Visit Kusu Island to hear of its mythical origins, or spend the day admiring the gorgeous reefs and diverse range of marine wildlife. Kusu Island is an island shrouded in mythical legends and is also constantly visited by Muslim and Taoist worshippers alike, who pray for children and good husbands, and healthy babies and obedient children respectively.
Although there are many mythical legends surrounding Kusu Island, the gist of the story revolves around a mysterious giant tortoise who saved a Malay and Chinese man during a shipwreck by turning itself into an island. Despite the many variations to the myth, many have claimed that Kusu Island did in fact bear the shape of a turtle before land reclamation.
Perhaps what is most interesting is the fact that the island consists of two religious sites which are continually visited by Muslim and Taoist worshippers alike. The Chinese temple is dedicated to the 'Merchant God' or 'God of Prosperity', Tua Peh Kong (Da Bo Gong), and Guan Yin, the 'Goddess of Mercy', who is also known to be the giver of sons. Almost close to 80% of the devotees are women who come praying for good husbands, healthy babies and obedient children. On top of the hill lies three Malay shrines, or kramats in Malay, at the top of 152 steps. One is dedicated to Syed Abdul Rahman and the other two presumably belong to his mother Nenek Ghalib and his sister Puteri Fatimah Shariffah. The shrines are also popular with childless couples who come here to pray for children.
Kusu Island is also a site where beautiful reefs and marine wildlife can be seen, as well as a variety of tortoises. Kusu, which is Hokkien for tortoise, is swamped with tortoises both big and small. Keep a look out for two particularly big tortoises in an enclosure within the island. Check out beautiful reefs and look out for various hard and soft corals, the clown anemone-fishes (or better known as 'Nemo'), anemone shrimps and a vast array of other fishes and crabs. Sign up for a Blue Water Volunteers guided reef-walk to see the creatures up close at low tide.
Hop on the ferry from Marina South Pier and pay a total charge of S$9 for adults and S$6 for children and spend the day looking at an astonishing array of marine life.