Formerly under British colony, Singapore has been flourishing and prospering under our People’s Action Party or PAP led by our then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in 1965 when it gained independence and now under his son – our current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Also nicknamed as the Green City and Garden Of Orchards because of its natural cleanliness, green landscapes and abundant flowers of natural significance.
We shall start off with Sentosa – which is regarded as our top place of interest, followed by Singapore Zoo, Marina Bay Sands, Jurong Bird Park, Science Centre and finally downtown Orchard Road and Raffles Place.
The name Sentosa translates as peace and tranquility in Malay, which was in turn derived from Santosha in Sanskrit.
The Sentosa Development Corporation was formed and incorporated on 1 September 1972 to oversee the development of the island.
Since then, some S$420 million of private capital and another S$500 million of government funds have been invested to develop the island.
In 1974 the Singapore Cable Car system was built, linking Sentosa to Mount Faber.
Finally, in 1975, the Republic of Singapore Navy had moved out from the Sentosa to Brani Island.
A series of attractions were subsequently opened for visitors including Fort Siloso, Surrender Chamber wax museum, Musical Fountain, and the Underwater World.
The causeway bridge was opened in 1992 connecting Sentosa to the mainland.
The Sentosa Monorail system was opened in 1982 to transport visitors across 7 stations located around the western side of the island.
On 16 March 2005, the monorail service was discontinued to make way for the new Sentosa Express, which commenced operations on 15 January 2007.
An environmental assessment conducted by the government of Singapore concluded that the construction of an integrated resort on Sentosa would to result in high likelihood of high scale biodiversity loss, habitat destruction, soil erosion and climate change.
As well as several other destructive ecological impacts, therefore, in the area that was to be cleared for the construction of the resorts, over 200 trees and plants were replanted elsewhere on the island to minimize negative environmental impact.
In 2009, construction of a new foot bridge began.
The S$70 million Sentosa Boardwalk includes themed gardens, shops and eateries.
There are covered walkways and travellators along the boardwalk for rainy days.
The Boardwalk – officially opened by Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean on 29 January 2011 – will provide visitors an alternative mode of travel to reach the island.
Sentosa Boardwalk, designed by Aedas, was named Best Leisure Architecture in Asia Pacific and Best Leisure Architecture in Singapore, at this year’s Asia Pacific Property Awards.
A Volvo B7RLE on the Blue Line. Buses currently serve as the main means of getting to and around Sentosa.It is fitted with Twin Vision EDS.
Beach station of Sentosa Express monorail at Sentosa island. Sentosa can be reached from the Singapore mainland via a short causeway or Cable Car, which originates from Mount Faber and passes through HarbourFront en route to its final destination at Imbiah Lookout.
The island is also accessible by the Sentosa Express monorail, which replaced the old Sentosa Monorail that operated from 1982 to 2005.
The Sentosa Express has 3 stations on Sentosa and one on mainland Singapore.
The northern terminus of the line, which opened on 15 January 2007, is located at the VivoCity shopping mall on the mainland and the southernmost terminus, Beach Station, is located on Sentosa Island.
In Vivocity, the mainland MRT is in turn served by the HarbourFront of the North East Line and the Circle Line.
Within Sentosa there are three bus services, identified as Bus 1, Bus 2 and Bus 3, and a tram service called the Beach Tram. Since 1998, passenger cars have been allowed to enter the island.
Visitors can also access the island via the Sentosa Boardwalk which is parallel to the causeway which opened on 29 January 2011.
The first 2 days of its opening were marked with free entry into Sentosa for visitors who walk, and subsequently a SGD 1 admission fee into Sentosa is charged.
From 7 June 2014 to 4 January 2015, walk-in entry into Sentosa via the Sentosa Boardwalk is free on weekends and public holidays.
Walk-in entry is also free for SG50 weekend.
B. Places Of Interest
1. Tiger Sky Tower
Previously known as the Carlsberg Sky Tower, Tiger Sky Tower is a free-standing observation tower.
At a height of 110 m (360 ft) above ground and 131 m (430 ft) above sea level, it offers visitors a panoramic view of Sentosa, Singapore, and the Southern Islands.
It has a lifting speed of 1.2 metres per second and weighs 200 metric tonnes.
On a clear day, the view extends to parts of Malaysia, Johor Bahru (30 km / 18 miles), Indonesia, Pulau Bintan (45 km / 28 miles) and Pulau Bantan (43 km / 27 miles).
At ground level, visitors enter a large disc-shaped air-conditioned cabin fitted with glass windows all around.
The cabin then revolves slowly as it ascends the column of the tower. The cabin has a capacity of 72 visitors.
The Sky Tower now sits at the very spot of what was formerly known as the Dragon Court.
It had a dragon statue as the centerpiece with water spouting from its mouth.
