The Hilltop Merlion

We live near a small hill in central Singapore called Mount Faber. One afternoon after fetching our kid from school, we decided to hop on a cable car (not too much of an indulgence, since we have an annual pass) and walk to the lookout on top of the hill.

We recently learned that apart from the famous Merlion in the central business district downtown, there were four other official, Singapore Tourism Board-approved Merlion statues scattered around Singapore, and our neighbourhood hill housed one of them. (There used to be six, but the giant Merlion on Sentosa with Cyclops laser eyes was closed last year.)

The Merlion statue itself is a short ten-minute walk from the cable car stop, at a spot called Faber Point.

You can get there via a shaded path where you can find murals depicting various scenes in Singapore’s history.

The view at Faber Point was stunning – on one side was the sea, the tall cranes at the port, the distinctive shape of the luxurious Reflections at Keppel Bay residential complex, and the orange egg yolk-sun sinking slowly on the horizon.

On the other side were neat rows of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats in the Bukit Purmei estate and a glimpse of the city skyline.

It was quiet when we dropped by, with only a few joggers catching their breath and one enthusiastic teen busy with what I guess was a TikTok video. She danced alone, with her phone camera on a little tripod.

There were many telescopes at various sides of the lookout point for us to get a closer look at the scenic views. Each side had an arrow which indicated both an international and a local destination that – I assume – one would eventually reach by walking straight as the crow flies, through walls and water.

Here’s looking at you, Manila.

Think critically dear readers,

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We’ve been riding cable cars nearly every weekend lately.

I know it sounds extravagant when I say it like that. But we’re simply making full use of a Faber Licence annual pass we bought recently at a promo price. If we rode the cable cars every week for a year, it comes to around S$3 (around Php 100) each trip, with unlimited rides for four people. It’s non-transferable (they check our photos), but still, that’s just Php 25 per person. Sulit naman (It’s a good deal). It’s a fun weekend activity and my kid is a happy camper.

The Singapore Cable Car Sky Network (there’s only one) is made up of two lines: the Mount Faber Line, which you can take from Harbourfront Tower all the way to Faber Peak and back to Sentosa island (a 30-minute round trip ride); and the Sentosa Line, which makes three stops within the island at Siloso Point, Imbiah Lookout, and near the Sentosa Merlion (a 20-minute ride).

There are ongoing construction works now near Sentosa Line’s Merlion Station, so we usually hop off at Siloso Point Station and take the free beach trams around the island, another activity my kid loves.

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Personally, I prefer the cable car rides itself. The views of Sentosa island from the sky are also hard to beat.

There is Brani Terminal and the Sentosa Boardwalk in the distance, with Hard Rock Hotel Singapore in the foreground and Festive Hotel to the right. The terminal will eventually close and move to the Tuas mega-port in western Singapore at some point, as the government intends to redevelop this area into the Greater Southern Waterfront. The port will be replaced with waterfront promenades and residential / commercial spaces. With the Covid-19 situation now, I’m not sure when this would be.

I like seeing the rows of solar panels atop the Bank of America Merrill Lynch building, visible when you approach Harbourfront Tower on the Mount Faber Line.

This is an aerial view of Adventure Cove Waterpark. It’s strange to see the water slides and Adventure River stripped of water. We can already spot small black stagnant pools in some places, littered with leaves. We see the sharks and dolphins are still there, possibly living their “best” life (as can be had within the confines of their tanks) with no humans to bother them.

The giant wave pool at Adventure Cove looks rather lonely now.

This is Siloso Beach last month, when Singapore celebrated its 55th National Day. The heart-shaped installation was made up of 10,000 red and white flags, each with a heartfelt message.

The AJ Hackett bungy jump tower is always a source of interest to my kid. If someone happens to be on a jump or zipping down the 450m zipline from Mega Adventure Park, we can hear the screaming from the comfort of our cable car.

Finally, there’s what is touted to be the “reigning king of public toilets” across Singapore, found in Faber Peak Singapore (you can hop off at the Mount Faber Station on the cable car line). In this glass-enclosed toilet at The Jewel Box, you can soak in superb views of Mount Faber’s greenery and the cable cars while making yourself comfortable on the couch provided. There’s even a fish tank with real fish inside. Best of all, it’s clean!

For your pooping pleasure

Think critically dear readers,