Sentosa Island

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If you're after sun, sand and at least some degree of surf, look no further than Singapore's Sentosa Island. Once a military fortress, these days the island is a playground for world-weary Singaporeans and travellers alike.

One of Sentosa's most obvious attractions is its two-kilometre stretch of sheltered beach. Divided into three distinct beaches – Palawan, Siloso and Tanjong – Sentosa is a great place to cool off from Singapore's sultry weather.

The beaches may be artificial and feature no genuine waves to speak of, however experienced surfers and old-fashioned thrill-seekers can still get a fix at Wave House Sentosa. Part of a global chain of innovative surf attractions, Wave House Sentosa features a 10-foot barrel called – appropriately – The Wave, which utilises cutting-edge technology to simulate real surf conditions.

Imbiah Lookout is another of Sentosa's best known features. Located close to Mount Imbiah and boasting 11 different attractions, the lookout itself offers sweeping views toward mainland Singapore. Even better views can be enjoyed from the Tiger Sky Tower in the centre of the Imbiah Lookout zone, from which parts of the Malaysian and Indonesian skylines are visible on a clear day.

Other popular Imbiah Lookout attractions include the Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom – which houses more than 50 separate species of butterflies – a four-dimensional theatre called Sentosa 4D Magix, the MegaZip Adventure Park – boasting one of the steepest zip-wire lines in Asia – and the Sentosa Luge and Skyride.

Located in the west of the island, Fort Silosi is a reminder of Singapore's colonial past. Built by the British in the 1880s as a means of protecting the entrance to Keppel Harbour, the fort became an integral part of Singapore's unsuccessful defence during World War II.

A happier reminder of Singapore's subsequent independence is the towering 37-metre Merlion Statue. A symbol of a Singapore, the merlion is ubiquitous throughout the city-state and Sentosa's version includes two viewing galleries and a popular souvenir shop.

Sentosa is connected to mainland Singapore by a short causeway and visitors can also set foot on the island via the adjacent Sentosa Boardwalk. A Cable Car running from Mount Faber through the HarbourFront district terminates on the island, however the most popular means of entry is aboard the Sentosa Express monorail, which has three stations on the island and one on the mainland.