St John’s and Kusu islands, 6km south of the “mainland”, offer some respite from the hubbub of the city state, though both are a little manicured. The more interesting of the two is Kusu, also known as Turtle Island. Singaporean legend tells of a Chinese and a Malay sailor who were saved from drowning by a turtle that transformed itself into an island; today the island is home to a major temple, complete with turtle statues, and three Malay keramats (shrines). Once a year during the ninth lunar month (mid-Oct to mid-Nov or thereabouts), tens of thousands of Singaporean pilgrims descend upon Kusu’s temple to pray for prosperity.
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