. The Island dates back to the 16th century and has stood the test of time. It has seen the change of several reigns over the centuries and has evolved in shape in size.
From a burial site during the colonial era to a most frequented day trip destination, Kusu Island has gone a long way. Plenty of visitors are found travelling the Island during the weekends to laze around the beach and unwind with friends. The favourite activities of the tourists to indulge in beach sports, fishing, making merry with family and friends at the barbecue pit and lounging in general.
The famous Chinese temple in the Island attracts a huge number of worshippers during a month-long festival organized on the Island. Local Chinese with Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian background offer prayers with great fanfare during the auspicious time. A visit to Kusu Island is a must to watch the marvels of nature along with the mind-blowing vistas from the glittering beaches. Pristine beaches, lonely lagoons, sacred temples and an intoxicating ambience calls for an immediate plan for the Island.
Location: Kusu Island is a mere 5.6km south of the main island of Singapore below the Singapore straits. A ferry ride would take half an hour from South Marina Pier to St. John’s Island and another 15 minutes from St. John’s Island to Kusu Island.
Timings: 10:00am to 6:00pm every day.
Price: A two-way ferry ticket is Rs. 860/ - per child and Rs. 1300/- per adult.
Places to visit near Kusu Island
1. Sister’s Island Marine Park: This marine park is considered to be the first marine park of Singapore which has an amazing collection of marine creatures on display. The marine park is adorned with two exclusive dive trails which have rare and exotic marine creatures. One would be awestruck to see a wide collection of sponges, sea stars and nudibranchs.
2. Fort Siloso: The only fort conserved in Singapore opens door to its colonial past showcasing artefacts of the colonial era. The fort bears stories of the British colonized Singapore dating back to 1870.
3. Mount Faber Park: This beautifully landscaped garden is one of the most favourite places for the tourists to chill for a while. One may want to lounge at the Altivo bar and glare at the amazing vistas of the southern islands and the harbour.
4. Universal Studio: This immensely popular theme park is just 11km away from Kusu island and can keep visitors of every age group glued to the different rides and themes. The theme park is divided into different zones as per the theme. There are sufficient food court, places to lounge and stalls to shop from amidst all the rides and games.
5. SEA Aquarium: One of the best places for every age group to have a close encounter with different species of marine creatures. It is divided into 10 zones with different species of creatures distinct to every habitat. Aggressive marine creatures like the hammer-headed and silvertip shark can also be seen from close quarters.
6. Sentosa Island: It is a mere 12km from Kusu Island offering a bouquet of venues for entertainment for every age. Carefully designed and planned, Sentosa island takes an entire day to explore. A few tourists prefer staying back to explore every site with leisure.
Things to do in Kusu Island
1. Temple Run: Visit the beautifully constructed Kusu Chinese Temple which is a pilgrimage site for the resident Chinese for years. Buddhists, Taoists and Confucians often visit this temple to offer their prayers. It also has 3 Malay Keramat which is being visited by the locals.
2. Fun in water: Beach or Lagoon, choose any to indulge in a day filled with activities related to water. Swim in the lagoon of Kusu Island and explore the beauty of nature first hand. Spend a quiet afternoon at the beach of Kusu Island and spend a memorable time with family and friends.
3. Friends with nature: Visit the Kusu Island Tortoise Sanctuary to watch tortoises from close quarters. This lesser-known place helps conserve tortoises along with a few more reptiles. The Singapore Government has taken up the initiative to conserve and protect the rare species.
4. Island hopping: Book a ferry and cruise towards the nearby Islands which are still a virgin and not much explored by travellers. The tranquil secret beaches near St. John’s Island offer the best sunset and beautiful vistas of nature.
5. Camping and Barbecue: It is one of the most preferred Islands for a picnic with family and friends. With Barbecue pits ready to be used one can enjoy the day having food and making merry.
6. Fishing: It also happens to be a popular fishing spot amongst day campers.
Best Time to Visit Kusu Island
The best time to travel to Kusu islands is between November to January and again from May to August. One can comfortably travel during these months to experience the best of Kusu Island.
Tips for Visiting Kusu Island
- The ferries ply at a fixed time, thus either book your tickets in advance or be at the counter before time. The ticket counter closes at 3 pm.
- The ferry timings vary on weekdays and weekends.
- Children above 12 years of age will be considered for adult ticket charges in the ferry.
- St. John’s island has a single washroom, so refresh yourself before you explore the island.
- Do not touch the tortoise or other reptiles at the Kusu Island Tortoise Sanctuary as it may contact diseases.
- There are no shops and eateries, thus get your food and drinks to the island.
- Be moderately dressed while visiting religious places, like the Chines temple.
- St. John’s Island has numerous cats for company. Be prepared to be greeted by the feline family right at the pier.
- Overnight stay at the Island is not permitted by the officials.
How to reach Kusu Island from Airport?
One needs to avail the ferry and the bus to travel from Changi International Airport to Kusu Island. The ferry would take close to 3.5 hours and is the cheapest and fastest way to reach the island.
Q1. What is the history of Kusu Island?
- The history and discovery of Kusu island date back to the 17th century when the Governor of Philippines found it accidentally on 1616. Thus, it was named as Governor’s Island. The British empire further renamed it as Goa island. The British hydrographer Daniel Ross further glorified the island and used it as a reference point for ships entering the new port.
- The 1.2hectare Kusu Island gradually grew to a current 8.5hectare over years. The Island grew in size with an accumulation of landfill and reclamation which was planned by the then ruling Government. A coral outcrop was further joined the newly formed island to make it inhabitable. During the colonial era, the Island was primarily a burial site for immigrants who died in quarantine either at St. John’s Island or Lazarus Island.
Q2. How do I get to Kusu Island?
On availing public transport, the best way would be to be alighted at the Marina South Pier on the North-South MRT line and take exit B. On taking the escalator spot the orange ticket counter selling tickets for the ferry. Walk towards the domestic section and hop on to the designated ferry which would take 30 minutes to reach St. John’s island and then a further 15 minutes to Kusu Island.
Q3. What is Kusu Island famous for?
Kusu meaning Tortoise is also referred to as the Tortoise Island in Hokkien. It is famous for its pristine beaches, solitary lagoons, rustic locales and untouched beauty of mother nature. Nature lovers and tourist inclined towards sun and sand frequent this place for its unique natural beauty.
Q4. How long does it take to visit and view the entire Kusu Island?
It takes an entire day to explore Kusu Island at leisure. Visiting the Chinese temple and offering prayers at the three Malay shrines, watching the tortoises from close quarters, lounging at the lagoon and having fun on the beach takes almost half of the day. One has to return the same day as staying overnight is not allowed on the island.
Q5. What is on Kusu Island?
Kusu Island has a few interesting sites which are of major tourist attraction. Right from sacred places like the Chinese Temple and the 3 Malay shrines. There is a Tortoise sanctuary for conserving the reptiles and breathtaking beaches and lagoons. Most of the tourists visit Kusu Island to lounge around the beach and have fun with family and friends. There are plenty of picnic tables and chairs set up for visitors to enjoy along with barbecue pits to relish their food.
Q6. What food is Kusu Island known for?
There are no food stalls or eateries available at Kusu Island. One has to carry food and water to the Island.