Kusu Island is one of the more popular islands in Singapore after Sentosa or Pulau Ubin with the annual pilgrimage to the temples located there during the ninth lunar month every year. Kusu means “Tortoise” or “Turtle” in Chinese, drawing back to various legends revolving a tortoise transforming itself to an island. More on that below.
Singapore Island Cruise operates a 2-hourly frequency and circular routing of ferries to the Southern Islands of St. John’s Island and Kusu Island. With 2 hours to the next ferry back to Marina South Pier, it’s now time to explore Kusu Island in 2 hours.
Click here to purchase your Singapore Island Cruise tickets to St. John’s Island, Lazarus Island, and Kusu Island on KLOOK!
A map of Kusu Island along with its history information greets visitors when walking off the jetty ashore.
The first attraction beside the pier is the Turtle Lagoon.
Unfortunately, it seems a little bit dried up on this trip. Hopefully some rain would fix it.
The central pavilion in the middle of the Turtle Lagoon.
The turtle sanctuary was donated by the Singapore Tourism Board, and the marble plaque was donated by Sentosa Development Corporation.
There is a wishing well in the middle of the pavilion, though it’s a bit of a misnomer since the hole leads right into the waters of the Turtle Lagoon.
Da Bogong Temple (大伯公宫)
The Da Bogong Temple is the main site of the annual Kusu Pilgrimage during the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calender by Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian pilgrims.
The Da Bogong Temple houses various deities which grants various blessings.
The Da Bogong Temple gives me a feeling of visiting the A Ma Temple in Macau with the need to board a ferry here and being by the sea.
Kusu Island Food Centre
The Kusu Island Food Centre is located right in the middle of the island. However, it only operates for a month every year during the Kusu Pilgrimage season.
Stalls in the Kusu Island Food Centre are left totally empty during the rest of the year.
The Kusu Kramat
At the top of this small hill, lies 3 holy shrines of Syed Abdul Rahman, his mother, Nenek Ghalib, and his sister, Puteri Fatimah Shariffah.
The entrance steps up to The Kusu Kramat. There are 152 steps to climb up to the shrine.
Thankfully, much of it is paved well.
The welcome sight of this mixed shrine.
Pilgrims write their wishes on the rock walls of the shrine, and some write 4D numbers too.
The shrine of Syed Abdul Rahman.
The shrines of Nenek Ghalib and Puteri Fatimah Shariffah.
Heading down after the sightseeing visit.
The exit set of steps lead down to the other side of the hill.
A concrete pool houses lots of tortoises – the namesake of Kusu Island.
Legends of Kusu
A sign by the Turtle Lagoon speaks about the various legends on how Kusu Island came to be.
Kusu Island Tortoise Monument
Two tortoises lie right in front of the Turtle Lagoon, like a central monument of the island.
Hmm, is this a sixth legend? Or a fusion story of the abovementioned five?
Kusu Island Secondary Jetty
I’m not sure if it’s even called this, but there’s a second jetty which is not normally used during this period. Perhaps a repeat trip to Kusu is in store during the Kusu Pilgrimage season to check out what its like there, provided I can get a limited slot from the Singapore Land Authority during this COVID-19 season. But also, with the limited number of 500 pilgrims per day allowed this year thanks to COVID-19, I’m not sure if I can see this operating anyway.
The view of Marina Bay from the northern end of Kusu Island.
View of Batam
And of course, how else can you simulate an overseas trip with a view of, well, overseas?
Tanjung Uma and Harbour Bay in Batam, Indonesia lies right ahead from here. So near yet so far. I wonder when general overseas travel without restrictions will be allowed again.
Kusu Island is really small, and everything can be covered in an hour with the little walking needed. Now, it’s just another hour’s wait for the last Singapore Island Cruise ferry at 6.15pm (weekend) back to Marina South Pier.