While Singapore is not known for its beaches, there is one in the south west of the island that is the best place to soak up the sun and have fun!
As Sentosa is a private island, you have to pay a toll fee to enter, which is usually done at Harbourfront Station. This is where the MRT terminates, and from here you pay the toll and jump on the Sentosa Express, which takes you across the island, albeit it only has 3 further stops (Waterfront Station, Imbiah Station, and Beachfront Station). However, I ALWAYS get a taxi to Resorts World Sentosa, as this saves the time of paying the fee (of course the taxi is more expensive than the MRT so I still spend more, but I just cannot be bothered to queue up) and you get dropped off in the basement car park where you have immediate access The Forum area of RWS (the fast food outlets and the casino is down here). A short trip up the escalators to street level will see my journey on foot begin to Siloso Beach.
I walk past the Lake of Dreams, up the escalators through RWS (past the celebrity restaurants), then past the giant Merlion, and then down through a concourse with some colourful water fountains (which I think is called “North-South Beach Divide). Then I arrive at Siloso Beach (see, no need for the monorail!). The first things that you will see are iFly and a McDonald’s (there is also a Toast Box here). I have been in this McDonald’s many times, and service is VERY slow. As you can imagine it is always very busy because of its prime location very close to the beachfront. A small walk away from McDonald’s (no more than a minute’s walk) will see you getting your bare feet burned by the scorching sands of Siloso Beach!
The beaches of Sentosa are the best beaches that you can find in Singapore really, although as I mentioned it is not “free” to bathe here, as you need to pay the entrance toll to the island. For a free beach, you could consider Pasir Ris or East Coast Park, which are both on the other side of the island and are much closer to Changi Airport. The beaches here at Sentosa, though, always seem to be so quiet and tranquil. I am sure that during public holidays, it can get manic (which beaches don’t anywhere in the world?), but usually you can be assured of some quality resting time, or a good chance to top up that tan!
Personally, I find Siloso Beach to be amazing, although you cannot expect quite the same level of “paradise” that you would hope to find in Boracay or southern Thailand. Singapore doesn’t do “paradise” per se, and the huge oil tankers that are anchored off shore in full view as you look out to sea is an example of that. However, the waters are clean, not affected by dangerous currents (Siloso Beach is in kind of lagoon), and you don’t have to worry about crocodiles! There are lifeguards on duty for most of the day at Siloso Beach, so you can rest assured that you and your family will be as safe as can be expected, although usual precautions must still apply.
I don’t like sunbathing; in fact, I cannot ever remember just laying in the sun. I am always going to be as white as a milk bottle (I’ve never even used fake tan)! Although I do always get burnt on the face and back of the neck regardless of how much sun cream I apply, which just goes to show how powerful the sun can be in this part of the world! So without sunbathing, I need something else to do, and luckily Siloso Beach is the place for some cool activities. None of them are as cool as surfing, and at WaveHouse there is a special surf school where you can test your skills against the flow-riders in a club setting (it has its own beach bars etc.). I did my first ever surfing here (albeit playfully) and this prepared me for the time I tried surfing for real in South Sumatra a year later! WaveHouse is primarily a place where the young – and young at heart – hang out, although you will get tourists watch you and laugh as you desperately try to stay on your surfboard! I can remember visiting Singapore for the umpteenth time, and always eager to find “new” experiences, I vowed to spend a whole day at WaveHouse, from lunchtime to sunset. It was a great experience, and you still get to enjoy everything else Siloso Beach has to offer, as well as trying to ride the in-house waves, so you are free to walk along the beach, swim in the sea…whatever you want.
The beach at Siloso seems to stretch forever eastwards, but eventually you will come to an end at the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort, which is the number one hotel on Siloso Beach (I think there’s only 2 or 3 others). It will cost you around £200 per night to stay here, which is too much for me, but I always enjoy a drink or two (and a plate of chips!) from the bar at the hotel, as it has good views down over the coastline. A walk from Beachfront Station, along Siloso Beach, up to the Shangri-La hotel is one of my usual walks when I am in Sentosa, and it probably takes me around 20 minutes each way, if I don’t stop to dip my feet in the water enroute.
When all is said and done, and when you have finished your excursion to Siloso Beach, make sure you take advantage of the free shuttles that drive along the beachfront roads, rather than walking yourself. In the Singapore heat and humidity, it is always nice to hop on (they turn up every 10 minutes or so) and get transported back to the Sentosa Express monorail Beachfront Station.