Written by: Matt Newkirk
Visited: January 2018
Located just a stone’s throw across the water from Vivo City, Singapore’s largest shopping mall, Sentosa Island has something for kids of all ages. The small island is covered in theme parks, waterparks, and golf courses. It boasts several beaches where visitors can relax and enjoy a tropical seaside cocktail, world class dining, and even a casino. For the more adventurous among us, zip-lines stretch from the highest peak of the jungle-covered island; rope courses challenge visitor’s strength and resolve, while the most serious thrill seekers can try out the newly added bungee jump.
Sentosa Expess Monorail
Sentosa can be reached by car or taxi, by picking up the “Sentosa Express” monorail at the top floor of Vivo Coty shopping mall, by walking across the long boardwalk that connects the island with the mainland, or my favorite - the Sentosa Cable Car.
Ride the Cable Car
The Cable Car is hands-down the most scenic way to reach Sentosa. Running from the scenic Mt. Faber, through the HarborFront Center building, and all the way across the channel to Sentosa, the Cable Car offers some of the best views anywhere in Singapore.
View from the Cable Car
A standard ticket round-trip to Sentosa on the cable car costs around $20 USD, but for just a few dollars more, you can add a round trip on the second cable car line that runs around the Island as well. Singapore residents might want to investigate the yearly pass if they are planning on going to Sentosa more than once in a year. If you are planning to do other attractions on Sentosa there are some good deals if you bundle the entrance fees with your cable car ticket.
Cable Car Going to Sentosa
Explore the Underwater World
Until 2014 the S.E.A. Aquarium was the largest in the world. While the title of biggest, has passed on to the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom in China, the S.E.A. Aquarium is still definitely worth a stop. Entering the aquarium, visitors pass through a long glass tube which runs directly below the shark tank.
Entering S.E.A. Aquarium
Exhibits display marine environments from around the world, and a good amount of emphasis is placed on ocean conservation as well as education. The S.E.A. Aquarium is also actively involved in conservation efforts around South East Asia. To learn more, visit their website. The main attraction at the aquarium is an enormous tank featuring sharks, rays, and literally hundreds of other open-water marine species. It can tend to get a bit crowded though, especially on weekends and holidays, so my advice is to go early.
Ride Roller Coasters
The Universal Studios Theme Park is like a smaller cousin to the original park in Southern California. Featuring many of the same rides as the original, such as The Mummy, Jurassic Park, and Transformers, the park does have some of its own unique attractions, like the world’s tallest dueling rollercoasters ride: Battlestar Galactica. If theme parks are your cup-of-tea, Universal Studios is definitely worth a stop, but those who are familiar with the California location, may leave the park feeling a little bit disappointed.
Entrance to Jurassic Park Land
Eat Dim Sum
Who doesn’t love hot dumplings and pork buns? Din Tai Fung is a popular Taiwanese Dim Sum chain specializing in handmade dim sum served hot and fast. They do not accept reservations and there is almost always a long line to be seated but don’t get discouraged, the lines move surprisingly fast, and the food is worth the wait.
Pork Buns at Din Tai Fung Sentosa
Besides you can fill out your order while watching the skilled craftsmen rolling the dumplings in the front window while you wait. The shaomai (pork and shrimp) dumplings here really are exceptional. While Din Tai Fung does have outlets all over Singapore, the location on Sentosa is one of the best.
Din Tai Fung
Get your Adrenaline Going
Thrill seekers will love Sentosa. Featuring a huge waterpark, indoor skydiving, a street luge, zip line, bungee jumping and more, there is no shortage of ways to test your mettle on Sentosa. While I haven’t done any of these yet, I have a feeling that there is a zip line ride in my near future.
Zip Line Sentosa
Relax on the Beach
Personally, my favorite way to spend a day at Sentosa is with a bucket of Tiger Beer and some friends at one of the resort island’s many beachfront bars. While the island features beautiful white sand beaches, and the water is the perfect temperature for swimming, the sheer number of container ships waiting to unload in Singapore’s busy harbor makes the water here really murky, and it even smells like gasoline on bad days. Many people do go to Sentosa to swim, and there are plenty of showers and changing rooms, but I’m happier sipping on a cold beer and watching the ships pass through the harbor.
Beach at Sentosa
Sentosa is a great place to relax and unwind while visiting Singapore. The park’s many attractions provide plenty of distraction from the hustle and bustle of Singapore, but travelers on a budget might not find much to do on the cheap. Going to Sentosa can add up quickly into an expensive day in the Lion City.