Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fun city above the clouds - Genting Highlands

It was 8 in the morning when we left sultry KL for the Genting highlands.  It was nearly a 55 minutes road drive past Batu caves to the cable car station. The idea of travelling by cable car over the million year old rainforests was pleasantly intriguing. Our driver dropped us at Genting skyway and told he would pick us up at 4 from Starbucks café. 

We walked to the cable car station and as my family got into the cable car, a cameraman snapped us and minutes later, all the families got in different cable cars and we found ourselves swinging up to Genting highlands. It would be no exaggeration if I said I was floating in the clouds as I was moving up in the air 6000 feet above sea level. The rejuvenating crisp air, the drifting clouds, the lush green tropical rainforests below, all feels like a dream now. Absolutely stunning views till we reached the hill top. It was one of the fantabulous natural views of this trip. Although, I must confess some creeking sounds of the car made me shudder and think "what if the world’s strongest cable installation gets cut", but It remained one of my wildest imagination.

As we got out, I was surprised to see our photos put in two types of frames and sold for 5o RM and 20 RM depending on the frame design.I was amazed at this enterprise and this happens in most touristy places like KL tower etc. No, we did not buy them. 

Once out of the station, it was totally like a maze, we did’nt know which way to begin first, there were lots of luxury shops, hotels, cafes on the first floor. 

Rico Galleria’s window was inviting and so we went into the store which stocked handbags to trinkets to fancy swarovski and crystal pieces. I found this a worthy place to shop than Haniffas. Bought a  few gifts for folks back home. After some  shopping, the elevator on the level took us to the casino.

Persons below 21 years are not allowed entry into the casino which is the only casino in Malaysia and is often the shooting spot for most Hollywood and Asian films. So, my teens were kept out. It was also my first visit to a casino and honestly I felt it was like a den with all those soft lighting and dark interiors. In the many Indian movies that I have seen, generally the villains/bad men strike shady deals and  gamble in casinos. That could be the reason I found this place a bit creepy although i know i was wrong. There were many slot machines, roulettes, tables and gaming consoles around and the people mostly Chinese men and women were absolutely immersed in the game. I was not keen to hang there for long.

Once out of the casino, we had no clue how to reach the theme park which Genting is famous for. My husband had been here some 15 years ago But, he said much had changed since then and he too was clueless where to go. There are no people to help around or no maps either. Most people here are tourists. Finally, we found somebody who said the outdoor theme park is closed for renovation since 2013 and will reopen as 2oth century fox theme park in 2016. He directed us towards the indoor theme park. A few escalators down(3) we were at the indoor themepark. Initially, I was in awe and felt like Alice in wonderland where Petronas rubbed shoulders with big ben and statue of liberty. Here at a counter , we were tied wrist bands and a few family rides were marked for us on a map. To locate those rides was again like walking into a labyrinth. 

Finally we pinned our first ride, The Euro express. The euro express indoor roller coaster brought out both my emotions of fear and joy. A wonderful experience, now if I recall.  Later we tried the many family rides like the hanging venetian gondolas, dashing cars. Most of our time was lost in the queue for the rides which robbed the joy of the themepark. There were many tourists across all ages and it was nice to see even the senior citizens become child like and enjoy the various rides. So did we. 

There were many luxury and branded shops around like that of Adidas, nike etc. But again the constant up and down, running and walking whetted our appetite. It was already 3. We went around again to look for vegetarian food or even snacks but sadly we found glazed Chinese ducks, chicken lollypops, sausages etc. We saw a 100% vegetarian board only to find it was a cosmetic shop " The body shop". We lost nearly 30 minutes here looking for food. My daughter then suddenly remembered of a hotel serving jain food somewhere near Rico Galleria. We went up the flight of escalators and found Spice garden an Indian restaurant that served non-veg and veg. (just in case anybody is at genting and looking for veg food, this is one of the very few hotels serving good veg food). 

