Sentosa Island, a Man Made Beach in Singapore

When people of think of Singapore they normally think of Singapore Slings, shipping, finance or skyscrapers. But the city also offers rich cultural diversity, encompassing an excellent variety of attractions, cuisine and shopping. Singaporeans also love their conveniences and high priced designer items. The city-state is sandwiched between Malaysia and Indonesian islands. It also features Sentosa island, a great man made beach in Singapore!

Singapore beach surf, beach in singapore

Travel to Sentosa Island by Public Transportation

To reach Sentosa Island via public transport you can catch a monorail called the Sentosa Express from Singapore’s Harbourfront metro station. It’s very convenient to get there from anywhere in Singapore because the metro network is vast, clean and because of its colonial past, English is the official language of Singapore. When we visited Sentosa Island we had the misfortune of it being a public holiday. This meant hordes of the densely populated nation were heading for the beach. We waited nearly 30 minutes to get on a jam packed monorail, and train pushers ensured the cars were filled to capacity.

Surf in Singapore, beach in singapore

Luckily it wasn’t far to the first stop, Universal Studios Singapore, which is surrounded by lush palm trees. As a Floridan who briefly worked on the Back to the Future ride at the Orlando park, I couldn’t help feeling a bit at home, especially since I was also jammed into a monorail. There are two additional stops after Universal Studios and that’s where you find the massive man-made beach, built from reclaimed land and imported sand. It also comes complete with McDonald’s, 7-11 and a local coffee shop chain right near the stop…Again, home!

Singapore palm tree on beach, beach in singapore

Diversity of Sentosa Island

Being a public holiday, the beach was jam packed with the most culturally diverse group of people we’ve ever shared a beach with. Singapore residents constitute around 75% ethnic Chinese, 15% Malays and nearly 10% Indian. Interestingly, the groups pretty much keep to their own. While there were groups of Indian men on the beach, there were hardly any Indian women. There were plenty of Chinese women lapping up the sun in bikinis though. It was only later in the evening that many Indian women arrived with their families to have picnics on the beach in Singapore.

palm trees on the beach in Singapore

Sentosa Island Bars and Restaurants

There are lots of good bars and restaurants to eat and drink on Sentosa Island. Bell and I found bar stools with a great view of the beach and ordered reasonably priced pizza that was pretty good. But unless you are drinking local beer in nondescript places, alcohol in Singapore is expensive. So if you’re on a tight budget and want to drink on Sentosa, stock up at duty free before arrival! Then enjoy some mixed drinks before you hit the beach. If you’re on a really tight budget, bring a picnic to the beach as well.

Beach bar in Singapore, beach in singapore

Many Large Ships Docked Outside Singapore

Another great aspect of Sentosa Beach is the incredible view of many massive ships anchored nearby. It’s probably a similar site to what the German soldiers saw at Normandy, except there were also hordes of people lounging in swimwear and nobody was shooting at us. Singapore was the largest port in the world in 2005 before being surpassed by Shanghai. The monorail provides an incredible view of the enormity of the small island nation’s shipping docks.

Girl on Sentosa Island beach

Universal Studios and Other Sentosa Island Attractions

Sentosa also boasts other attractions asides from Universal Studios Singapore. There are bumper cars, a sky lift to the top of the hill where you can then luge back down and a spinning observation tower among many things. Additionally there is a massive “Merlion” you can climb to gaze out at the city through its mouth.

The Merlion is a mythical creature that is the symbol of Singapore. It has the body of a fish, representing Singapore’s origins as a fishing village and the head of a lion, which its significance comes from the city’s original name, Singapura, meaning “Lion City.”

Singapore Merlion beach in singapore
Singapore art

Sentosa Island Monorail

There isn’t much natural about the beach in Singapore, but it can be a relaxing day out if planned correctly. If you go on a busy day like we did and are trying to get back to Singapore via the monorail, do not wait in the long queue near the Sentosa beach station. Instead catch the lift or take a stroll up the hill to the middle station called Imbiah. You’ll wait a significantly shorter amount of time to get back to the city from there. And if you’re a traveling Floridian, you’ll feel very much at home at what Singapore claims is “Asia’s Favourite Playground.”

beach in singapore

Save Money on Staying in Sentosa Island, Singapore

Singapore hotels tend to be expensive. Families and especially groups of friends will find better booking short term rental apartments. We generally find booking apartments on sites like to be a great option. Book listings with consistently great reviews for the best experience.

More of Our Articles on Singapore

Is Singapore Worth a Visit?

Highlights of Crazy Singapore

Interesting and Funny Singapore Pictures

Leave a comment below if you have a question or comment on travel in Singapore!

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  • Alex&Bell

    Alex and Bell originally met while solo traveling after finishing university in 2002, in Brugge, Belgium. Alex grew up in the USA and Bell hails from Australia. During our nearly 20 year marriage we've lived around the world, including spending six years living in the Netherlands and Ireland. We have traveled to nearly 70 countries and enjoy giving readers authentic and quality travel tips. Alex is an award winning travel journalist and travel planner, who also freelances for other outlets. Bell is an award winning PhD scientist who currently works for a non-profit lung cancer advocacy research organization called Lungevity. Happy travels and if you have any questions leave a comment or drop an email!

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10 thoughts on “Sentosa Island, a Man Made Beach in Singapore

  1. I had forgotten about Sentosa as it is 12 years since I have been to Singapore. I think they have created a far nicer man made beach than what has been achieved in Dubai.

    1. That’s an excellent point Gayle! Yes they have. There are pockets of Sentosa that are quite lovely. And if you don’t go on a public holiday or weekend it would be less crowded…Jumeriah Beach in Dubai is too close to too many tall buildings and the restaurants are further from the beach. And then there is the fact that you can’t buy alcohol on the beach in Dubai because of locals laws, but that’s a whole other story.

  2. Um there’s a difference between a Malaysian (which is a Nationality like being American, Australian, British, etc) and Malay (which is a Race like being Caucasian, Indian, Black, etc) Singapore is made up of 15% Malays, not Malaysians. 😉

    1. Hi Lisa. We haven’t spent much time in the region so we made a mistake on the ethnicity name. Appreciate you swinging by to let us know.

  3. Not only sentosa island, Whenever we are talking about Singapore, It is about the beautiful beaches and the friendly people. Food, shopping, stay and adventure, everything is just perfect here. Subscribed for more updates and news..

    1. Well said, Reiki Therapist! Thanks so much for your nice comment and also for subscribing. That really means a lot to us! We loved our visit to Singapore and we look forward to returning someday in the future. There are so many things to enjoy and we also absolutely loved the wonderful variety of delicious food in Singapore!

    1. Thank you for your nice words and for subscribing to our website! Glad to hear you enjoyed visiting Sentosa Island also – it’s a fun place. Happy travels to you!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Singa! Well said. Singapore’s cultural diversity contributes to a phenomenal culinary scene in the city as well!

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