GUIDE TO ISLAND LIVING
Introducing you the tropical beach life in the concrete jungle; Singapore and its small islands. An ideal guide for beach lovers to have the ultimate island lifestyle in the Southern islands of Singapore
By : Syafiqah Sanudin
There is no doubt that the islands appeal to beach aficionados. However, who wouldn’t enjoy the carefree beach life where everyone goes around half clad, wind in their hair, salt on their skin and sand on their feet? Man, that’s the life. All of us may be living under the sun, but let us show you what it is like to live in the sunshine.
While the notable and highly commercialized Sentosa beaches still serve as tropical playgrounds for the crowd, several other Singapore Islands under the radar remain obscure due to the barely sufficient and minimal facilities that they offer on the islands. Even accessible, not many are aware of them. Travel off the beaten path to these overlooked islands. It is essential in your list of places to venture before they’re completely taken over by the masses. No passports (or footwear) needed!
Saint John’s Island
Relax, sunbathe, or take a swim off the coast in the lagoons of Saint John’s Island. St. John’s Island is only 39-hectare, reachable by a 20-minute boat ride for less than $20. This tiny island is essentially a long strip of sandy beach with a ferry and fishing jetty in between. Located approximately 6.5 km to the South of the main island of Singapore, you can basically enjoy Singapore’s cityscape - on another island from across the sea. How cool is that!
Upon arriving this tiny paradise, you’ll be greeted with the soul-warming sun, a stretch of white sandy beach and clear green waters. St. John's Island is a pleasant place for a half-hour stroll - you won’t feel like you’re in Singapore at all!
Not many beach lovers flock here. The island is obscure. Other than the small stretch of local kampung housing with St. John’s local islanders living there, you can shack up at the Holiday Bungalow in front of the lagoon and the jetty - the only accommodation on the island. For as low as $50 per day, the Holiday Bungalow is cozily furnished with a kitchen and sleeps up to 10 people. Pump it up and have your own bungalow beach party on this island!
On an island where shipments don't arrive and the cafeteria closed down due to bad business, you have to pack your meals along. But hey, what could be better than having self-cooked meals with friends and family, basking in the tropical sunshine by the lagoons? Preparing them with your loved ones could be fun too! Instead of stopping to pick up grab-and-go pre-packaged food from the the supermarket before going there, plan ahead and prepare some of your own delicious meals. Keep them simple and easy to carry. You don’t want to be carrying a heavy load with you.
If you don’t wish to lay your picnic mats on the sandy lagoons, there are grassy picnic areas, wooden picnic tables and benches all around the island just for you.
If you island lovers wish to rely on what's locally available, eating gets exciting. Nothing beats picking up fresh coconuts off the ground to quench your thirst or eating fresh crabs that you can fish in the waters easily. Feel free to snag mangoes off the tree too! Trust us, nobody will sue you. Also, one of the local islanders sells soft drinks for a dollar each. So drop by his house, which is situated second in the stretch of the kampung housing, and grab a few sodas to refresh yourselves.
Laze under the sun, swim, fish for your own lunch and cook it by the beach.
Away from the hustle and bustle of Singapore, St. John’s Island is essentially the land of cats who laze and lounge in the sun all day. The stray feline population outnumbers the island's handful of residents. They are being fed by the islanders themselves and also the visitors religiously.
The laid-back lifestyle of the locals and their contentment for their few possessions are something people like us need to adopt. The island folks are among the friendliest people around.
“I’ve been living here on this island for the whole 69 years of my life. There used to be a kampung in Lazarus Island (connected to St. John’s Island) but the government demolished it for further improvisation of the island, and here I am living in the sister island of Lazarus, in one of the long stretch of quarters beside the Holiday Bungalow. Beach life everyday.”
-Mohammad Salleh, 69, St. John’s Island Resident
Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services Pte Ltd
#01-04 Marina South Pier
31 Marina Coastal Drive
Bookings at Sentosa Station (VivoCity, Level 3)
Just a 10-minute walk to the left from St. John Island’s jetty, along the causeway, on the tarmac path and you’re on another island!
