The Merlion is a cross
between a lion and a fish. It is the National Symbol of Singapore. The lion
symbolizes courage, strength and excellence. The five partings of the mane
and the five stars represent the ideals embodied in the five stars of the
Singapore flag - democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.
The moment you enter Sentosa's true Merlion, get ready for a fascinating
encounter and memorable experience of your life. Walking side-by-side with
legendary sea dragons and mythical mermaids as you watch all your greatest
and wildest imaginations of the ocean come alive is truly magical. Next,
relive the origins of the Merlion in an enchanting animation feature and
discover what fortune lies in store for you at the mouth of the Mercubs.
The biggest replica of Singapore’s most enduring symbol, Merlion, is to
found right here in Sentosa. The Merlion – half-lion, half-fish – on Sentosa
is 37 metres high and has 320 scales sculpted from glass-reinforced
concrete. Merlion is considered Singapore’s benevolent guardian and is one
of the many mysteries of the sea. By night, these scales are a sight to
behold as they glow in different colours. You can take the lift to the top
floor and from there you will be rewarded with a 360° view of Sentosa and
Singapore’s southern shores. From the Mouth Gallery Viewing Deck on level 9,
you can even spot Singapore’s impressive skyline.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Merlion you should know a brief history of
Merlion. Over the years, the Merlion symbol has become well-known through
its wide use and has come to be identified with Singapore. With the change
of the Board's corporate identity in 1997, a new corporate logo was adopted.
The Merlion continues to be a symbol protected under the Singapore Tourism
Board Act and the prior approval of the Board has to be obtained before the
Merlion symbol can be used. The Merlion is very significant to Singapore.
The choice of the Merlion as a symbol for Singapore has its roots in
history, The Merlion commemorates the ancient name and the legend taken from
the "Malay Annals" (literary and historical work from the 15th or 16th
century) explaining how Singapore received its present name. In ancient
times, Singapore was known as Temasek which is Javanese for the sea. It was
then, as it is today, a centre of trade. At the end of the 4th century A.D,
Temasek was destroyed by the Siamese, according to some historians, but by
the Javanese according to others. As recorded in the legend in the Malay
Annals," Prince Nila Utama of the Sri Vijaya Empire rediscovered the island
later in the 11th century A.D. On seeing a strange beast (which he later
learnt was a lion) upon his landing he named the island Singapura which is a
Sanskrit word for Lion (Singa) City (Pura).
The Merlion, with its fish-like body riding the waves of the sea, is
symbolic of the ancient city of Temasek. At the same time, its majestic head
recalls the legend of the discovery of Singapore by Prince Nila Utama in the
11th century, when Singapore received its present name.
When you’re satisfied
with gazing at the splendid views from the head of Merlion, head out the
back and stroll down the Merlion Walk, a 120-metre-long Gaudi-inspired
mosaic walkway. A mosaic is a picture
or decorative design made by setting small colored pieces, as of stone or
tile, into a surface. Gaudi (1852-1926) is a Spanish architect who worked
mainly in Barcelona, developing a startling new
style that paralleled developments in
art nouveau. His most celebrated work is the façade of the Expiatory Church
of the Holy Family. As you walk down the walkway, treat your olfactory lobes
to the aromas exuding from over 50 types of spice and herb plants in the
Spice and Scented Gardens flanking both sides of the Merlion Walk. The water
features in and around the Merlion and Merlion Walk are a joy to look at.
The Merlion walk is just behind the Merlion and it is fun watching the
sprouts of jumping water. At night, this place is lit with thousands of tiny
bulbs and it's almost always deserted. Merlion and the walkway in front of
the Merlion is hailed as one of the most romantic spots in Singapore.
Merlion was recently (around June of 2004) renovated and upgraded, offering
new interactive experiences for visitors. This is part of the plan that
Sentosa is undertaking to renew its attraction to usher in more visitors.
The new Merlion experience begins with a pre-show that introduces visitors
to sea mysteries from many cultures. Lively and original music follows
guests as they pass dioramas depicting mermaids, lake monsters, sea
serpents; movie creatures and other deep-dwelling enigmas.
The Merlion has been given a $1.5 million facelift. The 37-metre tall
national icon and tourist attraction, which has been closed for nearly half
a year, now tells the Merlion story. A narrator on the screen said: "Well
hello! Welcome, welcome to the Merlion on Sentosa Island." The Merlion still
stands tall on Sentosa, but the inside of the national icon has been totally
Visitors will find themselves in an underwater world and learn about the
mystical Merlion and other creatures of the deep - some beautiful, some
Since the facelift, it now costs $8 to visit the Sentosa Merlion - up from
$5. But from mid-July, visitors can buy a $26 Sentosa Experience ticket
which includes entry to the Merlion, several other attractions and a cable
The attraction’s main theatre showcases Singapore’s own sea mysteries–the
storm that threatened Prince Sang Nila Utama in the 11th century as he
travelled to the island he would name "Singapura," or Lion City; and the
development of the Merlion as a symbol of welcome and guardian of
Singapore’s good fortune. These stories, presented using animation from
Hollywood’s ACME Filmworks, are told in a themed space that puts audience
members into the heart of the action. Afterward, visitors can participate in
an interactive experience, which allows them to see whether they, too, have
been touched by the luck of the Merlion.
Jack Rouse Associates (JRA), an American design and master planning firm,
designed and produced the new Merlion experience as part of their project to
redevelop several attractions at Sentosa Island.
JRA has been working on the project in conjunction with Los Angeles-based
BRC Imagination Arts, which is responsible for revamping Sentosa’s Images of
Singapore, Warehouse of the Four Winds, and Celebrations attractions. Those
attractions are slated to open next summer. Also opening next summer is a
JRA-designed refurbishment of the Merlion plaza area and a new food court
and retail store associated with the BRC projects.
The admission fees for Merlion are priced at S$8 for adults and S$5 for
children between 3 and 12 years old. Merlion is opened from 10am to 8 pm
daily but last entry is only allowed by 7.30 pm. Merlion Walk required no
admission fees. Merlion and Merlion Walk are easily accessible. You can
reach there by taking a Blue or Green Bus Services.