In one of its claws, it held a previous logo of Sentosa which was used in the early 1980s. Its tail ended at the Dragon Trail in the northern part of Imbiah Lookout. The statue was demolished a few months before the groundbreaking ceremony of the Sky Tower.
The Sky Tower was officially opened on 7 February 2004, is situated in the Imbiah Lookout zone in the centre of Sentosa and can be reached by Cable Car, Sentosa Luge Chair Lift, the Sentosa Express or by internal bus.
2. Butterfly Park And Insect Kingdom
Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom is a landscape garden with over 15,000 live butterflies, representing more than 50 species.
Housed in a cool outdoor conservatory, these butterflies range from the 25 millimetre (1 in) Eurema sari to the 150 mm (6 in) Papilio iswara.
The Insect Kingdom houses some 3,000 species of rare insects from around the world, including a 160 mm Dynastes Hercules beetle.
3. Sentosa Merlion
Sentosa Merlion is a gigantic 37 metre-tall replica of the Merlion which was completed in 1995, housing 2 viewing galleries and a souvenir shop.
The Merlion statue once played a role in the world-famous Magical Sentosa show, but had to drop the part after the show was discontinued in March 2007 to make way for the construction of Resorts World Sentosa.
Both the now defunct Sentosa Monorail and the Sentosa Express pass closely by the statue.
Unlike its predecessor by the Esplanade, Sentosa Merlion distinguishes itself as the only Merlion in Singapore where you can learn about the urban myth within its attraction trail.
4. Underwater World And Dolphin Lagoon
Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon is an oceanarium located on the western part of Sentosa at Siloso Point.
Opened in 1991, the living museum has more than 2,500 marine and fresh-water animals of 250 species from different regions of the world.
The oceanarium is underground and has an 83-metre long travelator that moves visitors along a submerged, glass-windowed tunnel from which they can look at an array of marine life.
Including a coral reef, stringrays, moray eels, turtles, sharks, and other fishes.
In the Dive with the Sharks programme, visitors can scuba dive in the large oceanarium, even if they are not scuba qualified.
Underwater World also includes a Dolphin Lagoon which is home to some Indo-Pacific Humpback dolphins, also known as the Pink dolphins.
A Swim with the Dolphins session is held daily to allow visitors to enter the pool and interact with the dolphins at close proximity.
The Underwater World Monorail Station of the now-defunct Sentosa Monorail once connected visiting tourists to the western half of the island, but it no longer does as the monorail was discontinued in March 2005.
Because of new attraction, SEA Aquarium is integrated with the transportation and boardwalk while Underwater World will close on 26 June 2016.
5. Wings Of Time
The Wings of Time show – created and produced by events company ECA2 – started on 17 June 2014, replacing Songs of the Sea which ended its run on 4 May 2014.
6. Malay Kampung By The Sea
The Malay Kampung by the Sea or more commonly known as a Kelong, is 120 m (390 ft) long while the rest of the equipment (water jets, water screens, lasers and projectors) is hidden at the back of the kelong.
It features pyrotechnics displays, water jets, laser show and flame bursts, a live cast and an open-air viewing gallery which can comfortably accommodate 2,500 visitors.
The show runs twice nightly every evening.
Tickets are purchased at all Sentosa ticketing counters or online.
7. Sentosa 4D Adventure Land
Sentosa 4D Adventure Land contains Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s first four-dimensional theatre.
Opened in January 2006 at the cost of S$3.5 million, the theatre is equipped with digital projection and a DTS 6.1 sound system.
Currently, there are several attractions in Sentosa 4D Adventureland:
I. An immersive 4-D movie Journey 2 – The Mysterious Island, The 4-D Experience
II. A virtual 4-D roller coaster Extreme Log Ride
III. An interactive 4-D Shoot-Out game – Desperados
IV. A new 4-D experience ride – Green Lantern – Fight Against Fear
8. Fort Siloso
Fort Siloso is located in the west of the island, with the guns of this preserved fort still standing.
Fort Siloso was built by the British in 1880s to guard the narrow western entrance to Keppel Harbour.
It was later modernised.
The fort guarded the western approaches to Singapore during World War II.
By 1939 it was armed with 2 6-inch (150 mm) Mark2 guns and rapid firing 12-pounder guns.
Fort Siloso is now the only surviving coastal gun battery from the 12 such batteries that made up Fortress Singapore at the start of the war.
The ammunition bunkers, barracks, tunnels, and gun emplacements of the fort are now open to visitors as a military-themed attraction.
Also on display is a collection of artillery guns dating from the 17th century to World War II.
Life-sized replicas of British soldiers and other people are on display to depict life at the fort.
Fort Siloso is home to the nation’s largest collection of World War II memorabilia, including photographs, documents and film clips.
