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HeritageFest tour shines a beacon on Singapore's lighthouses

Members of the public will get a rare chance to visit Raffles Lighthouse during the Singapore HeritageFest's first lighthouse tour. 

SINGAPORE: The Raffles Lighthouse has been guiding ships safely to shore for more than 150 years, but it has been out of bounds for the public during most of its long history. This year, however, many will get the rare chance to visit it - it is one of the stops on the Singapore HeritageFest's first lighthouse tour.

The festival, now in its 11th year, will run from July 18 to 27, with the lighthouse tour taking place on July 19 and 20. Visitors on the tour will get to see the decommissioned Fullerton Lighthouse from the bus en route to Marina South Pier, and sail past Sultan Shoal Lighthouse off the west coast of Singapore, before alighting at Pulau Satumu (or One Tree Island) some 23 km southwest of Singapore, to visit Raffles Lighthouse. 

Said Ms Tan Teng Teng, a researcher for the festival: "Visitors can see the original construction, they'll get to understand the amount of effort that went to constructing these lighthouses and the engineering involved." Raffles Lighthouse, for example, is the second oldest lighthouse in Singapore, and has used various equipment ranging from kerosene burners to Fresnel lenses.

Apart from the Raffles and Sultan Shoal lighthouses, three others are still in operation: Horsburgh on Pedra Branca, the Bedok lighthouse at Marina Parade Road, and Pulau Pisang, which sits on Malaysian territory but is operated by Singapore.

The public can find out more about these lighthouses at the Lighthouses of Singapore Festival Hub at NEX mall in Serangoon. With 11 festival hubs and over 60 programmes, organisers say response has been good, particularly for the island tours. They are working with partners to create additional tours beyond the festival period, and balloting will be conducted for these additional tours.

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