Feb 13 2012
Think Sentosa Island is all fun and games? Before it was Singapore’s playground, the island was home to military fortresses, which protected the Singapore Harbour from pirates during the colonial days and the Japanese navy during World War II. Fort Siloso, the only surviving fort, is now a military museum open to the public.
According to historical records, the British built Fort Siloso in the 1880s and actually used dynamite to flatten the hill it sits upon before installing the gun batteries. Though they continued to strengthen the fort to protect their colony, it infamously fell to the Japanese in 1942. Because the British generals were expecting a sea attack, the huge guns at Fort Siloso were pointed the wrong way then the Japanese invaded overland from Malaysia. By the time they could be rotated, it was too late. During the Japanese Occupation that followed, Fort Siloso was used as a POW camp to hold British, Australian, and other Allied soldiers.
Today, Fort Siloso has been restored to its pre-war condition and houses Singapore’s largest collection of war memorabilia. Each military building has been converted into a mini-museum with videos, old army maps, and black and white photographs. As you explore the barracks and tunnels you’ll encounter uniformed mannequins illustrating military life and the hillside is dotted with antique artillery.
Even if you’re not a history buff, there’s plenty to like about Fort Siloso. First of all, it’s the only attraction on Sentosa that won’t be overrun with people on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Also, its rather untamed grounds make for interesting walks and offer great views of the ocean. If you’ve got the kids in tow, there’s even an army obstacle course playground.
Fort Siloso is located at the westernmost point of Sentosa at the top of a hill. You’ll do plenty of walking between sites, so do your feet a favour and catch the Fort Siloso tram to the entrance. The tram stops at Imbiah Lookout (one of the Sentosa monorail stops) and near Underwater World.
33 Allanbrooke Road, Sentosa
Admission: S$8 adults / S$5 children
Open daily 10:00–18:00
Free guided tours Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays at 12:40 and 15:40
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