The fort also served as the place of internment for the Singaporean political prisoner Chia Thye Poh in the period 1989-1993.
This attraction was once served by the Fort Siloso Monorail Station of the discontinued Sentosa Monorail.
After the monorail closed in 2005, the station was repurposed to add on to this attraction.
9. Megazip Adventure Park
MegaZip Adventure Park, located at the top of Mount Imbiah, is Singapore’s first adventure park.
Equipped with one of the longest and steepest zip wires in Asia (MegaZip), a 3-level, 40 feet-high aerial rope course (ClimbMax), a 50-foot high free fall simulator (ParaJump) and a challenging 16 metre-high rock climbing wall (NorthFace).
At over 450 metres long and 72 metres above sea level, MegaZip is Asia’s most extreme zip line.
Guests descend at speeds of up to 50kmph from the jungle canopy of Imbiah Hill to the sands of Fox Finishing Point at Siloso Beach.
This attraction was visited on the 16th season of the American reality show – The Amazing Race.
10. Madame Tussards Singapore
Madame Tussauds Singapore is the newest wax attraction situated at Imbiah Lookout.
It connects to Images of Singapore, an award-winning historical museum that exhibited the culture and history of Singapore.
After the opening of Madame Tussauds, Images of Singapore was turned into a live show.
Images of Singapore and Madame Tussauds Singapore has 8 fully themed interactive zones, a new Spirit of Singapore boat ride, and the Madame Tussauds wax museum zone.
11. Wave House Sentosa
Wave House Sentosa is located at Siloso Beach.
The 70,000-square-foot (6,500 m2) Wave House consists of the Double FlowRider and the 10-foot (3.0 m) FlowBarrel, Singapore’s first artificial barreling wave.
12. Skyline Luge And Skyride
The Skyline Luge and Skyride features a self-steering, gravity-driven three-wheel cart.
Invented in New Zealand over 27 years ago, this non-motorised cart allows riders to speed down a hill choosing between the 688 metre-long Dragon trail or the 628 metre-long Jungle trail, both ending at Siloso Beach.
At the foot of the hill, guests can board the Skyride, a chairlift which affords a bird’s-eye view of Sentosa Island, the Singapore city skyline and the South China Sea.
13. iFly Singapore
Measuring 16.5 feet in diameter with a flying height of 56.5 feet, iFly Singapore is the world’s largest themed vertical wind tunnel.
Visitors will receive professional training and guidance from certified instructors and complimentary skydiving gear rental on top of the actual skydive experience.
Sentosa Nature Discovery aims to educate and allow guests to appreciate the various species of flora and fauna that are unique to Sentosa’s environmental landscape.
Housed in a former monorail station that has been creatively adapted, it features interactive and colourful exhibits as well as a 1.8 km-long nature walk on an elevated boardwalk that was once the monorail’s tracks.
14. Resorts World Sentosa
This is a family-oriented Integrated Resort with a casino at its core.
A resort developer and operator was chosen on 8 December 2006.
The winning proposal was the Genting/Star Cruises consortium in their bid for Resorts World Sentosa.
It has a Universal Studios Theme Park (known as Universal Studios Singapore) which occupies nearly half of the resort space.
Development of the resort was financed privately at a cost of $SGD5.75 billion and it does not receive any government subsidies.
The proposal for a casino was met with extensive opposition from many conservative critics.
Nevertheless, the government has constantly reassured the public that there would be stringent measures in place to maintain the social fabric of the nation Singapore, and to prevent problems such as gambling addiction.
On 14 February 2010 at exactly 12:18 p.m., which was also the first day of the Chinese New Year, Resorts World Sentosa was opened to the public. In Cantonese, 1218 sounds like prosperity, hence the opening time.
B. Marina Bay Sands
Marina Bay Sands is an integrated resort fronting Marina Bay in Singapore.
Developed by Las Vegas Sands, it is billed as the world’s most expensive standalone casino property at S$8 billion, including the land cost
With the casino complete, the resort includes a 2,561-room hotel, a 120,000-square-metre (convention-exhibition centre, the 74,000 m The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands mall, a museum, 2 large theatres, 7 celebrity chef restaurants, 2 floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines.
The complex is topped by a 340-meter-long SkyPark with a capacity of 3,900 people and a 150 m infinity swimming pool, set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 67 m.
The 20-hectare resort was designed by Moshe Safdie architects.
Other amenities include a rooftop infinity pool, a spa and a gym.
Below are its 2 major features and tourist attractions.
2 months after the initial phased opening, the casino attracts around 25,000 visitors daily, about a third being Singaporeans and permanent residents who pay a $100 daily entry levy or $2,000 for annual unlimited access.
Half a million gamblers passed through the casino in June 2010.
