Singapore · travel

Staycation: St. John’s Island

Between St. John's and Lazarus islands
Between St. John’s and Lazarus islands

After reading in the ST about the one bungalow on St. John’s Island and wanting to relive one of their trips years ( or decades?) ago, my FIL made the arrangements for a short getaway. They were staying for 3 nights but we joined for only one.

Despite its unsavory past of cholera, beri-beri and leprosy quarantine, drug-rehab and prison, it is usually bustling with activity during the day with campers and 2 research institutes located on the island. I thought the 2 prison blocks still standing there was a little creepy though.

The bungalow is a quaint and very basic. There are 4 bedrooms which can accommodate up to 10 pax, one double room, one room with 2 bunk beds, and the other 2 rooms are twin rooms. The kitchen is in a kind of outhouse and they provide a fridge, kettle, rice cooker, stove, and most cooking utensils. Everything else you need to bring. The best part is that the rooms are air conditioned! There is no hot water, but we made do for the kids. Btw, a baby bath is (kind of!) provided.


The boys liked walking along and playing at the beach, and chasing the chickens and chicks around. We haven’t been to any kind of farm since Mittens was really young, so live chickens are a treat.

You can find the ferry schedule here, and weekdays they only run 2 ferries a day, although there are other chartered ferries for the researchers and staff. Our ferry back stopped at Kusu Island for an hour – it’s well kept, and probably idyllic for a picnic, but I was hoping for some interesting turtles but they looked mostly like terrapins that people had let loose.

Overall, quite an experience, but I was so SO glad to come back to my own bed.


25 thoughts on “Staycation: St. John’s Island

    1. Oh it’s not easy, they release the bookings on specific dates at the Sentosa office at Vivo, so I think you need to go on that date to see what’s available. I think my FIL booked something like 2-3 months ahead. Call Sentosa to find out?


    1. Haha, lucky there were no encounters, but I really didn’t sleep well because some of the mattresses are covered with plastic which makes them more hygenic but very noisy… and in the early morning there was really heavy rain which made it even more scary hee. Also I didn’t find out that the structures near the bungalow were solitary confinement cells until the next day, otherwise I might have been even more unable to sleep through 😁 After the trip, many of my friends who said they went there during school days to go camping had lots of stories to tell though!! 😱


  1. Hi,

    Thanks for sharing so many photos. I have been searching the web for images of the chalets but mostly are external photo of the chalets. Can I know if there is a TV in the living room? and are there any cooking utensils in the kitchen such as pots and pans?

    I am planning a short vacation there with my family too.



    1. Hi! Yes there is a small TV, I think it is pretty old and reception wasnt great, we couldn’t quite watch much TV. There are also basic pots and pans. I think an old school rice cooker. My FIL says there are all basic cooking utensils, a gas stove and a fridge. Enough for 10 persons to use.


  2. Thanks for the info. Do the cooking utensils look clean? 🙂 Is there a BBQ pit outside the chalet? 🙂 Sorry more questions for you.



    1. The utensils look pretty used and the whole chalet is very “retro” haha, but everything feels clean. If I’m not wrong there is a simple BBQ pit but I don’t remember them providing any charcoal. There are lots of mosquitoes though, do be careful of that!

      No worries about the questions, I’m happy to help 🙂


      1. Hi Mummy Ed, I have been searching the net and I realised there is only ONE holiday bungalow there… am I right? besides the camps, there is no other chalets around?


      2. We have decided not to go after much planning. Cos it is quite a hassle to hand-carry 3-day’s worth of food for the whole family to the island!!! 🙂


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