A weekend getaway is always one of the most fun things you can do, whether with family or friends. In previous articles we have discussed that the amount of toxic air in big cities can pose a threat to your health, so today we want to help you plan your next weekend adventure or vacation in natural places where you can breathe clean air. These are all islands you can go by ferry so they are relatively near home but away from the haze. If you are looking to hit the road instead, then you have to read this article.
Some of these islands are part of Singapore and others are part of neighbouring countries Malaysia and Indonesia.
1. Pulau Ubin
It’s by far the most popular island–receiving thousands of visitors on weekends. It’s located just 15 minutes away from Singapore if you take the ferry from the Changi Point jetty. Pulau Ubin is a beautiful island located in the north eastern corner of Singapore.
There you will find Singapore’s last kampongs (villages). A trip to Pulau Ubin is both a cultural experience as well as an adventurous one. It offers intrepid adventurers lots of wild green spaces and biking trails, as well as the Chek Jawa Wetlands, which is one of Singapore’s richest ecosystems.
2. Sisters’ Islands
They owe their name to legends surrounding them (the story has it that two sisters were blown away by a storm and each landed on one of the islands), the two islands are home to plenty of scenic beaches.
The Sisters’ Islands are located just 40 minutes away from Clifford Pier of the West Coast Ferry Terminal and 30 minutes away from the Marina South Pier. If you are looking for a destination with some tropical vibes and lots of wildlife, these islands to the south of Singapore are the place to go.
Snorkeling is also a favourite activity here—the island boasts some of the richest reefs around, and you’ll find both hard and soft corals here.
Information for Ferry:
http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/ferry-schedule/#t1 (Charter a ferry)
3. Kusu Island
Kusu Island is the easternmost of the southern islands and is most strongly associated with local myth and folklore. It is located about 30 minutes away from the Marina South Pier. While many of the islands near Singapore are known for their beauty, what makes Kusu stand out is its calm lagoons, clean beaches, and abundant wildlife. You will feel a sense of peace and relaxation when visiting Kusu Island.
One suggested activity is to climb the 152 steps leading to the top of the rugged hillock on Kusu Island where stands three shrines to Malay sites. The Tua Peh Kong Temple is also a beautiful place to visit, so be sure to keep your camera handy. Devotees flock here during the ninth month of the lunar calendar to pay their respects at the Chinese temple.
Ferry Schedule: http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/ferry-schedule/
4. St. John’s Island
St John’s Island is situated about 6.5 km to the south of Singapore. When traveling from the Marina South Pier, the trip will take you about 45 minutes.
The island is frequented for its picturesque lagoons, beaches, picnic grounds, trekking routes and soccer fields. If you are interested in staying overnight, the Holiday Bungalow and Camps allow you to experience the island-living experience. St. John’s Island is best known for its rich and diverse flora and fauna; this is the place to visit if you are a true nature lover.
Ferry Schedule: http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/ferry-schedule/
5. Lazarus Island & Pulau Seringat
There are paths from St. John’s Island that take you to Lazarus Island and Pulau Seringat. The latter was formerly a standalone island, but the two are now linked to form an extended Lazarus Island via an 800m reclaimed beach made with sand imported from Indonesia. This beach overlooks a gorgeous lagoon that’s great for swimming.
6. Pulau Hantu
Pulau Hantu consists of two islets separated by a shallow lagoon. It is located just 30 minutes to the south of Singapore from the West Coast Ferry Pier. The island is best known for local Malay legends and its unique layout.
To travel to Pulau Hantu, you must charter your own boat by contacting the boat operators from West Coast Pier or Singapore Island Cruise located at the Marina South Pier.
This southern island is especially popular among divers and snorkelling enthusiasts—it boasts sheltered beaches, lagoons that are safe for swimming in, as well as an attractive variety of corals and reefs.
Ferry schedule: http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/about-us#service-2 (Charter ferry)
7. Pulau Semakau
Pulau Semakau, another island south of Singapore, is most well known for being the site of Semakau Landfill, which occupies the eastern part of the island. The landfill (filled with ash from incinerated waste, not the garbage itself) is engineered so the island remains clean, unpolluted and odour-free.
In recent years this island has turned into a real eco-getaway with flourishing mangrove habitats and a healthy coral population (there’s even a coral nursery). One for nature and fishing enthusiasts.
