Friday, 31 October 2014

Madame Tussauds Singapore Trip Report

Madame Tussauds Singapore is the latest incarnation of the world renown series of wax museums that showcase famous and influential people from around the world. This version promises to be the most interactive of them all with new interactive touch-screen information panels, live action games and, for the first time in Madame Tussauds history, a boat ride called Spirit of Singapore. It is situated on the first floor of the Images of Singapore building and features about 60 wax figures in 7 galleries.

Madame Tussauds Singapore is filled with over 60 wax figures


Madame Tussauds Singapore is split into 8 exhibits: Spirit of Singapore boat ride, followed by History and Leaders, Sports, Behind the Scenes, Film part I, Music, Film part II and A List Party. Each exhibit consists of 8-12 wax figures. As I have also visited the Hong Kong version before, I will be making some comparisons to Hong Kong in this review.

I shall start off by saying that the theming here is really good. The level of detail in many of the sets is commendable, such as the ornate roof of traditional Chinese houses and the dance-club like scene in the Music Gallery. Another great feature is the many interactive games that are available, from a virtual soccer penalty shootout to quizzes in the Behind the Scenes gallery. As a wax museum, Madame Tussauds Singapore really succeeded in providing very good background environments to complement the characters. Trust me, you will not be simply taking photos with them, you will be immersed in their world. The attraction is well spaced and there is plenty of room to move around, though "cross-photography" is quite common.

Look at the detail of the traditional Chinese building facade in the background!

However, this version of Madame Tussauds is too heavily skewed towards media and celebrities (over 50%), which I think is quite a shame. Other versions do feature people like scientists like Albert Einstein, inventors like Thomas Edison and pioneers like Neil Armstrong, so the Singapore version really lacks variety. The boat ride is also very temperamental. When I visited the ride broke down, and I heard from the staff (and the news) that it is already not the first time.

Before you visit

The admission price for Madame Tussauds is $30, which is quite steep considering that an average visit lasts less than 90 minutes. As such, you should look out for some discounts. For starters, payment by OCBC credit card will grant a $7 discount. Also, if you are a local resident, you may have received a flyer that entitles you to $10 off tickets (up to 4 tickets per flyer). Remember, the staff will not remind you flash your discount cards/coupons. You have to do it yourself.

To get to Madame Tussauds, simply take the Sentosa Express from Vivocity and alight at Imbiah Station. Head up a series of escalators to the right side of the Merlion entrance. The escalators will lead you to the Images of Singapore building where Madame Tussauds is located.

 Even the escalators are filled with advertisements for this new attraction!

This is the Images of Singapore building. The red carpet signifies the entrance to Madame Tussauds Singapore!

Finally, don't forget to make sure your camera is on full charge. My camera ran out of battery halfway and I had to resort to using a tablet camera.

Spirit of Singapore boat ride

This is definitely the star of Madame Tussauds Singapore. First of its kind, Spirit of Singapore will transport you through time as you experience the history of Singapore. The ride is 3 1/2 minutes and there are actually only a few scenes (half the length of Madagascar, a Crate Adventure). This is because of the limited size of the Images of Singapore Building. The boats can accommodate 8 people and I counted about 5-6 boats parked near the loading area.

I remember this scene from the original Images of Singapore! 

These boats seat 2 abreast in 4 rows.

The Galleries - History, culture and sports

Before you step inside, a staff member will take a photo for you on a traditional tram. He will then issue you an card. Do hold on to it as you can use it to take more photos using the in-house cameras. Just flash this card at the exit and all the photos that are taken by the in-house cameras will be available for sale. This is a neat solution unlike at Adventure Cove Waterpark where they hand you individual tags for each photo and you have to hold on to all of them. The souvenir photos are comparable in price to other nearby attractions like USS, charging $18 for a standard photo with Madame Tussauds frame.

The next stop is the History and Leaders gallery. Here, the quality of the theming is immediately evident. The first section features leaders from decades past like Mao Zedong, and this is complemented with traditional ceiling fans and chandeliers of a past age. The narrow corridor opens up to a wide gallery where you find US President Barrack Obama alongside all 3 Prime Ministers of Singapore. The exhibits offered a good flare of humour as Lee Hsien Loong becomes your personal assistant, while Obama becomes your wingman as you make the congressional speech. A round table in the middle contains built-in tablets that allow you to learn more about these leaders and even take a little quiz.

You will be welcomed into Madame Tussauds by the first president of the Republic of Singapore! 

This is the main hall for the History and Leaders gallery. Notice that each wax figure has his own shows set that totally immerses the guest into his environment 

On behalf of the constitution of Second Drop... 

