Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Singapore’s other 62 islands: St John’s

Continuing my exploration of Singapore’s 62 lesser-known islands, I caught a ferry at the Marina South Pier for a 15-minute ride to St John’s Island. After sailing through the busy port and getting my closest look yet at the huge container ships that dock outside of Singapore, underdeveloped St John’s Island felt a world away from the city.

Since 1975 St John’s Island has been promoted as a rustic holiday destination, but its history hasn’t always been about sun-tanning and beachside picnics. In the early 1900s the island was the world’s largest quarantine centre and housed thousands of immigrants suffering from cholera, leprosy, and other nasty diseases. The island continued to be used as a place to isolate Singapore’s unwanted and was later used as a prison for political detainees and drug addicts.

Obviously some people met an untimely demise here and many locals consider the island to be haunted — the Asia Paranormal Investigators even organiseovernight camping trips to look for ghosts. The plus side of the island’s spooky reputation is it’s one of the few places in Singapore where you can truly get some peace and quiet. On a weekend afternoon I spotted a few people fishing off the pier and taking a dip in the swimming lagoon, but the outer parts of the island were people-free.

 Who cares if it’s haunted? Look at all that empty beach!
 Get away from the city… well not so far that you can’t see it.
Picnic tables provided – bring everything else.

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