My parents hail from the state of Perak in Malaysia, which is famous for its beautiful limestone hills. Every year while driving back, I’d marvel at the sight of these majestic wonders, shaped over millions and millions of years. Some of the oldest are around 400mil years old (!!!).
But while my trips to Perak have always been to visit relatives, I’ve rarely gone on a holiday there: simply because not much has been done to promote its tourism until recently. Recently on a media tour, I got to experience one of these hidden gems – The Lost World of Tambun, a 10-minute drive from Perak’s administrative/city center, Ipoh.
A theme park cum night spa/hot spring by night, Lost World is surrounded by ancient hills and lush greenery. Done to resemble ruins of an old temple, the place was officially opened in 2004 and is the only theme park in Southeast Asia that also has hot springs.
Our visit this time was to cover the launching of new additions to the lineup: the second phase of their hot spring and spa facilities.
A 2 1/2 hour ride from Kuala Lumpur later, we checked in to our hotel. The room (Exotic) was spacious, with two fluffy beds and basic amenities such as Wifi, coffee and tea making facilities, TV, desk, dryer, safe, etc. The TV only had like five channels, but I don’t think anyone would wanna stay in the room when there’s a whole lot of fun to be had at the theme park, right? The shower’s heater wasn’t working, but since we had already settled in we didn’t want to change rooms.
After a quick rest, we walked across from our hotel to the theme park. Guests were given special wristbands for entry.
An invited Indonesian band serenaded visitors with chill tunes, amidst a backdrop of the hills and the park’s manmade beach. A pretty picture, to say the least.
Just next to the entrance is ‘Ipoh Street’, a row of food stalls done to look like Ipoh’s colonial shophouses. Ipoh was a former mining town which grew into a city, and is now the hub of Perak state. During British occupation of Malaya in the 1800s to 1900s, many Chinese immigrants settled here and took up jobs tin mining, opening up businesses and rubber tapping. This culture and history is reflected in the Ipoh of today.
We were given free reign to grab food at the stalls, since the place had been closed for invited guests only. Yay!
We found a seat under a gazebo in a shallow pool. It felt like a pool bar. Interesting experience, to eat while soaking your feet :P
Dinner – chicken siewmai (dumplings), which was freshly steamed and super yummy, but we kept having to go back to the stall coz the lady refused to give us more than two each time >->. Also had rojak, a mixed fruit and vege salad in thick shrimp paste, and curry mee. There was a long line for noodles as that was the only ‘main’ meal, all the others were snacks. Malaysians being Malaysians, we have to get our carbs in.
My favourite was the mutton soup, which was peppery and filled with chunks of fatty mutton.
The launch gambit included a fire breathing show by the resident theme park performers, Flaming Percussions. To the beat of tribal drums, the two fire breathers had us gasping in awe as they sprayed fire from their lips and even swallowed flaming sticks!
And then it was on to try out the hot springs! :D Both H and I were happy kids.
With a total of 15 attractions (13 pools, three private huts and a Crystal Spa), the place generates a whopping 3.3mil litres of natural geothermal water everyday. The springs are scattered across the area and some are hidden so be sure to check them all out (we missed a few :(…)
(Above) Saphira’s Lair is a family-friendly, shallow spring with beautiful coloured lights, giving it an appearance of a disco-esque pool. The effect was lovely. Temperature here was about 40, which was just right to soak, while all around the pool were high powered jets of water for a massaging effect.
The last time I was at a hot springs was when I was a kid, and I didn’t even get to go in.. so I guess this was my ‘first time’. Easing myself into the hot water and feeling it wash over my body, I could literally FEEL my tired muscles un-knotting themselves. Wow. Should really go for a soak more often!
The new phase of the hot springs was unveiled to be a 25ft waterfall which seemed to cascade from the mountains itself. At the foot of this fall were smaller Jacuzzi pools with gemstone names like Amethyst and Sapphire. Lights changed colour, lighting up the pools from below to create a relaxing glow.
Caution: The water here is friggin hot. Like, cook-an-egg kinda hot. The highest was 45C and both H&I only succeeded in getting it up to our knees.. and we saw this Auntie just plunge into it like nothing .__.”
The Emerald Lagoon area was my favourite. The water temperature is similar to what you get in a hot bath – not scorching, but very soothing/relaxing. The tiles were teal blue, creating a beautiful visual as different coloured lights sparkled around the place. There were private huts surrounding the pool, which you can rent for a fee. I think we soaked in this for well over 40mins!
We also tried Saphira’s Twister, a slide which goes right into a pool of cool water surrounded by a hot spring. Other attractions include a foot reflexology pool, Crystal Pool, Infinity Pool, and more. We missed the Crystal Spa D: where guests can enjoy aromatherapy and traditional massages. Maybe next time.
All in all, I enjoyed my visit to the Hot Springs and Spa tremendously. The springs are beautiful and clean, everything is well kept and maintained, and there’s nothing more relaxing than soaking in a hot jacuzzi after a long day travelling.
Entry is RM22.08, available walk-in and online.
More details at: http://sunwaylostworldoftambun.com/product/lost-world-hot-springs-spa-by-night/
Operating hours: 6pm – 11pm (closedo on Tuesdays)
LOST WORLD OF TAMBUN HOT SPRINGS AND SPA BY NIGHT
No.1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 1, Sunway City Ipoh,
31150 Ipoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan,
Theme park tel: +605 542 8888
Hotel tel: +605- 540 8888