Sentosa was once known as Pulau Belakang Mati, in Malay “Island of Death from Behind”. In a 1972 contest organized merlionqq by Singapore Tourist Promotion Board the island was renamed “Sentosa” meaning in Malay “Peace and tranquility”.
Sentosa has an area of 5 kilometre square and is located 0.5 km from the Southern tip of main island Singapore. 70% of the island is covered by secondary rainforest. Sentosa is a habitat of monitor lizard, monkeys, peacocks, parrots and other native flora and fauna. It has a beach stretching 3.2 km.
Sentosa together with a neighbour island, Pulau Brani naturally plays an important role in protecting the Singapore Keppel Harbour which is one of the busiest harbours in the world, from monsoon and rough sea.
Historically, Sentosa is an important military spot. It was fortified to protect the harbour and coal stock. During World War II, Sentosa was used as a British Military Fortress. Following the surrender of Allied Forces on 15.2.1942, Sentosa became a prison of war camp for Australian and British prisoners of Japan.
In 1970, the Singapore Government decided to develop Sentosa into a holiday resort for local visitors and tourists. Since then, some S$420 million of private capitals and another S$500 million of Government funds have been invested to develop Sentosa.
One of the attractions available in Sentosa is the Underwater World & Dolphin Lagoon which is an oceanarium located on the Western part of Sentosa. Opened in 1991, it has more than 250 species from different region of the world. The oceanarium has 83m long travelator that moves along a submerged glass windowed tunnel from which visitors can look at the marine lives like sharks, turtles, fishes, coral etc. A Dolphin Lagoon, was included which houses some Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins. “Meet Dolphin” sessions are held daily.
Song of the Sea show was started in 2007 replacing the 25 years old Musical Fountain show. It is the world’s only permanent show set in the sea. It has a spectacular pyrotechnics displays, a live cast and an open air viewing gallery for 2500 visitors.
Situated at the Imbian Lookout Sone, Carlsberg Sky Tower is the tallest free-standing observation tower in Asia. At 110m above ground, 131 meter above the sea level, it offers visitors a panoramic view of Sentosa, Singapore and the Southern islands.
Merlion is a 37m high structure. It was opened in 1996. It recalled the story of Sang Nila Utama who saw a lion in Temasek (sea town – Singapore’ old name). Visitors can take a lift up to 12th floor to view the city state.
Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom is another attraction. It has 15,000 butterflies with more than 50 species. The Insect Kingdom houses some 3,000 species of rare insects from all over the world.
Cineblast is the only Singapore ride. It was opened in 2007. It is a simulation ride which brings visitors on an extreme 3D long ride using the latest technology. It is equipped with unique sound and light technology that is found in theme parks like the Universal Studio in the United States.
Fort Siloso which is situated at the West of the island was built by the British in 1880 to guard the narrow Western entrance to Keppel Harbour. On display are ammunition bunkers, barracks, gun emplacements of the fort and collection of photographs, documents and film chips.
Visitors who like fun may join the new year eve party i.e Silos New Year Eve Splash held annually at the Siloso Beach.
Sentosa aims to be one of the world’s most luxurious holiday locations. It has the first Asia tourism academy. One of the Integrated Resorts – Resorts World incorporating a casino is situated at Sentosa. It costs S$5 billion to build. When it is completed in late 2009, Sentosa will be much more competitive in tourism industry in the region.