By: Cher Tan
Formerly known by the rather unattractive name of Pulau Belakang Mati (“The Island After Death” in Malay), Sentosa has been rebranded and resculpted into one big tourist attraction, popular amongst Singaporeans as a quick island getaway. Furthermore, the recent completion of Resorts World on the island – an enormous complex comprising a Universal Studios themepark, Singapore’s first casino, shopping malls and hotels – is launching Singapore onto the world stage as a 1st-class travel destination. Imagine Sentosa as a miniature version of Singapore, except with more sun and beach, and you get the picture.
How to get to Sentosa
The easiest way to get to Sentosa is by subway, followed by monorail. Get on the North-East Line on the MRT and get off at Harbourfront MRT Station. After which, enter Vivocity (which is a mall connected to the station) and go up to the 5th level to purchase a travel card ($3, valid all day) to get on the monorail. You can also take bus RWS8 from outside Harbourfront MRT.
Sentosa Highlights off and on the Beaten Path:
Fort Siloso: Formerly the largest British naval base in Fortress Singapore, its guns staring balefully out towards the sea in preparation for enemy attack. The Japanese rode bikes down the peninsula instead; after your visit here, be sure to visit the Battle Box at Fort Canning Hill to find out what happened next. Now turned into a museum, you can follow a tour through the area (complete with lots of wax figures) to find out what the life of a recruit was like then. Near Underwater World, opens daily 10am-6pm, $8/$5 adult/child.
Casino: Singapore’s first casino is tucked away underground underneath the Crockfords Tower hotel. There are 500 gaming tables offering 19 different games, but the emphasis is on Asian favorites like baccarat, roulette, tai sai and pai gow, with poker a distinct minority. A dress code applies: no slippers, no singlets and no shorts. And in true Singapore style, it opens 24 hours, 7 days a week. Crockfords Tower B1M, Resorts World Sentosa, overseas guests free entry, Singaporeans/Permanent Residents $100 casino levy.
Voyage de la Vie: The first circus theatre spectacular ever to be created in Singapore, it presents an international cast of circus stars brought together from 16 countries. The story is told through song and dance, combining the energy, physicality and athleticism of circus arts, resulting in a contemporary cutting edge performance art form. Fully engages the senses and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. Festive Grand, Resorts World Sentosa.
Fish Reflexology: For a spa treatment with a difference, pop in to have fish nibble dead skin off your feet. You have a choice between “gentle” Turkish fish and “aggressive” African ones: neither will cause damage, but the African ones are said to be pretty ticklish. The treatment concludes with foot reflexology or a head and shoulder massage, performed more traditionally by humans. Underwater World (near ticket booth), opens daily 10am-7pm, $35 for 40 minutes.
Besides these activities you can also choose to bask in the sun on Sentosa’s 100% artificial beaches, whizz over the jungle canopy at the Megazip Adventure Park, or hurl yourself off a mountain in a the Skyline Luge Sentosa. Plenty of entertainment for the whole family in the mirage that is Sentosa!