Singapore’s last few unspoilt beaches

Former national sailor Thomas Leow wanted the photo shoot for his son’s upcoming wedding to be memorable.

So two Sundays ago, the 60-year-old managing director took his son Norvin, a 28-year-old civil servant, and his future daughter-in-law to the Southern Islands on his yacht.

The party docked at Lazarus Island, an uninhabited island linked to St John’s Island by a narrow causeway, for a photo shoot.

“Not many Singaporeans know about this place because it is so far out, but Lazarus Island has a very lovely beach,” said Mr Leow.

“There’s really no need to go out of the country to take beautiful photos when you have clear waters so close to Singapore,” he added.

Touted as one of Singapore’s last unspoilt beaches, Lazarus Island has grown in popularity with young Singaporeans eager for a quiet hideaway far from the madding crowd.

The Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), which manages the Southern Islands, estimates that visits to St John’s Island and Lazarus Island have grown from 26,000 in 2010 to nearly 40,000 last year.

The 47ha island, about the size of 70 football fields, was originally known as Pulau Sakijang Pelepah, or Island of One Barking Deer and Palms.

Today, it is listed for sports and recreational use in the Urban Redevelopment Authority Master Plan 2008. It is also listed as “park/open space” in the Parks and Waterbodies Plan.

As if to accentuate its isolation from city life, there is no direct way to get there.

The easiest way is to hop onto a ferry at Marina South Pier and drop off at St John’s Island. From there, one has to walk about 10 minutes and cross a causeway to get to Lazarus Island.

The only other way is to rent a yacht. Yacht rentals start from $590 for four hours on weekdays.

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