Universal Studios Singapore
Singapore may not have a Disney World but Universal Studios Singapore is definitely a worthy alternative. This theme park, located in the heart of Resorts World Sentosa, is a world on its own, with seven individually themed zones to get lost in.
Regardless of whether you are here on a weekend or weekday, expect large crowds from the moment it opens at 10am. A simple hack to avoid the growing lines is to explore the theme park’s zones in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from Madagascar and working your way around. Alternatively, you can simply invest in the Universal Express Pass and skip the queues as you gain access to a priority lane (once for every participating attraction).
Recent additions include Puss In Boots’ Giant Journey, a roller coaster ride that takes you on an adventure with characters like Puss, Kitty and Humpty Dumpty – great for the little ones who may not be ready to face the high-adrenaline rides. A definite highlight is TRANSFORMERS The Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle – a simulated, 3D coaster ride that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into your very own action film! Regardless of whether you are a sci-fi nerd or a history buff, make a trip to Ancient Egypt and suffer the Revenge Of The Mummy. As expected, this indoor coaster will get your heart pounding from all of its thrills and spills but you’ll still face countless surprises as the entire ride happens in almost complete darkness!
There is much more to Universal Studios Singapore than just the rides. There are plenty of shows for everyone to enjoy, like the infinitely cute Sesame Street Spaghetti Space Chase or Shrek 4-D Adventure! Cinema fanatics should definitely check out Lights, Camera, Action! Here you will witness an empty soundstage develop into the scene of a dramatic earthquake, through the power of special effects alone.
It may be best to save your meal until after you’ve explored all the rides, lest you struggle to keep it down. There’s a whole world of international food offerings available, from Mediterranean fare at Ancient Egypt’s Oasis Spice Café to Mel’s Drive-In Diner in Hollywood… and of course, carnival snacks galore like cotton candy, popcorn, churros and ice cream at various kiosks throughout the extensive grounds. Marissa Trew
Universal Studios Singapore, Resorts World Sentosa, tel: 6577 8888, rwsentosa.com/uss.
To label this popular attraction as just an aquarium would be a major disservice. If the weather outside is wet, this is a fantastic place to while away a few hours – to get the most of the place we’d recommend spending at least half a day. Apart from the impressive series of enormous tanks and walk-through aquariums, brimming with exotic marine life from across the region and beyond, the S. E. A. Aquarium offers a fascinating selection of interactive shows, exhibits and talks. For the young this is a magical wonderland – it’s hard to move on from some of the displays they are so mesmerising.
The most impressive viewing tank, the Ocean Gallery, sits like a huge cinema screen, with seats and relaxing music providing the ideal environment to escape the modern world outside and get lost in a soothing subterranean one. Watching the sharks, manta rays and stingrays glide effortlessly through the water, surrounded by a myriad colourful fish is an almost hypnotic experience. There are 18 million litres of water in this tank, which is home to over 50,000 marine animals.
Elsewhere, look out for the amazing jellyfish tanks, the eccentric seahorses and the massive goliath grouper, just some of the 800 species on display throughout the S. E. A. Aquarium.
The collection of marine life originates from an area spanning ten different time zones, following the trade routes taken from South East Asia to India, China, Africa and beyond, with each area of ocean covered in detail. These include the Strait of Karimata and Java Sea, the Strait of Malacca and Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal and Laccadive Sea, the Arabian Gulf and Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, the South China Sea and the waters off East Africa. Highlights include the Shark Seas, where visitors walk through an aquarium teeming with a variety of sharks, including the nurse shark, the black-tipped reef shark, the grey reef shark and the clumsy looking hammerhead.
Determined to be a centre of education and preservation as well as an attraction, the aquarium offers a series of ‘learning adventures’ for the young. These are aimed at raising awareness about the importance of the ocean to future generations so students have a greater understanding of subjects like conservation and the environment.
