St. John’s Island, Lazarus Island & Kusu Island Day Trip

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We have long heard about the Southern Islands of Singapore - that we should visit there soon before it gets too crowded like in Sentosa. So I decided to make a trip down to the island trio of St John's Island, Lazarus Island and Kusu Island with my buddies for a weekend outing. 

At Marina South Pier Cruise Centre
At Marina South Pier Cruise Centre

Trip to the Southern Islands began with St. John's Island followed by Lazarus Island and Kusu Island. We got to St John's Island by taking a ferry from Marina South Pier Cruise Centre, which is located at just a stone's throw away from Marina South Pier MRT (Exit A). Tickets were bought on the spot from the counter at the cruise centre before departure. 

Tickets can be bought over the orange booth
Tickets can be bought over the orange booth
Round trip tickets to the Southern Island cost $18
Round trip tickets to the Southern Island cost $18, attached with ferry schedule
View of the dock from Marina South Pier
View of the dock from Marina South Pier

The ferry timetable can be found here. We boarded the earliest one at 9am and the ride to St John's Island took about 25 minutes. Not that the island was quite far from Singapore. The ferry was super slow, with air conditioned too! Definitely a stark contrast compared to those speed boats I took in Malaysia. 

In the ferry on the way to our first island
In the ferry on the way to our first island
Reaching! Can you see "St. John's Island"?
Reaching! Can you see "St. John's Island"?

There are no food or drinks sold on St. John's Island. So we bought some snacks along as we are going to spend the whole day for this island hopping. There are also convenient stores at Marina South Pier Cruise Centre. 

St. John's Island

Arrived at St. John's Island with Quan Yen and Eugene
Arrived at St. John's Island with Quan Yen and Eugene

We headed to the right side of the island to begin our exploration. We encountered a few stretches of beach which wasn't too amazing. I think this island is more suitable for picnics!

Small stretch of beach at St. John's Island

Lots of benches, tables and barbecue pits. Ideal for a picnic!
Lots of benches, tables and barbecue pits. Ideal for a picnic!

 Nevertheless we did find something slightly exciting to do here which was walking and taking photos along the water break.

Making our way along the water break
Making our way along the water break

We also explored the parks on the hilltop as we thought there were some jungle trekking paths. But apart from an old basketball court, we did not see much and it was more like a relax stroll in the park which you could get in other Singapore nature parks (minus the sound of the waves). 

A stroll at the park on the hilltop
A stroll at the park on the hilltop

We then furthered our exploration to the left side of the island and found a well paved road leading to another larger water break cum pedestrian bridge which connects to the other island - Lazarus Island.

Lazarus Island

An abandoned jetty
An abandoned jetty
Lazarus Island is well connected to St. John's Island via this "runway"
Lazarus Island is well connected to St. John's Island via this "runway"
Seems like a popular spot for fishing
Seems like a popular spot for fishing
Lazarus Island at the background
That's Lazarus Island at the background

There was a tiny beach right after we crossed the bridge. Please discard this beach and keep walking as you should spend most of your day at the lagoon beach at the back of Lazarus Island. 

Heading towards the lagoon beach at the back of Lazarus
Heading towards the lagoon beach at the back of Lazarus
My day starting to brighten up!
My day starting to brighten up!

There were no sign boards over at Lazarus Island. But this beach wasn't very difficult to locate. You should cross some greens to access the Lazarus beach. And yup it was the highlight of the day!

Wide lagoon beach at the back of Lazarus Island
Wide lagoon beach at the back of Lazarus Island
Feel like dipping into the clear water! Not sure where they got their canoe from though
Feel like dipping into the clear water! Not sure where they got their canoe from though
Water here was clear and the beach was quite clean too
Water here was clear and the beach was quite clean too

The water here was clearer and the beach was way less crowded than Sentosa. However, the sand was a little on the coarse side. We really regretted we didn't bring our swim wears to take a dip in the clear waters. Besides, this beach is also a popular stopping point for luxurious yachts (mostly chartered by western tourists).

Chartered yachts parking near the beach
Chartered yachts parking near the beach
How we wish that we could join them!
How we wish that we could join them!

After satisfying ourselves with Lazarus beach, we continued to explore further down the island. It started to rain. Fortunately we managed to find a shelter and also settled our brief lunch there. 

The weather wasn't too friendly to us today
The weather wasn't too friendly to us today
Settled our lunch in this shelter. Fortunately it rained for a short while. And we saw a hungry cat!
Settled our lunch in this shelter. Fortunately it rained for a short while. And we saw a hungry cat!

After lunch, we headed back to St. John's Island Jetty to take the 1:50pm ferry to Kusu Island. The ferry actually arrived about 10 minutes ahead of the scheduled time.

Arrived at Kusu Island a.k.a The Tortoise Island

Kusu Island

Kusu Island, or known as Tortoise Island in Chinese (龟屿岛) is located behind Lazarus Island. It took us 15 minutes to get here from St. John's Island. The ferry actually skirted around St. John's on the way to Kusu. Both islands are actually pretty close to each other. 

Legend of Kusu Island
History of Kusu Island

Kusu Island to me was a very touristy place because it has a Chinese temple with a few pavilions built on man-made lakes. I mean, I wouldn't have expected an island to have a temple as its main attraction. There was also a Malay shrine on top of a small hill in which you have to climb around 150 steps of stairs to visit. We went up and indeed there were 3 shrines. Although it was a Malay shrine, the shrine seemed like a Taoist one.

Entrance to the shrine
Entrance to the shrine

And how would our tour around Kusu Island complete without seeing any tortoise right?

So many little tortoises here
So many little tortoises here
And also a giant one behind me!
And also a giant one behind me!

Beaches here were not really attractive so we didn't spend much time exploring the beaches. However, similar to St. John's Island, there were lots of benches, chairs and shelters. Not a bad place for picnics. Just that after visiting these islands, I had itches all over my hands and legs. Make sure you bring your mosquito repellent! 

Playing with my 30mm lens. Too bad I missed the bee!
Playing with my 30mm lens. Too bad I missed the bee!

We ended up playing Coup (card game) in one of those shelters as we were exhausted walking the whole day. Our ferry back to the mainland was 4:30pm but once again it arrived early. As the island was small, we could actually see the ferry from our shelter and made our way to the ferry on time.

To conclude, our St. John's - Lazarus - Kusu Island Hopping turned out to be exhausting. Not extremely fulfilling though but it felt good to find a beach that is less crowded and has a cleaner sea view than Sentosa. A tranquil place no doubt. Paths around the islands were all well defined, clean, very typical of Singapore's nature parks. 


Getting there:

Location: St. John's Island, Lazarus Island, Kusu Island

By Public Transport: From Marina South Pier MRT, take Exit A towards Marina South Pier Cruise Centre. Purchase ferry tickets over at the orange booth.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Great article.
    would it have been possible to walk from Lazarus Directly to Kusu?
    or do you have to walk back to St. John to take a ferry to Kusu?

    Thanks a lot

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