Lazarus Island features white sand and excellent swimming conditions in the calm waters on its beaches. Its clear warm waters and the 700m stretch of sandy beach essentially makes this island a swimming and fishing paradise. Hang out with friends and families on two of Lazarus’ unnamed beaches, have a nice swim, picnic, barbeque or strolls by the coasts. That's the island life!
Except for a few private yachts and mainly foreign beach-goers, you’ll practically have the entire beach to yourselves. That’s how little this tiny paradise is known. You can charter a private yacht and hold a party on this island too. Or, jump off private yachts into turquoise waters of a secluded island! Man, what could be better?
Just like St. John’s Island, both of these islands are favorites for some local Singaporean fisher kakis. Since the fish season is all year round here, you'll see fishermen aboard chartered fishing boats around both of these islands, on the concrete kelongs on the causeway connector, the jetty or even the coasts.
Translucent turquoise waters, inviting waves and powdery white sand beaches are the praises for this little island - Asia’s favorite playground. Visited by some 20 million people from all over the world per year, the crowd is not a surprise. With their excellent panoramic views, tall coconut palms framing the beaches, 30m wide beachfronts, it the ultimate tropical paradise in the concrete jungle, Singapore.
We are going to guide you in living like a basic true blue islander in this highly-commercialized tourist spot in Singapore. For those who are budget conscious, you’re also not going to lose the island vibes, despite the major developments and hype entertainment available on this piece of island.
The first step, is to book a hut in Sentosa Costa Sands, located right across the coast of Siloso Beach. Despite the hustle and bustle of the sophisticated beach life that Sentosa offers, the Kampung Huts boast a toned down island beach life - a cosy and simple accommodation, that gives a taste of 1960′s Singapore for up to 4 people, for less than $200.
The 3.2km stretch of white sandy beaches - Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong, are the big draw. But there’s more to the island than just sunbathing. Other attractions include 14 luxurious resorts and hotels, two golf courses, the iFly, the Skyline Luge and Resorts World Sentosa that features the notable theme park, Universal Studios Singapore.
You can enjoy this tropical heaven on earth with just a $4 entry and hop onto the Sentosa Express monorail into the island. Alternatively, you can enter through the Sentosa Boardwalk for free!
Other than sunbathing and taking a dip in the clear waters, there are also recreational activities that you can do on the beaches such as beach volleyball, wave riding, cycling, rollerblading, and kayaking. Whether you hop on to the Eco Segway Personal Transporter or on your own longboard to cruise along the roads on the island, it doesn’t matter!
Home to numerous beach bars and restaurants, Sentosa Island offers the most sophisticated beach lifestyle in Singapore. Combine casual beach life with upscale goodies, this is the place to be at for sophisticated island lovers.
Instead of luxuriously wining and dining at Sentosa’s exclusive restaurants such as The Knolls and The Cliff, how about kicking back to relax and have a casual meal at Coastes, Mambo Beach Club or Tanjong Beach Club? You can lounge around and enjoy your meal with no footwear on, and with sand in between your toes.
With seaside food and frequent live music by night, the beach view and breeze boast a calm and tranquil ambience. Palm trees rise up around and in these beach restaurants, capping off a splendid setting. The tables for dining are located right on the beachfront of Siloso Beach - amazing! After your meals, don’t forget to have a quick refreshing cocktail-pick up at the Sand Bar to cool off on a hot sunny day.
Remember to catch the magnificent landscape view from above during sunset! It is accessible via the suspension bridge, the Southernmost Point of Asia in Palawan Beach, is sure to catch your breath away.
Sentosa Express Monorail
Level 3, Vivocity
Costa Sands Sentosa
30 Imbiah Walk
50 Siloso Beach Walk
Mambo Beach Club
40 Siloso Beach Walk
Tanjong Beach Club
120 Tanjong Beach Walk
50 Siloso Beach Walk
No matter on which island you are at, getaways on islands are all about the breeze ruffling through your hair, and the sun, sand and clear water flowing through your fingers and feet. Have your loved ones on these trips with you and you’ll probably won’t need anything else.