On Sunday the 23rd of Jan, Carrie and I headed out to be tourists in Singapore. We have slowly been checking a few items off the tourist trail and this particular day we decided to hit a tourist hot spot, Sentosa.
The island of Sentosa is mere meters off the mainland due south, but feels like a resort away from Singapore. Sentosa has gotten a lot of press here lately, as a new major attraction called Resorts World, is opening up soon with a Casino, Universal Studio Rides, hotels, etc which will greatly expand the laundry list of items to do on Sentosa.
Sentosa is a man made island that people generally go to for picnics on the beach, to wake board, swim in the ocean, or to just enjoy the amusement park like sights and rides. It is a very fun experience even if at times it feels contrived and cheesy, you just have to realize that it provides a great way to spend some time away from the city sprawl that is Singapore.
Our day went something like this:
At around 11am we took the MRT to the Harbour front Station and boarded a monorail (very Disney like) that whisked us away to Sentosa. The other options for getting to Sentosa involves taking a sky cable car aka gondola (unfortunately being upgraded and not working), or just take a bus or taxi over the bridge onto the island. We arrived at the beach front station and were greeted with hordes of picnickers, families, and people dressed in Sentosa uniforms to wave as our train arrived, greet us as we got off and then guide us around…we felt like we were at Disneyland where the the workers are too nice for our own good.
We opted against the trams that drive people around and walked down the beach area towards Underwater World (the aquarium) so that we could soak in the flavor of Sentosa. The beach front areas had nice bars, good swimming holes, and lounge chairs with umbrellas set up. It really did feel like a resort, the only real downside, like all of Singapore is, the view was mainly of container ships heading into port, but the water here seemed better than the east coast beach.
Sentosa has a lot of adventures sports including street luge, where you take a ski lift from the base of the hill (see photos below) to that top and then ride luges (black items in the second photo) down a course, there is also a zip line, and a wave pool. We did none of these things although we wanted to, as we decided we’d do when guests like you come to visit.
Anyways, we shortly arrived at Underwater World and headed in for a peek. The highlights were a dolphin show with Pink Dolphins (yes there really are such things, see photo below) and a 85 meter or 279 feet long travellator (flat escalator) that was under a huge aquarium. The travellator was amazing and really made you feel like you were underwater with the fish. It was about as close as you could get to scuba diving without actually doing it. Also, the fish inside were huge and included sharks, rays, giant groupers, and numerous other species we had never seen before. The aquarium also had nautilus swimming around, a touch pool that included fish, sharks, rays, and other items you could never touch in the US. There were giant sea turtles, about the size of a VW bug, that got Carrie excited about diving in the South Pacific.
After underwater world we saw an amazing sight. Since Singapore is so clean, only about 5 pigeons live on the entire island and we had not seen a single one yet. But we did manage to see 10 peacocks on Sentosa doing what Pigeons do in the US–annoy picnickers, and thus we have dubbed them the pigeons of Singapore. Really though Singapore is so clean and well designed that this might not be a joke. See evidence below.
We then took a bus from Underwater world up Imbiah lookout to oversee the island and look back to Singapore. It was a great vantage point and even had a huge Merlion (body of a fish, head of a lion; the symbol of Singapore) that you could pay money to go up for an even better view. We opted instead for our first really touristy photo and posed in front of the Merlion.
Overall we were impressed with Sentosa and all it has to offer. We will definitely go back and see some of the other sights including the butterfly and insect park and more of the beaches. We will also like go on the zip line and the street luge when we need a break from Singapore itself.