Mention Christmas Island, and the reaction you’d probably get is “Eh? That’s a real place?” or a similarly quizzical expression. The island’s festive moniker invariable conjures up visions of an Enid Blyton-esque faraway winter wonderland, complete with talking snowmen and edible candy cane street lamps.
Ironically, the real Christmas Island is probably the furthest thing from that fantasy. A lush tropical rainforest right smack in the Indian Ocean, this external territory of Australia is located to the south of Java, Indonesia, and enjoys warm sunny weather all year round.
Despite the decidedly “non-Christmassy” climate and landscape, there still remains somewhat of a charming tale as to how Christmas Island got its name. According to the history books, it was first discovered by Europeans (to be exact, William Mynors, Captain of the Royal Mary, a trading vessel) on Christmas Day way back in 1634.
Many older Singaporeans might actually be familiar with Christmas Island; as a crown colony, it fell under Singapore’s administration back when we were still a British colony, and was only transferred by the British to Australia sometime in 1958.
While not exactly the most obvious choice for a vacation (Christmas Island’s most significant economic activity is phosphate mining), the island offers a variety of sights and experiences that make it a unique eco-tourism destination for travellers weary of the usual haunts. From the warm locals to the unique flora and fauna, there are a seemingly endless number of reasons to visit the island. If you're planning to do just that, here are the top three things you must do while on Christmas Island.