Discover Singapore’s fun-side with a laidback Sentosa escape.
Save the best for last with sunset cocktails at one of the island’s gorgeous beachfront bars.
The balmy breeze and tranquil shores of Sentosa make it hard to believe that the island is merely less than 30 minutes from downtown Singapore. An easy alternative to hopping on a plane, the hassle-free escape suits the time-poor and those after a quick de-stress, also revealing a different facet of the city for overseas visitors.
The dazzling tourist attraction has come a long way from its sombre beginnings as a British military fortress during World War II and Japanese prison camp before its eventual reclamation. Today, you could be forgiven for mistaking the place for a Thai beach resort, or even Disneyland for that matter, given its cheerful theme-park vibe and popularity with families.
The getaway has proven to be as much of a hit with locals who flock to the man-made utopia on weekends given its convenient proximity to the heart of town. The only beachfront resort of its kind, Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, Singapore offers the perfect place to unwind – tranquil yet amidst all the action. Set on Siloso Beach, the resort has 454 guestrooms with private balconies for guests to take in the lush surroundings.
A pleasant means of unfurling into holiday mode is the signature Singapore massage at CHI, The Spa, a unique treatment combining Chinese, Malay and Indian techniques involving a bamboo stick to relieve muscle tension, abdomen massage to improve lymphatic circulation and reflexology using a Kansu bowl made of three metals with unique healing properties. Once suitably pampered, your taste buds are in for a treat. The three eateries under the Dine On 3 umbrella top off the relaxing introduction to paradise with a mouth-watering selection of noodles, casseroles and lavish buffet spreads.
Young at Heart
Hard as it may be to leave the luxurious cocoon, Sentosa’s Resorts World offers plenty of other hedonistic indulgences. While many of the commercial attractions are geared towards families, reconnecting with your inner child can be surprisingly liberating. Universal Studios Singapore remains a favourite with 24 movie-themed rides and attractions, 18 of which are unique to the city. Highlights worth lining up for include the Shrek 4-D adventure with special effects where you feel every jiggle and jolt of the on-screen action and the hyper-realistic Transformers ride where you defend the planet from villainous Decepticons racing through the sci-fi city’s tunnels, streets and rooftops as a freedom fighter.
One of Sentosa’s the most exciting recent additions is S.E.A. Aquarium, the largest of its kind in the world and home to more than 800 species of marine animals. The Open Ocean exhibit presents a panoramic vista of leopard sharks, goliath groupers and magnificent manta rays to ogle at, while the Shark Seas showcase lets you get up close and personal with endangered hammerheads, silvertip and sandbar varieties. The Ocean Journey display where divine yet deadly jellyfish provide a luminous performance against a phosphorescent backdrop remains a favourite.
Following a morning of queuing and crowds, an air-conditioned oasis is sure to appeal. Vivocity, Singapore’s largest retail therapy hub, was named Best Shopping Centre at the annual AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards. With just as many enticing shops as Orchard Road, brand names mingle with mid-tier labels to tempt shoppers of every kind. The humble Food Republic mimics the authentic hawker stall experience with delectable chicken rice, satay and cendol, while Nyonya & Baba Peranakan restaurant does a mean beef rendang and chilli crayfish, providing sufficient sustenance to power on.
Save the best for last with sunset cocktails at one of the island’s gorgeous beachfront bars. Wavehouse Sentosa features an impressive line-up of DJs and live acts geared towards surfers and partygoers, while the jet set crowd frequent Tanjong Beach Club to lounge by the infinity pool and dance under the stars. For a more low-key affair, Coastes plays acid jazz and beach house, serving down-to-earth fare to be relished with the breeze in your hair and the sand between your toes. Life simply doesn’t get much better.