“Kusu Island is one of the Southern Islands in Singapore, located about 5.6km to the south of the main island of Singapore, off the Straits of Singapore. The name means ‘Tortoise Island’ or ‘Turtle Island’ in Chinese; the island is known as Peak Island or Pulau Tembakul in Malay” – Wikipedia
Can’t remember exactly, but I think I’ve been there once or twice, perhaps even more… when I was a kid. Chances are, I’d have gone either on a school excursion or along with my parents to pray at the Tua Pek Kong (大伯公) Temple, maybe even both… but meh, that’s irrelevant. Have no recollection of the place save for a vague image of a pond with many terrapins in it.
Anyway, inspiration hit one day, so I suggested a visit to my friends who surprisingly took it up! So off we went on Saturday 20 April 2013 o(^_^)o
Woke really early, by my standards that is, at 6:30am, devoured the sushi purchased from Mediya the evening before, showered, packed a little stuff, picked up a Sausage McMuffin from McDonald’s which was to be my lunch for the day (there is no food for sale on the island, except for maybe during pilgrimage month… which is not April) and head off to Marina South Pier to catch the 9am ferry. Getting there was relatively easy. MRT to Marina Bay Station, then bus 402… drop off @ the 3rd bus-stop and it’s like a 1-2 min stroll to the pier.
We went via the Singapore Island Cruise ferry cos it was the 1st option that came out while googling and am too lazy to check further. The damage is S$18 for adults (w.e.f 01 April 2013) and S$12 for kids 1-12 years old. There are daily departures and the ticket price includes admission to the island. Oh… the ferry drops by St John’s Island on the way, so yeah, it is possible to take in both islands on the same day with the same ticket should you wish – just gotta take note of the departure times.
I don’t deny that the ferry ride was a pain cos the boat is pitifully s-l-o-w. There were both air-con & outdoor seating options available. We took the above deck one despite the heat cos being ‘indoors’ on the sea is bound to trigger my seasickness. Well… I was armed with non-drowsy travel sickness pills (ginger based), took them early, so I was spared. My friend did feel a little queasy until the ferry finally departed though.
An eternity later (I didn’t note the time but it was somewhat like an hour), we finally arrived @ our destination.
Spent a little time looking @ the map and reading the bits of information beside it, then decided to start off our little trip with a visit to the Tua Pek Kong Temple where my friends prayed a little & offered some joss sticks. I’m kinda agnostic hence I just spent my time wandering around the small temple, looking at the altars, taking some pictures and starring at the terrapins. Yeah there was this section of the temple where there were tons of terrapins… and in the waters around the temple (a man-made enclosure); we even managed to spot a turtle!
The next destination was the beach. It wasn’t much tbh… just the typical beaches one might find in Singapore. The coarse sand, the not-so-clean seawater, and the rubbish. Look… I know this might paint SG in a not so awesome light, but the truth is such. While our beaches aren’t exactly ugly, they could really be better. Our waters are definitely far from pristine and the amount of trash is annoying – people should really be more considerate and quit dumping their waste into the open waters (/sigh the state of our planet is something that concerns me a lot but I’ll leave that for another time). Some of the beaches at Sentosa aren’t too bad though, depending on the time and day you go >_<”
Thing about the beaches at Kusu Island is that… it’s peaceful. Aside from our noisy little bunch, there were only 3 others at the beach at that hour (guess most ppl stop off at St John’s Island before arriving @ Kusu on the later boat). The weather was great too! Contrary to the forecast of rain, it was sunny the entire day, a little hot even. Ended up with quite a bit of tan on my shoulders & upper back. Sweet!
After about an hour or so, we went to wash up a little at the nearby toilets and then headed for the three kramats at the top of a little hill. Yeah we had to climb like 152 steps, but trust me, it’s really no big deal cos the steps were small and well-paved. Even the 16-mth old todd we had in our party could make it up (with his parents holding on to his hand, that is) without issue. Didn’t do much up there, except a brief look-see & a short chat with the caretaker before heading back down.
Then it was back to the beach again for a “picnic” of McDonalds burgers & hash browns LOL ~ then another wash up at the toilets and headed back to mainland Singapore on the 2:30pm ferry.
Thoughts? Mhmm… the island is small, there’s nothing much there, but it’s ideal for a half day getaway with family and friends. Certainly a refreshing change from the ‘usual stuff’! Not to miss are… the shelled residents of cos! The turtles, tortoises & terrapins – haha yeah, Kusu Island ain’t called Turtle Island for nothing!