Sentosa Island

This is a late upload - I'm currently in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan in an apartment belonging to my friend Nao.  I caught my friend's cold before I left Singapore, so I've been hiding out here, recovering, since I arrived on Sunday.  It's now Tuesday.  I'm scheduled to be back on my explorer game tomorrow morning as I head to Hiroshima and Miyajima in Western Honshu.  For now, this gallery shows a few of our pics from my last day in Singapore, spent on the lovely Sentosa Island.

Sentosa Island is basically an amusement park, a literal island south of Singapore city, full of tourist attractions that include museums, a massive candy store, Universal Studios, and a beach.  We didn't have time to check out the whole island because my flight was scheduled for 8:45 that night, but we did manage to visit Candylicious, the Sentosa Merlion museum, and the Hawker's food market.

Candylicious was recommended by my 12 year-old niece.  As my traveler's itinerary began to tighten towards the end of my time in Singapore, this seemed like less and less of an important stop.  Nevertheless, my new friends Kat and Jane, who were entrusted with my wellbeing and enjoyment in Singapore by my roommate in Canada, Rhea, made sure I got to visit.  I was really glad I did.  Let me start off by saying that I'm actually five years old trapped in a 25 year-old woman's body, and I don't need a candy store to make that happen - that's why I travel.  But alas, Candylicious is just that: a giant candy store whose mission statement, painted on a white wall behind the cash registers for all to see, states that they want to remind everyone, regardless of age, of life's simple pleasures - candy, of course, being the simplest.  Photos above show me with a rainbow-coloured Candylicious bunny that I ran to upon entering the store.  I didn't buy it, but I did end up taking home a lollipop plush resembling it.  Like I said, 5 years old.  Best 40 minutes ever.

As you proceed into the middle of the island, a huge golden Merlion protrudes from behind the trees.  As soon as I saw people walking around on top of it, I told my friends I needed to go up, immediately.  They patiently waited for me below.  When I got to the foot of the giant Merlion and paid my admission fee ($12 for adult tourists, $10 for locals), I found out that the big lion-fish statue was actually a museum.  They show a cute, 8 or 12 minute video in English explaining how Singapore came to be, and the merlion symbol of half-lion, half-fish to represent understanding among people and the land's connection to the sea.  After the video, you walk into a room with smaller gold Merlion statues that eat your admission ticket and spit out golden souvenir coins, one per person.  I think this might be my favourite Singaporean souvenir despite my numerous trips to Chinatown for touristic novelties.  Then, they move you into an elevator to access the head and mouth viewing platforms.  The head shows a really interesting view of the city that's worth a panoramic photo or a 360-degree snap.  The mouth is even cooler: if you're afraid of heights, the ledge is quite high so it's hard to look directly below you.  Each of the merlion's four teeth is to represent each race in Singapore and the peace and tolerance between them.  Then, a museum employee is standing there with a camera to take two photos of you: one however you normally pose in pictures, and the other with a roaring lion face.  It all sounds super cheesy but I loved it.  Then you go downstairs and exit through the gift shop.  Singapore is only 50 years old, but its influence and location make for a rich history despite its young age.  This museum sums it all up well for visitors of all ages.

Last thing we did was have dinner at the Hawker's Market.  All market food in Singapore is meant to share, so always order the smallest size.  We finally used this opportunity to open up the bottle of sparkling pineapple wine I had brought from Okinawa.  I had to rush back to my hostel shortly after to shower and collect my things for my flight, but overall, it was an awesome day at Sentosa.  It's definitely worth the visit no matter how long your stay in Singapore is.  There really is something for everyone here!