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Imagine sitting in a beach bar with a cocktail in hand, listening to reggae while watching calm seas lapping onto white sand beaches. Sound familiar? If you’ve done some travel in Southeast Asia you’ll know this is a standard beach scene across most of the region, but who would have thought you could find it at any of the beaches in Singapore. I didn’t even know Singapore had proper beaches until I moved there, and although some of them had to ship their sand in from Indonesia, they still look good!
There are two main areas for beaches in Singapore:
Sentosa Island: A tourism monster where you can ride roller coasters, do an indoor skydive and pose for pictures with parrots, and of course relax on beaches.
Eastern Singapore: More of a local experience, and definitely not as good for swimming, the eastern beaches are popular spots to cycle, eat and pitch a tent for a bit of camping.
My personal favourite amoung Singapore’s beaches, Palawan Beach is probably the quietest of the three main Sentosa Island beaches and there is plenty of room to find a private spot to relax. There are a few bars and restaurants, and you can buy cheap beers at the 7 11. A bridge takes you to another small island which claims to be the southernmost point of continental Asia, which seems weird since it’s an island off an island, off another island. This little island is probably the best place in Singapore to sit in the shade and relax, as there is some fake grass that is kind of terraced, which means you can lie down (shaded by palm trees), rest your head and look out over the beach.
Where to Stay on Sentosa Island:
Luxury – Resorts World Sentosa – Beach Villas
Mid-Range – Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa
Home to the Tanjong Beach Club, which holds Singapore’s own full moon parties 3 times a year, Tanjong Beach is a great place to have a few drinks and relax. The beach here is almost as good as Palawan, and if you walk 5 or 10 minutes past Tanjong Beach Club you will almost have it all to yourself.
Probably the busiest beach on Sentosa Island, Siloso has everything you’ve become accustomed to in a Southeast Asian beach, including beach bars, little shops selling sunglasses and jewelry, and clear blue water. Siloso seems to be the best beach for swimming and I saw a lot more people in the water there than any of the other beaches in Singapore.
The beach at Changi Park, the gateway to Pulau Ubin, is pretty good, but I’ve never seen anyone swimming there. It’s a bit rougher than the Sentosa Island beaches but when the light hits it right it looks just as good. It’s a great place to watch the sunset and there are some nice bars and restaurants nearby. As Changi Park is really close to the airport, you can stand on the beach and see planes flying really low overhead, which is nice, unless you’re trying to imagine you’re on a proper island getaway.
Where to Stay on the East Coast:
Mid-Range – Hotel Indigo Singapore Katong
Budget – Village Hotel Katong by Far East Hospitality
The most popular Singapore beach that isn’t located on Sentosa, East Coast Park gets pretty busy, but if you visit on a weekday you’ll have it almost to yourself. It’s a popular weekend spot to go cycling and there is a huge hawker centre which serves some highly regarded seafood. East Coast Park is home to one of the best Singapore beaches, and depending on the overhead conditions, the water looks almost good enough to swim in. East Coast Park is also a popular place to camp, but you need to organise a permit.
Another good option for cycling, Pasir Ris Park, located at the very end of Singapore’s East West MRT line, is also home to some decent (but small) wetlands. It’s a similar experience to Sungie Buloh Wetland Reserve, only on a far smaller scale, which makes it a nice detour on the way to the beach. The beach is nice, but again I probably wouldn’t swim there, but it’s the perfect spot for a barbeque and some beers.
Whether you are looking for a neatly manicured simulation of a beach paradise, or a more rustic and local experience, the beaches in Singapore provide excellent locations for a day away from the city. If you want to relax, head to Palawan beach and find the fake grass; you’ll almost forget you’re in Singapore.