Thursday, 21 June 2012

Our Great Genting Getaway

School holidays here and we took the chance to bring the kids to Genting Higlands, in neighboring Malaysia.  It takes about 6 hours by bus to reach Genting.  There are many luxury coaches (45sgd one-way)  to choose from.  Some even have coach / hotel packages.

As for me, with 3 kids who have a 15minute tolerance for sitting still,   my sanity simply can't risk the 6 hour journey by land.  So, off to Changi airport for the 45min plane ride to Kuala Lumpur via budget airline Air Asia, and a shorter 2hour bus ride up to Genting Highlands. 

There are direct buses from the LCCT (low cost carrier terminal) in KL to Genting Higlands.  There are also private vans (quite pricey at 280myr).  We took public bus (35myr), which was not so bad since it was clean and spacious.

 
Resorts World Genting Higlands is an integrated resort development comprising of hotels, casinos and  two theme parks.   It's in the province of  Pahang,  perched on the peak of Gunung Ulu Kali at 1,800 meters high.  The elevation gives it a lovely 16-20 degrees all year round.
  

First World Hotel (yup, the two colorful towers),  is considered one of the World's Biggest Hotels by the Guinness Book of World Records.  It has 6,118 rooms, exceeding that of MGM Grand and coming only second to The Palazzo, the extension of The Venetian in Las Vegas.


It's not exactly Five Star.   It's more like a 3-Star  family hotel, where the management clearly went  for quantity rather than  quality.  They have a huge but gloomy lobby, typical of hotels with casinos.  The front desk is seemingly endless with 20 counters!  Waiting for your room is like waiting for your number to be called at a telecom service center.


Our room is tiny, considering that I already got the Family Room!  Good thing, they gave us a-room with-a-view, as I requested.  It's actually my second time at this hotel. The first time (for work), we got a minuscule room, which was more like an Isolation room (bartolina) rather than a hotel room.   I wasn't expecting anything anymore.  Just a place to rest.

The best thing about this hotel, though, is the indoor theme park at the ground floor and the hotel's lobby entrance goes right smack into the outdoor theme Park.  No long walks necessary. 
 
 

outdoor theme park view from our room

We first hit the Indoor theme park (entrance 30/28 myr).  It's actually a hodge-podge of different rides, stores, and restaurants in a huge air-conditioned cavernous venue.


The place is a bit gaudy with replicas of Eiffel tower, Statue of Liberty and even an Oscar statue, all crowded together a few steps from one another.



But then again,  kids don't really care about elements of design, as all they are focused-on are the glittering attractions, rides, food and basking in the undivided attention of their parents, of course!



We started early the next day for the Outdoor Theme Park.


The park is not exactly new.  It was built about two decades ago.  The PR of Hongkong's Ocean Park is probably better in promoting.  Years back, who would even think of going to Malaysia for a theme park right?  

Their market is mostly locals and Singaporeans.  Well, they have more than enough visitors, I guess.  Malaysia is such a big country,  add to that the Singaporeans who have high disposable income.




Ted and I are not fans of thrill rides.  We'd rather sit it out.  But when your kids are still trying to develop courage for these things, you don't want to discourage them, right?  So, I had to really brave it out and ride some of the "scary" rides for the sake of my eldest.


Suspended on the air, facing down.  No. I'm not crazy enough.

Thankfully, they have plenty of  "tame" family rides that even my little girl can join-in.


Our favorite section of the park, Dinosaurland

We liked Dinosaur land best!  Unlike Universal Studios, where you get to see the robotic dinosaurs only when you're in the ride ~  here,  the dinos are free range :)) 



We didn't really get to ride everything especially those attractions  intended for teenagers. Nonetheless, we had a fabulous time!

In the evening, we watched the much publicized magic, acrobatic and ice show called Freeze.

The venue is on another hotel (there are 6 hotels in Genting) and we had a long walk, up and down the escalators of interconnecting halls filled with video games!

I was telling my husband, the Casinos of children are these video games!  They take your money and you get nothing in return.  (unless you win, which is as rare as being hit by a lightning!)

Ok. Enough of my protestations.

Back to the Freeze show....

It's an exciting, colorful and thrilling Magic Show on Ice, by a Russian production company called Agosta Artiste Company.   They showcase thrilling performances like appearance and disappearance of women in an empty box,  being cut by rotating blades, cut by turbines,  levitation, and the final act was being skewered by a huge drill, suspended on air.







If my family had not been watching The Magician's Code on Fox Channel,  we would probably be scared.  But then again,  it's great to suspend one's disbelief and just enjoy the magical moment.

the  illusionist skewered by a huge drill

The main Illusionist is beautiful Ukrainian woman Anastasiya Riche.  It's my first time to see a woman magician.  When she went down to the audience, she shook Rania's hand.  My daughter and  I were ecstatic.  Too bad it was so fast,  Ted missed taking a photo :(



There are still many sights in Genting that we didn't bother going....like the cable car ride, the strawberry farm, chinese temples and golf courses. Didn't hold much interest for the kids.  They've already ridden a cable car in Hongkong and wasn't really looking forward to the experience again.

On our last day, we decided to go down to Kuala Lumpur.  I wanted the kids to see the Petronas Twin Towers, which used to be the tallest tower in the world for 6 years, until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004.  But apparently, they still retain the Tallest Twin Towers in the world title.



The twin tower are beside Kuala Lumpur's high-end mall called KLCC Suria.   There's big park around it,  where the children can run around and play.


By lunch, we met up with my grade school classmate,  Jay Francisco, who was incidentally in-training for two weeks in KL Grand Millenium.  Nice catching up with old friends, in any part of the world, one may be.


Afterwards, we rushed to the airport for our flight back.


'til next adventure!

xoxo,
ripemango