Singapore undoubtedly features countless attractions within the mainland—beautiful parks, unique galleries, and one-of-a-kind structures. But there are also other hidden gems located off the coast with gorgeous beaches.
The best way to get to these islands is to ride a ferry from Marina South Pier, which is also an attraction in and of itself.
Curious to know more about this landmark? Here’s everything you need to know about Marina South Pier—how to get there, the best things to do, and where to go from there.
The Basics of Marina South Pier
- Location: 31 Marina Coastal Drive, Singapore
Located in Marina South, Marina South Pier is a terminal for small ferries, passenger ships, and cruise ships that will take tourists and day-trippers to the Southern Islands.
In fact, this pier is one of the public landing places in Singapore’s port, the other two being West Coast Pier and Changi Point Ferry Terminal.
The building comes with three stories, with immigration facilities, dining options, ticketing booths, a viewing deck, and even a museum and playground for children. Its most notable highlights are its green facade and wavy roof.
The pier is reportedly capable of handling up to 3,000 passengers every day.
How do I get to Marina South Pier?
Taking the North-South Line train is the easiest way to get to Marina South Pier—simply because there is a station here, aptly named Marina South Pier Station (NS28).
Once you’ve reached this station, take Exit B to the Ferry Terminal.
If you want to ride a bus instead, take bus 400 and disembark at either bus stop 03419 or 03411 since they’re the ones closest to the pier.
Where can I park my car in Marina South Pier?
If you have a car, you can choose to drive to Marina South Pier instead and park your vehicle in the provided parking space. However, do take note that the pier car park has a limited number of spots, and you’ll also need to pay a fee.
Here are the daily parking rates of the Marina South Pier Car Park.
|Type of Vehicle||Time Duration||Fee|
|Car||7 am to 10:30 pm||• 2.40 SGD per hour or part thereof for the first two hours
• 3.60 SGD per hour or part thereof for subsequent hour/s
|10:30 pm to 7 am the next day||• 3.60 SGD per entry|
|Motorcycle||7 am to 7 am the next day||• 1.20 SGD per entry|
|For Unclamping — Grace Period: 10 minutes|
|Car||214 SGD for each unclamping|
|Motorcycle||107 SGD for each unclamping|
What facilities can you find at Marina South Pier?
As mentioned earlier, there are several establishments available at Marina South Pier. Here’s the pier’s directory so that you’ll see what facilities you can find here.
|Floor Level||Room Number||Facility Name|
|Level 1||#01-01||MPA Management Office|
|#01-02||York Launch Service, Pte Ltd|
|#01-03||Marina South Ferries, Pte Ltd|
|#01-04||Singapore Island Cruise and Ferry Services, Pte Ltd|
|#01-06||Liang Heng Clocks and Watches|
|#01-08||Hong Yun Catering Services, Pte Ltd|
|#01-14||Access Harbor Services, Pte Ltd|
|SeaCabble, Pte Ltd|
|Seaswift Launch Service, Pte Ltd|
|#01-15||CKL Motor Boat, Pte Ltd|
|#01-16||Eng Motor Launch Service|
|Level 2||Singapore Maritime Gallery|
|Fort Canning Room|
What are the best things to do in Marina South Pier?
Marina South Pier is an attraction as much as it is a ferry terminal. In other words, you can find many amazing activities here.
Some of the best things to do at Marina South Pier are the following:
- Check out the Singapore Maritime Gallery.
- Enjoy the view on the rooftop.
- Let your children play on the playground.
- Stroll along the coastline.
- Book a ferry ride or a cruise.
Check out the Singapore Maritime Gallery
If you’re looking for fun and free family activities, then you definitely don’t want to miss out on visiting the Singapore Maritime Gallery.
This gallery depicts the story of how Singapore transformed from being a trading post into a global hub that’s leading the international maritime scene.
Here, you can find immersive and hands-on exhibits, ship bridge simulators, interactive ship spotters, and many more fascinating features.
