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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

Haw Par Villa

Haw Par Villa is a bizzare, crazy, interesting & unique sight in Singapore. It is a very traditional part of Singapore and has a lot of history. The Park was built by the Haw Brothers (of Tiger Balm fame) in 1937 as a way of teaching Chinese values. In 1988, Singaporean Tourism took control, turned it into a theme park, and charged a high entrance fee. Poorly managed, it took huge losses, over $30million, and was eventually closed and later reopened to the public as a park without the rides and with free admission.

There are over 1000 statues and figures in the park, based on the stories of Chinese Folk Lore and important figures. Singaporean parents used to take their kids to see the “10 Courts of Hell” section, which depicts the punishment one would receive in hell after committing certain crimes in life. They are brutal to say the least, for the “crime” of ‘Misuse of books, posession of pronographic material, Breaking written rules & regulations, wasting food’ the punishment is ‘Body sawn into two’!

While some of the figures are a little worn, this park is definitely worth a visit, if not just for the weird factor! It’s free, will take you 1 or 2 hours to walk around if you read the information, and right by the MRT.

Free admission
Right at Haw Par Villa MRT station.
Daily 09:00 ~ 19:00

Henderson Waves

Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore, at 36m above Henderson Road, and is 274m long, connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park. The bridge has a wave-like appearance from ribs undulating above and below the main bridge (so what you actually walk on is flat).

Its a popular spot at night with groups of friends, couples and families sitting on and walking across the bridge. It offers a decent panoramic view of the city too.

How you get there really depends on how much you want to walk. It is part of the Southern Ridges, a 10km trail connecting various parks in the south of Singapore, so you can start at Mt Faber or Hort Park and just make it part of your walk, or get as close as possible via public transport and just walk the bridge.

Telok Blangah MRT is about a 20min walk, Red Hill MRT about 30min. Buses 131, 145, 176 or 648 will get you on or close to Henderson Road, walk towards the bridge and head up the stairs.

Lights on from 19:00 ~ 02:00

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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