For a quick island getaway with the kids, hop on a boat and set sail towards Kusu Island, a tiny outcrop just 5.6km south of Singapore. The main highlights of this 85,000 square meter island are the three Malay shrines and the Chinese temple. Legends abound about Kusu Island, with the most famous being that of two sailors, one Malay and the other Chinese, who were saved from a vicious storm by a magical giant tortoise which transformed itself into the Kusu Island we know today.
Set off on your expedition around this fabled isle with a visit to the Chinese Da Bo Gong (God Of Prosperity) Temple that was built in 1923. Venture up the 152 steps to the top of the hill and you’ll be greeted to shrines of three Malay saints, or ‘keramat‘, said to grant wealth, good marriage, health, and harmony as well as fertility. Many people have continued this tradition of giving thanks and prayers on the ninth month of the lunar calendar (around September to November) which is also known as the “Kusu” season.
To the Chinese, the tortoise is a sacred animal. Stop by the nearby Tortoise Sanctuary where hundreds of tortoises reside. One little tip – don’t get too close because these fellas do bite! In addition to its wealth of heritage sites, Kusu Island also boasts two picturesque swimming lagoons sheltered by tall trees, making them ideal spots for a picnic or an afternoon snooze. Ahh…a perfect, idyllic day out in the sun with the whole family!
Steeped in myth and folklore, coupled with wide-open picnic spaces and pristine beaches, Kusu Island is a great fuss-free destination to explore with the kids.
Day-trippers and families looking for a quick getaway from the mainland to bask in the sun and even snorkel in the swimming lagoons.
There’s also a little wishing well near the temple where you can toss coins to hit the bell in the middle.
To get to Kusu Island, hop on a ferry by the Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services from Marina South Pier. No overnight stays are permitted on the island. Return ferry tickets cost SG$15 per adult and SG$12 per child (1 to 12 years old). Do note that the ferry departs from Marina South Pier to St John's Island then to Kusu Island, before returning to Marina South Pier. The ferry does not go back to St John's from Kusu.