Sentosa is a resort island located at the southern end of Singapore. It is an inescapable place if you’re visiting Singapore for the first time, though, for many, its touristy nature may cause weariness. It’s here that attractions like Universal Studios Singapore, Underwater World and the MegaZip Adventure Park sit. Reminiscent of Vegas, a giant casino sits not-so-hidden away amongst the shows and shops of the main resort area. Further away, indoor extreme sports offer thrills for luge aficionados and fans of high heights. All of this is available for a fee, of course.
Eschewing the mega attractions, visitors are still able to take in some Singaporean magic without spending much. From VivoCity, opt to enter Sentosa via the Sentosa Boardwalk, rather than taking the monorail. The entrance fee is less if you enter by foot, a huge savings if you’re traveling in a group. The Boardwalk is also shaded with moving sidewalks, so it’s not too bad even on the hottest of days.
Once inside Sentosa, all forms of public transportation are free. You can jump on the monorail to access the beachfront of Sentosa, then transferring onto transport cars to reach areas even further away. At one end of the island, you’ll find Fort Siloso, a historic look back to the days when the island was a military camp where prisoners of war were kept.
At the heart of Sentosa is the Merlion, the same mythical beast that also sits at the mouth of the Singapore River, though this rendition is significantly larger and doesn’t spout water. A garden nearby illuminates with lights at night, promising romantic strolls for those who stick around after dark. Surprisingly, I could’ve spent a whole day wandering the island, taking in the nature and the people without spending a Singaporean dime. Which leads me to another tip: bring snacks; the restaurants here aren’t cheap (a plate of nachos costs US$16 at the Chili’s here).
When you’re finally ready to leave, hop on the monorail and it’ll take you back to VivoCity for free. From there, you can access the MRT to get to wherever you need to go.