Finding an escape from the incessant humidity and heat of a tropical city can be a trial sometimes, especially when you’re also in search of relaxation and entertainment. KL certainly has plenty of airconditioned havens that offer somewhat of a respite – but as the city’s more adventurous residents will tell you, nothing beats the cooler climes and crisp air of elevated regions. And while KL is also awash in world-class leisure and recreation destinations, there are those who are always hungry for something bigger, something grander, something…
Enter the world-renowned Genting Highlands, which attracts 20 million visitors annually.Located just 55km (or a one hour’s-drive) from KL, Genting Highlands, otherwise known as Resorts World Genting, is a sprawling resort city nestled amidst the Titiwangsa Mountains in Pahang state.
At 1,860 metres above sea level, Genting enjoys a mild, temperate zone climate, all year-round. It also happens to be dedicated entirely to entertainment and relaxation – and runs the only legal, landbased casinos in all of Malaysia. Covering a colossal 13,000 acres, Genting comprises six major hotels, the Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Club, countless restaurants, bars and nightclubs, three theme parks, five highclass performance venues, plenty of retail therapy outlets and of course, the Casino de Genting.
These impressive stats are all the more remarkable when you consider that its first hotel only opened its doors in 1971. Also notable is the fact that the massive development is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, which can be appreciated, with a bird’s eye view, when you ride the Genting Skyway – a stateof- the-art, 3.3km gondola lift which connects the township of Gohtong Jaya to the top of Genting Highlands (a one-way trip takes approximately 15 minutes and costs RM5.
Thrills & Spills
A vast network of linkways, underground tunnels and escalators connects far-flung locations within Genting, which is a great convenience when navigating the sweeping grounds. Signage will guide you, albeit with detours through hotels, casinos and shopping areas.
Finding the theme parks is quite easy, as they make up the biggest multi-million dollar playground in Malaysia – and with a profusion of thrill rides, family rides and children’s rides, there’s plenty to raise anyone’s adrenaline. If you’re looking for something a little more G-force orientated, then the Sky Venture may be just for you.
Here, you can suit up and enter an indoor wind tunnel blowing air up to 193km/h – ideal for belly flying. For first timers, the skydive simulator is priced at RM50 for two minutes, with training packages available for those requiring an instructor to teach them how to make 180 and 360-degree turns (and if you’re a natural, some ‘sit’ flying too).
Sights & Sounds
If you’re in the Highlands for a night or two, make sure to browse the listings of live shows and concerts across the Genting venues. The Arena of Stars is the go-to venue for top-notch live acts from around the world – from Chinese-language superstar singers like Taiwanese Ah Mei and Hong Kong Heavenly King Andy Lau, to iconic Western artistes like crooner Elton John and saxophonist Kenny G – all manner of entertainers have performed amidst the clouds in Genting.
The Highlands also has its share of architecture and nature-based attractions. Get a taste of ancient culture at the Chin Swee Caves Temple, which sits in one of the area’s most scenic locations. The vibrantly-decorated, nine-story pagoda looks out over the valley, and is the perfect spot for shutterbugs.
Taste Bud Ticklers
A cloud-hugged culinary sanctuary, the Highlands offer a dizzying array of eateries. From high-class gourmet establishments like the awardwinning The Olive at Maxims Genting, which serves up premium western continental fare; to the casual-dining restaurants of Gohtong Jaya, where a plethora of seafood delicacies and other delights awaits – foodies can rest assured that all gastronomic bases are covered at Genting.
Slots & Tables
Among the main draws of Resorts World Genting are the world-famous casinos. There are three of them: Monte Carlo, Hollywood and Star World Casinos, all of which are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From cutting-edge slot machines to the best stakes gaming tables, including roulette, baccarat, blackjack, and Chinese visitor-favourites such as ‘taisai’ and ‘paigow’, whatever your pleasure, you’ll find it here.
Each casino offers a different ambience or theme (as their names imply), from the bright lights and glitter of Hollywood, to the extravagant opulence of Monte Carlo. The newest addition to the lineup, @latte, was launched in 2005, and boasts a contemporary gaming venue that serves some of the finest coffee in Malaysia.
Room & Board
With over 10,000 rooms, Genting has no shortage of accommodation. Whether you’re on a budget, (in which case, you will be catered to by the First World Hotel – which, between 2006 and 2008, held the Guinness Book of World Records’ title of the world’s largest hotel), or are in the mood to splurge (the five star luxuries of the Genting Hotel or Highland Hotel await you), you won’t be hard-up finding the right room.
The ‘City of Entertainment’, as Genting bills itself, certainly lives up to its name, as it is replete from top to bottom with fun and games – so you’ll never endure a dull moment. And aside from Singapore, it’s the only establishment in the region where you can scratch your gambling itch (just make sure to quit while you’re ahead!)