You’re free to check out the gallery on your own, but if you want a guided tour, you can request one at least two weeks prior to your preferred date. This tour can accommodate at least 20 people, so feel free to tag along your loved ones as well.
As of writing, the gallery is closed for renovations, but they will soon open, so be sure to be on the lookout for the newly improved Singapore Maritime Gallery.
- Location: Marina South Pier Level 2
- Opening Hours: 9 am to 6 pm (Tuesdays to Sundays); closed on Mondays, except public holidays
- Entrance Fee: Free admission
Enjoy the view on the rooftop
Are you simply in the mood to relax for a short while? Then feel free to head to the viewing deck on the rooftop.
The rooftop boasts a fantastic vantage point of the Singaporean coast, so you can catch a glimpse of the sea and the countless ships traversing it. If you have perfect vision, you can even spot faraway islands on the Singapore Straight.
Also located on the rooftop level is a playground with a mini-ship slide. So if you’re with children, you can let them play around on the playground to pass the time.
Long story short, the rooftop deck is perfect for people looking for an easy way to relax. So find a bench to sit on, and let the sea breeze caress your face while you drink in the view in front of you.
- Operating Hours: 8 am to 9 pm (daily)
Stroll along the coastline
If you enjoy going on a casual stroll while getting lost in your thoughts, you’ll love the sheltered walkway outside. Along this walkway, you can find young trees in bloom, which makes for a lovely scene while strolling.
Once you’ve reached the end of the walkway, there will be a stretch of cobbled stones facing the sea. Considering this area is far from the busy center of the pier, it almost feels like a peaceful sanctuary.
So if you want a change of perspective, come to this area by the coastline, and you can either walk along the stretch of cobblestones or sit down and bask in the serenity.
Book a ferry ride or a cruise
Last but not least, the ultimate thing to do when visiting Marina South Pier is to book a ferry ride or a cruise. After all, the pier is a ferry terminal first and foremost, so why not take up this chance to go on a short but worthwhile adventure?
There are different kinds of ferry rides that you can enjoy here at Marina South Pier. The following are some of the ones from Marina South Ferries that are worth considering.
Island Hopping Pass
With an Island Hopping Pass, you’ll get onboard an open deck ferry, which will then take you to the sandy shores of Lazarus Island, Saint John’s Island, and Kusu Island. And yes, one ferry ticket is already an all-around trip and gives you access to all the islands.
To make things better, you can even bring your pets and folding bicycles at no extra cost. So your furry friend can enjoy this sunny getaway with you, and you can try biking around these destinations.
The ticket prices for the Island Hopping Pass are as follows:
- Adult: 15 SGD
- Children (age 12 years old and below): 12 SGD
- Family Package (two adults and two children): 50 SGD
Marina South Pier to Lazarus
If you just want to head straight to Lazarus Island, you can also do so with the Marina South Pier to Lazarus pass. Just like the previous ferry trip, the ticket for this is also already valid for two ways on the same day.
You’re also allowed to bring pets, prams, and bicycles at no extra charge. If you’re traveling with a baby who’s two years old or below, you won’t need to purchase a separate ticket for them.
Here are the ticket prices for this ferry ride:
- Adult: 15 SGD
- Children (age 12 years old and below): 12 SGD
Water Taxi Service
Do you want to go on an island hopping trip but prefer to make your own itinerary instead of following the passes offered? Then you might want to consider booking a water taxi service.
When you book this service, you’ll have the water taxi all to yourself, and you can choose your preferred island stops—choices are Saint John’s Island, Kusu Island, Lazarus Island, and Big Sister’s Island—and invite anyone you want.
You don’t even have to meet a minimum number of passengers. There’s only a maximum, which is 12 (including infants).
Because of this, you can book a water taxi for anything—be it a romantic getaway with your partner or a fun vacation with the whole family.
If you’re planning a grand trip with more than 12 people, you can book multiple vessels.
