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The unseen beauty of Singapore's Southern Islands

PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
1. KUSU ISLAND: Every year, during the ninth month of the Chinese lunar calendar, the spotlight turns onto Kusu Island, which means Tortoise Island in Hokkien. The 8.5ha reclaimed island is famed for its annual pilgrimage season, when thousands of devotees travel there to pay respects at the Tua Pek Kong Temple with green pagoda roofs - the island's most famous landmark - and the three Malay shrines on top of a small hill with 152 steps. This year, the pilgrimage season is from Sept 29 to Oct 27.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
2. ST JOHN'S ISLAND: Once home to cholera-infected immigrants and then opium addicts, it is now a day-trip paradise for those looking for a rustic island getaway. It is connected to Lazarus Island by a man-made causeway (middle). A public gallery at the Marine Park Outreach and Education Centre gives an overview of the Sisters' Islands Marine Park. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
3. SISTERS' ISLANDS MARINE PARK: Made up of two islands, Sisters' Islands used to be called Pulau Subar Darat (Little Sister's Island) and Pulau Subar Laut (Big Sister's Island). The surrounding waters, spanning around 40ha, have been designated a marine park since July 2014. The park is home to Singapore's largest artificial reef. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
4. SENTOSA'S PALAWAN BEACH: Visitors to Sentosa may not know that the island allows them to reach the southernmost point of continental Asia, which is the little islet that is located just off Palawan Beach and connected via a swinging suspension bridge. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
5. PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
6. PULAU BIOLA: A small islet with a land area of 0.4ha, Pulau Biola is largely untouched by developments and its rich marine life is said to make it a good dive spot, albeit with strong currents.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
7. PULAU SEMAKAU: An offshore landfill where solid waste and incineration ash are dumped, it was created by enclosing 350ha of sea space between two islands. It is lined with an impermeable barrier to ensure no toxins leak into the waters. Mangroves thrive on the island - these work as biological indicators to give early warning of any leakage.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
8. PULAU SATUMU: The most eye-catching landmark on the island is the Raffles Lighthouse. The lighthouse, built by civil and mechanical engineer John Bennett, began operating in 1855. It is still in operation today, but is now powered by solar energy. It has 88 spiralling steps leading up to the glass-panelled dome about six storeys high.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
PULAU JONG: It is touted as one of the last untouched islands of Singapore. Much of this island is submerged underwater at high tide and only the cliffs covered in lush greenery can be seen. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of S
9. PULAU TEKUKOR: A small, thin island located just south of Sentosa, Pulau Tekukor's name is believed to be derived from "tekukur", the Malay word for spotted dove. The island used to be an ammunition dump, which was closed in the 1980s.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The cluster of islands to the south of the main island is where most of Singapore's offshore islands are located.

They are used for different purposes like recreation, landfill, research, petroleum refining and military training.

Some are relatively untouched by developments and surrounded by rich biodiversity.

Straits Times photojournalist Lim Yaohui explores their unseen beauty from an aerial perspective using a drone.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2019, with the headline 'The unseen beauty of Singapore's Southern Islands'. Print Edition | Subscribe