Sustainable travel is something we’re all thinking about more and more. Happily, Sentosa has been putting that thought into action for quite some time. So much so, that it’s now Asia’s first island destination to be certified sustainable. Although, don’t imagine environmental responsibility looks, sounds or feels in the slightest bit dull.
What sustainable travel means to Sentosa
As Asia’s first island destination to be certified sustainable, Sentosa had to satisfy the stringent Global Sustainable Tourism Council Destination Criteria (GSTC-D) covering Sustainable Management, Socio-economic, Cultural and Environmental Sustainability. The gold standard for sustainable tourism, GSTC-D has exacting standards, and to date, only 23 destinations worldwide have been GSTC-D certified. So Sentosa now belongs to the same elite group as icons like Vail in Colorado and Iceland’s Snæfellnes Peninsula.
But it’s also a place of rare and singular loveliness, has sights like nowhere else and aims to keep its beauty intact and its green credentials growing. In fact, one of the island’s main sustainability goals is to achieve carbon neutrality by 2023. To that end, plans are already underway to power at least 10% of its electricity needs from renewable sources and also become a zero-waste destination. Indeed, with innovative waste-to-energy systems playing a major role, it’s predicted that sufficient renewable energy will be produced by 2030 to offset the emissions of 300K hotel rooms each year.
Although we predict kids may be a bit more interested in the day-to-day adventure that co-exists with sustainable travel practices all over Sentosa.
Green, clean and unique family attractions
There’s a high chance your children already know quite a bit about sustainability, although they may not immediately recognise it in some of these Sentosa family attractions.
Discover SkyHelix Sentosa, the perfect experience to convince kids about the coolness of sustainability. Not only is it the tallest, open-air, 360° ride in Singapore, it’s also Sentosa’s first carbon-neutral attraction.
Rising 79 metres above sea level, the ride lasts 12 minutes and takes in views of the Keppel Bay area as well as the Greater Southern Waterfront. Designed to be both low-impact and energy efficient, even after dark its LED lights make sure it stays green as it looks out over the twinkling cityscape for miles and miles.
The fact that Sentosa is home to over 80 species of resident and migratory birds could be reason enough to take a walk along the peaceful and naturally beautiful Imbiah Trail.
At just 2.3 kilometres long, this is a perfect trek for kids and it also goes through forested Mount Imbiah; one of two protected areas on Sentosa. It’s a well-signposted trail and in addition to real birds, there are outsize wildlife models dotted along its length too. Don’t forget to drop into Sentosa Nature Discovery and the Geology Gallery after your walk to learn more about the island’s eight natural habitats which include coastal forests, seashores and wetlands.
Education plays a big part in Sentosa’s sustainability culture and SentoSights are excellent examples of that in practice. A series of 10 guided tours which immerse families in the area’s history, geography and natural wonders, SentoSights are rare combinations of learning, play, magic and adventure, so you won’t be surprised to hear that kids love them.
Night time forest walks are a particularly big hit with teenagers, although all ages get excited by the wildlife watching potential of East Asian Flyway: a perfect introduction to birdwatching. Sentosa Intertidal Exploration reveals the underwater world at low tide, much to the amazement of everyone. And if you ever wanted to know more about sustainable fishing, catch a Sentosa Sunset Cruise and sail along the Southern Islands, another guaranteed eye-opener for all.
Explorers of Sentosa by Thomas Dambo
Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, is famous for his enormous, fantastical sculptures created from recycled materials. While you can now see his fairy tale creatures worldwide, the four Explorers of Sentosa are the first of his enormous works to be created in Southeast Asia.
Using an online map, follow the trail of Eternity flowers along Palawan Beach and you’ll find the Dambo giants hidden around the shore. Seeking them out is a great adventure for kids, learning is gently woven into the experience and again, sustainability proves to be amazingly cool, creative and clever.
