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Getting to Sentosa

Sentosa Express from Vivo City

There’s a few ways to get across to Sentosa Island. Firstly, you can simply walk across the boardwalk from Vivo City at Harbour Front, and pay a S$1 entry fee to the island. You can then take the Sentosa Express back for free.

The next, and most popular way, is to take the Sentosa Express, a short 4-stop monorail leaving from within Vivo City on level 3. This costs $4 and includes entrance to the island. You can either pay using your EZ-link card, or purchase a “Sentosa Pass” smart card. You can also purchase an “Islander card” if you plan to visit Sentosa often, giving you unlimited rides for a year for S$25. Setnosa Express runs 07:00 ~ 00:00.

For S$2 round trip, you can take bus RWS 8 from the bus stop outside Vivo City, 06:00 ~ 23:30.

You can take a taxi to or from the island, but you will pay a surcharge.

Finally, the Cable Car (S$26 Adults, S$15 Children) is the ultimate way to get to Sentosa Island, albeit more expensive. Find out all about the cable car and the “jewel card” here.

Singapore Cable Car

Singapore’s Cable Car takes you from HarbourFront to Mount Faber & Sentosa Island, in an 8 seater cabin with full 360 panoramic views over Singapore’s skyline, the harbour and Sentosa. If its not busy, you can try to get your own car to yourselves, but otherwise they will group you with others. They play light music (like jazz) inside, and there are fans but not a/c. The ride takes about 10-15min from the top at Mount Faber to the bottom at Sentosa.

It opened in 1974 and has been not just a mode of transport but a tourist attraction ever since. They periodically update the cabin designs and colours and add novelties like glass bottoms. There are currently 7 VIP cabins with Glass floor enhanced with Swarovski crystal elements.

S$26 Adults, S$15 children, or you can purchase a Faber Licence for S$39 for 12 months unlimited rides on the Cable car, and Sentosa Express! It also gives you a 30% discount for a friend’s ticket, and 20% off at some restaurants and shops on Mount Faber and Sentosa Island. If you plan to go on the cable car even twice within a year, its worth it.

The HarbourFront Cable Car station is about a 5-10min walk from HarbourFront MRT. Take exit B into HarbourFront Tower II, go up the escalators, and across the bridge, down to street level and turn left into the square after the first large building. There are signs posted along the way.

Daily 08:45 ~ 22:00 (last boarding 21:30)

Universal Studios Sentosa

Universal Studios Sentosa is the newest branch of the theme park with the grand opening in 2011. It was also the first branch to get the Transformers 3D ride, which is great and probably the best use of Stereoscopic 3D I’ve seen (Shrek 4D at Universal being the worst). Battlestar Galactica offers two different, co-running roller coasters, The Mummy is a coaster-in-the-dark thrill-ride and Jurrassic Park Rafting will get you nice and wet. There are more rides but these are the best. The Waterworld Show is also pretty good, lots of stunts and no animals involved.

I suggest you visit during the week and early in the day, where you will have minimal waiting. On a weekend or public holiday, you will spend most of your time in queues, whereas during off-peak periods you can go on every ride two or three times. You can buy an express pass to speed things up, but this is per-person and only works once per ride.

Surprisingly, the food inside the park is not bad for vegans. The pricing is reasonable, and the park map even lists which restaurants have vegetarian options. I visited the Indian restaurant inside the Ancient Egypt area, and they had a number of vegan choices.

Tickets are S$75 for adults, S$54 for children. Express pass additional S$30.

Take the Sentosa Express (S$3.50, return is free) from Vivo City at Harbourfront MRT station, and alight at Waterfront Station. Or you can take the Bus RWS 8 from Vivo City for S$2 return.

Daily 10:00 ~ 19:00

Rain Oculus

Rain Oculus is a large whirlpool fountain by Ned Kahn, that sits just outside MBS shopping centre. Water in the 22m diameter acrylic bowl is turned on for about 15min every hour throughout the day, flushing water two stories below to the canal inside the mall. People have taken to the installation as a wishing fountain, attempting to roll or throw coins through the hole at the base of the bowl.

As a result of its design, sound easily carries across the bowl (when water is not flowing), meaning you can speak normally and someone standing directly opposite can hear you clearly, give it a try!

