Adventures, Lifestyle

Why I Changed My Mind About Sentosa – Vanessa Tai

If you think Sentosa is just a tourist trap, you probably haven’t checked out all the exciting attractions the island has to offer. Vanessa Tai tells you which ones to zoom in on.

As a child, going to Sentosa was such a treat for my brother and I. We would constantly bug our parents to take us to the beach, to Fantasy Island, to the wax museum, and so on. Even as a teenager, my friends and I were there almost every other weekend to perfect our tans. However, as I got older and busier, somehow going to Sentosa didn’t seem as appealing anymore. There always seemed to be another more entertaining option elsewhere.

However, I completely changed my view of Sentosa during a recent visit with fellow co-founders Deborah and Lili. As you may know, the island recently underwent a marketing campaign where they’ve branded themselves as “The State of Fun.” And truly, there are so many different attractions and entertainment options available on the island now, one day doesn’t seem like enough. From high-octane activities like the Megazip or iFly to something more sedate like unwinding with a piña colada at Coastes, you’ll surely find something that hits that sweet spot.

Here are 4 activities you should check out:

If you’re with a date, Megazip

Picture this: You’re strapped to a harness and hoisted to a zip-line, 75m above ground. Within seconds, you’re whizzing along at 60km/h for 450m, feeling the wind in your face and hair as the scenery races past you. How thrilling is that!? This is why I highly recommend doing this with a date. It’s fun and exciting, and gives you a heady rush of adrenaline. Studies have shown that during the attraction phase of love, adrenaline is one of those powerful neurotransmitters that contribute to that lovey-dovey feeling. So, no harm having an additional shot of adrenaline to keep those feel-good feelings alive, eh?

Still need convincing? Check out this video of Deborah, Lili and I going on the “flight of our lives!”


If you’re with friends, Luge

material world_luge

A luge is sort of a hybrid of a sled and a go-kart, and comes with three wheels. It’s pretty simple to maneuver – you push the handlebars forward to accelerate and backwards to slow down. However, I’m actually a bit of a coward when it comes to operating any form of vehicle (my dismal go-karting performance is a running family joke) so I felt a familiar nervousness when I entered the luge.

My fears were unfounded once I actually started my descent down the hill. While you can control how fast you can go, the maximum speed is nothing too scary, even when you’re going downhill, and I soon found myself enjoying this leisurely ride down. In fact, I wished there were more people around me so I could race them! This is why I reckon it’ll be plenty of fun to go with a group of friends so you can race each other down the hill.

If you’re with your family, Sentosa 4D Adventure + Wings of Time 

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Have plenty of young cousins or nephews and nieces? Round them up and surprise them with a trip to the Sentosa 4D Adventure. There are four different simulator rides available here. Rock, bounce, and bump your way through various scenarios – from being a part of Journey 2: The Mysterious Island to the climactic fight scene between Green Lantern and an evil alien force.

material world_green lantern 4d

The younger ones  will also be enthralled by the Wings of Time, which is a mesmerising display of water, fire, and laser effects. Personally, I found the first part of the show – where real-life actors were singing and rallying the crowd – a little too overwhelming. But when the lights dimmed and the multimedia effects kicked in, I soon found myself enjoying the multi-sensorial experience, especially the (spoiler alert) fireworks at the end.

If you’re with your gal pals, Stand Up Paddleboarding

Having had so much fun at Sentosa the previous weekend, the three of us decided to return the following week to try our hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Prior to this first lesson, I’ve never tried SUP before but soon discovered it’s like a combination of rowing and surfing. Our instructor Isabelle, who’s also the owner of Stand Up Paddling School, was friendly and patient, offering helpful tips throughout the lesson. I was nursing a hangover on the day of the lesson so I was admittedly not the best student, but Deborah thoroughly enjoyed herself.

If you and your girlfriends are tired of your gym or yoga routine and are looking for a new way to keep fit together, I reckon SUP is great for building overall balance and strength. Plus, you’re sure to get a gorgeous sun-kissed glow!

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These are just several suggestions of what The State Of Fun has to offer; there are so many other little nooks and crannies yet to be explored. I’m sure we’ll be back soon!

While we were there, we saw a banner that said “The land of eternal sunshine”. Of course, cynics may dismiss this by saying, “But it rains all the time in Singapore!” However, I choose to believe this is actually referring to the sunshine in your heart, because after each exhilarating visit to the island, you leave feeling lighter and more carefree.