It was exactly 4 when we reached Starbucks café near Maxims hotel. Here we were joined by the rest of our friends with whom we came in the morning. The group split at Rico in the morning while we were shopping since each of them had different interests. During our conversation, whilst waiting for our driver, we were all surprised to hear the 70 year old aunty who was with us played at the casino and won 4 RM. It was really jaw dropping to hear the conservatively dressed lady, a retired prof of Botany from a chennai college, coolly say, she had even played at Las vegas. Her spirit and zest for life to travel at that age and  to try her hand at games in casino awed the eight of us. She has even dared to go on that huge roller-coaster at Universal Studios LA. Does'n t that prove age is no bar to enjoy life? Very inspiring! 

While listening to her daring stories, we realized our driver who was to pick up at 4 had’nt turned and it was past 5 now. We found later our driver was waiting at Starbucks at Firstworld hotel. Now, How were we to know that there would be two starbucks in the same place?( actually there are 3 in genting). 

We lost nearly 2 hours that day which we considered precious since we had plans to go to petaling street after genting. It was a long walk from Maxims to First world hotel,  over many ramps and escalators. Yet again, we found it difficult to find our way through the maze. Nobody to help, no maps, no indicators:(

Finally, we  reached our cab and took the road down from Genting to KL. We crossed many roads which pointed indicators to strawberry farms, orchids farm and other interesting places. I realized that this hilltop resort has more to offer than The famous casino and themepark. It has a famous Buddhist temple and is also the venue for many world class entertainment shows and many adventure games. 

Overall, Genting was an unique experience where we touched the clouds, floated through some breathtaking views and  had good fun.

Check the pics, click on them to feel the place:)

                                     the highland road to skyway

                                               artificial rafflesias decorating the pathway

                                    100 million years old rainforest
                                       a surreal moment when i floated through the clouds(taken from cablecar)

                                      There is the first world hotel, the largest hotel in the world when it started(not now)

                                  All of us hanging in the air:)

                                               praise the lord who has created such beautiful masterpiece
                                           The shops on the first floor Is it chinese tea or coffee?
                                                  Chinese porcelain anybody?
                                                  crystals and swarovskis all for a fortune

and some more 

At the indoor theme park, a hotel around the venetian canal. Serve some  vegetarian stuff la.

                                         Statue of liberty in malaysia!
                                                                  Dreamland ahoy!
                                         Hello superman....no..no Genting man
                                        Care for horror shows?
times square! NY or KL

                                              the only restaurant which served vegetarian food in genting that we could find

Enroute to KL, we stopped at a famous murugan shrine outside India - Batu caves. My next post. 


  1. beautiful pictures ... I so long want to be thereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee


    1. thanks bikram, picture credits to my family. I never wielded the camera in this trip.

  2. I am glad you all enjoyed your vacation. Thanks for sharing these beautiful photos.

  3. Seconding Bikram. Beautiful pictures indeed.

    Only slight disappointment. You didn't win 1000 bucks in the casino !!!!!!!!!!

  4. LOL.... yes, may be next time at a casino and i will share that experience. Thanks Ramesh

  5. Wow! That was a vivid and comprehensive post. Genting Highlands surely look gorgeous. And I am told that the rides and the theme park are simply amazing! Some fab memories you have created during this vacation :)

    1. yes there are some fab rides inside the indoor theme park. but i understand that there were thrilling water rides in the outdoor theme park. this is closed for renovation till 2016. yes shilpa made some fantabulous memories and so recording it :)

  6. wow it must be so wonderful to be hanging down from the cable cars :)
    Loved reading about your experience.

    1. yes Raj, it was an unique experience to travel in the cable car. glad you loved the post. thank you:)

  7. Hi Asha, Your Article & pictures really make me want to go to Genting :) Simply superb! My husband & i have planned a trip to KL & Genting in September, We are going to spend a night at Genting & are hoping its going to be good! However, i have been reading multiple comments on different websites about Genting that the theme park is not operational, The place is shut down etc etc... Any advise for us on what we should expect there? Is the indoor theme park & Casino open

    1. thank you Deepika:) yes, a night at Genting would be a good experience. Only the outdoor theme park is shut, you have an indoor theme park which is great for kids and even elders too if you are a child at heart:). The casino is open. Just in case you are interested in adventure sports you have many faciliites here walking on an hanging bridge over the rainforest, you have lot of farms like orchid, strawberry farms, apiary just in case you are interested.