Kusu Island: The Ultimate Island-Hopping Guide

BY Pelago by Singapore Airlines


Kusu Island Tickets

Located just 45min away from the mainland, and part of the Southern Islands chain which includes Lazarus Island and St. John’s Island, visiting Kusu Island, Singapore offers a tranquil, fuss-free escape from the concrete jungle.

1. What is Kusu Island?

What is Kusu Island?

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The name of the island,“Kusu”, means “tortoise” in Hokkien. The legend goes that a giant tortoise transformed into the island to save two sailors who were shipwrecked, one Chinese and one Malay. To show their gratitude, the two men built a Chinese temple and Malay shrine, or keramat, on the island.

2. Is Kusu Island worth visiting?

Is Kusu Island worth visiting?

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If you’re wondering what to do on this offshore gem, here’s a handy itinerary that’ll help you discover the island’s charms:

1) Kusu Island Chinese Temple

The Chinese temple, known as the Da Bo Gong (or Tua Pek Kong) Temple, attracts thousands of pilgrims each year during the ninth lunar month, usually between September and November. The temple houses two deities – Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin, the god of prosperity and the goddess of mercy respectively.

As tortoises are a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, you will find a number of them kept in the temple’s pond. On the way to the temple from the jetty, you will pass by the wishing well, which has a giant lotus structure in the centre of it. Make a wish before throwing a coin into the giant lotus. Try to hit the bells inside the lotus, legend has it that it’ll make your wish come true!

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2) Tortoise shelter

Just behind the Chinese Temple, there is a tortoise sanctuary where you can enjoy the sight of these adorable creatures lazing around in the sun. The island really lives up to its name of being a tortoise island!

3) Kusu Island Keramat

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There is a keramat (Malay shrine) on the island dedicated to a pious man named Dato Syed Abdul Rahman, his mother, Nenek Ghalib, and sister, Puteri Fatimah Shariffah. To get to the shrines, you’ll have to climb 152 steps up a steep slope.

Devotees who visit the Chinese Temple also come here to pray for health, prosperity, and offspring. They write their petitions on the bright yellow walls of the keramat, or hang them on the shrine’s fertility tree. Since you’ve worked hard to get here, why not leave a petition of your own?

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4) Beach

Take a dip into pristine waters at the island’s beach. Or, if you like, just kick back and relax on soft, powdery sands while admiring the view of Marina Bay’s skyline in the distance.

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During low tide, you can go on a guided tour to spot hermit crabs, sea stars, and sea cucumbers in the intertidal zone. Learn how these critters have adapted to their environments.

Once you get to the island, it’s easy to find your way around. A map is conveniently printed on the signboard welcoming visitors from the jetty.

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3. How to go to Kusu Island?

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Getting to Kusu Island is a breeze. Just take the ferry. Just board the ferry at Marina South Pier.

The pier is accessible by taking the North South Line to Marina South MRT station (NS28). Exit B will lead you straight to the ferry terminal. just make sure to book your tickets in advance

If you plan on driving there, do note that there are limited lots available in the ferry terminal car park. The nearest alternative car park is the Marina Bay Cruise Centre.

4. What is the Kusu Island ticket price?

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For tickets to the pier, prices will vary. The ticket price will cost SGD13.40 for an adult and SGD10.40 for a child.

The ferry will stop at St. John’s Island before making its way to Kusu Island. Overall, the ride takes just 45min.

You may check the ferry schedule on the website of Singapore Island Cruise which operates daily ferries to the Southern Islands.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to bring a passport to Kusu Island?

Since the island is within Singapore, you do not need a passport to travel there. That’s one less thing to worry about!

Do I need to pay to enter Kusu Island?

You need to pay for the ferry that takes you there. However, the island itself does not have an entrance fee.

Can I stay overnight at the island?

Unfortunately, you won’t find a single Kusu Island chalet. Staying overnight here is prohibited. While having fun, keep track of the time so you don’t miss the last ferry back to the mainland.

The last ferry timing varies based on whether it is a weekday or weekend. Different ferry service providers may also have different schedules.

Can you swim on the island?

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The island’s calm, crystalline waters are ideal for swimming. As the Beach is not as frequently visited as those on the mainland, it is relatively untouched. You can even snorkel here to spot fishes, crabs, and anemones.

Is there any food on Kusu Island?

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There are no restaurants on this rustic little island, so don’t come here empty-handed. There is a food centre, but it’s only open during the pilgrimage season. For the rest of the year, you won’t be able to buy food or drinks on the island.

If you bring your own food and drinks, you can enjoy a relaxing picnic in one of the island’s numerous shelters. There are even barbecue pits available for cooking up an outdoor feast for your family and friends. These barbecue pits are used on a first-come-first-served basis, so arrive early if you wish to use them.


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