Material World was invited by Sentosa to review some of its attractions. This post was neither paid for nor advised by Sentosa. All opinions are the author’s own. 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

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Adventures, Entertainment, Lifestyle

Who’s Up For A 4D Adventure? – Tan Lili

One thing about the founders of Material World: we work hard, and we make sure we play hard too. So when Sentosa gave us the opportunity to experience their latest adventure, Vanessa and I jumped at it.

Sentosa 4D AdventureLand has launched a new four-dimensional (4D) experience – Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Featuring snippets of the 2012 Hollywood movie of the same name, it stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Sir Michael Caine, Luis Guzman, Josh Hutcherson and Vanessa Hudgens. 

Sentosa 4D AdventureLand_Journey 2_landscape banner

A clever mix of cast, if you ask me – it’d appeal to some WWE fanboys, The Hunger Games fangirls, Christopher Nolan fans, and boys who aren’t of legal age to watch Spring Breakers.

Did we enjoy it? You bet! The 4D elements were well-executed, with plenty of shocks – one, in particular, made Vanessa and me jump out of our seats! The water spray, however, could be stronger. It felt a tad anticlimactic when the gigantic splash in the movie translated to a few drops of water trickling down our legs.

The interactive facility also houses two other attractions: Extreme Log Ride and Desperados. I’ve experienced the former a couple of times before, while it would be Vanessa’s first time trying out both. Extreme Log Ride, a 4-D motion-simulated ride in which you follow the harrowing journey of a log as it gets transported in a cart through a very noisy cave and plunges over waterfalls, is our favourite of the three. Essentially a virtual rollercoaster ride, it elicited squeals and screams from the audience – though I was, for the most part, highly amused at Vanessa’s non-stop exclamations of shock and despair throughout the ride.

Unless you’ve been dying to fulfil your cowboy fantasies of chasing and shooting villains while riding a horse, I reckon Desperados would be best enjoyed by the kids. The first 4-D interactive shoot-out game in Singapore, you get to mount a motion-based saddle seat – which may startle when it first moves – and fire using a motion-sensor pistol. After 15 seconds, Vanessa and I weren’t sure exactly whom we were supposed to shoot, and our fingers felt a little numb from the aimless shooting.

All in all, I had fun. Each of the three attractions at the Sentosa 4D AdventureLand is definitely worth experiencing once. But for the short duration of each ride, the admission cost of $38.90/adult (unlimited entries on day of visit) is a little steep – considering you probably wouldn’t go on the same ride twice. 

Sentosa 4D Adventureland is situated near the Singapore Cable Car Station at Imbiah Lookout, Sentosa. The one-day Adventure Pass (for all three 4D experiences; unlimited entries on day of visit) costs $38.90/adult and $26.90/child (3 to 12 years old; free entry for children below 3). Sentosa Island admission and transport charges apply.

The author was invited to the unveiling of Sentosa 4D AdventureLand. All opinions are her own.

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

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Food News, Guest Writers, Lifestyle

[Guest Star] Singapore’s Top Kid-Friendly Restaurants – Beverly Burgess

Material World’s guest star this week is Beverly Burgess. She maintains the popular blog, Beverly’s Adventures. Beverly entered an alternate universe at warp speed when she went from a career-driven shopaholic and social butterfly…. to juggling being a woman, a wife and a mother of two kids. All within just over three years. The career is now replaced with the privilege of being a full-time mum, but the urge to shop and socialise still remains (albeit with two obliging children in tow). And, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

You know, cramped joints never used to bug me when I was young, carefree, and single. “How cool!”, I’d think, “It’s so hole-in-the-wall and niche.”

Places like that now completely stump me.

What? No high chair?

What do you mean we have to squeeze together at a too-small table?

So, where’s the area where the kids can run around?

Please oh please, let my waiter be nice and not give me the ol’ stinkeye…

The simple pleasure of dining out gets a tad trickier when you have young children in tow. We’re now pretty picky, particularly because we have a 9-month-old and a 2-year-old.

Places that we love to visit as a family boast the following:

Easy access – I like your cafe. I want to go into your cafe. Why, oh why, must you make it SO DAMN HARD for me to get in?! I’m talking about those evil things called stairs. You know, those sneaky two or three steps lurking at the entrance. WHY? It means I either have to guiltily call a waiter over to give me a hand, or carry the whole stroller up in the most unglam way. While we’re on the topic of strollers, I really appreciate it when I’m given a hand in collapsing the stroller and squirreled away somewhere safe, or, even better, able to have the stroller by my table (never know when the stars align and a kid knocks out for a nap!) if the cafe has the next feature…

Lots of space – ever poked your head into a small cupboard and screamed at the top of your lungs? Similar effect to sticking kids into a confined space. Even worse if there are diners close-by that proceed to turn and give you the you-are-a-crap-mum-and-can’t-control-your-kid STARE. Tops if the eatery has lots of ambient noise/music to… errr… drown out random kiddy noise.

