Showing posts with label Pahang. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pahang. Show all posts

Friday, December 04, 2009

Malaysia: Genting Higlands and theme park fun at the peak!

Who said Genting Highlands is all about casinos? The Genting Theme Park in Genting Highlands is one exciting Malaysian destination for the young and young at heart. I really don't visit theme parks on my own. So when Tourism Malaysia invited us over to Genting Theme Park, why would I refuse?

For a change, we tried public transportation going to Genting Highlands. In fact, there are many ways to catch a bus to Genting Highlands. Buses depart from One Utama, KL Sentral, Puduraya, and Pasarakyat among other places. But these buses go through KL traffic and we were advised one of the fastest ways of getting to Genting Highlands was to catch the bus at the Terminal Putra in Gombak which is on one end of the Kelana Jaya (Pink) Line of the RapidKL LRT. So if you're in a hurry, this is one option.

We left after rush hour since we didn't want to join the KL commuter crush. From Terminal Putra, you can catch the bus to Genting Highlands. But in our case, our van picked us up there and brought us to the terminal of the Genting Skyway, said to be the longest and fastest cable car in Asia, for our trip up to Genting Highlands.

We went straight to the Genting Theme Park as soon as we got there. Given that the weather was unpredictable, we decided to go for the outdoor rides first and reserved the indoor rides for the afternoon since it usually rained later in the day.

Of course, our priority was the park's signature rides which included the Flying Coaster and Space Shot. The Flying Coaster is a roller coaster. But instead of sitting down, you lie on your stomach face down, which gives you a sensation of flying. While the Space Shot is a 185-foot drop that gives you a few seconds of weightlessness.

After our second ride, it started to rain. So we moved indoors and had lunch at the Penang Food Village, one of the many restaurants in the area. From the restaurant window, one could see Kuala Lumpur down below (it's the same view from the top of the Space Shot). Our food inlcuded fried kuay teow, mee mamak, kuay teow soup, asam laksa, lobak and rojak.

Later in the afternoon, since the rains didn't stop, we tried out the bump cars and another signature attraction of Genting Highlands which is Snow World. The Sports Unlimited crew was also shooting inside which explains our TV appearance some weeks back.

Anyway, after more rides and some shopping (believe it or not, they can have good bargains there in Genting), we had to rush back to KL for a dinner appointment. We took the Genting Skyway back down where our van was waiting for us. If only we could have stayed longer, there were more rides we wanted to try out!

Related entries
Sunway Lagoon, a premier Malaysian theme park
BOH Tea Plantation and more from Cameron Highlands

Monday, November 30, 2009

Malaysia: BOH Tea Plantation and more from Cameron Highlands

Cameron Highlands is Baguio City before it exploded. It's the most extensive hill station in Malaysia and became prosperous during the British colonial period of Malaysia when planters discovered that its fertile mountain slopes was perfect for growing tea, then a very important commodity.

I had booked a half-day tour of Cameron Highlands which was quite convenient. Our first stop for the day was the Rose Centre which is actually a botanical garden. Many of the flowers found in the garden are also seen in the Philippines, particularly Baguio City. But it was a nice walk up the hill with all the plants in full bloom.

The main reason I wanted to see Cameron Highlands was to visit the tea plantations. And the BOH Tea Plantation, the largest tea plantation in Malaysia surely did not disappoint.

The Sungei Palas Tea Centre of BOH currently has a well-equipped visitor center and is very welcoming to tourists. From the platform, you get a superb view of the plantations. Plus you could purchase some tea from the tea shop. It's a really great place to learn about Cameron Highlands, the benefits of tea, and the history of the BOH Tea Plantation which opened in 1929.

I got to walk around the small museum and a tea factory where they process the tea leaves. It's really informative getting to observe how natural and simple the tea making process really is.

After visiting the BOH Tea Plantation, we also passed by a bee farm and Market Square where you can purchase the local produce, flowers and other products from Cameron Highlands. There was a hawker who sold deep-fried battered vegetables which I enjoyed munching on.

Anyway, I was hoping to be back in Tanah Rata before the 1 p.m. departure of my bus back to Kuala Lumpur (the tour agent assured me I'd be back). But the half-day tour usually extends beyond 2 p.m. so I had to request the driver to bring me back to Tanah Rata while the other guests were in one of the attractions. As a result, I missed the the butterfly farm, strawberry farm and cactus farm which isn't much of a loss since that's something I'd see in La Trinidad and Baguio anyway.

Part 1: Bus trip from Penang to Cameron Highlands

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Malaysia: Bus trip from Penang to Cameron Highlands

As soon as I arrived at KOMTAR in Penang, I bought a bus ticket to Cameron Highlands for the next day. I wanted to make sure I had a ticket already since I was pressed for time. The only downside of taking a bus was getting to the bus terminal very early in the morning. Instead of riding the bus from Penang (it's quite inconvenient getting to the Penang bus station especially early in the morning), I decided to catch the same bus when it arrived in Butterworth.

Anyway, I would later regret it since there are van services that would pick you up at your hotel and take you straight to Cameron Highlands. No need to go to the bus terminal, it leaves hours earlier, and the trip is faster since the vans are smaller than buses and thus it’s easier for them to move up the mountain roads. But you don't get refunds for bus tickets.

So the next day, I left the hotel at 6 a.m. and from my hotel, I took a local bus to the George Town port area. The ferry service from Penang to Butterworth is just 15 minutes. And the good thing about the port in Butterworth is that the terminal is right beside the bus station. So I arrived quite early for the 8:30 a.m. departure. In fact, I remember the bus left Butterworth at almost 9 a.m. If I took the van at 6 a.m., I would have been there already in Cameron Highlands as the bus made its way there.

The bus ride was quite uneventful. The trip was between five to six hours and the bus really moved slow on the zigzag road. To make the long story short, I arrived in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands at about 2 p.m.

First order of business was to look for a place to stay. Since I wanted to keep my budget low, I was able to get a non-aircon room for less than RM20 (but no amenities, just a bed and common bathroom). At least it's very cool in Cameron Highlands so like Baguio, no need for air-con rooms.

Since it was too late to join a half-day tour, I decided to walk around and explore Tanah Rata. Transportation between the Cameron Highland towns is quite scarce. So if I wanted to visit Ringlet or Brinchang, I'd have to take a cab. So it's really best to join the half-day or whole-day tours.

For late lunch, I had tandoori chicken. Later in the afternoon, I decided to try out one of the walking trails of Tanah Rata. Since it was getting dark, I chose the nearest waterfall which is Robinson Falls. You get to view it from the top of the trail. It wasn't that impressive though and not that clean neither.

Just like Baguio, food in Cameron Highlands has a strawberry twist. So they had roti with strawberries in one of the shops. Dried strawberries are also available so I snacked on some while walking around. Later in the evening, I had more Indian food!

Since there was nothing much to do in the evening, I was able to rest especially since I wasn't feeling that good, tired from all that constant moving around. The cool mountain weather was definitely a relaxing break.

Twin Pines Guesthouse
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Part 2: BOH Tea Plantation and more from Cameron Highlands
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