Pulau Belakang Mati aka Sentosa.
Sentosa island off Singapore was once known as Pulau Belakang Mati. In Malay Pulau means Island and Belakang Mati means 'killed from the back'; a direct translation would be "the island of death from behind". The name of this Island is derived from the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. Japanese soldiers would line up prisoners of war along the beach to execute them by making them kneel down and shooting them in the back. The island was only renamed Sentosa in 1972 and the Malay meaning is peace and tranquility.
The island itself started out as a fort defending Singapore's Keppel Harbour during the colonial times. Fort Siloso is located on the West part of Sentosa and was built by the British in 1880s to guard the narrow western entrance to Keppel Harbour. The fort was later modernised and guarded the Western approaches to Singapore during the Second World War. Fort Siloso is now the only surviving coastal gun battery in Singapore. Sentosa has changed tremendously over the years like any other part of Singapore. Although fort Siloso is still very much intact to commemorate what Sentosa used to be, Sentosa is now a playground for the rich as famous, as well as a place for locals and tourist to enjoy the vast array of resorts and beaches. I've not really explored the island since 1991 and have only been to Universal Studios Singapore when it first opened on Sentosa. This is the first time in years that I decided to explore Sentosa. Sentosa Island is not huge and there are many options for you get there. The free option is walk over to Sentosa across the Sentosa Boardwalk adjacent to Vivo City and if you find the weather too hot and humid you are able to catch a monorail from Vivo City at a cost of $4 sgd. One could also take the cable care from either Mount Faber or at Harbour Front across to Sentosa and enjoy the aerial views. The last option, if you have access to a car is to drive over to Sentosa, however parking may cost you an arm and a leg. Sentosa now houses the only Universal Studios in Asia, a vast array of resorts and other establishments to meet the many leisure needs of visitors. Sentosa now has some of the most expensive properties in Singapore with waterfront apartments and villas as well as moorings for yachts and a golf club. The best way to explore Sentosa is on foot as the island is not huge and most attractions are walking distance apart however there is also a bus service on the island that consist of 3 different routes to take you around the island.
There are three main beaches on Sentosa: Siloso; Palawan and Tanjong beach. Silosa beach is the most crowded of all the beaches as that is where beach parties and events are held on a regular basis. Also, most of the beach front bars and restaurants are located on Siloso beach. Tanjong beach is the quietest as it is the furtherest away from all the main attractions and it is nice place to enjoy the sun and have some rest and relaxation. However, do take note that at the weekends Sentosa will be extremely crowded (but then Singapore is crowded everywhere over the weekend) so remember if you want quieter time to explore Sentosa, I would recommend you visit on a week day and also do find out when the school holidays are.