Created as a leisure destination and renamed in 1972, Sentosa is an island that is throws its arms wide open to receive up to 20 million visitors every year. No Sentosa island tour is complete without visiting its many attractions which include a beautiful 2-kilometer-long beach, two golf courses, the historic Fort Siloso, the Merlion, one of its 14 hotels, the Resorts World Sentosa and one of Singapore’s two casinos.
A Sentosa island tour is where lovers meet over candlelight and chilled buckets of champagne. Where senior citizens hold hands and walk together. Where families roar in excitement at the Universal Studios Theme Park. Where shoppers meet a world-class destination for both wallet friendly and luxury retail therapy. And where sun worshippers bathe in the afternoons at its clean and pristine beach.
Meaning “peace and tranquillity”, the Sentosa Island is to be found at the southwest side of Singapore city centre. It is roughly about a 5-km stretch and is just quarter of a mile away from Singapore’s Southern coast. Up to 70% of the land is covered with a rain forest that houses peacocks, parrots, monkeys and monitor lizards, making Sentosa rich in flora and fauna.
Located one degree north of the equator, Sentosa enjoys the climate of a tropical rainforest. Which is why it is humid, hot and rainy throughout the year. Prone to rainfall that comes from the Northwest or the Southeast, you can expect frequent downpours in the monsoon. But it is less windy at this time so you can plan your trip according to what weather you prefer.
Now named Sentosa, it was previously known as Pulau Blakang Mati, which in Malay meant “the island behind which lies death”. Once a British military base and a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, this is where many Chinese were killed on its beach during the Japanese occupation.
Now, its friendly avatar welcomes you to its shores> Ensure that your Sentosa island tour includes a visit the Siloso Fort, so you can witness this incredible and heart-warming transition yourself.
Begin your travels in Sentosa with the Siloso Fort. Its history includes being a British military base, a Japanese POW camp and a site where many Chinese lost their lives. It is brought to life with documentaries, artefacts and historical scenes recreated in an interactive manner. Be sure to take a look at the Surrender Chambers – that’s where two surrenders took place. The first when the British surrendered to the Japanese in 1942 and the second where the Japanese surrendered to the British in a role reversal in 1945. Another interesting feature is the Fort Siloso Skywalk – an 11-storey high trail that allows you to walk above treetops.
Tip: This walk is not for people who suffer from a fear of heights or Vertigo.
No Sentosa tour is complete without a visit to the SEA Aquarium. This interactive museum has one of the world’s largest and highest viewing panels through which you can see more than 800 species of aquatic creatures. What’s even more impressive is the fact that it has recreated 49 aquatic habitats for you to study. The Open Ocean Habitat comes highly recommended and you can also visit the exhibition that recreates the maritime Silk Route’s history.
Still wondering what to see on your Sentosa tour? Why not come to the Tiger Sky Tower? This slow ride is for everyone and it has beautiful views of Sentosa and Singapore. You can take in the views at leisure as it revolves around the top a few times before going down again.
Tip: It is a shutterbug’s delight.
What would a holiday be without some hair-raising attractions? Check out the Universal Studios – a parallel world where restaurants, rides, roller coasters are all themed around Hollywood blockbusters. Go for the Transformer’s Ride or sit bravely in the world’s tallest duelling roller coasters – Human Vs. Cylon.
Tip: If this is your thing, you’ll love it. But it’s not for the faint-hearted.
For shoppers who really want to take something unique home, head to East Inspirations for some really stunning and original porcelain, jewellery, artefacts and one-of-a-kind vintage objects. If you prefer malls, VivoCity – Singapore’s biggest mall – is just around the corner.
Tip: All high-street brands like Aldo and Charles & Keith are cheaper here and also check out local brands like Tang’s, they are very chic and affordable too!
For swimwear, flip flops, beach mats or sunscreen, head to Siloso Point – a one-stop shop for all beachcombers. And once packed, head to the Tanjong Beach – the quietest and most secluded beach in Sentosa. If you prefer cafes, restaurants and bars then Siloso Beach is for you.
• Dress suitably for the beach and the outdoors.
• Carry sun protection.
• Keep your camera battery fully charged or carry spare batteries.
• Be prepared to spend a day or more to fully explore Sentosa.
• Do not throw litter.
• Do not try to cut queues.
Whatever your agenda for a Sentosa Island trip, we hope you take it easy here on this island that was named after a Sanskrit word “santushti”, meaning peace and tranquillity. It has witnessed a remarkable role reversal in history, and we can only hope it inspires everyone to visit it to do the same too. So, book yourself a Singapore trip from SOTC and head out to this tropical paradise for some fun, frolic and peace.