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Secret Singapore: discover stunning shores on an island-hopping adventure

Secret Singapore: discover stunning shores on an island-hopping adventure

From afar, Singapore may look like a single, diamond-shaped island at the tip of the South East Asian peninsula. But there’s much more to the nation than that – namely 64 offshore islands, waiting to be discovered.

The star among them: Sentosa, a knuckle of sandstone draped in forest and punctuated by beaches. Once it was a hardship posting for British servicemen. Now, though, the barracks where they lived and defended Singapore has become a hotel that promises to transport world-weary wanderers back to a golden age of travel.

For a high-octane route to the beach, jump on the Sentosa zipwire

(Sentosa Development Corporation)

Sentosa is also an adventure island – with an exhilarating way to reach the beach, in the shape of a zip wire.

Idyllic islands

In Pulau Ubin you can enjoy lush surroundings and explore Singapore’s last traditional kampong

(Singapore Tourism Board)

Singapore’s ferries are fun, easy and reliable, and island hopping is a splendid way to spend a day, and end a day. There’s a scattering of islands even further south, with regular and inexpensive ferries from Marina South to Kusu Island and St John’s Island.

They are well worth a day of exploration. Until 1975 St John’s Island was out of bounds; it was once a quarantine centre. Today it’s a lovely place to walk and swim. Kusu means “Turtle Island”. Today, there’s no permanent population – but you can wander freely and visit the Chinese temple. On the northeastern edge of the nation, 10-minute bumboat ride from Changi Village takes you to Pulau Ubin: home to Singapore’s last remaining traditional kampong – a South East Asian village.

Mangroves and monkeys

For a brush with Singapore’s wildlife, the Wetlands in Chek Jawa are a must-visit

(Singapore Tourism Board)

Pulau means island and Ubin means granite; stone from here was used to create the causeway to Malaysia. Today, water has filled the quarry and become a freshwater biodiversity location.

The mangrove zone of Chek Jawa, meanwhile, is said to be the convergence point of six habitats – and naturally home to one of Singapore’s richest eco-systems. A discreetly constructed boardwalk leads through the wetlands and dense vegetation – complete with some inquisitive inhabitants. Watch your camera with the monkeys around.

From stunning beaches and natural wonders to diverse locales, incredible cuisine, and hi-tech horticulture, Singapore is ever-evolving, and seamlessly blends the old with the ultra-new. Find out…

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