During our stay in Singapore for a few years we had the opportunity to travel in and around the island country to a great extent. Apart from Singapore we made to some of the popular tourist destinations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Singapore as we know is an island country. However apart from the main island there are a number of small islands around Singapore which are also part of the country. Most of these islands are uninhabited or used for military and industrial purposes. The uninhabited islands are promoted for tourism purpose. One of those many sister islands is the Kusu Island.
A day's trip to the island can easily be undertaken from Marina Pier. Ferries depart from the pier at regular intervals. As of last visit there was no over night lodging facilities available on the island.
History of the Island: In March 1616 Dom Jose De Silva, Spanish Governor of the Philippines was homeward bound with his fleet of 10 galleons and 2 galleys when his galleon grounded on a reef in the vicinity. Tradition has it that the accident took place at the Kusu Reef itself and hence the island became first known in the 17th Century as "Governor's Island" and Singapore Straits as the "Governor Straits".
In 1806 James Horsburg, Hydrographer in the British East India Company renamed it "Goa Island" for reasons unknown. Then, in 1819 the island gained prominence again when Daniel Ross, Hydrographer to Sir Stamford Raffles, surveyed the harbor and established the island as the reference point for all ships entering the port.
Subsequently a signaling station with a single mast was erected on the island and it was manned by the staff of the Harbor Master's Department.
Kusu which means "Tortoise Island" in Chinese, is also known as Peak Island or Pulau Tembakull in Malay. It is situated about 5.6 km from Singapore. The island was transformed from two tiny outcrops on a reef info a holiday resort seven times larger in size from 1.2 hectares to 8.5 hectares in 1985.
Kusu Island has a religious and legendary background. There is a Malay shrine and a Chinese temple on the island. During the Kusu Festival in the Ninth Lunar Month of every year, thousands of devotees make their pilgrimage to the island to pray for good health, peace, happiness, good luck and prosperity.
Prior to the reclamation and implementation of ferry services, in 1975 devotees had to make their way to Kusu in sampans or bumboats.
Legends around the Island:
Here are few pictures which were clicked during the trip. First below is the Marina Pier from where the ferry to Kusu Island departed.
This is one of the ferries starting off from the pier.
While waiting for our ferry we saw this beautiful boat plowing through the waters. Seemed like a boat party was in progress.
Below is the Chinese Temple on the island.
A view of the Singapore skyline from one end of the island.
The island is having a tortoise breeding center. The good thing about this center is that you can hold the beautiful animal in your hands and appreciate it's beauty.
The jetty on the island from where the ferry service took place.
The ferry which took us back to main island at the end of day.