Sentosa, Singapore’s resident beach getaway, is set for a major makeover, which will take place in three phases over the next five years.
Activities and attractions for visitors will be grouped according to various themes and assigned areas within the sunny island. The facelift aims to attract more people to Sentosa, as well as help better manage the growing crowds that the island sees these days. Already, six existing sites have been marked for change.
They are: the North-South Link Precinct, Fort Siloso and Siloso Point, Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, Tanjong Beach and Imbiah Lookout.
With all the changes in store for Sentosa, here are six lesser-known facts about the island:
1. It is home to the world's largest oceanarium
The S.E.A Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) is the biggest oceanarium on the planet.
Its 45 million litres of water is home to more than 100,000 sea creatures, spread across over 800 species. From hammerhead sharks to puffer fish, if it is marine life you are looking for, you can most likely find it here.
The attraction even has the world's largest viewing panel, which stands at 36m wide and 8.3m high.
2. The island's iconic Merlion statue is one tough clean-up job
On the Merlion's last scrub in 2012, it took a team of cleaning professionals 10 days to tidy up the 37m-tall statue.
Armed with jet sprays, the cleaners rappelled down from the Merlion's head to wash away dirt and apply preservative chemicals.
3. It once housed the coldest playground feature in Asia.
In 2012, as part of Sentosa's 40th-anniversary celebrations, kids were given the chance to whizz down Asia's first-ever ice slides by the beach.
Measuring 5m and 8m long, the slides were a welcome cool-off for the sunny island's younger guests.
But the fun lasted for only a day, as by Sept 2, barely a day after the slide was constructed, it had all but melted.
4. It had a rather unattractive name in the past.
Before it became associated with sandy beaches or a great day out in the sun, Sentosa went by the name of Pulau Belakang Mati, which translated from Malay means "The Island After Death".
The name was perhaps fitting, as the island used to house prisoners of war during the Japanese occupation.
In 1972, with the Singapore Government's decision to develop it as a tourist attraction, the island was renamed Sentosa, which in Malay means "peace and tranquility".
Talk about a turn around.
5. For all its urbanisation, Sentosa is still a pretty wild place.
Sentosa is full of wildlife.
Around 70 per cent of its land is covered by secondary rainforest, and is home to critters such as monitor lizards, peacocks, and monkeys.
If that is not enough to convince you, consider this: The Butterfly Park and Insect Kingdom house more than 15,000 live butterflies and over 3,000 species of insects respectively.
6. Its distance from Singapore measures less than a quarter of the length of Orchard Road.
Everyone knows that Sentosa is close to the main land, but did you know it is actually only 500m away?
That is less than a quarter of the length of Orchard Road, which stretches for 2.2km.