City of Entertainment
M Abul Kalam Azad
A fun place on top of the mountain.
The fun never stops at Genting, called the City of Entertainment, on the top of cool, breezy Genting Highlands. One big attraction in Genting is the cool weather and because of the 2,000 metre altitude tourists, particularly Asians, like to visit just to enjoy the 'European' weather.
Getting into Genting Highlands itself is very exciting as one can reach the top by vehicles and cable cars. After about a 55-minute travel from Kuala Lumpur, the tourists wishing to enjoy sky view of the highlands stop at lower station to catch a cable car and go to its upper station located at Highlands Hotel, one of the Five Star hotels. Called Genting Skyway, the cable car is the fastest in the world and longest in South Asia. It takes only 11 minutes to travel 3.38 kilometres up to the mountain peak amid the fluffy clouds.
In the evening, there is spectacular entertainment at the Genting International Showroom or Pavilion, be it a thrilling magic show or an ice-skating extravaganza. There are opportunities to go shopping at First World Plaza, to visit the indoor and outdoor theme parks and feast on a wide range of delicious food at the many restaurants.
The First World Plaza indoor theme park features a series of fun rides and six theme areas named after famous cities and landmarks from around the world. The Snow World features a log cabin, an igloo, toboggan slides and a snowy play area.
The resort is informally known as the Las Vegas of Malaysia as it is the only legal land-based casino in the country. Facilities in the resort include two theme parks, Museum, a wind-turbine sky diving simulator, golf course and shopping malls. Other attractions are Genting Sky Venture, the only free-fall skydiving simulator in Asia, and Genting X-pedition Wall, an international-standard rock-climbing wall stretching to 15 metres in height, with a 6-metre overhang. There is also bowling, a video arcade, a cineplex and many more fun rides.
Over the years, five hotels were built with the status of 'Five Star' at the Resort named Awana Genting, First World Hotel, Highlands Hotel, Resort Hotel and Theme Park Hotel. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, Guinness World Records listed the First World Hotel as the world's largest hotel with 6,118 rooms.
“It's a different world altogether where one can have unlimited fun. It's really amazing to be here,” comments a Bangladeshi accompanying a group of visitors from Bangladesh to the highlands.
Many believe that a visit to Malaysia is not complete if the visitors don't spare time to see Genting Highlands, also called as “City in the Clouds.”
Tourism Malaysia recently invited journalists, television crews and travel agents from different countries, including a 10-member Bangladesh group to visit Malaysia. The group from Bangladesh was taken to different sites in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, a popular island for tourists.
When it comes to the Genting story, most Malaysians recognise it as synonymous with the rise of its namesake hill resort, Genting Highlands Resort. Though many may not appreciate the mammoth task involved in its construction and the vast resources and reserves mobilised to ensure what has proven today to be an unprecedented success in resort development.
The idea of a hill resort was generated by late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong amidst the crisp air of Cameron Highlands in 1964. He was then working on a hydro-electric power project at the popular hill resort, when he foresaw a prosperous Malaysia of the future desiring a cool mountain holiday resort within the reach of all Malaysians.
In 1969, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister graced the official laying of the foundation stone for the company's pioneer hotel, the then Highlands Hotel, marking the completion of the access road to Genting Highlands Resort.
In 1971, the first hotel was successfully completed and was then named Highlands Hotel, which was later renamed as Theme Park Hotel. Since the resort continued to grow, eventually turning it to be the premier holiday destination in the region.
The Bangladeshi group, who stayed at the World's largest hotel, left the resort on a bus to enjoy travelling through mountains and revelling in the beauty all around.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009