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(Clockwise from left) "Long Island" off Singapore's East Coast aims to combat the impact of climate change; Lazarus Island; and St John's Island. IMAGES (CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT): WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/MIKE PEEL, AND SIM DING EN

Shore To Shore: Singapore's 'Long Island' And Other Offshore Wonders

At long last, Singapore is going to have its own version of Long Island.

Announced yesterday (28 November) by National Development Minister Desmond Lee, the Long Island reclamation plan aims to protect the East Coast area from rising sea levels and inland flooding due to climate change.

Three land tracts off East Coast Park will be reclaimed to create approximately 800 hectares of land (twice the size of Marina Bay) for new homes, coastal and waterfront parks, and even a new reservoir (our 18th, to be exact).

Unfortunately, due to the scale of the project, it's expected to take decades before Long Island becomes a reality. In the meantime, Singapore is already home to several other offshore islands. No, not just Pulau Ubin, aka the most well-known one. Here are some others that are worth visiting.

1. Coney Island

No, there’s no theme park on this island, unfortunately. But this island, which is also known as Pulau Serangoon, has a wild, untamed charm to it. Aside from being overgrown with greenery, there’s an abandoned mansion hidden on the island. (Warning: The old villa is fenced up and structurally unsound, so stay away!) Coney Island is popular with cyclists due to its rugged terrain, which provides a satisfying challenge. Do note that in accordance with its rustic schtick, this island lacks artificial lighting and consequently closes at 7 pm for safety reasons.

Getting to Coney Island: From Punggol interchange, take bus 84 to Punggol Point Park/Punggol Settlement. Walk about 500m east along the Punggol Promenade Nature Walk to get to Coney Island Park West Entrance.

2. Kusu Island

Can you guess what this island is known for? It’s all in the name: Kusu is the Hokkien word for “Tortoise”. Legend has it that this island was created when a giant tortoise turned itself into an island to save two shipwrecked sailors. Nowadays, Kusu Island is a pilgrimage site for Muslim and Taoist worshippers to pay their respects at the Malay shrine and Chinese temple respectively. Aside from its religious heritage, this island is also a haven for tortoises, with the aptly–named Tortoise Sanctuary housing hundreds of wild tortoises.

Getting to Kusu Island: Kusu Island is accessible by public ferry from Marina South Pier. Book tickets here

3. St John’s Island

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This island is almost like an outdoor cat cafe! St John’s Island is ruled by a sizeable population of stray cats, and they’re fond of human attention. If you get tired of cat–watching (highly unlikely), bring a picnic basket with you and enjoy the picturesque scenery.

Getting to St John's Island: St John's Island is accessible by public ferry from Marina South Pier. Book tickets here

4. Lazarus Island

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If you’re looking for a real getaway even though you can't go all the way to Bali, Lazarus Island is the perfect spot. Tranquil and untouched by crowds, this island’s pristine beaches and crystal–clear waters are the very definition of paradise. Just lie back, relax, and be sure to snap a photo for Instagram. Be warned though: there are no amenities on this island, not even toilets; hence the lack of crowds.

Getting to Lazarus Island: Lazarus Island is accessible via a linked walking path from St John's Island. You can also take a direct express ferry from Marina South Pier to Lazarus Island's Pulau Seringat jetty. Book tickets here

5. Pulau Hantu

Despite its morbid name, this island isn’t actually haunted (as far as we know). Instead, the name is a reference to the middle part of the island, which becomes submerged during high tide. With its vibrant coral reefs that boast an abundance of marine biodiversity, Pulau Hantu is a popular haunt for water activities such as scuba diving and snorkelling.

Getting to Pulau Hantu: As there are no regular ferries to Pulau Hantu, you'll need to charter a boat from West Coast Pier to get there.

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