Up until the 1970’s, this island, located off the coast of Singapore, was primarily used for military operations and defense of the city due to its strategic location. Multiple fortresses were built on the island in the late 19th century and a notable example, Fort Siloso, adapted by the British forces in WWII with artillery to protect Singapore from attack from the south, is still standing today. The island was named “Sentosa” in 1972, which means Peace and Tranquility in Malay, and plans began to turn the island into a resort.
These days the island is a popular tourist destination, featuring large hotel brands, an array of restaurants and eateries, shopping, a casino, an array of attractions- including a theme park, golf courses and beach clubs. It is impossible to see and do everything in one day, so if you are staying in Singapore for a longer trip, I would recommend spending a couple days in Sentosa. However if you are only visiting for a short time, I would limit the visit to a single day and spend the remaining time exploring the city of Singapore.
Sentosa In One Day
This is an itinerary that I would personally do if I had one day at Sentosa. I actually did a majority of this in the one day I visited in, but I have added a few things I would have liked to do if I had planned ahead!
Cable car ride: Arrive around 9am to the cable car station at Harbour Front. The ride takes about 15 minutes or so to Sentosa. I recommend buying the Triple Pass at the cable car desk. This entitles you to unlimited cable car rides, a 1 day pass to Universal Studios and entry to S.E.A Aquarium. From $110SGD/Adult $90SGD/Child
Universal Studios Singapore: Gates open at 10am, however Universal is located about a 10min walk from the cable car, and there are many interesting things to see along the way. Take your time and plan for arrival at the gates at around 9.50am. The lines get really long about 11am, so hit the major rides such as the roller coasters first (turn right when you enter the park). Warning: On the Jurassic Park ride you will get wet! Not just damp, but soaking! Good in the hot weather, not so good when you are stuck with squelching shoes! When the lines get long around lunch time, leave the park. Don’t forget to get a stamp so you can return later in the day!
Lunch: There are many wonderful options outside of the theme park for lunch. Utilise your unlimited cable car pass (there is a cable car that traverses the island) and maybe visit one of the famous beach clubs for lunch. Another option closer to the park is the Malaysian Food Street Hawker Market. The prices are geared at tourists; however there is some wonderful variety here.
S.E.A Aquarium: After lunch, head to the air-conditioned comfort of the S.E.A Aquarium. This attraction is very popular, so you may not escape all of the crowds, however it is worth it. The aquarium includes the usual attractions, underwater tunnels, huge viewing tanks and a large variety of sea life. It also includes a museum featuring the trading history of Singapore and a variety of children’s activities.
Universal Studios (again): Wait times seem to reduce in the afternoons. We managed to ride the Mummy Ride 4 times in a row with no wait at about 5pm. This does depend on the day and time of year though. Try and get on as many rides as you can before 7pm.
Wings of Time: This show requires pre booking, and is one of the attractions I missed and wish I didn’t! Shows start at 7.40pm and 8.40pm when it is nice and dark and features lights, lasers, fountains and fire effects.
Dinner: Before or after Wings of Time depending on the showing you have chosen. There are so many restaurants to chose from!
Cable Car back: The last cable car is at 9.30 pm.