A common childhood dream is to visit Disneyland where you experience all the Disney Magic, take fun rides and meet your favourite Disney Characters. As for me, my dream was to visit the lighthouse.
I couldn’t remember how I was acquainted with the lighthouse and having that desire to visit it. I even thought about being a lighthouse keeper so that I have the whole mini island to myself. I guess I was an introvert at heart and even as a kid, I enjoy that solitude and seek solace in being away from people as I indulge in the golden silence.
I’ve never visited a lighthouse since then until last week where I had this rare opportunity to visit Raffles Lighthouse in Singapore at Pulau Satumu. It’s a one-hour ferry ride away from the mainland and there’s no one you are allowed to step foot into the lighthouse unless you are granted special permission too. It’s not open to public except for certain occasions where the lighthouse is open up to the public for visits unless you’re a minister I guess.
And I am so glad to share with you guys about what I learnt during this learning Journey to the Southern most tip of Singapore.
Here are 7 facts you got to know about the Raffles Lighthouse in Singapore.
1. It’s the Southern most tip of Singapore.
We took a ferry from Marina South Pier to Pulau Satumu which is about 14 kilometres off the coast of Singapore. Along the journey, we passed by other offshore islands like Pulau Semakau and Sisters’ island.
I haven’t been on other islands around Singapore except for Sentosa Island.
It’s amazing how much more there is to explore in Singapore. It’s not just a tiny red dot after all.
2. It’s built on Pulau Satumu in 1885.
‘Satu’ means one in Malay and ‘tumu’ means mangrove tree. In other words, Pulau Satumu means one tree island. This island is also known as Coney Island.
3. Work for 10 days and rest for 7 days
This lighthouse is still in operation today. Each time there will be 2 lighthouse keepers at Raffles Lighthouse. They will work there for 10 days and then spend the next 10 days onshore before they have to head back to the lighthouse.
4. There’s a Museum Within the Lighthouse
There’s a small museum in the lighthouse which stores all the old relics and ancient artefacts such as lanterns and wind gauges used in the past.
4. There use to be 5 lighthouses in Singapore managed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
There are 4 other lighthouses here in Singapore. Surprise? They are Pulau Pisang (located in Malaysian waters), Sultan Shoal, Bedok (built on a condominium) and Horsburgh.
5. The soil seems fertile at Pulau Satumu and the fruits are looking so big and juicy
This island is unpolluted so naturally the soil is fertile and there are so many kinds of plants and trees grown here. It’s really nice to just pluck a fruit from the tree and enjoy its natural sweetness.
6. There are about 88 steps to the top of the lighthouse
I didn’t count the number of steps but it isn’t too difficult to climb all the way up. Many of us made it through.
7. The island is roughly the size of 2 football fields combine.
It’s about 6 storeys high up from where I was standing.
The quartz halogen lamps in aluminium reflectors (as shown in the picture above) emit the white light visible from 20 nautical miles away! The light pulses not only function as a location indicator but also warn seafarers of treacherous rocks and reefs.
While you may enjoy a beautiful seafront view all to yourself, I think it does get quite lonely being up here but thankfully, there’s wifi connection here.
It can be really hot up there but all this heat energy is being harnessed by solar panels.
It was a fruitful trip to the far end of Singapore which is unexplored yet by many.
Is Singapore an interesting place after all? I am really starting to fall in love with this country again.