Sentosa’s pricing is only acceptable to (1) maths deficient tweens with overpaid parents, and (2) tourists who forgot to pack their common sense. To the rest of us, everything’s more overpriced than the civil servants living there. Still, there are occasions when you’ll end up going. Family day, concerts, or the all important friend-from-overseas. So when that happens, keep these in mind. They’ll save you from an all month instant noodle diet:
1. Palawan Beach Animal Shows
Sentosa’s main attraction are its beaches. It’s a beautiful scene and all, but I’m not about to go Tennyson on you. I’m directing you to the Animal & Bird Encounters.
There are free shows from 12pm – 5.30pm. And while I doubt anyone would spend five hours staring at Polly and her cracker, the shows are a pleasant diversion. You get to watch trained animals, make unflattering comparisons to co-workers, and maybe handle a python. If you have children with you, this is a good way to
get rid of keep them entertained. Go out of your way for the very last show (around 4.00 pm), which features animals you can touch and interact with.
A walk on the beach and the shows will divert you (or your guests) for about an hour. Twice that, if anyone’s into nature photography.
Duration of Entertainment: 1 – 2 hours
2. Fort Siloso
Did you know that, while you’re twiddling your thumbs and bullying at 12 year olds on Modern Warfare, your great-grandpa may have been a total badass who fought an actual war?
Yeah, look how far we’ve come. If you could log off for just one weekend (hah!) you can visit his old stomping grounds: the Fort Siloso coastal battery. Granted, the battery was as ultimately as dangerous as a rolled up copy of The Straits Times, but it was a good effort. The museum has got some real artefacts from the war, and it’s great if your tourist friends are history buffs.
Visit on Fridays and weekends, between 12.40pm – 3.40pm, for a free guided tour. On other days, there’s a fee.
I’d suggest you arrive early, since the tours are limited to 20 per tour. This should divert you or your guests for about 40 minutes; with photo-taking, maybe an hour.
Cost: $0 – $14
Duration of Entertainment: 40 mins – 1 hour
3. Songs of the Sea
Songs of the Sea is a performance show, backed by lights, music, and huge honking geysers. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to watch a rock concert from inside your glass shower, I’m happy to know I’m not freakishly alone. Oh, and also, you should catch this.
This show was designed by Yves Pepin, who also helped with the theatrics at the 2008 Olympics. Look out for the awesome CGI effects, like that massive face face projected over the kampung. Presumably, there’s also a plot to the story, in the same way there’s meaning to the lyrics of a Duran Duran song.
The show’s from 7.40pm – 8.40pm, so it’s a nice after dinner activity. It’s also one of the few cheap night activities. After 6.00pm, most of Sentosa’s entertainment requires you to visit the expensive resort / casino areas. Rather than fork out $100, pay $10 to see this show instead.
Cost: $10 – $15
Duration of Entertainment: 1 hour
3. Rediscover Your Inner Monkey
You can awaken your primate self on The Flying Trapeze. Contrary to the name, there’s much less flying than there is actual clinging, and screaming like a primary school girl strapped to the front of a roller coaster.
If you’ve never been on a trapeze before, what better way to start than with something so high, it should require air clearance? Don’t worry, you get a good few minutes of instruction before you’re swinging in mid-air, hanging on to a bar like a monkey with a severe case of muscular dystrophy. Don’t worry, there’s a safety net, which might even work!
$10 buys you one swing. Trust me, it’s enough. But if you’re from the vomit-my-lunch school of dieting, $20 will buy you three swings and my undying respect.
Cost: $10 – $20
Duration of Entertainment: 15 minutes + several years of hilarity from the Facebook pics.
4. Head South
From Palawan beach, there’s a long suspension bridge that leads to Asia’s southernmost point. The bridge takes a good 10 to 15 minutes to cross, and the more people are on it, the more hilarious it gets.
Watch as your friends with fear of heights sink to their knees, clinging to the ropes like an oyster on a rock. Or challenge the braver ones to get across, with a maximum of jumping-and-shaking the bridge. Don’t worry; if the bridge does snap and you all fall in, it’s water underneath. I’ve seen a lot of Hollywood movies that suggest you’ll be fine.
At the end of the bridge is a tiny islet, which is as far south as the Asian continent gets. There’s a spectacular view of the Indian Ocean, and two massive towers for lookout posts. This place is a favourite spot for picnics, parties, and University / Corporate team building events.
Oh, and it’s free.
Cost: $0, + whatever your own picnic lunch costs
Duration of Entertainment: You can easily spend 1 – 2 hours here, fooling around on the beach and bridge.
5. Imbiah Nature Walk
This one depends on how much you or your guests like nature. If the thought of seeing three-horn beetles or macaques don’t make you reach for a shotgun, try out the nature walk.
Take the bus from Imbiah station, or drive to the Imbiah Lookout carpark. From there, it’s a short hop to the start of the trail. It’s creatively laid out: an elevated board walk means your footwear doesn’t matter. where else can you trek through a tropical jungle in high heels?
Look out for the part of the trail which crosses the old monorail treks. It’s surreal; like observing the island once we’re wiped out in the zombie apocalypse, and nature’s reclaimed it.
Duration of Entertainment: 1 – 3 hours, depending on how far in you want to go.
Know any cheap activities on Sentosa? Comment and let us know!