Located in the southern islands of Singapore, the Kusu Island, or also known as the Tortoise Island in Chinese, is famed for both its vibrant scenery and rich local mythos. This island is perfect for those wanderers who want to de-stress, relax, and visit local heritages.
So, if you’re looking for a tranquil and serene place for a weekend getaway or nourish your culture through temple-hopping, Kusu Island is the place to be! We got you covered – from its rich history, how to get there, what to visit, and everything in between.
Tortoise Island’s Rich History
The place had gotten its name from a folk story about a Malay and Chinese fisherman who drowned from a shipwreck. Legend said that these fishermen were saved by a giant tortoise that helped them return to shore. Since then, these two sailors returned to the island every year to give their thanks and offerings to the humble sea creatures.
Not only this is a good place to enjoy the scenery of the islands, but it is also a place of pilgrimage where you can visit either the Da Bo Gong Temple or the Kusu Kramats.
How to get to Kusu Island
About 5 kilometers from the heart of Singapore, you may reach this serene place via MRT and a ferry combined. Hop onto a ferry from Marina South Pier and just a 30 to 45-minute ride, you’ll arrive at Kusu Island in a swift. Note that there are two ferry companies that you can choose from on your way to the island.
You may opt to purchase your tickets at the port before your departure, and the round trip ticket costs $18 for adults and $12 for kids aged 1-12 years old.
Things to do and what to visit in Kusu Island
Lagoons, beaches, sanctuaries, temples, and tortoises – name it, Kusu has it! Although it is the smallest island in the south of Singapore, it is truly a gem you might want to discover because of the attractions and activities it can offer. You may opt to go snorkeling with the sea turtles, chill by the beach, pay a visit to their temples, or hop from one island to another. Plus, the island has no entrance fees! Scroll down to know more.
Drop by at the Da Bo Gong Temple
Da Bo Gong is the Chinese god of prosperity. It is one of the most famous attractions of the island where you can see upon debarking from the ferry. This Chinese temple was built by a wealthy businessman in 1923. It is the home of two deities – the god of prosperity and the god of mercy.
There’s a wishing well, too, where you can toss a coin or two for your wishes and intentions. And they say that if you think that your wish came true, it’s a must to go back to the island to give thanks.
Visit the Tortoise Sanctuary
The kids and kids-at-heart will surely enjoy the sight of tortoises wandering around their sanctuary! Just located behind the Da Bo Gong Temple, you’ll be able to see lots of tortoises of various breeds and shell patterns. They’re so adorable that you want to hold them tight, but unfortunately the island advises everyone to refrain from touching them.
Short Trek to Kusu Keramat
On the other hand, Kusu Island has three Malay shrines, too, which are more popularly known as ‘Keramats’. The Keramats are built in commemoration of a pious Malay family who lived in the 19th century.
Kusu Keramat is located at the highest peak of the island where you need to prepare a short trek, approximately 152 steps to the top. A lot of devotees go there to pray for wealth, good marriage, best of health, fertility, and harmony.
Picnic by the Beach
Relax and unwind by having a picnic lunch or snack by the beach while enjoying the picturesque view. So don’t forget to pack your picnic basket, blanket, and food to munch on when going to Kusu!
Of course, swimming!
Your trip to Kusu Island won’t be complete without swimming! Make sure you’ll bring your swimsuits and check out the majestic lagoons in Kusu Island. There are two lagoons you can choose, by the way. One is located near the Tortoise Sanctuary with a view of Singapore’s mainland while the other one is near Kusu Kramats facing Lazarus Island.
Explore the Islands Nearby
Make the most out of your relaxing weekend trip by hopping on to nearby islands in the South – St. John’s Island and Lazarus Island. Just hop on the ferry and you’re good to go!