Friday, November 02, 2018

Kusu Island 2018 - A Pilgrimage Visit [龟屿进香] Once Again @ Singapore

As both parents are already in their 60s, i see it as my duty (as a child) to accompany them for their annual pilgrimage to Kusu Island even though this would be the 5th year i am blogging about it.

This year, we made it a point to arrive earlier at about 8.00 am so that we didn't have to face the crowd encountered in 2017! It's extremely tedious for me as i clocked in less than four hours of sleep the night before!

Purchasing the tickets from the container counter at Marina South Pier; in comparison to 2017, the pricing didn't charge and adult ticket continued to be sold at S$18 each while a child (1-12 years old) ticket costs S$12 apiece.

Our tickets; p.s. given that i have blogged about the Kusu Pilgrimage in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017, this 5th posting would be more about the pictures in chronological order although i might just regurgitate a bit of what i mentioned in the four previous postings.

Queuing up! Darn, waking up early to beat the crowd didn't seem to have worked!

It's a visual illusion as there was a group congregating near the start of queue. In reality, there wasn't much of a wait and we got to the first line within a few minutes.

From purchasing the ferry tickets to sitting on the ferry; it only took us only about 5 minutes! Guess it would be the norm to arrive at around this time for future Kusu pilgrimages.

We were lucky to get a ferry with an open deck! To be fine, the luck was more for me as pictures taken without the glare and reflection from glass windows were way better! For my mom, she totally regretted her choice as it was too hot for her!

Photos taken of mainland Singapore; second photo is the high SES (Socio-Economic Status) island known as Sentosa where multi-million bungalows were concentrated on the Eastern end!

Main reason for this post is not to show the developments of Kusu Island as it usually doesn't differ much from past years; my main objective was to take pictures of the growing kids and my ageing parents.

Reaching Kusu Island; journey took about 20 minutes.

Don't you think it's dangerous to leave the door open like this; what if a young toddler was swept down while the ferry was cruising along?

Another safety hazard; the metal piece that was jutting out between the seats. My mom managed to scrape against and so did i!

People were already queuing up to return to mainland Singapore! I was still wondering what time would the first ferry be and mom guessed it should be about 7.00 am. Well, i don't think i can crawl out of bed that early on weekends to catch the 7.00 am ferry at Marina South Pier.

Official entry sign to Kusu Island.

I initially thought this improvised path for wheelchair users was new but realised that it was already in place back in 2017 according to my posting here.

The iconic red-pillar, green-roofed pavilion.

Those who are alert enough might have noticed that in the first photo of Jovyn; she appeared to be missing one of her front teeth! However, i managed to touch up just for the fun of it.

More of the kids; with the middle showing Jovyn without her front tooth. She was quite insistent to show her toothy smile and wasn't happy when i showed her the photo of the touch-up i did.

For a bit more information about the pilgrimage, which started as far back as 1813, please refer to my posting here. There isn't much but would help provide some basic info.

Pavilion with a tentage to expand its retail space; the scale was very much reduced as compared to the past although it was to be expected given that the older generations (my parents and grandparents' generation) slowly passed on.

Test your luck by picking a TOTO ticket!

The hawker centre that i think operates only during the pilgrimage season! You may refer to the pricing of the food and drinks as appended above; not cheap but no choice when one is hungry.

I would usually go for a plate of char kway teow and a cup of coffee from the drink stall even though i don't take breakfast on most weekdays and prefer brunch on weekends.

My plate of char kway teow that cost S$4.50 a plate; my mom's laksa was priced at S$4.50 a bowl due to the addition of cockles! The char kway teow was average (could definitely do with more black sauce) whereas the laksa was a watered down version.

Photos taken at the Tortoise Sanctuary with both Jerald and Jovyn remembering the place well from past visits. I feel that the number of tortoises in the open enclosure has dropped from past years.

Jovyn again.

Start of a 152-step climb up to Datok Kong! The enthusiasm in the beginning slowly eroded as we walked up and to think that the kids requested for a rest halfway through! Tsk, aren't they supposed to have more stamina than my dad and i!?

Arrived at the summit of the small hill that houses the three shrines of a pious Muslim family from the 19th century; Syed Abdul Rahman (father) , Nenek Ghalib (mother) and Puteri Fatimah (sister).

Prayers were interestingly in Taoist format; you put out oranges, light candles, burn incense sticks and incinerate paper offerings!

