About Hantu

Getting There


Dive Sites

What You Will See

About Hantu

Pulau Hantu is one of Singapore's many many islands. Specifically, it's part of the Southern Islands.  You'd be surprised, but other than Singapore island itself, and Sentosa, Singapore has more than 30 islands.  Hantu is one of the most popular for diving. 

"Pulau" is Malay for island, and "Hantu" means Ghost.  The name was apparently coined from the ancient times when Malay warriors fought there and the ghosts of the dead were believed to roam the island. 

The water is not muddy, or dirty - just sediment-y.  The sediment is due to the heavy land reclamation in the area. Variations in the visibility can be attributed to tide and other groups of divers especially if there are open water courses going on. Occasionally while diving you encounter plumes of sediment coming with the current. 

If I had to summarise Hantu's reefs, I would say that Hantu certainly HAS its reefs, it's just that I wish I could spray them all with a super-jet hose to see all the colours that lie beneath. Another thing that struck me was the number of purple things underwater at Hantu. 

Cleaning your dive equipment after a day's dive at Hantu shouldn't take any longer than cleaning it after a weekend in Tioman.  And after the dive, I just changed into my clothes without showering, and my husband did the same.  We didn't stink up the car at all on the way back. My husband leaves a much stronger scent in the car after his Sunday morning hockey games, believe me... 

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When to Go

Hantu is diveable all year round.  

For me, it's a great option when the Tioman season is closed, or when we can't take leave for a longer holiday in the region. Perfect for a half or full day dive trip.

That said, I've only gone in November or December, and at that time, the water is mostly calm with barely any currents. However, I have been told that the currents are stronger at other times of the year, and I don't really want to brave the currents at that time because I do know that Singapore's currents can be very strong, and if you combine that with low visibility, search and rescue operations in a worst-case scenario can be very difficult. And I'm talking only about Hantu. I wouldn't advise going to Sudong at any time.

Visibility is usually less than 5m, sometimes as bad as 1m, so you MUST bring a good torch.

Diving combined with Singapore's climate and no Nitrox means you can get severely dehydrated without realising it ie. splitting headaches in the afternoon.  So keep yourself well-hydrated.  Bring your own mineral water.  Bring at least 1 big bottle, if not 2, to share between yourself and your buddy. 

Water temperature is supposed to be comfortably warm like 28 degrees, but in early Dec 07 and Jan 08 I found myself shivering in 27-degree water and wishing I had worn more than just a 3mm wetsuit and hood. Don't say I never tell you.

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Where to Stay

If you're Singaporean, you will know that this section is redundant but bear with me because I like to be consistent. For those of you who don't know that everywhere in Singapore is close to everywhere else, Hantu is just a short 20-minute boat ride from mainland Singapore, so there's no need to stay anywhere if you already have a place to stay in Singapore.

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For a group of about 10-12 pax, a half-day trip on board one of the regular Singapore dive boats will cost about S$50 per person, including tanks and weights. Add in maybe about S$10 for parking at the marina, and you're covered. For operators who do Hantu, go to the Getting There section.

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Currency, Language and Culture

This section is really redundant. Currency: Singapore Dollars. Language: English. If you want to fit in, learn Singlish. Culture: (stumped).... aiyah, I can't do this without imagining that nobody will take me seriously, so please go to the YourSingapore website at www.yoursingapore.com.

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Is Hantu worth repeat visits?

If you ask me if I will dive Hantu again, my answer is not only a firm yes, but also that I'm quite proud of it.  

As a Singaporean, I think it's important to dive Singapore waters at least once.  So dive Singapore waters we did, my husband and me, on Sunday 11 Dec 2005, around the reefs of Pulau Hantu. This was in spite of the stories we heard (some people speak of diving Singapore waters with a shudder, while others have this polite struggling-to-keep-it-objective look on their face when they reluctantly say diving Singapore waters is ok). 

We went again on Christmas Eve 2005, and then in November 2006, I went for my third time, leaving behind my husband nursing a flu at home (bad girl).  We went yet again in December 2007 and January 2008.  

We saw some very interesting things, considering the less-than 5m visibility.  I would divide them into 2 categories: pretty things, and other things.

Pretty Things

Other Things

I can say that I was lucky because for the first trip to Hantu the visibility was good and we could spot so many things. But on the second and third trips, the visibility wasn't as good, making it very difficult to spot things. So don't judge the place just on one dive.