Kid-friendly staff and amenities – oh the relief when you have patient, friendly staff that make the effort to say hi to your kid, instead of giving you the stinkeye. Much appreciated if they proceed to place kids cutlery and a cup of water on the table. Bonus points if they include some paper and crayons! I guess I should also mention here that it makes me want to hyperventilate when I’m told “Oh, we only have one high chair here, which is in use.” You might as well just be done with it and tell me “You’re fine with chasing your kid around the place like a lunatic, while ignoring your meal, right?”

You see, we eat out every single day for lunch. In fact, we’ve dined-out well over 800 times in the past two years for either lunch or dinner, since we relocated to Singapore. What are my fave family eateries? There are the obvious and well-known ones such as:

Food for Thought at Botanic Gardens
Privé at Keppel Island
Rochester Park Cafe
Riders Cafe
The Pantry at Loewen Gardens

But there are also some lesser-known family-friendly cafes that I love:

GRUB at Bishan Park (510 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1) – this family and dog-friendly cafe boasts killer food (it’s helmed by Mervyn Phan of Cookyn Inc), but go early or expect to be wait-listed. That actually isn’t such a bad thing, because it gives you some time to chuck your little ones into the park and let them stretch their legs. They buzz you on your mobile phone when your table is ready and you get to fill all your bellies with fabulous grub at reasonable prices. Their burgers are stunning, ranging from an impressive Fish burger (you’ll know what I mean when you see it!) to a succulent, insanely tender Pork steak burger. If you’re the healthy type, their Pan-seared salmon with risotto and chimichurri is a winner. Their Churros are also hits; the kids will love dipping these fingers of crispy goodness into the creme anglais and dark chocolate sauces!

Get your GRUB on at the tranquil Bishan Park.

Get your GRUB on at the tranquil Bishan Park.

Tanjong Beach Club (Sentosa) – if you love your dose of fresh air, water and sunshine, you can’t go wrong with this. Lovely food and great cocktails (with prices to match), but the real draw is the pool which you have full view of if you sit at the outdoor tables. Grab a lounge afterwards (iced water is complimentary!) to relax whilst the kids have a dip, or jump in there yourself to cool off. The ocean is mere steps away if your kids are the sand-and-sea type. Or if you want to take funny pictures of your baby’s expression when their feet touches the sand.

Chilling out at Tanjong Beach Club.

Chilling out at Tanjong Beach Club.

Kith Cafe (7 Rodyk Street, #01-33) – outstanding for coffee, if you’re that sort of person that can’t function until they’ve had a shot or three of caffeine in them (I won’t judge). This tiny cafe is mostly el fresco, so come dressed appropriately. Sit by the Singapore River and imagine you’re in some far-flung place instead, with crystal clear waters lapping nearby and the air is crisp and cool. In the meantime, the kids can rummage through the box of toys and books, and play on the toy animals in the mini garden. Very kid-friendly brunch food and a Strawberry yogurt milkshake that is very popular.

Play area by the river at Kith  Cafe.

Play area by the river at Kith Cafe.

Nook DIY House of Pancakes (21 Lorong Kilat, #01-03) – make your kid work for their meal. Nook provides you with a pancake grill, 2 bottles of pancake batter (of your chosen flavours), and 3 toppings. You simply bring your artistic expertise to the table. Squeeze the bottle and make your own pancake! Admire your artwork, or confuse everyone with what it’s actually supposed to be. Go nuts making different shapes and objects, and watch the kids gleefully consume an inhumane amount of DIY pancakes. There are also regular a la carte options but honestly, who would bother with those when you can make your own pancakes?

Delight the kids at Nook DIY House of Pancakes.

Delight the kids at Nook DIY House of Pancakes.

Spruce at the Old Fire Station (260 Upper Bukit Timah Road) – everyone’s familiar with Spruce at Phoenix Park, but its newer sister at the old (and beautifully restored) fire station is also worth a visit. It boasts high ceilings with excellent natural lighting, cheery and obliging staff, and space for kids to wander around. Better yet, there’s a playroom off the side for kids to amuse themselves in. And on weekends, there is the occasional fair/markets just outside, as well as a fun bouncy castle. If you’re really lucky, you’ll get to see a bunch of wild monkeys jumping around in the trees outside!

Fresh ingredients and lots of space make Spruce great for families.

Fresh ingredients and lots of space make Spruce great for families.

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