Welcome to another edition of Fabulous Journeys! This post will feature the island of Sentosa, which is Singapore’s recreation island. I had the opportunity to visit Sentosa while I was in Singapore in May. I was amazed at how organised everything is! I thought of it as an island with some degree of roughness, but I should have known better that Singapore will not settle for anything rough and rustic.
Getting to Sentosa Island
Sentosa is accessible via 4 ways: car, bus, cable car and the Sentosa Express. There is a bridge that links Sentosa to the main island of Singapore, and this is where the cars can pass through. There is a $2 entry fee per person or per car to the island. If you don’t have a car, you can take a taxi or the orange Sentosa bus from Vivo City shopping mall to get to the island. The easiest way I found was to take the Sentosa Express, which is a monorail that runs from Vivo City and to 3 stations within the island. It costs $3 for a day trip ticket between Sentosa and Vivo City, and you can hop on the different station within Sentosa Island as many times as you want within the day.
Alternatively, if you would like a more scenic way to get to the island, you can take the cable car from Mount Faber. It costs $18 return, which is more expensive than the other options, but worth trying if you want to enjoy the view and the novelty of taking a cable car to the island. For more information on ways to get to Sentosa, check out their website here.
There are several buses around Sentosa, and all of them are free of charge! There is a blue, yellow and red line which would go to different areas on the island. They also have 2 beach tram lines, which would take you to the 3 beach locations on the island (Siloso, Palawan and Tanjong). It’s very easy to get around Sentosa, and most of the attractions are covered either by the Sentosa Express or the buses that go around.
Merlion – Sentosa has the biggest Merlion statue in Singapore. The Merlion, the national symbol of Singapore, is a mythical creature that is half-lion and half fish. The Merlion in Sentosa is a huge building that houses a display of various underwater mythical creatures including sea dragons, mermaids, and the Merlion itself, and some animation features and shops. At the top of the Merlion statue/building is the Mouth Gallery viewing deck (called because it is on the mouth of the Merlion statue), which offers a 360degree view of Sentosa and the southern end of Singapore.
Images Of Singapore – This is a museum that celebrates the ethnic and cultural diversity of Singapore. It showcases how the 4 different major ethnic groups have settled into Singapore through the centuries. Displays of their lifestyle, celebrations, customs and traditions of each of the 4 different races can be found inside, as well as vintage furniture and a display on the 1819 Founding of Singapore. As with the many attractions in Sentosa, there is a souvenir shop where you can find all things unique about Singapore (including food and condiments).
Fort Siloso – Before Sentosa became a recreation island, it was used by the British as a defence fortress for the ships that pass through the straits to get to the rest of Southeast Asia. It was then called Pulau Blakang Mati, which referred to a Malay village on the hill. There were 2 other forts on the island, but Fort Siloso is the only one that was preserved. The island was renamed Sentosa (Peace and Tranquility in Malay) in 1972 when it was designated to be a recreation island. This area has one of the largest collections of World War 2 artillery in Asia. There are a lot of displays of the Second World War and the Japanese occupation of Singapore. The Surrender Chambers is one of the most distinct exhibits and houses a life-size wax display of the actual surrenders of Singapore: the British surrender to the Japanese in 1942, and the Japanese surrender to the Allied Forces in 1945. It’s a fascinating place to learn about how life was during the war in Singapore, and thus, a piece of history of this modern island nation.
Here’s a video I made at Fort Siloso, while viewing all their artillery collection:
Tiger Sky Tower – This is a revolving viewing deck that goes up 110 meters, offering a fantastic view of Sentosa, the Singapore skyline and some islands of Indonesia and Malaysia from a distance. The viewing deck lowers to the ground level to pick up the passengers, and then slowly shoots up to 110 meters. The platform is fully enclosed and rotates around, offering a great 360 degree panoramic view of Singapore and the South China Sea.
Siloso Beach – This is the most popular beach in Sentosa. I wouldn’t classify it as a great beach, but if you just want to feel the sand and play some beach volleyball, then this is the best spot to do it in Singapore. There are cafes and restaurants on this beach, and the facilities are great. Nearby is the Shangri La Rasa Sentosa resort, if you fancy going to a more upmarket kind of establishment.
Songs of The Sea – This is the nightly musical fountain display of Sentosa. The Songs of The Sea replaced the original musical dancing fountain that Sentosa was known for, and was opened on 26 March 2007. It is the world’s first permanent show set in the sea, and has amazing lights, water jets, lasers, computer graphics animation and pyrotechnic displays. Entry normally cost $10 per person.
These are some of the great attractions at Sentosa. It’s very accessible from mainland Singapore, and is worth a visit if you want to take a break from the usual shopping and city scene. The place is a refreshing change from the full-on packed city life of Singapore, and is a popular weekend destination for the locals. If you want to avoid the crowds, it is best to go during the middle of the week. I hope you enjoyed this post!
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Til the next Fabulous Journeys!