Sentosa Island

Posted from Singapore.

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To the south of Sinapore lies Sentosa Island, home to the most southern tip in continental Asia, golden beaches and a modern playground of adrenaline inducing awesome activities. Sentosa Island isn’t exactly what I make it sound like though. Picture Epcot, or Sea World, or a subdued Phuket where children probably won’t be scarred for life and adults get to have fun without the need to get skunk drunk – though they still can if that’s their poison.

The cheapest way to get to the island is taking the MRT to Harbourfront Station. There are two options to get to the island from here. Either you can take the monorail line for $3 or you can walk across the boardwalk for 0.6km and pay $1. If you choose to walk, rest-assured, you can take the monorail back for free. At least I did, and I only had a wee moment of worry that they would ask for a ticket.

The cable car is an alternate and more breathtaking way to get to the island.

The cable car is an alternate and more breathtaking way to get to the island.

A much more expensive but beautiful way to get to the island is to pay $26 to take the cable car over. Again. I walked. But I took the longest cable car over water in Nha Trang when I went to Vinpearl Park.

There are no real entrance fees (that’s what you paid to get on the monorail) so if you don’t want to go to any of the attractions your day can be really cheap. There are a couple of beaches that are free to enter, as well as a long rope bridge that crosses to the actual most southern point in continental Asia. The buses are free on the island also. And you can always just watch other people blow heaps of cash.

One of the free trams. They're always packed.

One of the free trams. They’re always packed.

As for the paid attractions people can really spend a lot of coin, but they will be thoroughly entertained. I’ll be biased and say my most favourite attraction is iFly Singapore – a vertical wind tunnel that at $40/min can create an enjoyable simulated freefall, just like a skydiver. (to be clear, I didn’t pay for or do a damn thing – Singapore really is expensive. And I regret not going in the tunnel, but it is the most expensive wind tunnel in the world.)

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As soon as you walk into the place there’s Universal Studios, which looked like it had two roller coasters, and I’m not clear what else it had to offer. Perhaps some 3D movie rides? There’s a luge that also included a chair-lift ride to the top of the hill. You could pay for a full-day pass or by the ride. There’s the Wave House, which is free to watch, but you’ll need actual money if you want to catch some of the simulated waves in their two wave generators. And while I always have enjoyed a beer at the Wave House in San Diego, they were a little too pricey here for me. There’s Underwater World, a huge aquarium that let’s you walk under the sea and observe water-life in its habitat. But I heard the actual aquarium is better. And I’ll be scuba diving in a week, so why would I pay to see fish in a jar? There’s a children’s waterpark, that didn’t seem too pricey. Noisy, but not pricey. Of course there’s a golf course. And a marina. And there’s a casino, which, depending on how good you are or how lucky you are, you may or may not enjoy.

There’s also a fort, sky tower, butterfly park, zipline, trapeze show and plenty of bird and animal encounters – like snakes and parrots you can hold and get photographic evidence that you didn’t completely freak out.

It doesn’t take long to make your way around the island – especially if you’re not participating in anything. But the moment you get caught up in some attraction it’s easy to spend the whole day there. For instance, I spent an hour at iFly.

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Unlike most parks, there’s budget food available here. While you can go eat in a 4-star restaurant it’s also fairly easy to find a bowl of noodles and pork for $5. At least I think it was pork. And if you really really want, there’s a couple of resorts on the island, so you don’t ever have to leave.

It’s important to check out the weather before heading to the island as Singapore is prone to unpredictable rains and thunder storms. It’s easy to hide from the weather, but who wants to spend the day inside when you’re meant to be exploring the island.

I found my day at the park particularly fun. It’s worth the $1 I paid to get in and the $3 round trip fare on the MRT. But if you’re the kind of person who needs to luge, zipline, fly and ride waves, you may need a bit more money than I spent.

In two days I’m off to Bali – and while I’ve always wanted to go there, I’m only spending two days on the mainland before heading to the Gili Islands to do some scuba diving. Ciao.

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