Bayfront MRT at MBS

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay

Esplanade is a huge performing arts centre at Marina Bay. Housed in two large domes with a spikey exterior that resemble durian, they have become known as “the durians”. There is a Concert Hall and Theatre for Performing arts with a capacity of about 1,600 & 2,000 people respectively. There are often free performances in the foyer, and in the amphitheatre outside during festivals. Throughout the year, the Esplanade presents over 14 festivals and 20 on-going series.

You can take a 45min walking tour of the Concert Hall (S$10) to find out about the buildings, how all the acoustics work and can be adjusted for each show, how the design of the outer structure blocks out glare and limits outside noise etc.

Tue – Fri @ 09:00, 12:30, 14:00
Sat – Sun @ 09:00

See their events page for what’s on currently and purchasing tickets.

Esplanade or City Hall MRT

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Gardens By the Bay

This enormous high-tech garden started with an international design competition in 2006, and opened to the public in 20011. At just over 100ha, the gardens feature the two World’s Largest climate-controlled Greenhouses, a group of “Supertrees”, and 3 waterfront gardens.

Of the two domes, I preferred the Cloud Forest. You get a cool mist from the waterfall as soon you enter, perfect after walking around on a hot day. Inside you go up the levels that simulate different altitudes and habitats around the world, with information on the plants and wildlife that live there. The Flower Dome is a little dull unless you are really in to plants and flowers, but still is laid out well and features species from around the globe.

The Supertrees are quite a sight and you can take the Skywalk (a bridge running between a few of the Supertrees) for a view over the park. There’s also a light show at night.

The entire park was designed to be eco-friendly, despite the amount of power required to run the two dome’s climates and the light show. For example, the shape of the domes maximize light, catch rain water, collect excess heat and disperse it via the Supertrees that also generate electricity through solar power. Water is filtered via plants within the park, and there’s even an on-site biomass boiler!

There is a branch of Indochine up the main Supertree with a good view and a decent range of vegan options, but is a little pricey. There are other restaurants in the park but not as vegan friendly, so its a good idea to bring your own food and have a picnic!

Light Shows on the Super Trees are at 19:45 and 20:45 and last about 10min.
General entry to the park is free, Skywalk is S$5.
For the conservatories, tourist visitors can only buy tickets to both domes at S$28, while residents (including EP holders) can buy one dome at S$12 or both for $20.

Bayfront MRT station has an exit right into the park, or walk from Marina Bay through MBS.

Open Daily
Outdoor Areas 05:00 ~ 02:00
Skywalk 09:00 ~ 21:00
Conservatories 09:00 ~ 21:00

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ArtScience Museum

The ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay hosts major touring exhibitions (like Harry Potter, Art of Brick, Secrets of the Tomb) in a new designer building modelled after a lotus flower. There is a small permanent exhibition but its not really worth seeing, just keep an eye out for current exhibitions. Usually there are two on at one time, and you can pay to see either or both at a discounted price.

Tickets are usually S$12-20 depending but varies on the exhibition(s). Discounts for locals and EP holders.

Bayfront or Promenade MRT station

Daily 10:00 ~ 22:00 (check website for closures)

Ku De Ta

This bar is famous in Singapore for one reason, its on top of MBS.

While there is a restaurant (with bad reports on the food) most people come here for the outside bar and view. This area however is fairly small, and the bar itself takes up half of that, so it can be quite crammed and hard to get a table. Also, because it looks down on to the Skypark, you can’t actually get to the edge for a really nice view.

The staff here aren’t exactly friendly either. They get very uptight in controlling who is going to the bar, the Skypark and the restaurant. One rolled eyes at me simply for ordering a non-alcoholic drink (even though we ordered 3 other drinks that were). This put me right off the place. Save your money on the drinks and spend it on the Skypark for a better view, more space, and no pressure for time.

Bayfront MRT

Club Lounge 11am till late, cover charge applies from 9pm on Fridays, Saturdays and eve of Public Holidays
Dress code: Stylish chic from 6pm onwards in the restaurant, skybar and club lounge (no shorts, slippers, singlets and tank tops)

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