Kusu Island, Singapore

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A sort of travel-post, considering Kusu Island is off Singapore island!

As part of the Singapore Heritage Festival 2014, my sister and I went for “A night of Nayin at Kusu Island trail” one Sunday evening. I was really hoping to get the lighthouse tour, but I didn’t manage so. Still, going to Kusu Island for the first time was pretty fun for us!

Kusu Island is one of the Southern Islands in Singapore (and I didn’t know that we have 40+ islands) and it is 5.6 km (or about 15 mins ferry ride from the new Marina South Pier) away from Singapore Island. Our tour guide told us that Kusu Island is managed by Sentosa, the more famous Southern Island. Kusu Island is also known as the Tortoise/Turtle island as legend had it that a magical tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors, a Malay and another Chinese.

The island is now primarily a pilgrimage island, with a Malay shrine where devotees would climb the 152 steps to pray for wealth, good marriage, good health, harmony or to be blessed with children. The popular Chinese temple, Da Bo Gong 大伯公 (which means “Grand Uncle”) is also sited on the island. Other than that, the island is pretty small, with a shallow beach and small turtle pond. Apparently other than the housekeepers of the shrine and temple, it is illegal to stay overnight on Kusu Island! I supposed Kusu island is low on the list of a tourist, whom would pick Sentosa or even Pulau Ubin (for cycling!) anytime over Kusu Island or St John’s Island. But for locals looking for somewhere close by to escape from the buzz/malls/crowd (yes, because sometimes even Ubin is crowded @@), one can take a short ferry ride to one of these islands (locals don’t need a passport to visit Kusu Island, just like how Koreans don’t need one when visiting Jeju!).

From afar, while one could actually see the bright lights from Singapore island (though it could be more apparent since it was the F1 night Final race when we were there), it was pretty tranquil and peaceful. We spent the last hour enjoying the Nayin recital and performance in Da Bo Gong (Nanyin is a style of Chinese classical music and I think it originated as palace pieces).

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