The good old times in Singapore are over... We don't need that dirty money anymore.
The island I mention is not quite Singapore, but rather some distance just off the nation, Sentosa to be precise. A definite holiday destination for tourists and locals alike, Sentosa has some of the best beaches and restaurants. Anyone who visits Singapore should definitely not miss it.
Tell me, where in the world can you find a creature who's half mermaid and half lion? Come on, you got to admit that the gigantic 37m tall Merlion is rather intriguing! Who can forget also, the ever extravagant display of lasers, water and fire at the famous musical fountain? It certainly seems that the present-day Sentosa has more in store for visitors especially after having gone through a major revamp. The island-life seems to be top on the list of every tourist's desire.
Feeling a little adventurous? Why not explore Palawan beach and walk on down to the 'Southernmost Point of Continental Asia'? This 'mini' island is connected to Palawan by a suspension bridge made out of rope and wood.
Here's a bit of history for the uninitiated to digest; Sentosa became a reality in 1968 and used to be called Pulau Blakang Mati, which translates to, 'island behind which lies death'. The origins of the deadly name came from the malaria outbreak that took place in the 18th century, which in turn, killed the entire population of Bugis pirates living on the island. In the mid 20th century, the British turned the island into a fortress for military use. The rest, as they all say is H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. The tropical island is now a bustling tourist attraction that boasts a wide variety of entertainment, fun and excitement.
Let's start with the beaches shall we? Oh yes, I can hear the beach bums cheering already. Be thankful for the fact that Sentosa has the most gorgeous beaches which promise lots of great sandy fun under the sun, with a lovely landscape to boot. Your feet will love the soft sands and clean waters. For those who want more privacy, do head down to Tanjong Beach which is actually on the quieter side of the island's eastern end. Enjoy some tranquil moments with your loved ones while taking in the fresh sea breeze. This beach lights up with a romantic warm glow at night due to the lights reflected off the nearby ships.
Feeling a little adventurous? Why not explore Palawan beach and walk on down to the 'Southernmost Point of Continental Asia'? This 'mini' island is connected to Palawan by a suspension bridge made out of rope and wood. Yes, you almost feel like you're Robinson Crusoe for a split second. For sportier people, it's highly recommended that you check out Siloso Beach - the hot fave for avid beach volleyball players.
Get some friends, dress in your bikinis and board shorts, go form your own team and just flaunt those skins baby! Even if volleyball is not your thing, fret not for there are plenty of other sports easily available. I tried kayaking and boy did I have a good arm workout. And trust me, there's no better fun than rollerblading around the place surrounded by lush foliage and great people - it's just so perfect for a nice sunny weekend getaway. Don't own any blades or bicycles? Rent them from one of the kiosks along the beaches.
If you just want to chill out, I think it'll be best to bring a large picnic mat and some home made sandwiches plus chips and just lie there. It's a good opportunity to get that tan you've always wanted! Swim in the cool waters if you like. Do as you please and just take your mind off work for once.
Speaking of taking your mind off work, why don't you start getting in touch with nature's natural flora and fauna? Walk through the greenery at the Nature Walk which starts from the Cable Car Plaza. The stretch is about 1.5km long but it's worth every step - check out the furry squirrels, monkeys and colourful birds.
Tribal aficionados can visit the Lost Civilisation area where you will be surrounded by some rather tribal looking stone structures which look neither human nor animal. They are just plain representations of different deities that people used to worship in those bygone eras of really ancient culture. It is indeed a civilization lost and perhaps never to be found again.
I found it rather enriching, though the pieces freaked me out a little. If you fancy the Lost Civilisation, you might like the Ruined City. The entrance of the gate is marked with hieroglyphics and the entire 'city' is filled with mythical pieces and also guillotines. Be careful where you turn.... Boo!
Butterfly lovers, listen up - join the fluttering beauties at the Butterfly park which is home to more than 2500 butterflies of different types. Feel as though you're a fairy in Never-never land!
Be your own Wendy or Peter Pan if you wish, no one's stopping you. History buffs can visit the Images of Singapore Museum which contains plenty of authentic Singaporean artifacts that date back many years. Drop by Fort Siloso to get a feel of what it was like back in the 1880s, when it was first built by the British and used as a military base.
And who can forget the Underwater World? Also known to be one of the largest oceanariums in Asia, Underwater World is home to about 2,500 marine creatures and is a marvel to experience. You feel as though you're in the midst of the deep blue sea. You stand on this conveyor belt thing that moves you around so that you won't have to walk.
All you do is look from left to right, up and down at the glass panels and just pray hard the sharks don't start thinking you're food and try to break through. Relax, you have nothing to worry because the place is safe and they conduct safety checks to ensure nothing of that sort happens!
Ever wonder what it would feel like standing next to a Volcano? You can actually do so at Volcano Land - feel the heat of the hot molten lava just metres away from you and quick, start praying that this is all just a dream. Open your eyes and thank your lucky stars that it was only a replica that comes with rather realistic tremors and steam.
Really, it's a rather thrilling attraction.
Travelling around the little island is a breeze - all you have to do is to hop on a Springfield-like monorail and viola, you'll be at your desired destination within minutes. It's really that simple. What are you waiting for? Go get your beachwear and start heading towards Sentosa now - this is indeed THE island-life worth experiencing.
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