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Sentosa Island

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Sentosa Island is a popular island resort in Singapore. A major tourist destination with many attractions, Sentosa receives two million visitors a year. Among the attractions at Sentosa include a sheltered beach of more than two kilometres in length, a historical fort, an aquarium, a couple of golf courses and two five-star hotels.

View of the resorts being developed on Sentosa IslandView of the resorts being developed on Sentosa Island
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authorshipMohit Sharma
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Sentosa Island was formerly known as Pulau Belakang Mati, which in Malay means the "Island of Death from Behind". Variations to the name "Pulau Belakang Mati" have been found in maps dating as early as the 17th and 18th century, though in many cases, it is uncertain which island the name refers. Moreover, the island has undergone several name changes.

Up to 1830, it was called Pulau Panjang (Long Island). There is a possibility that "Belakang Mati" was a name given to just a hill on the island by the Malay villagers living there, not to the whole island. The island was renamed Sentosa Island in 1972 when efforts were initiated to give it a rebranding. The name Sentosa means "peaceful" in the Malay language.

According to Yeo Tze Yang, student of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, in his essay An Erased History of Pulau Belakang Mati, a group of Yeo clansmen from Meishan Village in Dongshan County, Fujian Province, settled at Pulau Belakang Mati in the early 20th century to escape political turmoil in China. Their descendants lived there until 1975, when they were relocated and resettled by the government.

Sentosa IslandSentosa Island
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In 1827, Captain Edward Lake of the Bengal Engineers proposed an alternative name for Belakang Mati as the "Island of St George". However, the island was seen as too unhealthy for habitation and his proposed name was never realised.

In 1972, the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board held a contest in which the name Sentosa was selected. The name means "peace and tranquility" in Malay.

Transport on Sentosa Island

The Sentosa Express is a mass transit monorail train that forms the backbone of public transport on Sentosa Island.

Sights & Attractions on Sentosa Island


  1. Imagined Malaysia: An Erased History of Pulau Belakang Mati by Yeo Tze Yang

List of Islands in Singapore

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