“Oh wow,” we exclaimed, almost in unison. We were 185 feet off the ground, riding the Space Shot, one of Genting Highlands’ most popular rides. Genting Highlands sits approximately 1,850 meters above sea level, so we were really high up. We marveled at the scene before us: Kuala Lumpur in the distance, the Petronas Twin Towers looking like tiny cellphone charms rising above the clouds that shroud the city. Majestic blue mountains surround the sprawling metropolis, making the view much more breath taking.
“Damn, we should have brought our camer–WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGHHH!!!”
Without warning, we plummeted back down to the ground at speeds reaching up to 67 km/hour. For a second or two, we were displaced from our seats — there was nothing solid underneath our bottoms, the safety bars are the only ones keeping us from flying off. The ride really was intense, and exceeded all our expectations. Back in solid ground, all of us were talking all the the same time, chattering about our exhilarating experience. This trip to Genting was certainly one of the highlights of our Megafamiliarization Tour of Kuala Lumpur.
Our day started with a train ride on the Kelana Jaya line. Marie, our tour guide, had us start late today to let the rush hour pass so the trains aren’t as crowded. From Impiana KLCC, we walked to the KLCC station, and from KLCC, we rode all the way to Terminal Purtra (Gombak), where we waited for Azizi and the van. Marie said that taking the train is one of the cheapest and fastest way to go to Genting. At Terminal Putra, there are buses that would take you all the up to the First World Hotel.
However, our stop wasn’t First World Hotel. Azizi, our driver, dropped us off at Genting Skyway Station at Gohtong Jaya. The Genting Skyway cable car is one of the world’s fastest, and Southeast Asia’s longest, stretching 3.38 kilometers. It was a spectacular ride up the mountain and in no time, we were disembarking at the Genting Highlands Resort.
As soon as we stepped out of the gondola, we were enveloped with the cool mountain air. The wind at this elevation was brisk, and fog swirls all around us. We walked all the way from the skyway station to the theme park, hurrying to make the most of our short stay in the park. As Marie sorts out our ticket, we check out the ride right beside the ticket booth, the Flying Coaster. Like most roller coasters, this ride had its fair share of twists and turns, but with one stark difference: you ride lying down on your belly, going through the ride as if flying.
The Genting outdoor theme park has an all-access pass, the Genting Signature attractions, like the Flying Coaster, Snow World and Sky Venture require a separate ticket. With our passes around our wrists and clutching tickets to the other rides, we eagerly made our way to the Flying Coaster entrance, only to be told that the ride is not operating. Genting is prone to rains, and the changing weather conditions affect the performance and safety of the rides, hence the need to close. However, we got lucky because as soon as we stepped out of the ride’s ticket booth, the attendants calls us back, saying that the Flying Coaster is operational again.
Martin and I at the Flying Coaster. Thank you Ferdz for taking this photo!
We divided into two, so we can take photos of each other — Ferdz and Ivan going first, me and Martin taking our turn after them. We watch with anticipation as Ivan and Ferdz climb the capsule, our fingers poised to click the shutter of their cameras. Their capsule eased out of the starting and end point of the ride, going up a spiral path up to one of the ride’s peaks. There were no sounds coming from their capsule all this time, but as soon as they started descending and zooming through the tracks, the air was filled with two sets of (very) low-pitched screams. Martin and I clicked away, thinking that in a couple of minutes, it was going to to be us up there.
Ferdz and Ivan met us back on solid ground in high spirits. This gets us both excited and terrified at the same time: it’s our turn now. We handed them our bags and camera and I masked my dread with excitement as we make our way up to the platform. Securely fastened in our capsule, Martin and I joked nervously as worst case scenarios flashed through my head. I was momentarily soothed by the beautiful scenery afforded by this unique vantage point — the views around Genting Highlands is spectacular, where ever you turn. The calm did not last long though, for within minutes we were “flying” through the tracks, screaming all the way (although there were some curses hurled at certain points of the ride).
