Sentosa: Singapore’s playground

Sentosa is heralded as Singapore’s leisure hub, with many activities for the whole family, including beaches, nature trails, theme parks, and very good food!

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There are three main ways of getting to Sentosa from the mainland. Firstly, you can hire a taxi from anywhere in Singapore to take you to the island. I have done this many times, but only to the underground parking lot at Resorts World Sentosa. I guess you could take a taxi elsewhere, such as to VivoCity. Secondly, you can catch the Sentosa Express, from Harbourfront MRT Station which will take you across the island, terminating at Siloso Beach station. Thirdly, you can be more adventurous and take the Singapore Cable Car from Mt Faber across to Sentosa. It sure is scary up there, and it is the most expensive option, but there are great views to be seen.

Arriving at Sentosa in style
Arriving at Sentosa in style (looking back towards Mt Faber)!

When you arrive at Sentosa, you can choose what you want to do. There really is something for everyone, but the whole island is mainly targeted towards families and young children, although Universal Studios Singapore is located here (additional admission) and that contains many exhilarating thrill rides and rollercoasters that are not for the faint-hearted! Universal Studios is part of the larger Resorts World Sentosa complex on the island, which also comprises the S.E.A. Aquarium, which bills itself as the largest aquarium in the world, the Experiential Maritime Museum, and the Adventure Cove water park, which also has an opportunity to swim with dolphins! The best restaurants in Sentosa are also located here including Din Tai Fung, which serves the famous Xiao Long Bao (Shanghainese dumplings), and the world-renowned Hard Rock Café. The entire Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) complex is incredibly well-maintained and which not only always looks pleasing on the eye, but also pleasing to the ear with its serene musical soundtracks.

The S.E.A. Aquarium
The S.E.A. Aquarium at RWS

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Well-kept greenery and waterways at RWS
Well-kept greenery and waterways at RWS

A lot of people head straight to the Imbiah Lookout section of the island, which is currently being reconstructed to contain Madame Tussauds Singapore waxwork museum. It is scheduled to open sometime in the second half of 2014. Nonetheless, currently open and operating in this area are the adventure and educational attractions, such as the Butterfly & Insect Kingdom, the Tiger Sky Tower, and the MegaZip Adventure! Also located at Imbiah Lookout are many nature and hiking trails located around the island’s huge centrepiece: the Merlion, which is the largest of all Merlion statues in the Singapore.

Standing tall and proud
Standing tall and proud
One of the cool walking paths through Imbiah Lookout
One of the cool walking paths through Imbiah Lookout

Having negotiated Imbiah Lookout, your next port of call should be the beachfront. You can either walk to the beach or hop on the free-to-ride Sentosa Express monorail, which will take you one stop further down towards the sea, and will take you only around 90 seconds (but walking will take around 10 minutes, at least).

Inside the Sentosa Express
Inside the air-conditioned Sentosa Express

When at the beachfront, you can do what you would normally do when at the seaside: You could sunbathe, frolic in the sea, explore the area, eat and drink, or even watch some live entertainment on the beach. Sentosa has three beaches: Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, and Tanjong Beach. Siloso is the most touristy and has a lot of activities for kids, whereas Palawan is more laid-back and home to the most expensive hotel resort in the entire country: the Capella Singapore (rooms start at £350 per night). Tanjong Beach is actually somewhere I have not yet explored properly so next time I get back to Sentosa I must check that place out! All beaches in Sentosa are very clean and safe, and are certainly more visually impressive than any of the beaches in Bali. Additionally, at Sentosa’s beaches there is no risk of sandflies, hornets, or saltwater crocodiles. However, monkeys are omnipresent (especially at Siloso, where there is a little more jungle foliage), and of course always watch out for those blasted mosquitoes! The water is warm and sand is also VERY warm! Flip-flops are definitely needed if you need to walk across the sand other you will get burnt feet!

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Lovely place to relax!
Lovely place to relax!
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One for the scrapbook?

One of the other more notable aspects this part of Sentosa is the opportunity to stand at the point which is labelled “the southern-most point of Continental Asia”. This is a tiny island with a lookout post, accessible by rope bridge only from Palawan Beach, one of the three beaches at Sentosa. It is said that you can drive and walk from anywhere in Europe or Asia to this point, but can go no further due to the Singapore Straight standing between you and Indonesia! From here on in you will need a boat to get to the Indonesian archipelago! It is very touristy, but it is very relaxing listening to waves crash on the rocks, and of course a nice place to get some photos!

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