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Genting Highlands, Pahang – Malaysia

Saturday, May 8th, 2010

© 2010 Frank P. Schneidewind

 

 

The Titiwangsa mountain range in peninsular Malaysia is home to a number of tourist attractions and their beauty and scenery has a lot of appeal to locals and visitors alike. From the city of Ipoh to the boundaries of Kuala Lumpur, there are quite a few places on the touristic map. The Cameron Highlands 120 Kilometers south of Ipoh draw a lot of nature lovers, hikers and are the furthest from Kuala Lumpur (210 KM). Fraser’s Hill is located in the same mountain range, it is a famous trail head for hikers and a former colonial mining outpost in 1.500 m elevation above sea level. Fraser’s Hill is located some 105 KM north of Kuala Lumpur. Subject of our little report here is the southernmost of these 3 mountain tourist attractions, the famed Genting Highlands. Just one hour by car from downtown KL, the Genting Highlands are easily accessible via multi-lane highways. They peak out at somewhere around 1.800 m above sea level, so the climate is considerably cooler than in the capital KL down at the foothills.

City of Entertainment is what they call this, and 20 Million visitors in 2009 prove that. One person, a Chinese born Malay by the name of Lim Goh Tong started the developments here in the 60’s. His development grew over the years into a gambler’s retreat for non-muslim Malays with 6 hotels and casinos on the mountaintop. It is presently run by his son, who is also controlling Star Cruises (cruise ship line in Asia) and resorts in Sentosa (Singapore) as well as Manila (Philippines).

Quite interesting are the variety of temples with Indian and Chinese themes once you reach the upper part and the developed area on this mountain-range. Hikers and nature lovers are really not catered for here. They rather retreat to the formerly mentioned mountain resorts, which SIAMPEDIA will cover in future photo reports.

The temperature up here is significantly cooler and also much more humid, quite often the entire peak is in clouds and it rains excessively. On all my trips up here, I had very few chances to stay dry once I ventured outside the Hotel and Casino complexes. So we resorted to some photos taken from a helicopter or so from the resort’s own website (press-releases) to show the layout here from a bird’s eye-view. Our own picture material produced too often the reality as shown below: (note the gigantic fern up here!)

 

There is an overpriced golf course on the premises, but we had a problem locating any nature-trailhead or hiking trail on the mountainslopes. Everything appears a bit artificial here and visitors that want to venture off the beaten path, encounter quickly angry looking guards with guns and signage relating to the use of firearms in case of trespassing.

A city in the clouds. That is the view for the few wealthy gamblers, wich are being ferried here by helicopter:

The hotels are all quite large, but their most recent hotel addition trumps it all:

All hotels are connected by walkways and tunnels and a western style amusement park has been added for kids and teens:

A cable-car system connects the bus terminal with the resort area. Buses from KL stop short of the peak, but for 5 Ringgit (1,20 €/ 1.50 $) passengers can enjoy the Genting Skyway, Asia’s longest and fastest cable-car system. Buses to here depart from Pudu Raya or KL Sentral Station in 30 minute intervals. The bus transfer time to the bottom station of the Skyway is about one hour.

Rollercoasters for all ages and waterslides add up to a playground that no one would expect to exist on a mountaintop, surrounded by rainforest.

Shops, boutiques and snackerias fill the halls between the hotels.

Rides indoors guarantee some entertainment, if the weather outside is less than perfect. High winds and storms are not uncommon here.

Mountainclimbing can’t be done outdoors, but the set-ups in the hallways provide some form of activity opportunities for cliffhangers as well.

 

Really spectacular are some sunsets here, such as this one shown. Our friend Sausa has taped one of those great sunsets, where the sun actually vanishes below your position.