A tragic sea legend tells of the formation of these two islands.
Islands of legend
Legend tells of a poor widow who had two pretty daughters, Minah and Linah who were very close to each other. After the widow died, the sisters left the village to live with a distant uncle.
One unfortunate day, Linah met a group of pirates while fetching water from a well near the sea. Frightened, she ran home with the pirate chief giving chase.
At the uncle's home, brandishing a dagger, he made known his wish to marry Linah. That night, the two sisters wept bitterly in each other's arms. When dawn broke, the pirate chief and 16 of his men came to take Linah away. Clinging to each other, they were forced apart by the pirates, and Linah was carried away. The desperate Minah swam after the boat but was drowned and Linah dived into the stormy waters in grief.
The next day, the villagers were shocked to see two islands at the spot where the two sisters had drowned.
The two tranquil islands, called Subar Laut and Subar Darat, was henceforth known as Sisters Island.
The Two Sisters
Big Sister island (Subar Laut) faces the open sea while Little Sister island (Subar Darat) faces the mainland. The two islands are separated by a narrow but deep channel. Currents through this channel can be very dangerous, sometimes making it difficult for boats to get alongside the jetty. It is not advisable to attempt to swim from one island to the other.
What to see and do?
These islands are popular with picnickers and campers. Spend the day lazing in the sun or shade, enjoy the sea breezes. There are BBQ pits, public toilets and jetties.
The Sisters islands are home to some Long-tailed macaques. These monkeys can be aggressive. Please leave them alone and do not feed them. Do not leave food unattended and dispose of your rubbish properly into the monkey-proof bins provided.
Marine life on the Sisters
Although both islands had been affected by reclamation to create artificial swimming lagoons, they are now home to some of our richest reefs.
The reefs have grown back into the swimming lagoons... And a wide variety of hard and soft corals are found on their shores. Among the corals are special creatures such as this coral goby that is only found among a specific type of branching coral.
The octopus is a commonly predator prowling the corals especially at night.
While clown anemonefishes, better known as "Nemo" can be found on some of the large sea anemones in the reefs.
Giant clams are overharvested on many of our accessible shores, but on the Sisters Islands you can still see some.Diving Sisters Islands
Jani's the Blue Tempeh blog has links and photos of dives at all our Southern reefs. As she describes it "huge seafans and many seawhips can be found aplenty here".
- Sisters Islands on wildsingapore information for visitors and links to more
- Blogs about Sisters Islands a compilation on wildsingapore google reader
- Our city reefs: Sisters Islands a brief introduction on wildsingapore
- Photos of marine life on Sisters Islands on wildsingapore flickr
- Diving Sisters Islands on Jani's Blue Tempeh blog
- Reef survey data of Sisters Islands on the Coral Reefs of Singapore website
- Fantastic Flora of the Sisters Islands "its impressive tree-population has no comparison in Singapore, except perhaps, Pulau Jong." Rare trees and climbers found, on Joseph Lai's eart-h.com
- Visiting Sisters Islands on the Sentosa website
- The Legend of Sisters Islands an animation clip on YouTube by Nanyang Polytechnic
- Sisters Islands on infopedia by the National Library Board