You might expect a political summit to be held in a major city, but the small luxury island of Sentosa is where Donald Trump will meet Kim Jong Un next week.
It’s part of Singapore, sitting just off the south coast of the country, which is sandwiched between Malaysia and Indonesia. The historic meeting to discuss nuclear power will be held at Capella Hotel on June 12.
Singapore itself, where Trump is expected to stay at the Shangri-La Hotel, is famous for its luxury, high rise buildings and cultural diversity. Its colonial history means English is widely spoken and its notoriously strict laws mean it’s particularly safe and clean.
Just a short 500m hop across the Singapore Strait is the island of Sentosa, which translates to ‘peace and tranquility’ in Malay. It was formerly known as Pulau Blakang Mati, which roughly means ‘The Island Of Death From Behind’ which was once used to house prisoners of war during the Japan occupation.
It’s less than three square miles in size, so what’s actually there?
Sentosa is where Singaporeans go for some chill-out time, and the main island is very built up. It isn’t blessed with natural beauty though, Sentosa’s beaches are actually mostly man-made with reclaimed land and sand shipped in from Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. They might not be naturally occurring, but they are – like the rest of Singapore – kept in pristine condition. The palm tree-lined Siloso Beach and Palawan Beach are both popular spots, but as Singapore is one of the world’s busiest ports, don’t expect the water to be crystal clear.
The island was built for relaxation, but also a bit of fun. In the year-round hot and humid weather, watersports are a popular way to let off some steam. Head to Wave House on Siloso Beach where you can learn to ‘flo-ride’ – think surfing on a skateboard-sized board on (of course) artificial waves. Thrill seekers can strap on a jet pack to try flyboarding at Ola Beach Club and rocket 30ft above the water.
It’s no surprise Trump would choose a location with golf courses, and there are two here, The Serapong, and The New Tanjong course. Major tournaments are often held at the Sentosa Golf Club, which opened in 1974 and has apparently been voted the best course in southeast Asia, and there are several luxury hotels next to the courses.
If the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s city centre gets too much for the kids, Sentosa is great for young families. It has its very own Universal Studios theme park, and the Adventure Cove Waterpark where you can get up close and personal with rays at Ray Bay. There’s other wildlife too – monitor lizards, peacocks and monkeys can be found in the secondary rainforest. Albeit not so wild, Singapore’s Butterfly and Insect Museum, with 15,000 butterflies and 3,000 species of insects, and the S.E.A. Aquarium, are also in Sentosa.
How to get there: Take the Sentosa Island Monorail Express (tickets S$4), from Singapore’s harbourfront metro station, or for panoramic views, the 12-minute Singapore Cable Car (tickets S$35 for adults, S$25 for children).