Once you’re ready to book, be sure to fill up the booking form from Marina South Ferries at least 48 hours in advance. You’ll also need to pay a 20% deposit.
Here are the costs of booking a water taxi service:
- One-Way Trip: 100 SGD
- Round Trip (one island): 200 SGD
- Round Trip (two islands): 300 SGD
The water taxi service runs for 24 hours every day. That said, do take note that Kusu Island and Big Sister’s Island are only open from 7 am to 7 pm.
Ferry Charter Service
Are you planning a grand celebration on the open seas? Then be sure to book the ferry charter service.
To make your ferry tour even more fun, feel free to add additional services, such as food catering, drinks (including alcohol), delivery to your island of choice, and nature walks with a guide.
If you’re booking this service for your company or school, team-bonding activities are available.
Since the ferry charter service is completely customizable, there’s no fixed rate. If you want to book it, you’ll have to reach out to them to settle a price.
Singapore Islands Sunset Dinner Cruise
Do you want to end your day on a high note? Or maybe you’re looking for unique date ideas that you and your partner can participate in?
Whatever your answers to these questions are, you might want to consider booking the Singapore Islands Sunset Dinner Cruise.
When you book this cruise, you’ll get to enjoy a relaxing trip aboard an open-decked ferry, passing by the Marina Bay region, Sentosa, and the Southern Islands while enjoying the breathtaking view of the sunset and the cityscape.
Additionally, there’s a chef onboard, so you’ll be served a casual, light, and halal dinner with entrées such as caesar salad, chicken satay, and a refreshing drink. You’re also allowed to bring your own meals if you prefer.
This cruise lasts for about two and a half hours, making it the perfect way to unwind after a long, tiring day.
Here are the rates for the Singapore Islands Sunset Dinner Cruise:
- Standard (for people ages two and above): 68 SGD
- Couple: 132 SGD
- Children (aged one and under): free of charge
Guided Sunset Tours
The Singapore Islands Sunset Dinner Cruise definitely offers a great service. But some people might think it’s missing commentary from a tour guide.
If you’re one of these people, then you’ll be glad to know there’s another ferry tour option available, which is the Guided Sunset Tour.
The Guided Sunset Tour is very much like the previous one: you’ll be able to enjoy stunning views of the sunset, Southern Islands, and cityscape while eating a satisfying bento dinner.
And don’t worry. The food is halal.
The only difference is that with this particular tour, you’ll have expert maritime guides sharing amazing tales about the southern straits. You’ll also be able to participate in fun trivia games.
For more fun, be sure to invite your friends or family as well. Group purchase is available.
- Important note: as of writing, this tour is currently unavailable, and Marina South Ferries is yet to announce when it will be back.
Where can I go from Marina South Pier?
The Southern Islands of Singapore are the primary destinations you can travel to from Marina South Pier. These islands are as follows:
- Lazarus Island
- Saint John’s Island
- Kusu Island
- Sisters’ Islands
Lazarus Island is also known as Pulau Sakijang Pelepah, which in Malay means the “Island of One-Barking Deer and Palms.” As you can probably guess from its Malay name, this island is blessed with lush and thriving flora and fauna.
Lazarus Island has quite a history. During the late 19th century, it served as a prison, with many confinement sheds throughout the area, but eventually, these sheds were abandoned when a prisoner escaped.
Then in the early 20th century, two major fires broke out, destroying all the sheds and vegetation. Recently, the Singaporean government made plans to transform Lazarus Island into a commercial beach resort, but none of these plans ever came to fruition.
The Best Things to Do on Lazarus Island
Despite not being a popular beach resort flocked by crowds, Lazarus Island remains to be an idyllic beach destination. One reason for this is that it’s uninhabited, so people craving a break from their busy lives can find peace and quiet here.
Another reason why tourists love visiting this island is its environment. There’s a C-shaped lagoon with clear turquoise waters, clean shores with white sand, and an expanse of green lawn.
