How many islands are there in Singapore
The islands of Singapore
Singapore itself is an island south of the Malaysian mainland, but the national territory of Singapore also includes a few other smaller islands, some of which are worth exploring. The most famous of these islands is definitely Sentosa south of Singapore, which has been completely transformed into a holiday island with artificial beaches, resorts and diverse entertainment options and which actually costs admission.
Ubin Island - Singapore in ancient times
Less known is the picturesque island of Ubin, which lies in the Strait of Johor between Changi and mainland Malaysia. Formerly used as a quarry, it is now almost completely natural with a single traditional kampong as the home of the locals and an important bird sanctuary. Many people from Singapore come to Ubin for a day to relax from the hustle and bustle of the big city and to get an idea of what Singapore might have been like at the time of Stamford Raffles.
Kusu, St. John's and Lazarus Island
Still further south of Sentosa are three tiny islands in the Strait of Singapore: Kusu, St. John's and Lazarus Island. All three are popular weekend destinations for city dwellers - when it gets crowded on the islands, on weekdays visitors sometimes have the beaches to themselves. Ferries leave Singapore from Marina South Pier and run several times a day.
St. John's Island is the first pier for the ferries and previously served as a quarantine station for potential immigrants before the facility was converted into a prison for political prisoners. Today the island is left to tourists and a popular destination for school classes who set up their summer camps here. A bridge connects St. John's with Lazarus Island, a deserted little island with a long, beautiful sandy beach.
The tiny island of Kusu is picturesque with its beaches and the historic Malay Kusu Kramats, three shrines that were set up on a rock in the 19th century and can be reached via 152 steps. However, the ferries first take a longer break on St. John's before continuing to Kusu and the last ferry back to the mainland leaves at four in the afternoon.
Ghosts Island and the Sister Islands
If you want to go to the even more remote tiny islands, you have to charter your own boat, because ferries do not operate here. Nevertheless, the effort is worthwhile, especially for divers and snorkelers, because the islands are surrounded by beautiful coral reefs and picturesque beaches. If you want to stay overnight, you have to get a camping permit beforehand.
The names of the islands refer to ancient legends: This is how the ghosts of two Malay warriors who once fought each other to the death are said to go around on Ghosts Island (Pulau Hantu). The Sister Islands refer to two sisters, one of whom was once kidnapped by a pirate. The other sister swam after the boat to save her sister and was killed in a storm. Desperate, the kidnapped sister also jumped into the sea to die with her beloved sister. When the storm finally subsided, two new islets protruded from the sea where the sisters had died.
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