Sentosa can be translated as ‘peaceful’ in the Malay language, although Singapore’s famous theme park playground is anything but.
This is where stressed out Singaporeans come to let their hair down and where kids can run wild and enjoy thrilling rides and wholesome family entertainment.
It has a faintly Disneyland appeal with extravagant attractions and sights that will delight all ages.
Around 60 percent of its 500 hectare land mass is covered with secondary rainforest, home to diverse fauna such as monitor lizards, monkeys and parrots.
Visiting Sentosa Island in Singapore
Don’t expect too much in the way of traditional culture here, it is all about pure and simple fun from start to finish and a whole day here will barely scratch the surface. Sentosa is an offshore island connected to the city by a short causeway or alternatively you can take the Sentosa express monorail system from the VivoCity shopping mall at Harbourfront.
Once you are there, getting around is pretty simple too. The southwest of the island houses the vast majority of rides and attractions; elsewhere things tend to be a little more spread out with large tracts of woodland interspersed with swanky hotel resorts and the Sentosa Golf Club.
Sentosa Island has seen a lot of big money recently and boasts Hollywood style escapism at the brand new Universal Studios theme park. There are also a number of lavish hotel resorts such as the six star Capella Singapore (website: www.capellahotels.com) which is a super-luxury haven that will set you back SGD$4,000 for a three bedroom suite.
The wet and wild fun of Sentosa’s Wave House Sentosa will be the first port of call for any budding surfers. It features Asia’s first ‘Wave House’ with three metre artificial barrelling waves, suitable for all levels and ages (website: www.wavehousesentosa.com). Just as unique is the Sentosa Luge (website: www.skylineluge.com), a fast paced downhill ride that is a cross between a street luge and go karting.
Next stop for thrill seekers is the Megazip Adventure Park (website:www.megazip.com.sg) a series of steep zip lines suspended 50 feet above the ground. There is also a thrilling vertigo inducing free-fall parachute simulator to try.
The Underwater World (website: www.underwaterworld.com.sg) offers an unforgettable opportunity to swim with dolphins or even dive with sharks, there is a Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom and you can lose yourself for a few hours in sprawling rainforest at Nature Discovery.
The southern coastline of Sentosa is fringed by pristine beaches filled with sand imported from nearby Indonesia and this where you can laze in the sun at the most southerly point in mainland Southeast Asia. It is a rather glitzy stretch of seafront filled trendy bars and beach shacks. Super chilled Cafe del Mar bring a little bit of Ibiza glamour to Singapore with all night mellow dance tunes, beach massage and fruity cocktails for beautiful people.
Take refuge under the swaying palms with a sun downer or stroll along its Miami-style boardwalk as far as tranquil Tanjong Beach, some two miles to the east. After dark the beachfront is awash with colour as the Songs of the Sea music and pyrotechnic show kicks in. Witness spectacular fireworks, lasers and water jets, all choreographed to music. Some may find it a little kitschy and over indulgent but is pleasing on the eye for young kids.
There is a myriad of breezy al fresco eateries to dine at here, catering to every taste and budget from cheap food centres to formal black tie affairs. Braise has faultless Euro cuisine overlooking the sand. Finish off with a nightcap at The Shack a trendy beach bar with a vibrant party vibe well into the early hours.