Sentosa Island Map
A shot of the official Sentosa island map, Singapore.
Typically well-designed, clear and informative the map shows the three beaches we visited – Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong – as well as a number of resorts and entertainment facilities such as the Universal theme park, a megazip ride, golf course, the distinctly fishy Underwater World Singapore, the Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom, Dolphin Lagoon, a luge and skyride and a multimedia spectacular called Songs of the Sea, involving lasers, fireworks and amped-up music and more.
Siloso beach first bay, southwest.
We started on the biggest beach on Siloso’s southwest side which sports plenty of fine, imported sand – like the other two beaches – but also a fair collection of activities, including a zipline, volleyball courts, kayaking, climbing frames, skimboarding, mountain biking, rollerblading, beach club, shopping and dining places and protected swimming areas. We’re not sure if the protection is against stingers, sharks or oil spills, but it’s probably well-conceived.
At the far west end of the beach is the Rasa Resort hotel.
Siloso beach seems to be the destination of choice for the active young, teens and twenties.
Next is Palawan Beach on the south-central coast, offering nice soft sand a couple of well-vegetated curves with small cafés and children’s playgrounds and activities, so this beach is clearly designated as the young family zone, but interestingly there’s a longish rope bridge swaying across to a little island housing two tall watchtowers. These towers – that you are free to ascend – mark the farthest south point of the Asian mainland. There are a handful of cafés and bars along the beach offering food and beverage options to visitors as well as Beach Station of the Sentosa Express.
Sentosa Island (sentosa is Malay for peace and tranquility) began its development as a holiday destination in the 1970s. It was a military strong point from the 1880s until it was promoted to ‘Fortress Singapore’ status during the Pacific War. Sadly all their guns were pointing out to sea when the Japanese arrived overland by bicycle so the island was erased from military memory as an embarrassment. Tourists can, however, still invade Fort Siloso, a restored coastal battery, compound and tunnels.
Tanjong beach club, the island’s southeast coast. Sadly it started to rain while we were there so the view is a little depressed.
Tanjong is a sizeable, but relatively secluded stretch of soft sand with plenty of palm tree shade but not much in the way of facilities apart from the Tanjong beach club that we heard is pretty wild at weekends, so this would be the designated Romantic beach then..
BTW, according to Condé Nast Traveller Tanjong Beach Club is the best beach club in the world. Hmm. It’s open Tuesday-Friday 11am-11pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-midnight. Brunch and pool parties a speciality. Better to call/book in advance.
Tanjong Beach by BouncedPhoton
Sentosa island traffic
Sentosa Island Boardwalk across the water from Harbourfont, Singapore. Photo by William-Cho
The opening of Resorts World Sentosa brought Universal Studios Singapore, Voyage de la Vie (circus/theatre) 5-star hotels, up market shopping and fine dining to Sentosa.
One downside for visitors to this island is access – it can be reached by cable car, monorail and on foot but most of its five million visitors and all of its residents (this island is the only place in Singapore where foreigners can buy stand-alone property) come and go by just one road so there can be large queues getting on and off the island, though hardly comparable with most urban jams in the rest of the world.
Tourists are obviously better off sticking with the MRT + beach trams and avoiding weekends if possible!