Saturday, April 21, 2007

Singapore’s Sentosa Island's Multi-Sensory Extravaganza

Sitting in an amphitheatre by the beach on a resort island being entertained by brilliant displays of pyrotechnics, music and jets of water is a fitting way to end an exciting day. Called Songs of the Sea, this outdoor show is the latest permanent attraction of Singapore’s Sentosa Island.

It’s a show that has everything from a live cast performing on the beach, to high-tech displays in the air and on sea.

A 120m-long kelong (fishing platform) stands in the sea about 45m from the front row of seats, and it is here that lights, lasers, flames, water jets and images projected onto giant water screens are worked together to create a spectacle lasting 25 minutes, twice a night.

It all starts out very rustically in a fishing village setting. Soothing music wafts from speakers camouflaged as boulders on the beach. A group of friends jog merrily into view and start singing, encouraging the audience to join in on such popular folk songs as Chan Mali Chan.

See 40m water jets and more during the Songs of the Sea show.
Suddenly, there is the image of a beautiful sleeping girl high up in the sky. Wondering who she is, the friends are told by a group of sea creatures that she is Princess Ami who has fallen under a spell. Encouraged by his friends and Oscar, a cheeky tiger fish, one character named Li tries his best to break the spell and awaken the sleeping princess.

The simple story (shades of The Sleeping Beauty here) is presented beautifully and spectacularly by powerful pyrotechnics, majestic jets of water that shoot 40m into the air, brilliant laser beams shooting into the night sky, carving a canopy of psychedelic colours over the audience, and flames leaping up 20m.

The flames, besides being stunning set against the inky-black sky, generate quite a lot of heat.

I found it to be an enjoyable 20 minutes. Sitting on a bench under a starry sky in the company of 2,000 other people, taking in the vivid lights and colours, I thought it was a real treat for the senses. The storyline is simple enough for foreign tourists to understand, and young children are sure to be glued to their seats because the effects are arresting.

Taking the scenic trip up.
Songs of the Sea is a RM69mil attraction. There are two shows at 7.40pm and 8.40pm daily, and with admission at only RM13.80 per person, it is affordable. The show was created by Yves Pepin, founder and president of ECA2, a company that creates and produces multimedia shows. Pepin also designed the permanent night show at DisneySea Tokyo.

Where to stay

The Rasa Sentosa Resort is part of Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts. Located on the western tip of Sentosa, it is Singapore’s only beachfront hotel and boasts the largest free-form swimming pool in the island republic.

They have various activities to keep guests of all ages occupied, but if you just want a quiet time, take a stroll through the lovely extensive tropical gardens.

A fish-feeding frenzy.
Guests can have their meals at the Silver Shell Cafe and/or sample the seafood at the Barnacles. Being a pizza lover, I headed towards the Trapizza, where I found their thin-crust pizza to be utterly delicious. The refreshing salad was a great delight too.

My room was done up in the soothing colours of green and white. Up on the 10th floor, lying in the bathtub, I had a wonderful view of the sea as the bathroom had shutters that could be pulled back.

What to do

Singapore’s island resort is undergoing a RM27.6bil revamp. It’s a work in progress. Having visited a few of the attractions like the Sentosa 4D Magix, the Carlsberg Sky Tower, Images of Singapore and the Merlion, I have to say that I enjoyed the luge the most.

It is a gravity ride on a luge cart (a cross between a go-cart and a toboggan) down a 650m paved track, and is safe for all ages. It is not a mad uncontrollable ride, as the cart has a steering and braking system that allows a rider to go as fast or slow as she pleases.

The luge is safe and tons of fun.
Have no fear; you won’t find yourself hurtling down the steep incline!

Try the four-seater Skyride as well, which allows you to take in the top of the trees with your legs dangling in the air. Just make sure your shoes don’t fall off!

At Underwater World you get another unique experience. How would you like to have a school of tiny fish swimming around your feet nibbling away? Fear Factor? Not really. Once you get over the squeamishness, the experience is actually quite relaxing.

First you wash your feet. Then dry them, and then sit at the edge of a rectangular pool. Dip your toes in first. A school of spa fish will swim up and converge on your toes. Gathering courage, you put both feet in. By now, you would have become used to the nibbling and tingling effect.

The Turkish Garra rufa fish consume only dead skin; this is exfoliation the natural way. I can vouch for the effectiveness of these little fish because when I washed my feet after “feeding” the fish, my feet, especially the heel, felt smooth to the touch.

After this “nibbling massage”, you can have the resident reflexologist work on your feet.

This unique spa therapy was first discovered in the Middle East. The fish is native to the hot springs, lakes and river basins of Turkey. The 40-minute fish reflexology session, which includes foot reflexology, costs RM80.

Source : STAR
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