Unlike Singapore’s other southern islands, Pulau Semakau had some help in its formation. In the 1990s, the few inhabitants of the island -- mostly fisherman and their families -- were relocated to the main island of Singapore while the government established the country’s first and only offshore landfill.
Thanks to the efforts of the agencies managing the landfill, the original portion of Pulau Semakau and its offshore reefs were left largely untouched, and outdoors enthusiasts will find some of the richest biodiversity anywhere in Singapore, with many native species of plants and animals no longer found on the main island.
Pulau Semakau opened to the public in 2005, and is currently a popular day trip destination for bird-watching, hiking, biking and simply enjoying the fresh air. Keep your eyes peeled for one of Singapore’s most elusive (and tallest) birds, the great-billed heron, often spotted on Semakau due to its remote location.
While admission to the island itself is free, you’ll have to charter a private boat or join an organized tour to get there.