Sentosa Island is one of the many islands which make up the sovereign city state of Singapore, but it is very different from the others. It was built (or better transformed, because the island with its vegetation had always existed) as an area exclusively dedicated to entertainment: so you either love it, or you hate it, or you go there because you have kids in tow … like Disneyland, actually! You can get to Sentosa Island in several ways: the most scenic is by cable car (but only if the sky is clear) while the most common is through the Harbourfront metro station, from where you can choose to ride the monorail or go on foot. What changes is the cost of entry to the island which, in any case, is insignificant and varies only by a couple of dollars.
We chose the monorail and we immediately noticed that in Sentosa there are 3 stations: Waterfront Station, Imbiah Station and Beach Station.
Since the sky was sort of clear, we went immediately to the last stop, Beach Station, to swim in the sea and enjoy one of the three (artificial) beaches.
We chose Palawan Beach because it is located right next to a big water park with a galleon and free slides and toboggans. Then we moved to the beach to take a dip in the sea. There is also a very low rope bridge, which leads to a small island . From there several paths that lead into the forest. There are many activities in this part of the island, so I’ll point out only some of them, which we did not test. This is mostly due to the fact that to test each single activity in Sentosa, one would have to spend one week there, and not one day.
Among the various attractions there are: KidZania, I-fly Singapore if you want to experience the thrill of flying (skydiving) without hopping off a plane (here you “fly” only 2 meters high), the Wave-house to try to conquer giant waves with a surfboard … and a luge track. Obviously admission to all is with a fee.
Towards midday we headed to Waterfront Station, to have lunch ad to see the S.E.A. Aquarium and, especially, the Maritime Experiential Museum. If you have little time you can skip the beautiful aquarium (and see the one in Genova). The Maritime Experiential Museum instead it is truly unique and all dedicated to seafaring history. There are plenty of things to discover and to learn about the sea routes of the past. They also teach how to make sailor knots (it is not that difficult, you know?). Sights are plenty, and among the many other interesting things, there is a huge Omani galleon which you can enter.
The gem of the museum is the Typhoon Theatre with its 4D movie, which convincingly evokes the story of a boat and its crew caught in a typhoon while at sea. My son wanted to sit alone, away from mum and dad. After a few minutes he ran frightened by us, and when the boat sank (and the theater went down) he has also shed some tears.
At this Sentosa Island station, too, there are many fun activities to do, the largest being the Universal Studios We did not go there but if you like thrilling rides, there should be the highest double roller coaster in the world. If you are interested in a water-based theme park there is the Adventure Cove Waterpark. You will find slides and a river that winds along the park. As you float down the river you will pass tanks with fish stingrays, pools with dolphins, waterfalls and water games. We did not have time to go there, but we might next time.
At dusk we made our way to Imbiah Station to see the very kitsch replica of the Merlion (the real one is located at the mouth of the Singapore River, in the city center). This fake Merlion is 37 metres tall and lits up at night: kids love it and adults find it boring – dad figured it out quickly and refused to go in.
In my opinion it is worth the visit: there is a very unconvincing exhibition of several monsters (marine and not), which will appeal to the little ones. Then you can watch a short film about the origin of the name Merlion. It is a beautiful legend (which I won’t tell you and spoil your fun!) worth listening to it. In the next room you can use the token that you were given at the entrance with the ticket. You insert it in the mouth of a small Merlion, and he will “spit” out a coin with his effigy. My son treasures it as if is was made of gold instead of cheap plastic. Finally, to the delight of all children, you can take the elevator to reach the mouth and the eye of the creature, and admire the island from such a peculiar viewpoint.
In short, you will be spoiled for choice in Sentosa Island. So have a good time there!