Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kusu Island Pilgrimage in 2013

A post on Kusu Island was heavily featured last year in this blog when i paid the "tortoise" island a visit after a hiatus of over twenty years! 

I am back again this year with my parents for the annual pilgrimage and since nothing much has changed, i hope you would just enjoy the many photos below, taken in a chronological order. 

For more information, i would still suggest you check out my original post located HERE.

Location: Booth in the inaccessible Marina South Pier.
Purpose: Buy ferry tickets to Kusu Island.

Time: An ungodly 7.30am on a Saturday.
Mood: Super sleepy.

The ferry sending us to the island. Although it was the last day for the pilgrimage, the terminal wasn't packed at all. Guess it was also a matter of time; not many people would wake up so early on a Saturday!

Mom was annoyed over the increase in the ticket price; from S$14 last year to S$16 this year! I could not help wondering if this could also be one of the contributing factors for the island's dwindling visitors.  

Kusu Island sighted!

The journey was approximately twenty minutes; a far cry from the old days even though i still prefer the rustic feel of having the wind hitting against my face on a wooden bumboat over artificial air-conditioning in a modern ferry. 

We arrived. Enough said.

First stop - Chinese temple where mom would do her sincere praying while i walked around the place taking tonnes of pictures that would eventually be pared down.

What were they looking at?!

Fishes in the pond?! This was absolutely nothing compared to what you can see in places renowned for snorkeling and diving like Tioman Island, Redang island etc. 

Main hall of the temple which originally looked out to the sea, not pond. Dad in the picture; this man had not stepped foot onto the island since 1993! 

Tortoise is the auspicious mascot for Kusu Island and you could of course find many of them housed in three different areas on the island.

Counter where you buy your offerings. In the past, i think people would bring along their own incense sticks and the temple was so smoky; it brought literally tears of irritation to anyone who dared to step in. 

Situation was way better in recent years; there was a limit on the number of sticks and manpower was on standby to clear the incense altars when they got too full. It does beget the question; if you are going to clear them right at the beginning, why bother lighting up?

I don't think this was to honour anything. 

Statues of the Chinese god of fortune - it was ingrained in a Chinese mindset that prosperity and fortune go hand in hand with a blessed life and the god of fortune has a very strong religious following in most Chinese communities. 

The parents in front of the iconic three-tortoise statue. 

It was at this point that i slipped and hit a wall! Thankfully my spectacles broke the fall and the only injury i suffered was a bloody gash on my nose bridge! The best thing? No one noticed!!!!!

Anyway, here's the tree that can supposedly help childless couples who wish to have a kid.

Market was relatively empty as the pilgrimage was running its end and many vendors have already started packing up their stock. According to reports, sales have reduced dramatically over the years. 

Food Centre for the souls who need their caffeine fix to perk up the morning. 

Our order - a cup of teh O, a cup of kopi O, a plate of vegetarian bee hoon and a pack of muah chee! The vegetarian beehoon was a letdown with hardly any flavour to excite my taste buds while the muah chee was surprisingly not too bad.

Variety was quite wide for such a small setup but i was dead set on saving my stomach for mouthwatering hawker fare on mainland Singapore after our visit. 

Alfresco space for diners. 

Climbing up the steps to Datok Gong [拿督公] where the three sacred Muslim shrines (known as keramats) resided. 

It started drizzling shortly after i took this picture! No prize for guessing correctly what mom was checking out. For those who are still unaware, she was looking at the four-digit numbers scribbled on the yellow stained stones!

A closer look of the stones.

The shrines; mom didn't make any offering here as she wasn't aware on what the practices are and decided not to take the risk of offending the deities. 

Despite the light drizzle, the two of them continued to wait patiently for me to finish my photo-taking. Sometimes, we really take our parents for granted without realising they often show their love using very subtle actions.

Tortoise Sanctuary! I still could not find the highly elusive huge tortoise that was supposed to live in this very sanctuary. Click here for more details of the enclosure. 

Mom with the Chinese temple as the backdrop. 

A customary shot of the main hall of the temple; doubt any temple in Singapore can claim to have such an exclusive site next to the water. 

Back of the temple which faces Lazarus Island.

Making our way to the jetty for our ferry back to the mainland! 

Parents taking a parting shot. Frankly, i wanted to explore the island a bit more since the cranky Jovyn was not with us this time. However, the parents did not want to wait another hour for the next ferry. :(

Lucky us! The ferry this time offered a non-conditioned area on the second level where we can enjoy the sea breeze! For me, i am more prone to seasickness if i am stuck in the air-conditioned compartment. 

Private yacht near the shore of Seringat Island; unbeknownst to many, reclamation has now merged Lazarus with Seringat and there was even a link bridge to St John's Island. Maybe the Gang of Four should organise their virgin trip to these Southern islands!

A lonely shelter surrounded by wilderness on Seringat Island.

Ferry to Batam zipping past the highly coveted district in Singapore; Sentosa Cove! 

Cloudy skyline of Singapore's Downtown with the tallest observation wheel in the world which would likely have its title taken away in a few years time. Other landmarks spotted in this photograph include Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay

Cargo ship, the traditional lifeline of Singapore, and the backdrop of Singapore new financial hub! My elder sister worked in one of the buildings and her view was spectacular!

Love this picture of the imposing vessel casting a threatening shadow on the water!

Is this an escape vessel?! Do you know that piracy in the waters surrounding Singapore was so bad that the three countries (Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia) have to conduct coordinated patrols!?

You wouldn't believe where i spotted this beautiful angel fish!!

At the base of the permanently stationed riverboat! With high ship traffic contributing to water pollution, i am amazed that the corals seemed to be thriving very well! Now, who was the one who commented that no coral can survive in Singapore?!

The end - taking the free shuttle to Marina Bay Cruise Centre where my car was parked. This arrangement was applicable only on weekends of the pilgrimage as the car park lots in Marina South Pier were limited. 


For an alternative reading of Kusu Island that would provide more detail, check out my original post located HERE.


  1. I hope your nose is fine now! And yes, the ferry price tix increased like mad, over the years!

    1. it's healing well! :P Yesh!!! i miss the good old bumboat days!!!!