Can you believe it has been four years since my last trip to Genting Highlands (excluding visits for work)? But then again, the last two years since the pandemic started have felt like a waking dream, so…yeah.
With that said, I think it’s high time for an update! A lot has changed in Genting since my 2018 visit (read my first 2D1N Itinerary post here), most notably the opening of SkyWorlds, a new outdoor amusement park, as well as dozens of cool restaurants and entertainment centres.
Buttttt we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, so let’s rewind a little bit.
It was a long weekend and I got a free room at First World Hotel, courtesy of a relative. It’s been ages since I’ve had a vacation (since before the pandemic, actually) – so even though it was ‘just’ Genting, I was super excited for the trip. The last time I went to Genting it was via bus from KL Sentral, but I’m officially too old for that these days (by that I mean travelling in public transport lol), so we rented a cab instead. Our cab for four cost us about RM30 each.
You can choose to have the cab ferry you straight up to the resort, but I wanted to visit the Chin Swee Cave Temples which is mid-way up the mountain, so I told the driver to drop the Hubs and I off at Genting Highlands Premium Outlet instead. If you’re keen on buying branded goods from names like Coach, Armani, Burberry, and Michael Kors at discounted prices, then you might want to spend some time here.
We made a beeline for the cable car station. Tickets are priced at RM10 for a one way trip.
We made a pitstop at the Chin Swee Cave Temples, where you can stop to explore the temple at no additional cost. Opened in 1994, the temple sits on forested land donated by the founder of Resorts World Genting, Lim Goh Tong. Combining Chinese Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, the temple is dedicated to Qingshui (Chin Swee in Hokkien), a deity in China’s Fujian province, Lim’s hometown. If you’re here on a sunny day, the temple affords panoramic views of the surrounding mountains as well as the base of Genting. To be perfectly candid, the sight of the towering skyscrapers (read: luxury holiday ‘condos’) mars the beauty of the area’s natural surroundings. But I guess that’s development for you.
The temple is great for photo enthusiasts, thanks to its vibrant colours and beautiful architecture. Look out for the giant stone Buddha which sits against a backdrop of lush greenery.
Another interesting highlight here is the ‘Journey to Enlightenment’ section, which is not quite accurately named as it’s more a journey through hell lolol. It basically depicts the various hells in Chinese/Taoist belief, and features some pretty gruesome statues ala Singapore’s Haw Par Villa.
The temple’s pagoda is great for photography, seemingly ‘floating’ above the mountains and clouds when taken from certain angles.
While the temple has not changed much since my last visit, there are a couple of additions.
There are now a couple of stalls next to the pagoda selling snacks and tidbits; the Hubs and I had some curry fishballs which was perfect in the chilly weather (it was pretty cold, despite the sun). Another fun fact: this temple is home to a Starbucks, which opened in 2019. It’s right underneath the shops near the pagoda, and offers scenic views of the mountains as well as the temple through the cafe’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Who says religion, culture, commercialization and capitalism can’t coexist peacefully? (Unfortunately we could not pop into the store as we were pressed for time).
Continuing our cable car journey, we were fortunate to ride on a glass bottom gondola. Typically you’d have to pay RM16 for this, but the guy at the station allowed us to board this, so. Yay! The Hubs wasn’t thrilled though, and clutched me with sweaty hands with an increasingly stronger grip until we arrived at our destination.
Resorts World Genting is a massive labyrinth of buildlings sprawled across a large area; so it was a long walk from the new SkyAvenue Shopping Centre to the First World Hotel Complex, where we were staying for the night. While many parts of the hotel have been renovated, the lobby has been virtually unchanged for decades – I still have photos of me as a kid in this sparkly tree corridor, so it was nostalgic to see it again.
Our room was in the new wing, but we didn’t manage to get mountain views since it was sandwiched between corridors. No photo of the room because it was super ordinary – basically a bed with a TV – but here’s a photo of the exterior.
Now we come to the fun part: what is there to do in Genting?
