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Exploring Sentosa Merlion and observatory deck

The Sentosa Merlion is an iconic figure to Singapore and its history as an island city-state. Notably, the one here at Sentosa is the largest of the lot here. The other recognizable one located at the mouth of the Singapore River in front of Fullerton hotel. Let check out the Sentosa Merlion and observatory deck with a visit.

Getting there

This Merlion is located in the heart of the Sentosa Island in the Imbiah sector. The landmark is visible from the mainland and towers over most structures on Sentosa Island. Undeniably, getting there of course involve having to cross from the mainland into the Sentosa Island.

Also, walking over the Sentosa link bridge is free, while bus, monorail and cable car are alternatives mode of transport, each with their own service fees. If you are to take the monorail, a preferred choice, the station to alight from Vivocity is the Imbiah Monorail Station. It is the monorail stop after Universal Studios.

At the heart of the Sentosa Island in the Imbiah sector stands the Sentosa Merlion
At the heart of the Sentosa Island in the Imbiah sector stands the Sentosa Merlion.

Additionally, Tickets are purchased at ticketing counter near the monorail station. You can do so after alighting from Imbiah Monorail Station. Do note that there are no ticket sales at the attraction itself. Entry is free for all Singaporean seniors aged 60 and above.

You however, will need to obtain a ticket from the ticketing counters too. Singaporeans adult tickets costs about $7.50 while tourist ones cost about twice that.

A new point in History

Completed in 1996, the 37 meter tall, 23 year old Merlion tower on Sentosa is an icon in its own right. Furthermore, the Merlion attraction itself costed S$8 million to build. It was designed by Australian sculptor James Martin. Sadly, work to demolish the towering Merlion statue, will begin end this year.

The Merlion throughout the years
The Merlion throughout the years.

Moreover, this demolition is part of the new initiatives for the new upcoming Sentosa Sensory scape project as part of Sentosa-Brani masterplan. The Sentosa Merlion, together with the adjacent Sentosa broadwalk area will be demolished to make way for new $90 million themed linkway.

Attraction entrance
Photo booth
3D film

Thereafter, entering the attraction within past the turnstiles the attraction starts is a small photo booth area. Photos are optional. The counter staff here after verifying your tickets will present you with a plastic attraction card for you to keep which you can use to redeem a token gift later in your attraction journey.

Merlion Museum

First up is a short introductory video called Tales & Sails. The sector is themed to rural fishing village in olden Singapore. The Introductory 3D animated video talks about of how Singapore got its name as Temasek when Sang Nila Utama visited the island in 1299 and saw an unknown creature which he thought be a Lion.

The video thereafter speaks of the Republic of Singapore being a nation surrounded by water, hence the conception of the Merlion creature fitting as the protector of the city-state.

The museum entrance and introductory 3D animated video
The museum entrance and introductory 3D animated video.

The introductory video exits into a mini museum which exhibits covers various aspects of the Merlion figure in Singapore. Moreover, it also teaches about the Merlion figure as a protector symbol for Singapore.

Through the times
Since 1996

Sentosa Merlion building plans

Schematics drawings of the Sentosa Merlion
Schematics drawings of the Sentosa Merlion.

Additionally, on display too are also several construction and schematics, as well as structural drawings of the structure itself. These are adapted from official drawings showing the various floors of the tower.

A view through time
Sizing up

In a nutshell, the Merlion tower itself is a 12-storey structure (37 meter tall) modern steel structure. The structure itself is rather simple by design, with an exterior cladding “skin” shaped to the Merlion. You are able to see this in person as you enter the observation decks later on.

Various informatics in the Museum mini exhibition
Various informatics in the Museum mini exhibition.

In addition to static exhibits are a variety of interactive and multimedia booths. Examples includes coloring booths where you can paint your own Merlion and set it free into the sea.

Interactive multimedia booths
Interactive multimedia booths to “make” your own Merlion.
Colour your own Merlion before setting it "free" into the exhibit
Colour your own Merlion before setting it “free” into the exhibit.

Additionally, there is also an augmented reality corner where you can assemble your Merlion using your hands. The system here detects the presence of an operator wearing the googles and tracks your arm and hands movement to allow you to interact with parts of the Merlion just by waving your arms.

Multimedia and VR interactive booths suitable for all ages
Multimedia and VR interactive booths suitable for all ages.

When you are done with the museum, you exit the galleries into a large lobby-like area with a center spire. Here is where you insert the plastic card given to you at the entrance earlier to redeem a souvenir golden coin.