And if you didn't chance upon the three kramats as above with the symbolic Muslim logos; you might not even have realized it's not a Chinese temple! By the way, please do not bring any pork to the kramats as it's a sign of great disrespect.

The counter for offerings was also manned by Muslims. No wonder some people have found it hard to grapple with the fact that within Singapore, different race and religions do co-exist with each other, unlike some countries.

Most popular activity at Datok Kong; to be enveloped by the smoke said to bless you with "wealth, marriage, fertility, good career, good health, harmony and childless couples seeking to start a family".

One thing that stood out when you reach the top of the hill was the mind-boggling amount of marker writings that could have been mistaken as graffiti from a distance away.

I always wonder why devotees would readily bring along a marker pen in their bags! Turned out there were markers available and you can always borrow one to pen down your preferred lucky number or your wish!

An obsessive and / or desperate gambler had written 2812 all over the railings; i check the lottery result of 2812 over the years and sadly, the last time it won a prize was 10 years ago!

Forced her to take a photo with the yellow-painted boulders with numbers and wishes. At this age, i can still be creative; when she is older, i think it will be hard for her to listen to me! 

Done and drenched in sweat! It was an incredibly hot day and i regretted, once again, for not bringing along my snorkeling mask and extra clothing so that i can swim in the lagoon!

With the backdrop of Singapore's skyline, this is the spot where i would attempt to take a picture of the kids; there was a picture of a super adorable Jovyn taken in 2012.

More photos!

The heat was unmanageable and we decided to leave after spending about 90 minutes on Kusu Island. However, i requested to cut through the temple for photo-taking; it will be weird if i didn't even pay the temple a visit after paying S$18 for the ferry ticket!

Nice photo of my mom with the two kids. I have requested my dad to drag out photographs he took at Kusu Island when he was much younger so that i can do some comparing and contrasting; as an example, this tortoise-statue has been at this spot for eons.

A tortoise with a deformed shell in one of the two enclosures in the temple.

The tree that you can pray to for a kid. Don't absurdly pray to it if you didn't perform the necessary "act / process" to facilitate the development of a child in the womb.

Photos taken within the Tua Pek Kong temple.

In the past, the thick smoke from the incense sticks can sting your eyes and reduce your visibility which can be dangerous as many lighted incense sticks continued to pass by you! Nowadays, there are dedicated workers who would remove the incense sticks from the urn; this begets the question on whether we can just remove the incense sticks all together?!

As visitors, we are only there for a short period of time; the temple employees are the one suffering from the air pollution! One of them had even donned a N95 mask to protect himself but i need to add that the mask was worn incorrectly....

Purchase of offerings from the counter at the side.

Jovyn having a toss of the coin to fulfill her wish! You know what's her wish!? I think i should document it here so that she can have a good laugh when she grows up; she wishes for good grades so that she can become a mermaid! What?!

The cheeky three with Jovyn striking a similar pose at the back!

Taking the ferry for our return trip back to mainland Singapore! Even though it was hot and humid on Kusu Island, i heard from my sister it was raining cats and dogs at the mainland.

We didn't get a ferry with an open deck but i still managed to take some pictures; like the above of a yacht at Lazarus Island. You can in fact charter a yacht; my friends and i did that in 2014 and you may refer to the photos and posting here.

View of Tanjong Pagar Terminal which would eventually be closed and redeveloped as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront project.

Bloody huge cruise ship by the name of Genting Dream; its length was 335.33 meters and can house 3,400 passengers and 2,000 crew! Just the look of the goliath was enough to elicit a wow from all of us. 

Back at Marina South Pier


Kusu Island Pilgrimage in 2018
From 09 October to 07 November 

How To Get There
Take the ferry from Marina South Pier 
(Next to Marina South Pier MRT Station) 

Ferry Ticket Pricing 
Adult - S$18 
Child - S$12 


As above. 

Past Postings 


  1. Hi, it's been quite many years since i last visited kusu island pilgrimage.

    May I check if you have any recollection or aware whether wheelchair bound person is able to go up to the temple? Is there any slope apart from the stairs?

    Many thanks for any info you can provide 😊

    1. Hi! Sorry for the late response. I think one side of the temple is slope but for datok kong temple on the hill, it's not wheelchair friendly at all. Have a good trip! :)


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