a ferry from marina pier leads you to this secluded island for $15. but beware, on weekdays only two ferries visit the island per day. you are dropped onto this empty isle at 10am, and expected to occupy yourself til 2.45pm, unless you wish to camp overnight there. when i was there i only saw one other angmoh couple frolicking near the beach, two cats and three chickens. i walked the entire island in about 1 hour. theres an army camp there, (not that i saw any army recruits), a detention centre, a small mangrove swamp, three lagoons but only one is accessible and open for swimming, as well as a marine institute and aquaculture centre. the sun is blazing hot; the waters surprisingly clear and startlingly turquoise for those of us accustomed to the muddy opaque waters of east coast beach.
there are also basketball courts, a football field, benches aplenty and several barbecue pits. but if ure thinking of throwing a BBQ party there, make sure you bring ALL your raw food, drinks and utensils with you, because there is no way you are going to find a shop there providing what you need. not at the present moment anyway, sentosa will probably develop this island for tourism sometime in the future. the draw of the island now (albeit a tiny bait of a draw), is its exclusiveness and its ulu-ness, which starkly contrasts overcrowded singapore. most of the people i met on the boat were tourists and not locals.
at 2.45pm, i was QUITE ready to go home, after baking in the hot hot sun for 5 hours and blown to sleepiness by the breeze; but the boat took us to kusu island instead, and stopped there for 1.15hours! before departing at 4pm. so by the time i reached marina pier it was 430pm, and had to rush like crazy back to clementi then to bishan for cell group. so make sure u allocate enough time if u want to head there for a day trip! the good news is there are more boat trips available on saturday and sundays, so the boat frequency is higher, waiting intervals are shorter and rational risk of being abandoned on said island without food and shelter is greatly reduced.
by the time i realised the boat was staying put at kusu island for over an hour, (there is no form of intercom announcement on the boats; they just stop and expect you to know its st johns n its time for u to go; or that its going to stay at kusu island for an hour without any forewarning) i was grumpy and sunburnt. but i decided to step off the boat and see what kusu was like anyway. its about one third the size of st johns, read: Really Tiny. and Kusu means Turtle. They basically have 1 rather famous chinese temple, 1 turtle shelter (the pool above with turtles scrambling in the heat), 1 lagoon (at low tide and dried up at the time i was there), several hut-pavilions for u to sit under, 1 hawker centre that looked so promising on the map (but which i soon discovered was empty and devoid of humans or trace of food, possibly for a good few decades). Entire island is walkable in 15 minutes.
Thus concludes my account of exploring the ulu parts of singapore!