Universal Studios Singapore and Adventure Cove Waterpark
Even major theme parks at Sentosa are committed to sustainability. So if you dare the Revenge of the Mummy ride at Universal Studios Singapore, know that solar panels are on the roof outside. They’re also installed at Adventure Cove Waterpark, and between them, both parks now generate an astonishing 650,000kWh of electrical energy every year.
Sustainable Sentosa feeds you thoughtful food
If we really are what we eat, then eating in Sentosa could potentially make you a more responsible traveller. But don’t worry, nothing about sustainable dining experiences here tastes less than fantastic. In fact, low-impact food often turns out to be more delicious as it comes with a side order of clean conscience.
Ocean Restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa
As if to prove the point, Ocean Restaurant serves up a mouth-watering mix of Californian and Mediterranean style cooking with about 90% of ingredients sustainably sourced.
Even the seafood here comes from environmentally responsible fisheries. And if that isn’t commitment enough for you, you’ll be delighted to discover the restaurant always aims to buy everything from fruit and wine to tea and coffee from suppliers who share their sustainable values.
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
Food waste is an environmental concern worldwide and one that Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is tackling head-on and upfront with the installation of a smart food waste tracking system in one of its kitchens. As a result the resort can now more accurately assess the amount of food to prepare and so cut waste by 2 to 4%. Additionally, it also partners with FoodBank Singapore to donate untouched food to local communities.
Sentosa says ‘no’ to shark’s fin
Several Sentosa hotels have now removed shark’s fin from their menus. This welcome move is part of a commitment to wider sustainable practices and is already in place at resorts like W Singapore Sentosa Cove, Capella Singapore and Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa.
Practice sustainable travel in your sleep
Sustainable practices are 24/7 in Sentosa, so even while you’re snoozing you can also be responsible, low-impact and helping to make the world a better place.
Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa
Doing its bit, and more, for the environment, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa has now eliminated single-use plastics throughout the resort. Water-efficient fittings in public and private bathrooms are another innovation. And these measures, coupled with the installation of LED lights to reduce energy consumption, have resulted in the award of a Singapore Green Mark for the resort.
LED TV and keycard systems, as well as eco-friendly luxury amenities by Balmain – in 100% recyclable dispensers – have been introduced into all guest rooms. And you also have the option of reusing towels and bedlinen during your stay to cut down on washing and water consumption.
Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island
A short ferry ride from Sentosa, Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island literally lets families ‘escape’ the city for a little and immerse themselves in unspoiled nature.
As well as the pleasure of beautiful island beaches, space to walk and a wonderfully serene atmosphere, families also get to stay in one of five eco-friendly and individually designed ‘tiny houses’.
Powered mainly by solar energy and built from low-impact materials, these homes might be passive but they’re also incredibly comfortable and ideal for families. We predict your kids will particularly like the integrated biodigesters which they can feed waste food that’s munched up and converted into compost within 24-hours.
Sustainable travel leaves no trace in Sentosa
Getting about on the daily and staying true to your sustainable spirit can be a bit of a balancing act. Fortunately Sentosa makes it remarkably simple to be green, clean and mobile on days out or even longer stays.
Hire a bike and see more with less impact
Rent a bike or kick scooter at Gogreen Eco Adventure on Siloso Beach and you have the freedom to explore Sentosa from end-to-end. Not only are there about 12 kilometres of cycling trails networked into some of the prettiest places, you can see practically anything under your own steam from nature reserves and historic monuments to waterfronts and fabulous viewpoints.
Walk about or catch some green public transport
Of course walking is the most eco-friendly mode of transport out, and Sentosa is a glorious place to put that to the test. However, hiking about with younger kids isn’t always a plan, so you’ll be soothed to know that Sentosa’s fleet of beach shuttle has been fully electric since 2020. And if you want to go further, catch the Sentosa Express or Sentosa Bus – the aim is for all island transportation to be electric by 2025.
Ready to explore a greener destination? Visit Sentosa and find out more about sustainable travel.