Sentosa hiking guide, with easy coastal and historic trails

Hiking in Sentosa

Many people know Sentosa for its beaches and fun activities like Skyline Luge Sentosa, but it’s more than that. There are hiking trails tucked away in deeper pockets of the island that are rich in nature and historical significance.

From natural waterfalls to stunning shoreline views, here’s a complete guide to Sentosa hike so you won’t miss any of these “hidden” gems on the island.

Plan your route

Surprise SurpriseSentosa Island is home to various hiking trails. Depending on what you want to see, you can approach this hike in different ways.

There are 3 main trails you can visit:

  • Historic trail (50 minutes)
  • Mount Imbiah nature trail (45 minutes)
  • Coastal path (1h50)

There are also smaller trails like the Gun Trail and Heritage Trail located within the coastal path. If you are looking for a particular attraction or trail, you can take any number of free public transportation available in Sentosa directly to the location of your choice.

Start your journey at Imbiah station

Imbiah Station is the central location that connects the 3 trails. If you choose to enter Sentosa via the boardwalk, this would be the best starting point. From there you can take the free bus service, the Sentosa Express Monorail, or cycle to your destination.

PS Note that cycling is not allowed on the Mount Imbiah nature trail – you can leave your bike at the bus stop in front of the trail entrance before entering.

Historical trail – Old military buildings

As most of us know from social studies classes, Sentosa was once a British military base. Thus, you will find old barracks and officers’ quarters converted into luxury hotels.

To visit these old bases, exit to the right of Imbiah station and you will see a roundabout where cars are routed in different directions. Head to the roundabout and turn right to go up Artillery Avenue.

The buildings still retain their original white facade, which provides good photo opportunities.

After a short walk you will come across a driveway leading to the Former recreation grounds and barrackswhich now houses the Oasia Hotel.

The hotel has a lot to offer, with services like Mobot folding bikes for hire from reception and award-winning cuisine served by the Bedrock Origin restaurant. This makes it a great place to stay if you are looking for luxury and a convenient location close to the monorail station.

The walls of the old power station have been decorated with murals that are worth a look.

Back on the main road, keep going uphill and you will pass 2 smaller military buildings, the Former Court of the Royal Engineers and the old power plant.

Capella Sentosa.

Going up the avenue de l’Artillerie, you will come to another alley that lead up a hill where the final attraction is. Perched on top of a small hill, the Old Officer’s Mess and Quarters is now the site of Capella Sentosa.

And while the exterior facade retains its original design, the resort inside boasts a spacious courtyard and ocean views so you can pretend you’re living the high life in Bali.

Mount Imbiah Nature Trail – 3 different natural waterfalls

Image adapted from: Google Maps

The next trail to visit on the map is the Mount Imbiah Nature Trail. The route takes you through the forested part of the island and is part of the larger Imbiah trail.

This 2.3 km long trail offers uneven dirt terrain with lots of undergrowth, so a more adventurous hikers You can visit this site directly via the Sentosa intra-island bus A or C, which stops right outside the entrance.

The trail entrance is surrounded by trees, leaving only a small opening for visitors. Stepping through the entrance is like stepping into an entirely different world.

Going up the paved road, you will find the start of the dirt road and the gate of the Mount Imbiah nature trail.

Walk in through the door and you will see a giant map where you can take note of all the of the region highlights and the unique wildlife that inhabit the area.

Singapore’s heat may be unbearable for some, but this trail will take you under a dense canopy of trees a good sign for those who are afraid of sunburn. But if you need a break, there are plenty of rest stops along the way where you can take refuge.

It’s also a cool place to take fun pictures but swimming is not allowed.

Walking along the route will take you to the first of 3 natural waterfalls, the Imbiah Falls. This waterfall is perhaps one of Sentosa’s best kept secrets and also a reminder that Sentosa has more to offer than beach clubs and amusement parks.

As you venture deeper into the road, you will find the first point of divergence going up. Leave the main path and go up this narrow and inclined road if you want to discover the Mount Imbiah Gun Battery and a course of high elements.

And although the High Elements course is not open to the public, the Imbiah observation tower east, allowing you to climb to the top for stunning views.

Part of Singapore’s coastal defenses during World War II, this 10m-a large watchtower offers visitors an unobstructed view of the ocean. He also offers a birdbird’s-eye view of the gun placement complex directly below the tower.

