No place better exemplifies Singapore’s souped-up palette of attractions than Sentosa Island.
What was formerly a languid, leafy tropical island retreat has been given quite the makeover. Complementing the soft-adventure forest walks, the manicured gardens and white-sandy beaches, Resort World Sentosa has revved-up the island’s offerings, with some multi-billion dollar drawcards.
Taking top billing is Universal Studios Singapore – and what a blockbuster attraction it is. Comprising 24 rides and attractions in seven themed zones, Hollywood’s master magicians have pulled out all the stops in Singapore. This is not a cookie-cutter imitation of Universal’s back lot theme-park in Burbank.
The sparkling new park at Sentosa proudly sports a slew of unique experiences. Shrek fans are in for a thrill with the world’s first Far Far Away Castle and the 4D fairytale adventure ride. Sci-Fi buffs are extra-spoilt, with the world’s first Transformers 3D ride and the world’s tallest duelling roller-coasters, in the spirit of Battlestar Galactica. Take my word for this – these roller-coasters will leave as white as a ghost for quite some considerable time. Full-throttle terror and exhilaration, in equal measure.
Once your pulse rate has recovered, treat yourself to the world’s first – and relaxing – Madagascar theme park ride, plus check out the fabulous array of Sesame Street shows and attractions.
Bert, Ernie, Big Bird and Elmo sure know how to work a crowd! In fact, one of the signature attractions of Universal Studios Singapore is the sheer abundance of meet and greet opportunities with big-screen characters.
From Shrek and Marilyn Monroe to Woody Woodpecker and Optimus Prime, the all-star cast provides a spooling reel of photo-ops. Even if you’re a theme park veteran, Universal Studios Singapore is power-packed with fresh holiday magic.
When you’ve had your fill of theme-park escapism, immerse yourself in the oceanic splendour of the sparkling new Marine Life Park.
Housing more than 100,000 marine animals, spanning over 800 species, in more than 60 million litres of water, this colossal development is the world’s largest oceanarium.
Sticking with the nautical theme, which is intrinsic to Singapore’s trading history, check out the Maritime Experiential Museum. Creatively designed to showcase the heritage of seafaring and the importance of the Silk Route, a variety of ingenious interactive experiences are housed within the museum.
The Typhoon Theatre takes you on a perilous voyage aboard a 9th century Chinese junk, laden with cargo, which runs into a storm. The 360degree multi-media theatre experience gives you a taste of the sea’s wrath, as your ship rolls, turns and finally sinks. The climax involves realising you’re in the depths of the ocean, up close with the shipwreck. A unique and unnerving spectacle.
Be sure to set aside some time to explore the enchanting Souk gallery, replete with timeless goods that were traded and collected along the Maritime Silk Route. And survey the five life-size replicas of historic ships, berthed in the museum’s harbour.
The Mighty Manadrin
In a city that has undergone such a dramatic transformation in recent years, how do long-standing hotels remain relevant? Lording over Marina Bay, with a smashing skyline view, the Mandarin Oriental seems to have perfected the art of remaining familiar and faithful to its long-time guests, while also exuding a sense of cutting-edge freshness.
The distinguished hotel is celebrating its 25th birthday this month. The fan-shaped property enjoys an unrivalled position with picture-perfect vistas across Singapore Harbour and the city lights, and is in easy reach of Singapore’s essential attractions.
All guestrooms and suites are contemporary in design, stylishly furnished with subtle touches of Oriental flair. Whether you are staying in-house or not, your dining choices extend across five acclaimed restaurants, whether its fine Italian, authentic Japanese, tasty Cantonese, steakhouse fare or the delicious international buffet. You’ll find that at MELT – The World Café, which also serves up an exceptional breakfast buffet, which will leave you dizzy with temptation.
The luxurious new spa facility is winning plenty of plaudits, however the hotel’s crowning glory in my book, is the recently revamped outdoor pool deck. Nestled amongst lush tropical greenery and equipped with dreamy private cabanas, the gorgeous mosaic-tiled 25-metre outdoor pool and its sculptured fountains, is just the ticket, when the heat and humidity starts to take its toll. Have a splash, take a rest and soak up the view.