Insert card for goodies
Gift Coin get!

Notably, the coin is unique to the attraction. Also, there are elevators here serve the upper viewing decks of the Merlion.

Central atrium lobby showing the heart of progress
Central atrium lobby showing the heart of progress.

Views Up from the Merlion

Commendably, the Sentosa Merlion statue on Sentosa is the Tallest Merlion in Singapore. Moreover, up here it towers over most structures on the Sentosa, island, being situated on a hill. Also, it offers panoramic views of Sentosa from the top.

On the head gallery of the Merlion
On the head gallery of the Merlion.

Moreover, from the museum basement of the tower, you ride up to the top via a one of two elevators. These run in a central shaft at the central core of the Merlion. You exit out into a lift landing comprising of a mix of interior balconies and staircases.

Elevators up!
Lift lobby
Lift floors

These leads guests via dimly-lit corridors throughout the various observation points of interest in the structure itself. There are two viewing areas, a Head and Mouth gallery, demarcated by clearly labeled signs.

Stairwells within the upper viewing deck
Take your pick between the Head or Mouth viewing areas, accessible via stairwells within the upper viewing deck.

Furthermore, the highlight of your Merlion trip will be the panoramic views you can catch from the head viewing deck of the Merlion. Here you can catch the north facing views the front of the Merlion is the entire Resorts World Sentosa operated by the Genting group.

180 degree panorama up north out overlooking resort world Sentosa


Moreover, in the distance is Mt Faber hill overlooking the Vivocity and Harbourfront mall establishments with the Central Business district and Pulau Brani container terminal in view on the west.

180 degree Panorama of overlooking out on South sea views


Towards the rear, you can catch seas views of the Siloso beach and Palawan beach on the left with the southernmost tip of continental Asia. The Jurong petroleum processing island can be seen in the far distance as well as the hundreds of ships berthed around the waters of Singapore. Also, a good time to visit is around 6.30pm just before sunset, where you can catch both day and night views on a single visit.

Signs to galleries
Staircases in dark
Ring the bell!

The mouth gallery is tad smaller and only provides a window view of the north facing side of the Merlion. Also, there is the Merlion bell here which you can ring for a blessing from the Merlion.

 View from the mouth gallery
View from the mouth gallery.

Gift shop and cafe

When done, you ride the elevator down to the lower ground floor where you exit into the attraction gift shop and café. Notably, if you purchase above $50 worth of merchandise from the store, you can get a complimentary coin holder (worth about $2) for your golden coin gift you obtained in the museum earlier.

The Merlion gift shop
The Merlion gift shop.

Also, the counter staff at the shop were sharing about the sudden increase in visitor ship from locals since the announcing of the attraction’s closing. With many Singaporeans visiting for the first time despite being around for over 20 years.

Museum giftshop entrance
Museum giftshop entrance.

Moreover, the café offers a mix of indoor air-conditioned seating. There is an ice-cream bar as well as outdoor seating on a wooden patio surrounded by fountains.

More photobooths
Rear of the Merlion
Outdoor Fountains

Exiting out from the store allows you to explore the public exterior fountains of the Merlion. The exterior of the Merlion is surrounded by a man-made pond which has a couple of fountains nicely spaced throughout the rocky exterior.

Fountain boardwalk
Fountain boardwalk.

Projection night light show

At night, the Merlion structure is used as an animated projection screen in the dark with videos played in tune to music. This is show played at multiple intervals every night. This is done over a seating show gallery at the Merlion Plaza by the Imbiah Monorail Station open grounds. Check out the light show with the video below.

Moreover, the light show runs 4 shows daily at 30 minute intervals from 7.45pm to 9.15pm. There are 2 additional showtimes at 9.45pm and 10.15pm on weekends, eve of public holiday and public holidays.

Night projections and light show
Night projections and light show.

just recently, Sentosa had put together a montage of all the best video projection scenes into one single night show. Also, this allows you to catch all the best over the years in one curated night show.

Lit at night
different colours

All in all, that’s all what the Merlion on Sentosa has to offer. I hope you like the visit and extensive walkthrough. The last day of admission for the Sentosa Merlion will be on Sunday, 20th October 2019. Still, it is sad to see the Merlion go. Still Sentosa had undergone massive changes with the Integrated resorts to bring it to what it is today. Who know what else the Sentosa-Brani will have installed next in the Sentosa Sensory-scape project.



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