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Singapore is an island surrounded by over 50 islets. Some of the islets were developed as a natural theme park such as Sentosa and St. John; some were remain untouched or restricted while others serve as an oasis of privacy and relaxation.
Situated in the north east of Singapore to the west of Pulau Tekong is a 10.19 square Kilometer island knows as Pulau Ubin. The island has a shape-like boomerang and covered by low hills. This island with about a hundred villagers is one of the few areas in Singapore that has been preserved from large scale urban development.
The island was known for its granite, during the British Colony a number of granite quarries on the island were used to supply the local construction industries. The villages in this island were named after the first settlers of the villages. Such as Kampong Leman which was named after Leman as well as the Kampung Cik Jawa which named by a Singaporean named Jawa. The island was also known for its farming and fishing. In 2005 during the wake of the avian influenza the Government of Singapore ordered the farmers rearing poultry on Pulau Ubin to relocate all the poultries to the main island so that the outbreak of the avian influenza will be closely monitored.
At present, Pulau Ubin is being developed as a natural theme park. The rustic charm of the island’s surrounding provides a glimpse of a simple life of the old "kampong" Singapore. The island has a rich and preserved wildlife, abandoned plantations and quarries, untouched nature and various traditional villages with wooden houses as well as wooden jetties.
The best way to explore the island is by a bicycle. Near the jetty there are number of shops where you can rent bikes. Bikes cost vary according to its quality and functions. There are also camping sites in the area as well as other outdoor activities. The most visited site in the island is the Tanjung Chek Jawa. At the Tanjung Chek Jawa is a coral reef formed around 5000 years ago, here dwells a variety of marine wildlife such as sand dollars, seahorses, nudibranchs as well as bewildering sponges.
Take bus 29 to Changi Village interchange. From here is a short walk to Changi Jetty, where the bumboats to Pulau Ubin can be found. The boats only leave the jetty when there are 12 passengers or if someone is willing to charter the whole boat at S$18. Pulau Ubin is just a 10-minute boat ride from the Changi Point jetty. The bumboat operates from 6 am to 11 pm by private operators.
Situated on the south of the main island of Singapore, off the Straits of Singapore is Pulau Semakau. The island was used to be a small fishing community in which houses were built largely on stilts over a reef flat.
On the eastern side of the island is the Semakau Landfill, created by the enclosing Pulau Semakau and Pulau Sakeng with 7 km perimeter rock bund. Semakau Landfill is the first offshore landfill operated since April 1999 and at present it’s the only remaining landfill in Singapore. The landfill is filled mainly with inert ash produced by Singapore’s four incineration plants; incinerated waste is transported to the island using a covered barge every night.
Despite the construction of the landfill the landfill officials was able to protect much of the island with luxuriant vegetation. About 13 hectare mangrove was replanted to replace those that were removed during the construction of the bunds. The marine ecosystem is being monitored while wildlife continues to thrive on the island. Some of the most endangered and rare plant species are also found the island.
The entry to the island of Pulau Semakau is restricted however nature-related recreational activities such as sport fishing, bird watching and nature walks are possible by joining or contacting the designated organizations who conduct these activities.
- Sport Fishing Association of Singapore
- The Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research
- Nature Society of Singapore
Pulau Bukom or Pulau Bukum is a small island lies about 5 km to the south of the south of main island of Singapore. The actual size of the island is 1.45 sq km.
Also known as Pulau Bukom Besar the island’s name is said to be named after Malay’s rangkek bukom a species of seashell which is wide at one end and tapers to a narrow point, the shape of the island prior to land reclamation. To its south is a smaller island known as Pulau Bukom Kechil.
The island was originally a mangrove swamp and used to be a source of fresh water by ships. To supply the water needs of the passing ship a trader named Gagino established a water company in 1884.
Situated in Pulau Bukom is Shell’s largest oil refinery that produces 400,000 barrels a day of refined product. The association of the Shell Company with the island dates back to 1891, when the company used to store kerosene here. About 3000 people work in Bukom refinery. There is also a residential neighborhood that resembles the traditional Dutch Town. There are groups of brick buildings facing the sea that has prominent roofs of irregular profile. Work staffs that live here are provided with complete amenities and recreational facilities; however the island is restricted to the public.
The public is off limits to the island. Visitors who wish to visit the island must obtain a security pass which will only be issued for personnel working on the island. There is also a tight security and unauthorized person is not allowed to enter the island. Penguin ferries operate the ferry service to the island free of charge.
Pulau Sekijang Pelepah or Lazarus Island is positioned between St. John Island and Kusu Island. The island with a total land area of about 47 ha has an abundant natural fauna and flora. It is currently link via a causeway to St. John Island.
Lazarus Island offers a laid back ambience, sandy beaches that serve as a hushed respite from the bustling city. An ideal place for water sports such as snorkeling and swimming. The island also offers a high-quality diving site for experience divers.
If you are visiting St. John Island a walk to the causeway between St. John and Lazarus Island is the most accessible way to get there. Charter boat can also be hired for from Clifford Pier, near Singapore River. Charter boat cost around S$15 and the journey takes about half an hour.