Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pulau Satumu (Raffles Lighthouse)


One of the Southern Islands, Pulau Satumu (1°10’N and 103°45’E) is the southernmost island 23 km southwest off the coast of Singapore. In Malay, the name 'Pulau Satumu' actually means 'One Tree Island'. Nearby islands include Pulau Senang and Pulau Biola. Built on this small island (1.3 ha) is the historical landmark structure made of granite, the Raffles Lighthouse (29 m), which was named after the founder of modern Singapore Sir Stamford Raffles. Operating since 1855 and still operating today, the lighthouse serves to warn ships as they sail close to shore or shallow waters.

Due to the distance of the island from the main island, at which most human activities are concentrated, the waters here are less disturbed. The fringing reef around the island is rather dense and rich with hard and soft corals, including many colonies from the genera Acropora, Montipora, Porites, Pectinia, and Merulina. With a rich reef habitat comes also a variety of associated organisms, including octopuses, flatworms, featherstars, and fishes such as the Copperband Butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus), Anemonefishes (Amphiprion spp.), and Filefishes (Family Monacanthidae).

Getting there

Due to the presence of a lighthouse, access to the island is restricted. A permit from the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) is required to land or dive at the island. Pulau Satumu is one hour's boat ride from the Pasir Panjang Ferry Terminal.

Other Resources

Singapore Infopedia. Raffles Lighthouse. http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_147_2005-01-18.html. (Accessed December 2011).


Chou, L. M., 2011. Southern Islands. Pp. 86-87. In: Ng, P. K. L., R. T. Corlett & H. T. W. Tan (editors), Singapore Biodiversity. An Encyclopedia of the Natural Environment and Sustainable Development, Editions Didier Millet, Singapore, 552 pp.

Nigel, K. C. & L. M. Chou, 1993. The Coral Reef Community of Pulau Satumu (Raffles Lighthouse), Singapore, with Emphasis on the Hard Corals. Journal of the Singapore National Academy of Science, 20 & 21: 51-57.

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