Touch screen here to find out more about the greatest people in history

Solemn history turns into active sports as we move into the next gallery. You first have the chance to do sit-ups with David Beckham. His posture is actually quite hard to replicate as his body is halfway-up. You will also "meet" other iconic sports stars like Tiger Woods, Ronaldo and Mohammad Ali. In fact, you can even test your skills at the virtual penalty shootout, score 3 points in the basketball hoop and try a hole-in-one at the mini golf. Unfortunately, the golf ball is missing when I visited. There are also plenty of props like rackets and clubs that you can use to enhance your photos.

Try maintaining this pose without leaning against the wall! 

Kick this ball...

...and GOAL!

The next part of Madame Tussauds Singapore is my favourite part - Behind the Scenes. Here, a series of detailed exhibits showcase the tedious process of making wax figures in the traditional way. The scene where Marie Tussauds herself is fixing a head really looks like a murder scene. You will also find a tablet that offers a 12 question long quiz on traditional dollmaking. I got 6 points on my first attempt. Yes! I passed! There is also a counter that allows you to make a wax model of your own hand. The price is SGD12 which is cheaper than Hong Kong (HKD 100 if I remember correctly, equivalent to SGD16). The staff at the counter are really friendly and helpful and they will gladly share with you about the process even if you don't intend to purchase. Finally, there is a projector that simply displays the attraction name on a  large wall, and I wish they had played a documentary about wax figures and dollmaking instead.

 Is this dollmaking....or MURDER?

Make your own wax hand here! The process takes just 8 minutes though you have to immerse your hands into 50 degree Celsius water.

The Galleries - Media and Celebrities

The first scene in the media room consisting of a couple of stars like local comedian Gurmit Singh (with yellow boots to spare). There is also a little control station in the middle where you can press a button and see live footage of people having their photo taken with Oprah!

 Press the yellow button here...

...and see the live footage from here!

Before entering the Music themed gallery, you find a make-up table. Here is where Madame Tussauds Singapore really shines. They do provide a large variety (and quality) of props that makes your interaction with the wax figures so much more interesting. In this case, there are wigs, sunglasses and even a jacket. When we enter the main room, there are even more props including swan hats and "durian" sweaters. A giant screen and loud-blasting music gives the place the impression of a night club or wild concert. You can find Michael Jackson and Madonna here alongside several Asian stars.

This make-up corner epitomizes the amount of props available for guests to don. The guitar is not one of them, though. 

The giant screens and disco ball makes this gallery feel like a huge dance party. 

Well, at least this guitar can be used. And notice the flamingo hat? 

We depart the music gallery for the Film section. Here, you will become a movie director with Jack Neo as your assistant. This is also where you find the highly authentic Chinese building facade, flanked by martial arts stars Jet Li and Jackie Chan. There are a few more surprises in this area for you to explore: You can even take photos with the E.T, ride on a motorcycle or even go on a date with...I forgot the name! I wish that they added a little movie making game or interactive element here as the second half of the museum is quite lacking in interactive exhibits.

Will someone have a date with meeeeeee? 

And finally, we come to the A-List Party, the final section. This is a much larger space compared to the previous galleries you can find hollywood stars like Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise alongside their Asian counterparts. There is a grand piano in the center of this "ballroom". You press a key, and the piano plays the entire melody itself. Projected fireworks on the walls gives this gallery a very grand atmosphere.

The magical piano. Press 1 key and the whole melody is played. That's bad news for people who actually know how to play a piano, though.

Other Things

The souvenirs inside Madame Tussauds are generally more expensive than at Universal Studios. This is especially true of the plush toys which cost 50-70% more than their USS counterparts of the same size and quality. The key chains, though, are of really good quality, even though they still follow the same price trend. There are a few other interesting surprises in the souvenir shop, including a corner dedicated to Images of Singapore. A word of caution, though. Someone told me that the Merlion chocolates sold at various souvenir shops (including this one) does not taste so good. If you want to get chocolates go to the Hershey shop at RWS instead!

This is the pink wall. Everything sold here is in pink!

miss Images of Singapore? Here is some memorabilia from this iconic attraction.

You may be wondering what happened to Images of Singapore. Well, it is closed now and will reopen in December as Images of Singapore Live! It will probably be restricted to the second floor of the building since Madame Tussauds already occupied the better part of first floor. Madame Tussauds staff hinted to me that there will be a stage show inside the new Images of Singapore Live.


There are many novel ideas in the Singapore edition of Madame Tussauds, and I think it is a step in the right direction.  What I really like about this version is the level of interaction, generous availability of props for photo taking (even more than Trick Eye Museum) and ample space available. However, I there is still room for improvement. Madame Tussauds really need to step up their game in making the boat ride more reliable. I also don't like the fact that there are also no toilets in the whole attraction.

Atmosphere and Theming: *****
Number of exhibits: ***
Interactive Activities: ****
Available Space: ****
Available Props: *****
Price: ***
Overall: ****