A multi-millon dollar leisure and recreation resort with swimming lagoons, wax museums, butterfly parks, golf-courses, musical fountains, and an under water world, Sentosa Island is admittedly artifical and commerical. It looks like any other theme park you might encounter in the USA; Great America, Six Flags, etc.
Originally known as Pulau Blakang Mati - Malay for "The Island Where Death Lurks Behind" - the island first attracted Western interests in the 1880's when the British constructed Fort Siloso on its western tip. The fort was intended to protect Singapore harbor and for a long time played only a minor role in military strategy. But shortly before World War II, the British beefed up defense positions by constructing a number of large cannons on the island. The cannons pointed directly out to sea - the presumed direction of any invasion by Japanese forces. Unfortunately for the British, the Japanese invaded Singapore from Malaysia instead, and the island's batteries became known as among the great follies of the Pacific Theater. Fort Siloso - the principal defensive headquarters - later served as a Japanese POW camp. It's now a museum re telling the sad moments of British collapse.
In the late 1980s, Pulau Blakang Mati was renamed Sentosa Island (Isle of Peace) and appointed to become Southeast Asia's newest pleasure resort. Today, Sentosa is Singapore's most popular attraction, drawing over one million annual visitors, almost half of them foreign visitors.
Sentosa Island can be reached by bus, taxi, or walking across Causeway Bridge, but the most interesting and dramatic way is by taking the cable car from either the World Trade Centre or the station atop Mt. Faber. Taking the cable car guarantees a fantastic view over Sentosa and towards the Singapore city center.
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