Sunday, August 15, 2004

Genting Highlands, Published in Deccan Chronicle, Sunday Chronicle on 15 Aug 2004

After a whirlwind tour of the Petronas towers, KL tower, Kings palace and a lot of other trekking up and down to see the sites of Kuala Lampur, we decided it was time for some ‘Rest and Recreation. Genting Highlands was the perfect answer to our needs.

An hours drive from Kuala Lampur, it’s a popular weekend destination for the locals too and this is always a good sign. With 2 amusement parks, the world class ‘Casino De Genting’, the ‘Awana Golf and Country Resort’ and numerous hotels to suit every budget, there’s something here for everyone.

The approach into Genting, is via the Skyway cable car from Gohtong Jaya, the longest cable system in SE Asia and the fastest in the world. This 15 min ride covering 4 km, ferries 2000 passengers an hour. It gave us a panoramic view of the green valley below and our first sight of the highlands riddled with hotels and interspersed with roller coasters.

After checking into our rooms, we rushed to the amusement park, a haven for adventure seekers. There are rides to suit every level of risk takers. Our favorites were the Corkscrew which turns you upside down and the coaster which drops you into a water pool at its trough and takes you up again. There are also the more sedate rides for the risk averse.

After the exhilaration of these rides, we wound down at the indoor park which has video games, a space simulator and a 3D dome theatre among others. We purchased memorabilia from the souvenir shops here.

For night entertainment we could choose between the international dinner shows, the disco and the casino. Consensus moved us to the casino where we tried our hand at all the games including blackjack and baccarat. We were lucky enough to leave with more money than we entered with.

The next day we wandered around the ‘Malaysia First World hotel and plaza’ whose lobby is larger than a football field. Someone recommended the horse riding school, but being addicted to the roller coasters, we headed back to the amusement park.

The whole highlands are a maze of escalators and hotels, so it’s quite interesting just to walk around. You never know what you may chance upon: Sweet shops, chairs that massage you, pirates, jugglers or clowns.

There are a lot of Indians living in Malaysia, so don’t be surprised to hear the locals break into Tamil, Telugu or Hindi. Indian food is easily available and the local food tastes familiar. This combines to make Malaysia a good place to take a break.

Fact File :
Travel :
Genting Highlands is 50km away from Kuala Lumpur and can be reached in an hour by road. There are frequent buses that leave every hour from the Puduraya Bus Station. Genting also offers limousines, coaches and helicopter services for charter.

Weather :
At 2,000 meters above sea level, it’s quite cool in the evenings, so do carry a shawl or sweatshirt. Casino entry requires more formal attire than jeans and tees. Take appropriate clothing, unless you want to pay a bomb for a batik shirts.

Must Not Miss :
The Skyway Cable Ride from Gohtong Jaya to the highlands.
The corkscrew ride at the theme park.
The Casino. (Muslims are forbidden from entering, so are children below 18)

Published in Deccan Chronicle, Sunday Chronicle on 15 Aug 2004