To get the most out of your visit, we’d advise setting aside a good four to five hours so you can really enjoy the displays without feeling you have to rush. If you feel like having lunch at the aquarium, Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora offers magnificent views of the Open Ocean aquarium while you eat. Helmed by Singapore’s first female Iron Chef, this fine dining establishment will complete an unforgettable experience at S. E. A. Aquarium.
S. E. A. Aquarium, Resorts World Sentosa, tel: 6577 8888, rwsentosa.com
Ola Beach Club
The newest attraction on Sentosa is the recently launched Ola Beach Club on Siloso Beach. This impressive Hawaian-inspired space houses a swimming pool, sun loungers, beach bar, restaurant and spacious event space as well as offering an amazing choice of watersport activities.
These include exclusive attractions like the Jet Pack and Jet Blade (imagine yourself powering through the air propelled by a high powered water jet or hovering above the water on a board) as well as more traditional water activities like banana boats, stand-up paddleboards, donuts and kayaks. Ola is not just great for the active however – with a menu of modern Hawaiian cuisine, a cocktail bar, guest DJs and a laid back vibe, this is the ideal place to lie back and relax in the sun.
The resident mixologist, Alex Ng, has worked at renowned Singapore establishments like Loof, Bar Stories and Tess, Bar and Kitchen so we’d advise starting off your Ola experience with one of his refreshing creations like the Siloso First Light (tequila, freshly-squeezed orange juice, pomegranate syrup and mango) or the Hala Lei (gin, pineapple juice, chamomile tea and homemade allspice liqueur). On the food front, we go for the excellent poke bowls and Grilled Octopus as well as more wholesome dishes like the Huli-Huli Chicken and the delicious Loco Moco – a Wagyu beef patty on steamed Japanese white rice, with sesame seeds, finely chopped konbu and a panko crusted egg, served with fries and a salad.
Ola Beach Club, 46 Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6250 6978, olabeachclub.com
Go Green Segway
A good way of getting your bearings and seeing what the island has to offer is on a Segway. Operated by Go Green, this eco friendly business offers a number of different Segway tours available from their outlet located opposite the Bikini Bar, not far from Beach Station.
Here get the hang of maneuvering a Segway along the road on tours that run from 30 minutes to 150 minutes, taking in the beach views and sights like the Sentosa Merlion, Fort Siloso and the recently launched 180m Siloso Skywalk. Easy and fun to use, the Segway is the ideal way to explore the quiet traffic-free roads of the island – if you fancy doing more of the work yourself, you can also hire a bicycle here and explore the island on your own terms.
Gogreen Cycle and Island Explorer, Siloso Beach, tel: 6352 6754, segwaytours.com.sg
Skyline Luge Sentosa
Literally steps away from Sentosa’s Beach Station, the Skyline Luge Sentosa is one of countless attractions you’ll come across during a day out in Sentosa. A little like go-karting without the engine, the luge will have you speeding along a downhill racetrack and testing your reflexes along of series of twists and turns.
Before all the excitement begins, have a leisurely journey to the top of Imbiah Hill by hopping on the Skyride… a cable-operated chairlift boasting breathtaking views of the surrounding beaches, the tree canopy below and the skyline of Singapore’s central business district on the horizon. It operates well into the evening too, making for a very romantic backdrop to kick start any date night.
Of course the true highlight is the two luge racing tracks that wind their way from the peak of Imbiah Hill back to the base. Feel the wind in your hair as you shoot down the winding trails and compete against your fellow ‘lugers’ to the bottom of the hill.
Their motto “once is never enough” is definitely worth keeping in mind when purchasing tickets. While you can buy single ride tickets (which include both a skyride and luge experience), it’s much better value to opt for their three- or five- ride packages! If the whole family is in tow, consider the four, eight, or ten ride family passes, which guarantee that everyone gets a go!
