Sunday, 1 March 2009

Sentosa - A Holiday Destination Of The Future?

It starts with a cable-car journey, gliding high over the trees and the river below. You then fly into an opening in a skyscraper which feels like you're arriving at a Bond Villain's lair. Then back out into daylight and down below must be the largest expanse of construction work currently being undertaken on the planet (I have no data whatsoever to back this up). This is the part of Sentosa Island which has been designed, but not yet built. It's fascinating to look at from so high above, but it's not pretty.

On arriving at the other end of the cable-car, it's a bit Disneyland. We walked down to the beach, past a family of giant plastic cows, dressed as tourists, wearing lipstick and grinning for a group portrait. Behind them looms a three hundred foot concrete Merlion (yes, part lion, part mer-thing).

When you arrive at the beach it's a little confusing. There's sunshine, sand, palm trees, cargo ships, kids building sand-castles, more cargo ships, factory chimneys in the distance and then some more cargo ships. And they do weddings here. If you want to get married with one of the busiest shipping lanes in Asia as a backdrop, Sentosa's for you.

We travelled up and down the length of the resort on the little "train" and at each stop a happy sounding lady encouraged us to "have fun".

We decided to "have fun" by crossing a long "King Kong-ish" rope bridge to an extra bit of land which is apparently the "Sowthernmost" point of the Asian continent. And if you can tightrope-walk along a palm tree which has grown almost horizontally out over the sea then you're presumably about as "Sowthernmost" as you can get. We did just that, and took silly photos to prove it.

Justine's lasting impression of Sentosa... Fantasy Island crossed with Center Parcs, on the banks of the Manchester Ship Canal. Glad we went, wouldn't have wanted to stay there.

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