In the third quarter of 2012, the revenues of the Marina Bay Sands fell almost 28 per cent from a year earlier.
For the economy, Marina Bay Sands is projected to stimulate an addition of $2.7 billion or 0.8% to Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product by 2015, employing 10,000 people directly and 20,000 jobs being created in other industries.
B. Gardens By The Bay
Gardens By The Bay is a nature park spanning 101 hectares (250 acres) of reclaimed land in central Singapore, adjacent to the Marina Reservoir.
The park consists of 3 waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden.
The largest of the gardens is Bay South Garden at 54 hectares (130 acres).
It is also part of the government’s strategy to transform Singapore from a Garden City into a City in a Garden.
The stated aim is to raise the quality of life by enhancing greenery and flora in the city.
C. Singapore Zoo
Formerly known as the Singapore Zoological Gardens, our Singapore Zoo occupies 28 hectares (69 acres) on the margins of Upper Seletar Reservoir within Singapore’s heavily forested central catchment area.
The zoo was built at a cost of S$9 million granted by the government of Singapore and opened on 27 June 1973.
It is operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, who also manage the neighbouring Night Safari, River Safari and the Jurong Bird Park.
There are about 315 species of animal in the zoo, of which some 16 percent are considered to be threatened species.
The zoo attracts 1.7 million visitors each year.
From the beginning, Singapore Zoo followed the modern trend of displaying animals in naturalistic, open exhibits with hidden barriers, moats and glass between the animals and visitors.
It houses the largest captive colony of orangutans in the world.
D. Singapore Science Centre
The Science Centre Singapore is a scientific institution in Jurong East, Singapore, specializing in the promotion of scientific and technological education for the general public.
With over 850 exhibits spread over 8 exhibition galleries, it sees over a million visitors a year today, and over 17 million visitors up to the year 2003 when it celebrated its silver jubilee.
The Science Centre was carved out of the National Museum of Singapore as a separate institution so that the latter could focus on its artistic and historical collections.
This idea was first mooted in 1969 by the Science Council of Singapore and was subsequently approved by the Government which was keen to promote scientific education in the rapidly modernising country so as to tap into the technological sector.
In 1987, the centre saw a significant expansion with the opening of Singapore’s first and only OMNIMAX (now known as IMAX Dome) theatre, the Singapore Omni-Theatre.
Costing $18 million, it has a 276-seat theatre underneath a 23-metre (75 ft) tilted dome.
In 1999, a $38 million renovation expanded the centre’s exhibition space, and created a new entrance as well as open-air exhibition areas and a direct connection to the separate Omni-Theatre building.
E. Singapore Discovery Centre
The Singapore Discovery Centre (known as the S’pore Discovery Centre) is a edutainment and tourist attraction located in Jurong West, Singapore.
The centre includes exhibits which displays the history of Singapore as well as an insight on the future.
In its first phase it developed in a story telling interactive experience showing Singapore’s recent history – living under the flags of Britain, Japan, Britain, Malaysia before becoming an independent nation.
Milestones in that journey were picked out in a theatrical setting.
Singapore Today showed the vibrant life in late 20th century Singapore.
Interactive quizzes allowed visitors to discover facts about Singapore. The visually dramatic future exhibit showed that war and peace are 2 sides of the same coin.
Other galleries include mini-theaters showing the role of tactics and planning in everyday life and showcased the Singapore Armed Forces.
Indoor exhibits include So Singapore Theatre, Gateway, Portals, Build it, Crisis Simulation Theatre, Harmony Circle etc.
Outdoor exhibits includes a playground and the a display of aircraft.
F. Singapore Botanic Gardens
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a 156-year-old tropical garden located at the fringe of the Singapore’s main shopping belt.
It is one of 3 gardens and the only tropical garden, to be honored as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Botanic Gardens has been ranked Asia’s top park attraction since 2013, by TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards.
It was declared the inaugural Garden of the Year, International Garden Tourism Awards in 2012 and received Michelin’s three-star rating in 2008.
G. Jurong Bird Park
Jurong Bird Park is an aviary and tourist attraction in Jurong, Singapore.
The bird park, managed by Wildlife Reserves Singapore, covers an area of 0.2 square kilometres (49 acres) on the western slope of Jurong Hill, the highest point in the Jurong region.
It was reported by Wildlife Reserves Singapore on 1 June 2016 that Jurong Bird Park will cease operation and be relocated to Mandai in 2020.
It will be renamed soon.
As for now, operation resumes normally.
Some of its exhibits include Southeast Asian Birds Aviary, African Waterfall Aviary and Penguin Coast.
Other places of interest include Orchard Road, Marina Bay, Raffles Place and famous Lau Pat Sat – a major food paradise serving different kinds of food from different cultures.