Kusu island meaning Tortoise in Chinese, has recently been redeveloped into a 8.5-hectare holiday resort. Over here you can pay a visit to the wishing well and Tortoise Sanctuary, or check out the island’s many revered spots. Sale of ferry tickets are at Marina South Pier, Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services Pte Ltd or at http://www.islandcruise.com.sg/
This place isn't called ulu - I mean, kusu - island for nothing. Really, there are so few buildings (and good toilets - always a huge plus in my book) around. If you're a huge fan of the sand and the ocean and the cool, salty breeze, then by all means, come here. I did enjoy it for a while, despite what I said about not being much of a nature fan, but only for a really short while. Literally, nothing to do. Boredom for miles.
It is a nice getaway, I suppose, if you do match above criteria. Remember your sunblock though!
There isn't much to do on the island, except swimming or maybe having a picnic or playing some beach games with your friends. There is a Taoist temple and Muslim one up on the hill, where you cam make a simple prayer or get some blessings.
Kusu Island is small and quiet, but the tranquility and peace offered is extremely tempting for those who want to have a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city life.
Kusu island to me is very much unique. It may seem weird to say this, but I actually think that it is a must-visit if you are a tourist as much of the island culture is unique to Singapore (or at least to South East Asia) and the heritage on the island is simply very rich. A visit to the island can also make for an interesting family outing!
Is it worth spending a couple of hours wandering around this tiny island? It is pleasant enough. Originally only two tiny islets on a reef, one rather a tall peak (tall in Singapore means over ten meters) the island has been reclaimed and forms a resort of sorts amounting to about 8 hectares. Kusu Island means Tortoise Island in Chinese. There is a legend of sorts that the old guy who sells cold drinks at the temple tells you. Apparently a magical tortoise turned itself into the island to save two shipwrecked sailors.
The few tired turtles in the Temple’s ponds seem as listless as the old temple caretaker who, after he has exhausted himself telling you the story, insists on selling you an ice cream or a cold drink.
The flat part of the island has been landscaped and it is pleasant enough. The view back to Singapore is worth the trip. At least you feel you are no longer a part of the bustle of the city. It has a surreal quality as you see the towers of the financial district simmering across the waters
Climbing the 152 steps to the top of the island's only hill leads you to the shrines of three Malay Saints. Many devotees climb the steps to pray for wealth, good marriage, good health and harmony. The shrines are apparently popular linked to fertility. I climbed them and prayed for fitness.
The island is nothing to write home about at all. Dusty graves on a hill on an island. Wow! Exciting? I think not. Perhaps a little more information in the form of plaques with more about the history of the graves-and the people in them-would be useful.
Avoid the island between September and November as thousands of people flock here for their annual Kusu Pilgrimage in the hope of good health, peace, happiness, good luck and prosperity. I am told that the place is alive with visitors. Not the Muslim shrines (which looked more like coffins to me), I hasten to add, but the picnic area and the food court built opposite the temple.
But if you wanted to watch people eating, why come to Kusu?