The Quiet Charm of Singapore's Southern Islands

The Quiet Charm of Singapore's Southern Islands

Lazarus and Kusu Islands have recently made headlines due to new developments and the annual pilgrimage to Kusu Island, respectively. However, other Southern Islands have attracted less public attention, and their development plans remain unclear.

Regular visitors to these islands told TODAY that they were drawn to their "relatively untouched" nature, rustic charm, and abundant marine biodiversity. Tourism experts believe that these islands have significant potential as tourist destinations and can attract more local tourists as well.

Nevertheless, experts emphasize the importance of striking a balance between development and preservation to ensure that new activities and infrastructure do not harm biodiversity and the environment.

On a bright and early morning last Sunday (October 15), three friends—17-year-old Aidan Rafael Ke, 21-year-old Lin Jiayuan, and 26-year-old Sim Jin Han—went fishing on Saint John's Island. The trio told TODAY that the "relatively untouched" nature of the Southern Islands and the abundant marine biodiversity make them ideal for "species hunting" in fishing. Species hunting involves catching as many different species of fish as possible rather than focusing on catching the largest or most significant fish.

Aidan, a junior college student at Victoria's, said, "We come to the Southern Islands to fish because we are interested in the local marine biodiversity. Essentially, we are conducting a kind of fish species survey here on the Southern Islands by fishing."

"We have even caught species that our local marine ethologists have never found in Singapore before. So, we hope to contribute to science while having fun here on the islands," he added, noting that they donate some of these rare specimens to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Although they don't have a fixed schedule, the trio visits the islands on average about once a month, taking turns between Lazarus and Kusu Islands, depending on the fish species they are hunting and the types of habitats where they expect the fish to be found.

While Lazarus Island has recently gained a new shine with its eco-friendly tiny houses and various new developments, including a water sports complex, gourmet store, and an upcoming safari glamping experience in December, nearby Kusu Island has come alive again with the start of its annual pilgrimage season on October 15.

However, besides these developments, other Southern Islands have attracted less public attention, and their development plans remain unclear.

In response to TODAY's inquiries, a representative from the Urban Redevelopment Authority stated that the Southern Islands are intended for "recreational and complementary uses" in the long term. The representative added that there are "no immediate development plans" and that necessary ecological studies will be conducted before such plans are formulated.