Explore the complex where the heavy artillery guns are located stood and learn about Sentosa’s historical significance from the information plaques on the walls.

Returning to the main path and walking past will lead you to the second waterfall, the Waterfall Tempiniswhich is much larger than the first.

This waterfall is named after the unique trees that grow in the area. Fun fact: these trees are also the origin of the Tampines neighborhood’s name.

As you continue on your way, don’t forget to take a picture of the man made fossilized dinosaur bones that give the trail a jurassic park vibe.

You will also pass a flight of stairs leading to the nature trail of Mount Imbiah. This takes you to the main road and coastal path, so remember to come back to this diverging path after visiting the third waterfall.

The final cascade, known as Rock Dragon Waterfall, sits just ahead of the diverging path and is the most visually exciting of all the waterfalls. Water collects in the dragon’s mouth and only flowss outside when full. So you will have to wait a minute or two if you hope to take a picture of this in action.

Coastal Trail – Skywalk and WWII Heritage Hike

Image credit: Google Maps

The Coastal Path is the longest trail in Sentosa stretching 1.8 miles, most of which is on paved roads. It’s also one of the trails you can cycle on, so if you’re looking to take a break from walking, you can hire a bike and enjoy the coastal breezes and shoreline views.

For those looking to cycle or hike along the coast, the best place to start would be along Siloso Road. To get there, you can take the intra-island bus A or C from Sentosa and get off at Siloso Point.

The descent can be a little steep so slow down especially if you are on a bike.

The initial stages of the Coastal Trail are similar to the Mount Imbiah Nature Trail, where tree canopy shields the path from the sun. The route descends downhill from the elevated road to the shore along the coast.

Sentosa Hiking Guide - Easy to Explore Coastal and Historic Trails Beyond USS and Siloso Beach

Walk down the winding path of the road and you will come out of the shadow of the forest ohnto an open coastal road. The ocean view along the shrubbery and a clear view of Keppel Bay on the other side provide great photo opportunities.

You can expect to see several totem poles that are scattered on the stretch of coastal road that was once part of the old ferry terminal. Now they are used to add pops of color and personality to this charming road.

If you need to take a short break, you can stop on a white bench for a quick breather while enjoying the view and the cooling sea breeze.

Here you can also see the remains of the pier used by the British when they needed to transport military equipment from the mainland.

Heritage Trail & Gun Trail – WWII Military History & Weapons Display

Image credit: Brendan Yee

For history buffs who want to take a trip down memory lane, the Heritage Trail and Gun Trails would be the routes you would like to take.

See some of the World War II military installations on the Heritage Trail. Many buildings have been converted into historical museums and show different aspects of life at that time.

Outraged check murals of war stories and anecdotes, you can also visit the CasematesWhere there isit is a mini theater Who’s playing a short video on the evolution of modern Singapore. It’s a good place to sit, enjoy the airconditioning and discover our historythere.

And one of the highlights of the trail is the chamber of surrender. This building is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and houses life-size mannequins of British and Japanese soldiers that will give Madame Tussaud a hard time.

The Gun Trail, on the other hand, offers a more exciting perspective of Singapore during World War II. As the name suggests, this trail focuses on military weapons used by British forces during their time here.

Sentosa Hiking Guide - Easy to Explore Coastal and Historic Trails Beyond USS and Siloso Beach

AAs you cross the path, you’ll have more opportunities to inspect the rest of the heavy weapons as they flank the sides of the path or are exposed at various checkpoints.

JTo complete the hike, climb the Siloso Skywalk bridge that overlooks both sides of the island. The footbridge forms a direct link between the Heritage Trail, the Gun Trail and the nearest bus stop if you are arriving from Fort Siloso.

From this 11-story deck, you can have a clear view of Siloso Beach and the bungee tower in the distance to the right.

Looking to the left you can see Keppel Bay, and even to catch preview movies at the beach.

Explore Sentosa’s hiking trails

Sentosa might not be the first place you think of when planning a hike. Sure, the route might not be as challenging as other Singapore hiking spots, but the trails here have some unique qualities – think waterfalls and unparalleled coastal views that are hard to beat. It is a great alternative for hiking enthusiasts and history buffs.

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Photography by Huiwen Chan.