Get away from the amusement parks and shopping malls and explore a different side of Sentosa. This hike on Sentosa Island takes you from HarbourFront, via the beaches and Siloso beach walk, to Imbiah lookout. A swim halfway and at the end is of course included.
The hike to Sentosa starts at the back side of Harbour Front / VivoCity. Get there via the MRT or one of the many buses. We finished the hike along the Siloso beach walk and took the free shuttle bus and Sentosa Express monorail back to HarbourFront.
Tips for Hike on Sentosa
- The trails are part of the Sentosa Development Corporation.
- The beaches are open from 8 am to 7 pm.
- For a fun way to explore Sentosa, take the cable car with reduced-price tickets from Klook*.
- Start early to avoid some heat.
- Bring a sun hat, sunscreen and water.
- There are various places to fill up water.
- Most of the trails are paved so wear appropriate shoes.
- Navigation offline maps app Maps.me works quite well but not all trails on the map are open in reality.
Hike on Sentosa Boardwalk
On a Friday morning in October 2021, we started hiking to Sentosa along the Sentosa Boardwalk. This is a rather convenient walkway with quite some shade and even a travellator if you already feel tired. The Sentosa Boardwalk covers a distance of 600 meters. There are beautiful flowers and some art along the way, as well as some good views of the Singapore coast line.
Unfortunately, the boardwalk ends at the shopping mall / amusement park / casino and you have to make your way through there to get to Sentosa’s more natural side. Following signs for the Imbiah Lookout may help.
We encountered a setback as we discovered that the Imbiah trail was partially closed and there was no direct connection from the shopping mall to the Imbiah Lookout at the moment. So we headed out on the Sentosa walk to the beach walk.
Siloso Beach Walk
An advantage of this detour was that we could go for an early swim at Emerald Pavilion. Despite the views of big container and oil ships, the water is very pleasantly warm, especially compared to the Western Cape in South Africa where we came from before Singapore.
After a swim and break, we followed the Siloso Beach walk past the Sapphire Pavilion to the other end of the Imbiah Trail. There are two interesting things to see along the way, the fresh water Siloso spring and a mini bunker.
Both are signs of the past, as the spring was once at the shoreline before land reclamation and the bunker is one of the many military artefacts from when Sentosa was called Pulau Belakang Mati and this side of the island was part of Fort Siloso.
The Imbiah Trail is a rather broad asphalted path leading you up the hill through the forest. There are the remnants of an old monorail along the way, and you might spot some monkeys as well. Near the top we headed left on a nicer forest path to the Imbiah and Tempinis Falls. These falls sound larger than they actually are so don’t get your hopes up too much.
There is an interesting tunnel of whale bones on this path, but also a somewhat more tacky dragon spewing water. This path takes you eventually to the road that leads up to the Imbiah Lookout. Turn left and immediately hike up the steps on the right that will lead you to the Imbiah Fort and the second highest point on Sentosa.
We did a bit of exploration of the fort, as there are a few ruins in the jungle directly of the main path. The Mount Imbiah Gun Battery dates from the 1890s and was used until the 1930s when it became a reserve magazine.
Just behind the defensive structures is the Imbiah Lookout Tower. From the top you can just look over the tree tops that have since grown here. Many islands and even more ships are visible from here.
After a well deserved break, we took a different path down to the Tempinis Falls and from there down to the Siloso Road and the entrance of Fort Siloso.
Umbrella or Rain Jacket?
Unlike in most places, we prefer to carry an umbrella in Singapore as wearing rain jackets in this hot and humid climate is not great and getting a little wet is not so bad in these temperatures. I’ve got a great storm-proof umbrella, which has an asymmetric shape that turns into the wind and can withstand high wind speeds:
Senz Umbrellas Automatic Passion Red on Amazon*.
Check out the complete list of hiking gear needed for Singapore:
The Coastal Trail officially starts at the bus station at the end of the Siloso Road, but you can extend it by walking towards Fort Siloso first. Just before the roundabout and the official entrance to the fort, you turn right down some steps. There, you’ll find a path along the coast line with some forest and open grassy sections.
After passing a few totem poles, the path veers right and upwards. Unfortunately, some of the trails shown on Maps.me are not open right now so the only option is to follow the path back to the bus station.
From there we walked to Sapphire Pavilion for a well deserved second swim and called it a day in terms of this Sentosa hike. There are convenient but somewhat slow free shuttles along the beach walk which we took back towards the Sentosa Express monorail Beach Station. From there the monorail took us back to HarbourFront, in less than half an hour from beach to MRT.