Adrenalin was still coursing through our veins when we got off the capsule, and it made us forget all about the chilly weather. We had thirty minutes before we had to meet Marie for lunch, so we discussed where to go. All of us wanted to try the Sky Venture, but we remembered Marie’s warning that it usually rains in Genting in the afternoons. We opted to stay in the outdoor theme park, making the most of the clear weather for photos. It was then that we saw the Space Shot towering above everything in the park. We were lucky; there was only four available seats in the ride when we got there so we didn’t have to wait. We were luckier still that the seats we got were the ones facing the capital city.
My Penang asam laksa and Martin’s kuay teow soup in the background
On a high from the two thrill rides, we met Marie at the other entrance to the theme park, the one fronting the Theme Park Hotel. She led us to the Penang Food Village, where we feasted on asam laksa, char kuay teow, rojak while enjoying the views from inside the restaurant.
It started drizzling as soon as we stepped out of the Theme Park Hotel after lunch, just as Marie told us. We headed to the indoor park, towards Snow World. Like the other attractions, Snow World can only accommodate a certain number of people inside, so you would have to book for your turn inside. Luckily, the Sports Unlimited team was inside, and thanks to Ivan’s incredible powers of persuasion, we were allowed to join them, as we were (technically) part of the media team (just not their media team). Before heading inside, we were given thick jackets to keep us warm and gloves to keep our fingers from
falling off freezing.
We step inside the -5C Snow World, and Ivan quickly got into a snowball fight with Marc Nelson, one of Sports Unlimited’s hosts. It was great to meet up again with the show’s crew, whom we met at the press conference and gathering of all the participants of this fam tour. We were all looking forward to try out the Sky Venture, a skydiving wind tunnel that simulates free fall skydiving, but were told that it was closed for the day, given the strong wind and rain Genting is experiencing that afternoon.
Dejected, we parted ways from the TV crew and went off to console ourselves at the bumper cars. Bump cars are always fun. Of course, it’s more fun when you have a target. Ferdz, Ivan and I agreed to target Martin, the guy from Tourism Malaysia. Of course, like most evil plans, it was bound to backfire. Karma’s a bitch — in exchange for my hatching this evil deed, I got a car that stalled at the most inopportune moments, until it eventually died. Boo.
We had time to kill before we had to go back to KL, so we ventured back to the outdoor theme park for another ride or two. We ran into Jake, Sports Unlimited’s head writer, looking lost. She got separated from the crew when we went to the toilets and could not contact them because her phone’s battery is dead. They were supposed to go to the Space Shot, so we accompanied her, only to find out later on that the crew was granted access to the Sky Venture. We hurried back to the indoor park, excited by this new development. Unfortunately, it turns out that while we were allowed into the attraction, only the show’s two hosts are given permission to try it out since the ride was technically closed. Still, it was interesting watching them, specially when their Body Fly instructor showed off her prowess inside the wind tunnel.
It was time to leave, but Marie let us have a couple more minutes for some souvenir shopping. We ended up at Diadora, where some items are marked up to 70% off. There plenty of other retailers scattered throughout Genting Highlands (Esprit, Adidas, Nike, Converse, Giordano and even a Mango outlet store, among others) so it’s hard to leave Genting without buying something. True enough, we all walked back to Genting Highlands Resort toting Diadora shopping bags.
Genting Highlands is a great day trip destination from Kuala Lumpur. It is 45 minutes away, and offers a cool respite from the heat and humidity of the city below. There are plenty of things to do, whether you’re a child of 5 or 50.
Genting Highlands offer a Go Genting package, where for RM35, you get bus transfers from different pick up points in Kuala Lumpur, round trip tickets on the Genting Skyway, Outdoor Theme Park Ride Pass OR a buffet lunch at the Coffee Terrace. For more information about the Go Genting Package, visit the Genting Highlands website.