8. Pulau Pinang
Pulau Pinang is a Malaysian island located about 7 hours from Singapore. This island is one of the most developed areas in all of Malaysia and offers nearly every aspect of the modern Asian cultural experience. Here you can find the Penang National Park and beautiful white sand beaches, as well as first class hotels and shopping centers.
9. Pulau Langkawi
Pulau Langkawi is an archipelago of more than 100 islands to the north of Malaysia. From Singapore, you can use a combination of ferry and car travel. Langkawi is commonly described as a tropical paradise, so you can expect to see crystal-clear waters, clean beaches, and lush forests.
10. Pulau Pangkor
At Pulau Pangkor, travelers can enjoy a quiet island life. You can travel by car to Lumut and then take a ferry to the island. This will take half a day. On the southern part of the island, there is a small fishing village that offers excellent seafood and incredible views.
Ferry Schedule: http://www.pangkormalaysia.com/?start=2
11. Pulau Sembilan (CLOSED)
Pulau Sembilan features a popular diving site and one of the most beautiful beaches on the Malaysian islands. It is easy to reach Sembilan through a combination of car and ferry travel. It is important to note that ferries do not connect to Sembilan during monsoon season due to rough weather.
12. Pulau Tioman
While Pulau Tioman does not retain the quiet island vibes of other locations; still, it is great for travelers who enjoy resorts and exciting waterfronts. In the less developed parts of the island, you can enjoy wildlife and the sights of flowering plants and waterfalls.
The marine life here is something you don’t want to miss; the water is crystal clear, so be sure to take a boat trip.
Ferry Schedule: http://www.tiomanferry.com/#axzz4gpDL8O9o
13. Pulau Dayang
Pulau Dayang is different from the other destinations on this list for one main reason. It is a place mainly known as a scuba diving destination offering some of the best diving in the world. Here you can swim with Whale Sharks among shipwrecks.
14. Sibu Island
Sibu offers you chalet-style accommodation and a massive sandy beach where you can feel super relaxed. You can spend your time living on the beach in simple chalets and doing nothing but relaxing.
15. Pulau Babi Besar
If you’re not that fussed about activities like diving, and would much rather drink cocktails and laze on the beach, Pulau Babi Besar, just off the coast of Mersing, is your kind of Island. Pulau Besar has managed to stay relatively unknown with fewer than 200 tourists visiting every year, giving you the opportunity to really take a break and escape from it all.
16. Pulau Lang Tengah
If you fancy staying somewhere full of some of the most beautiful wildlife in the world, Lang Tengah is the place to go. Not only will you be staying on an island with an untouched tropical jungle, but the nearby coral reefs are full of tropical fish and rays.
From April to October, the island is full of nesting sea turtles which you can volunteer to help protect during your stay. It takes about 7 hours to get here, however with the quality of the sea and the wildlife that comes with it, it may just be worth every minute.
17. Rawa Island
It’s a tiny island, basically just one strip of beach, with two types of accommodation. There’s the hotel, and then there’s the back to basics option: cute little beach houses with their own balconies and hammocks.
This isn’t the most modern or activity filled spot, but there’s a massive jetty with slides to jump off from, a volleyball net on the beach, and if you’re adventurous enough then you can jump off the rocky cliff side.
18. Sugi Island
Sugi Island is a little further south than the popular Batam. It has stunning white beaches as far as the eye can see, that you’ll think you’re in the middle of your own little paradise. You can get there by ferry from Batam.
In case you fancy exploring the paradise that you’re in, you can either take a boat ride or kayak through the nearby mangrove swamps.
Ferry Scedule: http://www.batamfast.com/tripschedule/index.ashx (take to Sekupang)
19. Nikoi Island
It’s a tiny private island with only one hotel. It’s very popular, so if you’re interested you need to make sure that you book a fair few months in advance.
To get here, you first need to get the ferry to Bintan, where a driver from the hotel will pick you up and take you to the next dock an hour away, followed by a short 20-30 minute ride to the Island itself.
20. Palau Joyo
Another secret paradise found south of Bintan and Batam, Pulau Joyo is a private island where you can book either one of their ‘Palaces’ or if you’re a group of 12 or more, the whole island itself.
They’re known for the amazing sunsets seen from their beaches, which can be enjoyed next to a bonfire or while eating your dinner on the sand.
Ferry Schedule: https://www.sindoferry.com.sg/schedule-timetable (take to Tanjung Pinang)