Sentosa island is fast becoming a major tourist attraction not just for Singapore but for the whole of South East Asia. It is gearing up for the luxury market although many of its attractions are suited for all budgets. Here are some facts about this island resort.
Sentosa covers an area of 5 square kilometres and is located just 500 metres from the southern shore of Singapore’s main island. With the exception of the main island it is the fourth largest island in size in the country. Nearly 70% of the island is rainforest and is home to monitor lizards, peacocks, parrots and monkeys as well as a diversity of flora and fauna. It has over three kilometres of white sand beaches and the area of land available is increasing due to this being reclaimed from the sea.
The island was first connected to the main island by a cable car as a way for visitors to gain easy access. There is now a Sentosa Express monorail with one station on the main island and three on Sentosa, It replaced a previous monorail in 2006 at a cost of S$140 million. It takes just four minutes to travel across from the main island on this service. There are three bus routes on the island as well as a tram service for visitors to easily get around when visiting. Private cars have been allowed on the island since 1998 although it is preferred that visitors use the transport services provided. A new walkway was opened in January 2011 at a cost of S$70 million. The Sentosa Walkway is fully covered and provides shops and small attractions for visitors as they walk across from the main island.
The Main Attractions of the Resort.
Tiger Sky Tower.
This tower was previously known as the Carlsberg Sky Tower and is a free standing observation tower standing at a height of 110 metres above the ground and 131 above sea level. From the observation cabin it offers views across Singapore as well as to Malaysia and Indonesia. Visitors enter an air conditioned capsule at ground level and this cabin of glass ascends the tower as it revolves its way upwards. It can carry up to 72 people on each ride into the sky. This attraction is easily reached by each of the transport services on the island.
Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom.
The landscaped garden that houses the butterfly park contains more than 15,000 live butterflies that cover over 50 different species. It is housed in a cool outdoor conservatory and the species of butterfly on show range in size from the tiny 25mm (1inch) Eurema Sari to the Papilo Iswara that grows up to 150mm (6 inches). The section of the attraction called Insect Kingdom holds over 3,000 species of rare insects from all over the world, the largest being the 160mm Dynastes Hercules beetle.
Underwater World and Dolphin Lagoon.
The oceanarium in the western part of the island opened in 1991 and houses over 2,500 marine and fresh water animals with over 250 species from all over the world. It is located underground and contains a travelator that moves visitors along a glass tunnel that takes them into the home of the marine life that includes stingrays, turtles, moray eels and sharks. Visitors are even able to dive with the sharks at this location. The Dolphin Lagoon contains humpback dolphins and every day there are sessions where it is possible to interact with these creatures in a waist deep pool.
Songs of the Sea.
This show runs twice every evening and the open air viewing gallery can accommodate an audience of 2,500. As well as a live cast the show comprises of water jets, pyrotechnics, lazers, projectors and bursts of flame.
Sentosa 4D Magix.
This is the first 4D theatre in Singapore and South East Asia. It opened in 2006 and guests sit in motion based chairs while they watch a 3D show on the screen complete with visual effects popping out of the screen giving an added realism to the show.
This attraction opened in the summer of 2007 and is Singapore’s only cinema ride. It features a high definition wide screen and takes viewers on a log ride as they stay in their seat.
Located in the west of the island this fort has been preserved as the only surviving coastal gun battery from the period of WW2. This military themed attraction exhibits ammunition bunkers, tunnels, barracks and gun emplacements. Also displayed are artillery and guns ranging from the 17th century up until the time of WW2.
Megazip Adventure Park.
Located at the islands highest point this is Singapore’s first adventure park containing the longest and steepest zip wire in Asia. Within the attraction are climbing walls, ropes and a free fall parachute simulator.
Azzura Beach Club.
This two level entertainment centre contains dining and entertainment facilities as well as a wave house. The water complex is a 70,000 square feet (6,500m) double flow rider and flow barrel, the first to be installed in Singapore.
Sentosa Luge and Skyride.
The luge is a three wheeled non-motorized cart that is self steering and enables riders to speed down a hill along a 650 metre long course. The skyride is located at both ends of the luge course enabling riders to return to the start of the downhill course or enjoy the views at a more leisurely pace.
Sentosa has three sections of beaches along the southern shoreline. These measure two kilometres in length although the white sandy beaches are artificial with the sand coming from Malaysia and Indonesia. The beaches are patrolled by lifeguards offering the best patrols in Singapore.
Sentosa Island has a total of six hotels and resort hotels from five star suites to chalets that can cater mostly for the luxury market. Additionally there are another six hotels located with Resorts World Sentosa.
Future plans for the Island.
The government of Singapore has plans for the island to become one of the world’s most luxurious tourist spots. It is prepared to outlay an additional S$10 billion in future development to achieve this goal. The Resorts World Sentosa is expected to be at the centre of this development with a Universal Studios Theme Park and Universal Studios Singapore to occupy half of the resort area. A casino proposal has met with lots of opposition although the government has expressed that there will be stringent measures to avoid gambling addiction. The project is expected to be completed by 2012.