About St John’s and Lazarus Islands
The stunning beaches of St John’s and Lazarus Islands are around a 35-45 minute ferry ride from the main island of Singapore. Formerly a Singaporean quarantine station, a causeway now joins the two islands. They are home to beautiful beaches, old buildings, mangrove forests, and easy, well-maintained trails for biking or walking around.
Part of the Southern Islands (along with Kusu Island and Sisters Island), this pair of islands is well-known to locals and expat residents who use them as a good way to escape Singapore for the day. They aren’t as well-visited by tourists but they should be!.
Whether you’re visiting Singapore on a stopover, here for a holiday, a new resident or you’ve lived here you’re whole life, this post will tell you everything you need to know about visiting the islands of St John’s and Lazarus.
Fun Facts: St John’s is also known as Pulau Sekijang Besar and Pulau Sekijang Bendera, while Lazarus is also known as Pulau Sekijang Kechil and Pulau Sakijang Pelepah.
What to do on St John’s and Lazarus Islands
Bike the islands
You can bike on St John’s and Lazarus pretty easily. It won’t take you long to get around the whole island this way! There’s only a seasonal pop-up bike rental place (called Gogreen Southern Island Bicycle Rental). Check before you go if it’s open and, if not, bring a bike with you on the ferry.
Go for a walk around the islands
St John’s and Lazarus bth have really well-maintained flat paths and trails all over both islands. This makes them super easy to explore on foot. To get around St John’s alone is just 2.8km. It should take you an hour to an hour and a half assuming you don’t stop for a swim or a snooze on the beach. There are maps clearly making the trails around the islands as well as regular sign posts. Both islands are super small so it’s hard to get lost!
St John’s and Lazarus have a long and varied history. They were once inhabited by Orang Lauts (sea people) and, in the 1800’s, were used as a quarantine station. Other uses for the islands have included an opium treatment centre, and a holiday resort. You can learn more about their histories and about the wildlife on the islands from useful signs that are posted around the trails.
Look for wildlife
All the islands in Singapore have an abundance of wildlife and St John’s and Lazarus islands are no exception. Birders can find birds such as herons, kites and nightjars. For those more interested in wildlife under the sea than in the air, there are lots of fish, turtles, corals, crustaceans, molluscs, and clams just off the coastline. On land keep your eyes open for amphibians, reptiles, and monkeys.
Practice your photography
The lovely beaches, diverse wildlife, mangrove and heritage trees, old buildings, and views of neighbouring islands make St John’s and Lazarus a lovely place to take photos. It’s a nice way to give your walk some structure and you can have fun looking for all the wildlife.
Relax at the beach
St John’s and Lazarus have some of the best beaches out of all the Singaporean islands. With powder white sand, clear blue waters, and views that lack quite so many of the container ships that wait outside Singapore, it’s easy to think you’re on a more remote island! The water is warm enough for a fun swim but cool enough to provide some relief on a hot day. Head to the horseshoe-shaped bay on Lazarus for sheltered swimming and the prettiest views.
Where to eat on St John’s and Lazarus Islands
There are no food or drink outlets on St John’s or Lazarus.
Come prepared with a picnic and plenty of water – bring extra if it’s an especially hot day.
Where to stay on St John’s and Lazarus Islands
There is no accommodation on Lazarus Island. There is some basic accommodation on St John’s (in St John’s Island Lodge) that is very affordable. You would need to bring all your own dining and drinking options. Unfortunately, St John’s Island Lodge is currently closed.
Most tourists to Singapore stay around Orchard Road, downtown, or on Sentosa. There’s a wide variety of styles available to suit all budgets, ranging from 1- and 2-star hotels, self-catering apartment and 5-star resorts.
Getting around St John’s and Lazarus Islands
There are no motorised vehicles on either St John’s or Lazarus. Most people get around the island on foot but a few bring bikes or scooters. Gogreen Southern Island Bicycle Rental is a pop-up that is open seasonally.
How to get to St John’s and Lazarus Islands
The only way to access St John’s and Lazarus is by boat. Some boat rental companies offer day and sunset sailing options which include a stop near or at the islands. This is great for a special occasion but they can be pricey so it’s not an every weekend kind of thing.
The easier (and cheaper) option is to take a ferry operated by one of two ferry companies from Marina South Pier. Island Cruise has four crossings on weekdays and seven on weekends. Marina South Ferries operate five crossings a day to St John’s and three to Lazarus.
Note that many of the return legs also include a stop at Kusu Island (there are no direct ferries to or from Kusu). This is great if you want to go to Kusu as well but a bit time consuming if you don’t.
Tickets cost $1% SGD for adults and $12 SGD for kids. You can book online in advance or in person on the day at Marina South Pier
How to plan your trip to St John’s and Lazarus Islands
St Johns and Lazarus aren’t the sorts of places to go for a super energetic outing but if you’re in the mood for a short, leisurely stroll, a picnic on the beach and a splash in the sea (that aren’t Sentosa or East Coast Park), then this is the place for you!
NParks has a free 90-minute guided tour is held on the first Sunday of every month but tickets are incredibly hard to come by. They are released on the NParks website on the first Sunday of every month at 10am. The site also has a downloadable e-guide for self guided tours.
As there are no food or beverage outlets, go prepared with snacks and plenty of water. There are some nice shady areas but some of the paths and the beaches are quite exposed. Take lots of suncream, water and hats as your trip will, most likely, involve being there during the middle of the day.
The islands can get busy on weekends (particularly on public holidays) but not so busy you feel overwhelmed. get busy on weekday evenings, at weekends and on public holidays.
Other places to visit in Singapore
As part of my Comprehensive Guide series, I have written about several other cool places in Singapore to visit – be sure to check them out!
- A comprehensive guide to Coney Island, Singapore
- A comprehensive guide to Pulau Ubin, Singapore
- A comprehensive guide to Chinatown, Singapore
- A comprehensive guide to Sembawang Hot Springs, Singapore
I’d love to know if you have been to St John’s and Lazarus Islands, Wanderlusters! Feel free to leave me a comment below (I love reading them!) or drop me an email at [email protected]