Whether you are planning a day on Sentosa with your family or you are trying your best to get your date’s heart racing, the Skyline Luge just might be the answer! Marissa Trew
Skyline Luge Sentosa, 45 Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6274 0472, skylineluge.com
The lack of a decent surf break in Singapore is more than made up for at Wavehouse Sentosa. This 70,000 sqft beachfront facility features the exhilaration of two man-made waves (the leisurely FlowRider and the more extreme FlowBarrel), and a casual restaurant/bar area. Fun-seekers can start off their water frolics on a boogie board before graduating up to the much harder boarding.
A cross between surfing, snowboarding and skate boarding, this involves trying to stay upright as water is pumped towards you at high velocity. Once you’ve mastered your balance on the FlowRider, take a giant step up to the FlowBarrel wave. This mimics an impressive barreling wave by pumping 100,000 gallons of water a minute in a perfect crest, allowing seasoned pros the ideal stage for practicing their skills.
Wavehouse Sentosa, 36 Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6377 3113, wavehousesentosa.com
Megazip Adventure Park
This fun facility offers a good choice of activities to get your heart pumping. The park sits amidst the vibrant greenery of Imbiah Hill – one of the best viewpoints on the island. Everything from the high ropes obstacle course to the MegaZip zip line is ideal for families travelling with adventure-loving kids.
The obvious highlight here is the MegaZip – a 450 metre-long high wire zip line between Imbiah Hill and Fox Finish Point on the beach below. Reaching speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour at a height of 75 metres, it definitely gets your heart pumping. It’s also perfect for those with a competitive spirit – try to gather up as much speed as you can and race your friends to the bottom.
Other attractions here include the ParaJump, a 15-metre high launching platform that gives you the sensation of a free-fall parachute jump, and MegaBounce, which combines a trampoline and bungee ropes so visitors can test their acrobatic skills as they leap to new heights.
The park is open daily but if you are here in Singapore on holiday, dodge the weekend rush by coming on one of the less busy weekdays. While it is possible to book tickets for the park’s separate attractions, we guarantee you will want to try everything at least once, so invest in one of their ticket packages to give you access to all. Marissa Trew
MegaZip Adventure Park, Imbiah Hill Road Sentosa Island Singapore, tel: 6884 5602, megazip.com.sg
After all that excitement, you’ll definitely be needing some well-earned refreshment and hearty sustenance. Luckily you won’t have to travel far for a good feed. We recommend Ola Beach Club (see above) for excellent Hawaiian fare but there’s a wide choice of international cuisines on offer on the island. Located opposite Gogreen Segway on Siloso beach is C-side, a dining and entertainment complex which includes The Bikini Bar, Coastes, Flame and Sand Bar. For casual all-day dining, Coastes is a good choice with its menu of popular favourites, friendly service and excellent location. It’s the kind of place you pop into for brunch and end up spending the whole day – sun loungers are also on hand for those with less planned on their itinerary. Sand Bar next door is also a good place for a sunset drink. From 6pm to 9pm (Mondays to Fridays) all house pour spirits, together with selected beers and cocktails, are a very affordable $7.
For a change of scene, head to Quayside Isle, where a selection of international restaurants and cafes looks out over the picturesque marina. Good choices for local food here include the excellent seafood restaurant Blue Lotus – try their Chilli Pomelo Crab for one of the best (and spiciest) versions in Singapore! Alternatively head to the authentic Spanish restaurant Sabio by the Sea for an al fresco feast of delicious tapas and sangria, overlooking the swaying masts of the yachts – it’s hard to believe that this casual but sophisticated location is just a short drive from the busy streets of the CBD.
Coastes, Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6631 8938, coastes.com
Sand Bar, 50 Siloso Beach Walk, tel: 6274 9668
Blue Lotus, Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, tel: 6339 0880, bluelotus.com.sg
Sabio by the Sea, Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way, tel: 6690 7568, dhm.com.sg
One of the most exciting openings to hit Singapore last