If you’re planning to ride a ferry from Marina South Pier to this island, then here are some things you should definitely do here:
- Suntanning. Bring out your beach blanket, put on your sunglasses, and lie down to get that tan you’ve always wanted.
Oh, and don’t forget to apply a high-quality sunscreen too. The last thing you want is to get sunburnt.
- Swimming. What’s the point of going to a beach if you don’t enjoy its cool blue waters? For more fun, be sure to bring your snorkel and other beach gear.
- Going on a picnic. Beyond the beach, you can find an expanse of green lawn, perfect for lounging. So you and your loved ones should pack your favorite picnic essentials for this trip.
- Riding your bicycles or scooters. You’re allowed to bring bicycles and scooters to Lazarus Island, so if you have one, tag it along with you. You’ll love riding your bicycle or scooter around the island.
Saint John’s Island
Saint John’s Island is connected to Lazarus Island via a causeway, so if you’re looking for more fun, you’ll only need to travel for a short while.
Also known as Pulau Sekijang Bendera in Malay and Qi Zhang Shan in Chinese, Saint John’s Island is the largest among the Southern Islands in Singapore.
Just like its neighbor, Saint John’s Island has an interesting past. It used to be the place where people with infectious diseases were quarantined, and it also served as a drug rehabilitation center at one point.
Now the island is used for both entertainment and research.
In fact, only 35% of the island is open to the public. The remaining section is reserved for scientists doing research.
The Best Things to Do on Saint John’s Island
Even though only a portion of the island is accessible to the public, you don’t have to worry about the lack of space. Saint John’s Island still boasts enough attractions and things to do, so you won’t get bored easily.
Here are some of the best things to do on Saint John’s Island:
- Stopping by Saint John’s Island National Marine Laboratory. As mentioned earlier, this island is partly used for research, and there’s a public gallery that lets you glimpse at said research (marina biodiversity and conservation efforts).
- Swimming. Saint John’s Island only has one beach, but it’s still one you definitely don’t want to miss out on. The beach’s lagoon is protected with sea barrier rocks, so you can let your little ones swim without any problem.
- Strolling along the lagoon. Speaking of the beach, the lagoon here is an intertidal zone, which means that there’s very little water during low tide. This allows you to explore the lagoon and check out the sea animals and plants.
- Going on a picnic. The island is littered with benches and open-air picnic tables, so why not enjoy a relaxing picnic break with your loved ones here?
- Going on a guided walking tour. Are you someone who enjoys learning more about a place? Then you’ll want to join NPark’s 90-minute guided walking tour around Saint John’s Island—and yes, it’s free.
- Camping. If you want to immerse yourself in nature, then you might want to try camping on Saint John’s Island. Just bear in mind you’ll need to apply for a permit from Singapore Land Authority (SLA) before you can camp here.
- Staying here overnight. Overnight stays are allowed on Saint John’s Island, and the best way to do it is to book the island’s only lodge. Enjoy gazing at the stars while cooking barbeques on the grill here.
Kusu Island literally translates to “Tortoise Island” in Chinese, and the name’s etymology can be traced back to the mythical stories passed down by the Malays and Chinese in Singapore.
According to these stories, two sailors—a Chinese and a Malay—got shipwrecked near the Singapore waters, and to save them, a giant tortoise turned itself into an island.
Both sailors were so grateful to the tortoise that they made it a habit to return to the island to give thanks. Eventually, sacred kramats (sacred shrines of Malay saints) and a Chinese temple were erected on the island to honor this mythology.
These kramats commemorate a religious man (Syed Abdul Rahman), his mother (Nenek Ghalib), and his sister (Puteri Fatimah). Meanwhile, the Chinese temple honors two main deities: Da Bo Gong and Guan Yin (Goddess of Mercy).
