Sentosa’s Imbiah Lookout is a bustling location where passengers disembark from cable cars, can view the waxworks at Madame Tussauds Singapore and hurtle themselves downslope on a luge. However, just a short distance from the busyness of Imbiah Lookout is a hidden side to Mount Imbiah known to few – the Imbiah Trail and nature area.
The Mount Imbiah Trail has been around ever since Sentosa first opened to the public in the 1970s. It snakes around Mount Imbiah, breaking the summit at a “whopping” 65 metres above sea level.
The hill was once used by British as screening point for passing ships and was armed with coastal artillery guns. Nowadays, the bunkers that used to hold ammunition now house Edible-nest and Black-nest swiftlets. In place of soldiers are thrill-seekers trekking up to Mega Zip Adventure Park.
Mount Imbiah also welcomes those who wish to experience a different side of Sentosa. Away from the booming beaches and bright-light attractions, here are some of the sights you can find along a trek on the Mount Imbiah Trail and nature walk.
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Supersized Wildlife (Models)
Wander around the trails and you will encounter supersized models of the wildlife that inhabit the secondary forest of Mount Imbiah.
There range from adorable creatures such as the hornbill to creepy crawlies and insects. The models are a reminder of the real creatures are probably lurking around the scrubland of Mount Imbiah.
Sleeping Rock Dragon
Speaking of creatures you can encounter, don’t be surprised if you stumble across a dragon along the Imbiah Trail – a rock dragon that is.
This pile of rocks resembles a sleeping dragon, hidden into the hillside. It has been lulled into dreamland by the gentle sound of running water nearby.
Solve the Riddle of Tampines
You may know Tampines as a housing estate in the East, but do you know the origins of its name? And, why is it pronounced TAM-PEE-NEES instead of TAM-PINES anyway?
Lift the veil on the mystery along the Imbiah Trail.
On Mount Imbiah, you will come across the Tempinis Cascade, a rocky “waterfall” (It wasn’t flowing when we passed by). The feature is named for the nearby tempinis trees.
Similarly, the Tampines estate also derives its name from the same tree which was once commonly found in the area where the housing estate now stands.
READ MORE: Sentosa’s Coastal Forest Trail
MegaZip Adventure Park
At the summit of Mount Imbiah is MegaZip Adventure Park. Challenge yourself to a MegaClimb high ropes course, a MegaJump leap point and a MegaWall you can scale up.
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Look for Birds (or Cable Cars)
Also at the summit of Mount Imbiah is a 10-metre tall bird watching tower. You can climb up the three-storey tower to get a birds-eye view of the cable cars sailing past or the folks tackling MegaZip Adventure Park.
Mount Imbiah Gun Emplacement
The remnants of a gun emplacement for a 9.2-inch coast defence gun can still be seen at Mount Imbiah’s summit. The battery was built in the 1880s and, along with the guns at Fort Siloso, served as part of the coastal defences of Singapore.
The gun was dismantled in the 1930s and the Mount Imbiah battery abandoned.
Today, the underground rooms where ammunition was stored are now inhabited by Edible-nest and Black-nest swallows and off limits to visitors. Yes, these are same swallows that produce the Chinese delicacy, Birds Nest. This bunker is one of the only locations left in Singapore where these birds can be found and has been locked to protect them.
Don’t be disappointed that you can’t explore the underground bunkers, you can still explore the support buildings nearby.
Bonus: Get In Your Steps
The Imbiah Trail is an official venue of the National Steps Challenge. If you complete the 2.3 km trail, you will have gotten in 2875 steps. You just need to do 3-and-a-half rounds to hit your 10,000 steps goal!
What’s more, in the process, you will get to explore a side of Mount Imbiah unbeknownst to many. Mount Imbiah is also one of two protected nature areas on Sentosa.
Getting to the Imbiah Trail
To get to the Mount Imbiah Trail from Imbiah Lookout, head along the 225-metre long Imbiah Bridge. This bridge has been specially converted from part of the old Sentosa monorail track.