The main attraction is, of course, the Genting SkyWorlds outdoor theme park, which opened its doors to the public just a few months ago, after a four year delay. The old outdoor theme park closed in 2013 (which means that the outdoor theme park was effectively closed for a decade). There was supposed to be a deal with 20th Century Fox to have a movie inspired theme park with rides from well known films, but they ran into licensing issues. What followed was a pretty nasty spate and several lawsuits, but they eventually settled with Fox granting Genting the rights to use their intellectual property for certain rides and sections. They still couldn’t call it Fox theme park though, so it was renamed SkyWorlds.
The park has nine ‘worlds’, and I can tell from the layout that its similar to the themed areas in places like Universal Studios and Disneyland. If I was a couple of years younger, I think I’d give the place a go, but I’m much older now and my heart can’t suffer from extreme excitement anymore lol. That, and the entry tickets cost close to RM200. But if you’re an adrenaline junkie, I think this would be a great place to spend your day at!
Aside from the outdoor theme park, Resorts World Genting is also home to an indoor amusement park called Skytropolis. The rides are similar to what you might get at a funfair or carnival, albeit bigger and fancier. Unlimited rides cost RM90 per adult, but you can also choose to pay per ride. In total, there are about 20 rides that you can go on, including a rollercoaster, a pirate ship, a tomahawk thing that flips you upside down, a ferris wheel, and more.
I really like the design at Skytropolis, especially the neon pillars and the large digital screen on the ceilling which emulates clouds. It feels like a futuristic, cyberpunk world; like a place you can escape to for a couple of hours, indulge in entertainment, and just forget your worries for abit.
The Hubs does not like fast rides, so I ended up riding the spinny thing on the right. It’s not too crazy, but is just fast enough to get the adrenaline pumping. Excitement in measured doses is the way to go for someone in their 30s, lol.
We spent most of our time at the arcade upstairs, which has a decent selection of shooter games. RM30 netted us a complete playthrough of Jurassic Park. There are classic carnival games to play here too, where you stand a chance to walk away with giant stuffed toys.
Of course, one does not come to Genting and not indulge in their lifestyle offerings, ie food, some of which are only available exclusively. Dinner was at Tampopo, a Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen. The Hubs and I shared a miso ramen, which had al dente noodles swimming in a rich and thick broth, topped with bamboo shoots and a half boiled egg. We also got crispy tempura, lightly battered and fried to golden perfection, and juicy chicken gyozas. If you’re in the mood for Japanese, Tampopo is a good choice. Course, most of everything in Genting is pretty pricey, but that’s to be expected if you’re coming here for a night’s stay – unless you’re okay with eating instant noodles or fast food.
Highline is an area with a bunch of trendy bars and drinking spots. It is extremely lively at night, with each bar blasting live music, DJs spinning turntables and bands performing.
We ended up heading up the escalator at Highline to a viewing platform, which imo, is the best spot in Genting. It’s cold and breezy up there at night, and you can see the entire theme park lit up with lights. It’s too bad they don’t have seats, because I’d bring a cup of Maggi + a packet of chips, and just sit there snacking and chatting with the Hubs.
And finally, before we left Genting the next day, we stopped at the famed Five Guys for lunch. You can read the full review here.
Not pictured: We spent some time at the casino, because the Hubs has never been and he wanted to experience what it was like. It was crowded af on a Friday evening because apparently there was some oldies concert going on, and there were a lot of elderly folk. I think the last time I came here, there was a no smoking rule, but this seems to have gone out the window, as the casino stank to high heaven of cigarettes – pretty unpleasant. We weren’t in there for too long, but I still ended up losing close to 200 bucks on the slot machine. 😦
As they say, house always wins.
And that was our 2D1N itinerary to Genting! As you can probably tell, there’s a lot to do besides gambling – you can eat, shop, watch movies, explore the theme park, play at the arcade, and much, much more. Genting has really invested in making the resort a lifestyle destination, moving away from its ‘gambling’ image (although it’s still an integral part of the money-making machine – judging from the crowds). I think it’s a good place for a day trip or weekend getaway that’s not too far from the city.
See you again in four years?