Ever since the construction of these shrines, Kusu Island has become a place of pilgrimage for the pious. Specifically, these people continue the tradition of giving thanks during the “Kusu” season, which is on the ninth month of the lunar calendar.
The Best Things to Do on Kusu Island
Even if you’re not a pilgrim on Kusu Island, you can still enjoy many things to do here. Some of the ones you should definitely try are the following:
- Visiting the temples. As mentioned earlier, there are several temples on the island, so it only makes sense if you check them out. You can send some prayers if you want; if you’re not religious, paying your respects is enough.
- Making a wish. On your walk to the Chinese temple, you’ll come across the Wishing Well, a lotus-shaped structure. Whether you believe in wishing wells or not, it doesn’t hurt to make a wish all the same and throw a penny into the well.
- Visiting the Tortoise Sanctuary. Considering the island’s mythology, it’s not a surprise that there’s a sanctuary here filled with tortoises. So feel free to check out this place and watch all the tortoises roaming around.
- Swimming. Kusu Island features two lagoons. One of them is near the Tortoise Sanctuary, so don’t pass up the opportunity to do some swimming and snorkeling.
- Going on a picnic. Just like Saint John’s Island, Kusu Island also has many wooden tables with benches throughout the area. So you can easily plop down your basket of snacks and have a relaxing picnic with your companions.
As you can probably guess from its name, Sisters’ Islands are made up of two islands, namely Big Sister’s Island (around 39,000 square meters) and Little Sister’s Island (17,000 square meters). These two are separated by a narrow channel.
Similar to Kusu Island, there are legends surrounding Sisters’ Islands. The most popular iteration is that there was once a poor widow with two beautiful daughters, Minah and Linah.
Minah and Linah were incredibly close to each other, and when their mother died, they moved to live with their uncle.
However, one fateful day, when Linah was fetching water from a well that was near the sea, she came across pirates who chased her. When they arrived at her uncle’s home, the pirate chief declared that he wanted to marry Linah.
On the night the pirates took away Linah, a storm broke out, and thinking that her sister was in danger, Minah swam after the boat. Unfortunately, she drowned, and when Linah saw this, she freed herself and jumped into the sea to join her sister.
Once the storm subsided, neither of the sisters could be found. Instead, the villagers saw two islands at the spot where they drowned, and they were eventually named Sisters’ Islands.
The Best Things to Do on Sisters’ Islands
Sisters’ Islands have become a marine park that’s managed by the National Parks Board of Singapore. This is because both islands are rich in biodiversity.
You can find many habitats here, such as coral reefs and seagrass areas.
The Marine Park aims to be a platform for outreach, education, conservation, and research of Singapore’s native marine biodiversity. Between the two, Little Sister’s Island is used exclusively for research, so it’s not accessible to the public.
That said, you can still make Big Sister’s Island your destination for your next vacation. In fact, this is the perfect place to go to if you don’t like crowds because this island doesn’t receive as many visitors as the other Southern Islands.
If you are planning to come to Big Sister’s Island, here are some things you can do:
- Swimming. There are two lagoons here that are perfect for swimming, so be sure to bring your beach gear along with you.
Just take note to stay within the lagoon. The current outside the lagoon is pretty strong and dangerous.
- Checking out the lagoon. The lagoons here are also intertidal zones, so they’re safe to explore during low tides. If you do catch the lagoons during low tides, don’t miss out on checking out the marine animals here.
- Diving. If you’re an experienced diver, you’ll be glad to know there are two established dive trails on Big Sister’s Island.
That said, you’re not allowed to dive on your own. You need to work accordingly with approved dive operators.
- Having a picnic. Enjoy the cool sea breeze and gorgeous nature views by lounging on a sheltered bench and eating snacks from your picnic basket.
- Taking a stroll. Do you enjoy taking long walks while contemplating life? Then you’ll love taking a stroll on the peaceful Big Sister’s Island.
Important note about Big Sister’s Island: it’s currently closed for maintenance works and will be open to the public once again in 2024.