In the Jaws of a Merlion

April 4, 2007 Blog 13 comments

Last Sunday morning, I took my family to Sentosa and spent a couple of hours there.

We visited Sentosa’s Merlion, which is a 10-storeyed attraction on the island and also spent some time walking around the island. Despite being very regular visitors to Sentosa (which is pretty close to my home near Mount Faber), I always found it refreshing to go there. The mix of sun, sand, sea and smiles (by service oriented staff) never fail to make my day.

The island attraction has certainly improved by leaps and bounds over the years, and everybody is waiting with bated breath for the Resorts World Integrated Resort to open there in 3 years time. In fact, this has led Sentosa to be one of the eminent stars at the recent Tourism Awards organised by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Here are some highlights of our trip.

Sentosa Express 2
Sentosa Express – a zippy new way to get around. This is connected to VivoCity in the main island so its a lot more convenient to reach the island. I do miss the old monorail though, which to me has more character.

Merlion waterfall
Beautiful landscaping helps to enhance an islander’s experience.

Fairy Tale 2
The old woman and the shoe. Apparently, kids can crawl and climb inside to play.

Tree Face
Another whimsical element on Sentosa – a palm tree with a face on its trunk.

The 10-storeyed Merlion guarding the island paradise with its piercing laser-light eyes. The musical fountain show has been discontinued, to be replaced by the Songs by the Sea which is a much more impressive performance.

Wishing Coin
A wishing coin thingy inside the Merlion. How it works is that they will give you a “magic” coin when you visit the Merlion, which you can insert into this “magic” seismographic looking device and get a “wish” from the Merlion’s mouth. This is actually a free gift like a fan or keychain that you can redeem at the shop. Nice touch though a bit tacky.

In Merlion mouth
Ethan and myself in the jaws of the Merlion. The view was quite nice here, and there is a guy who will help you take photographs. He also wielded a mean looking digital camera which is linked to the souvenir shop downstairs so that you can buy souvenir pictures or postcards of yourself later. Clever.

Merlion Head
Another panaromic view from the Merlion, this time on its head. In the picture is Tina, Ethan and me.

Merlion Shop
As part of the experience, we visited the Merlion Shop. It is a compulsory stopping point after the visit.

Merlion Shop
Inside the Merlion Shop. I noticed that there were quite a few Russian tourists on the island that day from their accents. I guess they don’t get much sun there.

Merlion Softies
Notice the many cute, cuddly baby merlions here all waiting to be adopted. Apparently they were the hottest moving items that day. Wowee.

Magnets Galore
Magnets – the merchandiser’s dream! Cheap to produce and easy to bring home.

Delifrance in Merlion
They even managed to squeeze in a Delifrance outlet in the Merlion. Yet another opportunity to generate revenue.

Yes guys I have been very slow in posting. Well, work has caught up with me and I had to crash and burn the whole of yesterday. Back in action now!

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. The virtual tour was fun! I’m not able to enjoy the outdoors now becos of my illness. But you just did a great write-up.

    Hope to read more of your family outings. Hey, don’t forget your wedding post.

    Work is important but need to relax also la!!!

  2. hey, that sentosa express must be new! it wasn’t there when i went back to s’pore in dec 2005! yep, i do miss the monorail, too, and can you imagine my embarrassment when i went to WTC looking for a place to book a ferry ride to sentosa??? i don’t know when it was scrapped, but i don’t often go to sentosa, and the guy at the counter selling tickets to batam gave me a strange look, haha!

  3. eastcoastlife,

    Thanks for the encouragement. Yeah, I know that all work and no play makes Walter a dull boy. I guess there will be more of family type posts over the next few days for the long weekend.

  4. shilpa,

    Yes Sentosa has certainly changed by quite a lot. It has grown to be much more visitor friendly and “theme-parkish” compared to earlier years. While the overall progress is good, we do lose some of the original quirkiness which endears us to the island.

  5. Cool post 🙂

    Cart and I were in Sentosa in December. What a shame that the monorail only started when he left. The extreme rainy weather in december didnt even helped the situation. 😛

    Loved the pics heaps walter 🙂 Thank you.

  6. Your post make me feel tempted to check out Sentosa. I haven’t been there for quite a while.

    Meantime, take good care of yourself, and rest well if time permits.

  7. Change a lot and change fast too!
    Is it more crowded now (with S’poreans)…after all the work done, gearing up for the casino?
    I remember there were just many Japanese tourists in Sentosa.

  8. oceanskies,

    Yep, you should check it out again. There are some excellent photo opportunities there. Lately, have been quite addicted to photo taking and just got a slim “blogging” camera. he he

  9. tigerfish,

    I believe the crowd is both local and tourists, splitting about 50/50. The mix seem to have changed somewhat. While Japanese and now Chinese tourists still do visit Sentosa, we are getting a lot more Russians and East Europeans now.

  10. Walter:
    Your post reminds me very much of the time when my big boy was at Ethan’s age and when my wife and I used to bring him out to places of interest. Now that he’s 15, he no longer wants to go out with us. Most kids “outgrow” the parents, I’m sorry to say. So, better bring Ethan jalan jalan more often hor.

  11. Chris,

    Thanks for popping by. I have heard many stories from fathers (especially fathers) of teenage boys that I figured I better do something with mine while he is still young. After a certain age, it will be very hard to bring your boy along. Hopefully, I can capture some of his childhood experiences while also be a tourism ambassador for SIngapore!

  12. nice post n great shots.
    I went to sentosa recently during CNY wif my parents.
    but i din visit the Merlion, u saved me a trip. =)
    Sentosa has improved a lot i must say. Am looking fwd to the IR.

  13. zeezee,

    You should go and visit Sentosa just to enjoy the rusticity and serenity now while they still last. Of course the IR will also be an exciting change to this island attraction, especially with a powerhouse like Universal Studios.

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