Snorkeling and diving in Singapore may be almost unheard of. Land reclamation and many other sea activities have made us think little of the marine life that could possibly live around us. And with the country on almost full lockdown from the outside world, it might be a little difficult for us to imagine that we would ever soon get to experience the excitement of watching coral reefs full of life swaying with the currents the way we did overseas.
But what if we told you that Singapore is home to more than just noisy beaches? Head to these quiet spots to experience the marine wonders that Singapore's beaches could hold.
Singaporean Beaches With Coral Reefs & Marine Life
1. Chek Jawa
Located on the eastern portion of Pulau Ubin is a quiet haven for all sorts of beautiful life to thrive. Only a ten minute taxi ride from the jetty, it's got a rocky beach, seagrass lagoon and an area of coral rubble that houses a whole lot of beautiful creatures and life!
Credit: Siti Ayeeshah
From fiddler crabs and starfishes to sea anemones and even octopi, you definitely won't be disappointed.
Credit: Zaki Jalil on Facebook
All you have to do is hop on a bumboat at Changi Ferry Terminal, right next to Changi Village Hawker Centre. A one-way ride costs $4. Once on Ubin, rent a bike or hire a taxi to get to Chek Jawa! For a real upclose and personal view at Pulau Ubin's marine life, you could check out tours by NParks.
2. Pulau Hantu
A well-known diving spot, Pulau Hantu is a favourite with those who love fishing and snorkeling. It's got sheltered beaches, swimming lagoons and incredibly inviting waters for anyone who's chilling on the island.
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Pulau Hantu also has beautiful coral reefs just along its sea walls. From mushroom corals to clown fishes and giant clams, Pulau Hantu's reefs are extensive and definitely a sight to behold. Together with the small patch of mangroves between Pulau Hantu Kecil and Besar, Pulau Hantu's coral reefs are filled with marine life anyone who wants a taste of travel will enjoy.
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If you do decide to snorkel here though, please make sure you're careful of the tides. At low tide, it is possible to walk across the shallow lagoon between the two islands and is thus safer. However, this is not at high tide. So be aware of the tides and make sure you are on the correct side when the tide comes in.
If you're interested in snorkeling or diving on these islands, check out our full guide to Pulau Hantu!
3. Labrador Nature Reserve
Only minutes from the city centre, Labrador Nature Reserve is the last coral reef you can find on mainland. With lush stretches of seagrass, it's a safe haven for sea anemones, fast fishes and even sea horses and octopi!
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This reef is also a favourite among students who study marine life. If you want to visit area, Carpark B has proper access to the Reserve and the shore is about a 10-minute walk from this carpark. However, do note that NParks has closed the Casemate, Rocky Shore and Jetty for safety.
4. St John's Island & Lazarus Island
St. John's natural shores is surrounded by coral reefs which are home to fishes that love to hide among the rocks and seaweed, crabs, prawns, lobsters and even black-tip reef sharks! Fiddler crabs can often be seen at low tide as well. Sign up for a guided tour to learn more about these beautiful creatures and watch them scuttle and swim around you first hand!
Credit: Singapore Adventurous Nature-Lovers on Facebook
The best part is it's pretty east to get to. To get to St John's Island, hop aboard the Singapore Island Cruise & Ferry Services. You could also visit Lazarus' Island while you're there! It's just a 10 minute walk across a causeway.
5. Pulau Semakau
Now well-known as Singapore's landfill, Pulau Semakau is surprisingly home to 13 hectares of mangrove and a thriving amount of wildlife. During the construction of the landfill, efforts were made to ensure the marine ecosystem around Semakau's protection. Now, there is a vast seagrass meadow - one of the largest in Singapore, in fact! There are also coral reefs and coral rubbles where visitors can see rich amounts of marine life.
While the only way to get to the island may be with a permit from the National Environment Agency (NEA), applying for one isn't as difficult as it sounds! Just book a landfill tour, run by NEA, or an intertidal walk organised by nature societies.
The best part is that these aren't all the coral reefs in Singapore! There were once over 60 offshore islands and patch reefs around Singapore, and while we have lost much of them, not all hope is lost. We may be able to enjoy a little taste of overseas on our own island after all ?