Back to nature
A few kilometres south of Singapore lies a secret beach with clear waters and white sands on St John’s Island, one of the country’s many beautiful offshore islands.
This popular day-trip destination was once a quarantine centre for immigrants coming into Singapore who had cholera, beri-beri and leprosy; it was later used to house political prisoners and drug rehabilitators. (You can still see the high barbed-wire fences!)
Today, it’s a popular day-trip destination with tons to do, both on land and beyond its shores.
There’s a large stray cat population on St John’s Island and they’re used to and quite friendly to humans (especially if you have food with you). You’ll find these felines all around the island, but the colony has claimed the local mosque as HQ, where the dozens of them laze and lounge (It’s almost like being in an outdoor cat cafe of sorts!).
Get to know the cats on their Facebook page (yes, the cats are a social media-savvy bunch) and find out how you can support and feed them.
St. John’s Island is home to mangroves, coastal plants and coral reefs. Find out how you can book a guided intertidal walk around the island here.
The Tropical Marine Science Institute, a local marine research facility on the island, also organises visits to the institute as part of its public education programme to create awareness in the marine sciences. Get in touch with them here.
St John’s Island best kept secret is actually another island of its own. Laidback Lazarus Island is linked to St John’s Island by a little paved bridge for an easy walk and it’s home to tranquil beaches and lagoons.
P.S. If you’re planning a picnic by the beach, you’ll need to bring everything you need as food and drinks are not sold on both islands!
From Lazarus Island, you can walk to yet another naturesque island, Pulau Seringat. The place is relatively undeveloped but we hear it won’t stay that way for long, so pop over and venture if you have the time.
A holiday bungalow, furnished with cooking facilities, is available on the island and it can hold up to 10 people. For larger groups up to 60 people, the dormitory-style holiday camps are your best choice.
Do note you can only stay overnight on St John’s Island if you book these accommodations as camping is strictly not allowed.
Not that you needed any more excuse to visit this gem of an island, but you can even charter a private luxury yacht that’ll take you on a cruise around the beautiful Singapore waters before taking you to St John’s Island to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Perfect party idea? We think so!
By Muneerah Bee / Updated July 2019
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