This tranquil Kusu Island, which means "Tortoise Island" in Chinese, is also known as Peak Island or Pulau Tembakul in Malay. From 2 tiny outcrops on a reef, the island was enlarged and transformed into a 8.5 hectare island. On the island you can find a popular Chinese temple, Da Bo Gong (The Merchant God or God of Prosperity) and on top the rugged hillock stand three Kramats. Located just 5.6 km south of Singapore, Kusu Island is also well loved for its blue lagoons, pristine beaches and tranquil settings. Visitors can pay a visit to the wishing well and Tortoise Sanctuary as well. Overnight stay is not allowed on the island.
Tours: For a complete round southern island tour, you may also want to visit Lazarus Island and St. John's Island.
History: Legends of Kusu Island... The most prevalent myth, however, tells of how two fishermen, one Chinese and one Malay, were shipwrecked during the ninth lunar month many years ago. Seeing their adversity, a giant tortoise turned itself into an island to provide a sanctuary for them to land on.
Today, Taoists mark the legendary rescue by the tortoise with an annual pilgrimage. From mid-October each year, they flock to the island's landmark Da Bo Gong Temple (God of Prosperity) by the thousands. The temple was built in 1923. Devotees of all ages come to burn offerings & pray to the deities there, including the Goddess of Mercy, for prosperity. The temple has a 'Wishing Well' in the shape of a lotus flower. Devotees try to hit the 3 bells inside the well with coins to make their wishes come true. In another popular ritual, they tie a symbolic red string around a piece of folded paper containing their wish, then hurl it high into a 'Wishing Tree'. It is believed that the higher up the tree you wish lands, the higher your chances of having it come true.
Another landmark is a Malay shrine, Kramat Kusu, commemorating a pious man (Syed Abdul Rahman), his mother (Nenek Ghalib) & sister (Puteri Fatimah) who lived in the 19th century. Many devotees will climb the 152 steps leading to the Kramats to pray. The shrine is so famous for answering childless couples' prayers for fertility that both Muslims and non-Muslims visit the shrine year round.
Address: 31 Marina Coastal Drive,
Marina South Pier,
Bus Stop Number 03419: Service 402 (Starts and ends at Shenton Way Bus Terminal, loop service.).
MRT Station: Marina South Pier (NS28) Under Construction, scheduled to open in the 4th Quartrer of 2014.
Information is correct as at 12 October 2014. Please visit the destination website for latest updates.