Monday, December 28, 2009

Sentosa Island, Singapore

This is the first part of my narrative on our visit to Sentosa.

In our recent trip to Singapore, we spent an entire day visiting Sentosa Island which is located off the southern part of Singapore. My last visit there was very long ago when I was around 16 or 18 years old. Back then the only way to the island was either by ferry or cable car. Now, you can get there by land too i.e. car, taxi, bus and even train (MRT and the Sentosa Express monorail), besides the cable car. However, the cable car is currently closed for upgrading. We drove there.

Upon arrival and after paying the necessary entry fees, we found our way to Imbiah Lookout and parked our car there. We didn't have to drive around Sentosa in our car as the internal transportation to get you from one place to another within the island is very efficient. They have various bus lines and vehicles to take you from one attraction to another free of charge.

At Imbiah, we viewed the iconic Merlion, a replica of the one on the main island. The Merlion is a mythical half-lion, half-fish creature. You can get up to the mouth of the Merlion to its Gallery Viewing Deck to get a 360° view of Sentosa and the southern part of Singapore.

However, we did not visit the Merlion up close or go up to its viewing deck. We walked around for a short while, taking photographs of the Merlion, Tiger Sky Tower and facade of the Images of Singapore building (looks like a colonial-type architecture).

Then, for the children's sake (before they start fussing and get bored), we purchased tickets to enter the Butterfly & Insect Park.

Other attractions located at Imbiah include the Nature Discovery, Luge and Skyride, 4D Magix and Cineblast but they were not suitable for the kids, to my disappointment actually, because I would have enjoyed these exciting rides. At the butterfly park, we had close encounters with colourful butterflies and saw insect exhibits.

After that, we took the Blue Line bus to the Fort Siloso area (Siloso Point) to visit Underwater World, a place much like KL's Aquaria KLCC but slightly smaller in area.

At the entrance of Underwater World, there was a man displaying two snakes which he used to attract visitors to get a picture taken holding one of the snakes. Caitlin was curious and touched one of the snakes which was left inside a basket.

Underwater World has various sections for hands-on encounters and exhibits of various sea creatures such as different species of fish, stingray, starfish, and jellyfish.

You could also buy some fish feed to feed the fishes or see them being fed during designated feeding times. There was also a section which took you on a conveyor belt through an 'underwater' aquarium where you could see huge sharks, rays, groupers etc swimming around and overhead.

From there, we exited via the souvenir shop, the only exit like all tourist attraction places, out to an open air food court serving local food. Since it was lunch time and two hours before the Sea Lion Show, we sat down for a leisurely lunch and enjoyed some sea breeze.

Since we had some more time to kill before the Sea Lion Show, we walked around outside Underwater World. Fort Siloso is opposite.

Like all the other attractions in Sentosa, you need to buy tickets to enter and view the fort and its exhibits. Since this was a historical site which is less attractive to kids without any kids-type fun, I took Caitlin for a short walk around the walls of the fort and showed her the posters of old b&w pictures of the fort during WW2. The fort became a POW camp when the Japanese invaded Southeast Asia.

As we were heading towards what used to the Dolphin Lagoon for the Sea Lion Show, it started to rain. We made a quick dash to grab the last remaining seats, thus not getting centrestage view for the show. The show was delayed slightly due to the rain. When it started, two sea lions appeared displaying some antics to illustrate the show host's commentary about sea lions. The host also highlighted some differences between sea lions and seals.

This Sea Lion Show is currently a replacement for the Dolphin Show. The latter is currently being relocated so we were not fortunate enough to see the dolphins. We only caught glimpses of one or two of them surfacing while swimming in their holding pool at a far corner.

The Sea Lion Show lasted all of 15 minutes and we were rather disappointed. After the show, we went across the road to Siloso Beach to see what it had to offer.

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