Sentosa Island Singapore

Just spent three days in Singapore and thought I’d share some of my thoughts on attractions there and on Sentosa Island as of January 2011.

If you want to book Sentosa Island Resorts World visit:
http://www.rwsentosa.com

If you want to book some tours or harbor cruises in Singapore visit:
http://www.dosomethingdifferent.com

(I printed up my vouchers from the DoSomethingDifferent website and called locally to confirm each reservation and had no problems. Very smooth and enjoyable process)

Overview
Yes, Singapore is much more expensive than other SE Asia countries but not as outrageous as I had expected. A taxi ride from Sentosa to the airport is around $30SGD, a meal for two at a cafe $12SGD, a Singapore Sling on a riverboat $9SGD, etc.

I stayed a day at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore, took a harbor night cruise, did a Singapore morning tour and a couple days on Sentosa Island at the Hard Rock Hotel. Sentosa Island was definitely better than anything else. Great vacation spot for couples, groups or families. Lots of attractions, restaurants, shows. If I ever visit Singapore again I would just head to Sentosa (Resort World) and stay there the whole time.

MARINA BAY SANDS SINGAPORE


I stayed first at the Marina Bay Sands just so I could swim in their rooftop swimming pool. January was not a good time to visit as it rained every day and the pool was closed. That was $350 USD not well spent. I walked along the observation areas along with the other tourists (who did so for free without booking a room. Blah!)

One day the Marina Bay Sands had traditional Chinese performers in the lobby. The next day a string quartet playing Mozart. That was pretty awesome. (The second violin was hot but out of tune). Note to quartet: Please remove the William Tell Overture from your setlist. The Mozart you played was so beautiful. 🙂

Service at the Marina Bay was very good as expected. I guess I just like the vibe of places like the Hard Rock better.

ADMIRAL CHENG HO CRUISE

The Admiral Cheng Ho cruise was nice and as expected. I did the dinner cruise. Buffet food was ok. As I had read elsewhere there is a recorded narration in English along the river but it’s hard to understand. There was traditional music played live by a duo. The music sounded a little different than music I’ve heard in China. I was told it was Chinese music but in a Singapore style.

Even though it was raining I still enjoyed the cruise. Note to travelers, there is currently nothing else to do at the waterfront departure point except a little souvenir shop and a couple sketchy restaurants. I got there a couple hours early to enjoy the waterfront and that was a mistake. It’s all under construction and nowhere else to go (January 2011).

SINGAPORE DAY TOUR

I did a Singapore morning tour because I had read so many people say “If you do one thing in Singapore, do this!”. I was bored out of my mind. The tour starts at the Singapore Flyer. I had anticipated wanting to go on the Singapore Flyer. But after you see the views of Singapore from the Marina Bay Sands, I didn’t really see a reason to go on the Singapore Flyer which is much lower.

Then the day tour took us to a 200 year old temple. I guess I’m spoiled and have traveled too much in SE Asia. It was very ordinary. Then we were taken to a mountain top for a 360 view of Singapore which was crowded with tourists. So I walk to the top, see Singapore and think “This would look cooler from that swimming pool at the Marina Bay Sands.” Ok, I’m spoiled.

Then to the national flower garden. All the wives on the tour were so happy and the men looked like they had landed in hell. Then to “Little India” which was a walk down a street that was incredibly ordinary.

So in short – the day tour sucks. Maybe I took the wrong one.

SENTOSA ISLAND

Sentosa Island was cool. Get ready to dump a lot of money. The whole island is attractions, shows, restaurants, bars, casinos, beaches – pretty much everything you’d want on a family type vacation. If I went back to Singapore I would just go straight to Sentosa Island. Is Resort World the whole island or just part of it? I’m not sure.

I stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel and the service was so excellent. I’ve stayed at Hard Rock Hotels before and the service here was the best of them all. There must be some sort of corporate mandate that every time someone is finished helping you they have to say “Have a rocking day!”.

Voyage De La Vie was dark when I was there so didn’t get a chance to see it. I’m sure it’s an outstanding show. My hunch was that the creator used to work for Cirque Du Soleil and I was right. It looks very Cirque-ish. For fellow theater goers: Also check out the local theater ticket sales in Singapore for shows running. The Rocky Horror Show was running while I was there and also some other concerts (also dark on the days I went).

There’s a free monorail to take you between the main attractions. I went on the Luge and Zip lines which were very fun (and expensive). The 4D Pirate show was ok, kind of the same-same if you’ve been to any other 4D shows. (Bug’s Life in Disneyland is still the best 4D show in my opinion).

I actually enjoyed the little beach area on Palawan Beach in Sentosa. It’s a very small strip of beach but relaxing after walking all day. There are two other beach areas also nearby. And yes I had to do the little walk across the bridge to the island so I could say I’ve been in “the most southern part of continental SE Asia.”

Songs of the Sea (which my friend calls Songs of the Fish) was tacky, non-sequitur and exactly what I expected. It was vacation fun and silliness. For $10 I would go again. I bet kids age 7-10 would think it was the coolest thing they’ve ever seen. Of course I haven’t played X-Box in a while…

The Resorts World area was pretty awesome. All the hotels were around this area including the Hard Rock where I stayed. Lots of high end restaurants with Western, Cajun, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. We walked around here a dozen times and always enjoyed it. Also a plus is there was always an employee nearby to answer any questions. Customer service in Resorts World was really amazing.

The casino in Resorts World was pretty awesome too. It was definitely Asian style in it’s decor and restaurants. I think I lasted 3 minutes at a slot machine but still enjoyed it anyway. If you like casinos you’ll want to check that out. FYI – there’s no ATM’s inside the casino. ATM’s inside casinos are illegal in Singapore. That’s a great law. Saved me a lot of money. 🙂

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

Before going to Universal Studios I read a lot of negative reviews online so my expectations were low. It was around $65 SGD per person. I enjoyed it. I’ve been to Universal Studios in Los Angeles as well. This one in Singapore was ok. There were a few rides closed but I expected that after reading online. I think this was still part of their soft opening so they haven’t opened full throttle yet. My Chinese friend I went with was so excited to get pictures with all the characters and look-alike models and they also really loved the New York section.

Granted I only allotted 4 hours for the park after reading online about it. And we were done in 3 hours. So if you go with low expectations and just allow a few hours I think you’ll be happy. There are plenty of other things to keep you busy after you leave the park.

CABLE CAR RIDE

I took the cable car ride onto Sentosa Island. The ride had great views and was a great way to get a bird’s eye view of Sentosa Island as you enter. Highly recommend it.

So, Sentosa Island is all the attractions, Resorts World, Universal Studios, a golf course and many other things all on one island. You can get from Universal Studios to the beach in 15 minutes. If I go to Singapore again I’m going to book the Hard Rock Hotel, Voyage De La Vie tickets and just hang around there for three days. That would be a fun trip.

2 thoughts on “Sentosa Island Singapore

  1. I’ve gotten so lazy now with Facebook. I just click from Iphoto and *BAM* all my pics are uploaded to Facebook. So my blog doesn’t get as many photos now. 🙁

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