Skyranch Theme Park, Tagaytay Philippines

On my second day in Tagaytay, I met up with a good friend of mine, Bonny, for the first time 🙂 It was nice to finally see after years of talking online. I knew her from a great chat site called Stickam (which shut down more than two years ago). Unlike many other sites like Tinychat and Chat Roulette, the community in Stickam was awesome. I still keep in touch with many of them and in some, I’ve found friends for life. Ah, good times.

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After a quick McDs lunch, we took a Jeepney to Skyranch.

This 5-hectare, family-friendly theme park is one of the must visit places while in Tagaytay. Entry is 80PHP on a weekday, and 100PHP for weekends. Rides have to be purchased separately.

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There was a paddock where visitors can ride on ponies. LOL at the fart part of the sign.

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The park is fairly new and well maintained. Rides are more family-friendly than adrenaline pumping; nothing too crazy but fun. There were also many carnival-style stalls where you can win gigantic stuffed teddies. Perfect place to take your significant other on a date.

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Since we had a limited budget, we only went on a few rides. One of them was the Sky Eye, a gigantic Ferris Wheel with 32 air-conditioned gondolas. Each ticket costs PHP150 per ticket, but the views were worth it as you can see the whole of Taal Lake/Volcano. Getting to the top was scary because the wind was so strong that our gondola kept swaying. D:

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We also went on the Super Viking (PHP100), a pirate-ship ride that can swing up to 90 degrees. This got the blood pumping but not in an ‘omg I’m dying of a heart attack’ way. Despite this, E almost broke my arm with his grip (lol are you getting too old for this? :P)

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Visitors taking selfies with the Sky Ranch sign.

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Beautiful view of Taal Lake/Volcano. I think the views are even better here than at Picnic Grove!

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It was a fun-filled day hanging out with B, but as all good things come to an end, it was time to say goodbye. I hope that she’ll be able to visit me in KL sometime soon 🙂

And then it was time for the dreaded three hour ride back to Manila..

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Sunset on the highway.

Our short escape to Tagaytay was a great one, and I thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful scenery/nature and the clean, fresh air. Definitely a place to visit to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

SKY RANCH TAGAYTAY 

Tagaytay – Nasugbu Hwy, Tagaytay, Cavite, Philippines
Phone: +63 921 323 3389

Opening hours: (Mon – Fri) 10am-10pm, (weekends/public holidays) 8am – 10pm

More info: Skyranch website

 

Fun for all the Fam – Sunway Lagoon Theme Park

So earlier this week, I got to attend the TRIKSTARS media preview: it’s a magic/illusion show happening at Sunway Lagoon theme park from Dec 5 – 20. Looking forward to that !

And since I was already in the area, I hung around for a bit . 🙂 Brought E here last year when he visited Malaysia, so it sure brought back memories.

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Divided into several sections, Sunway Lagoon is pretty old, having opened its doors in 1997. I remember going there as a kid and it was always a super fun and rare treat, because Malaysians are not blessed with many big theme parks. There have been many changes and additions over the years, but the place seems to have focused more on developing its water theme park. The dry park rides are old and quite sad – there’s a small roller coaster, a Ferris Wheel, a pirate ship, a Tomahock and more family friendly rides like carousels and teacups.

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The wet park, on the other hand, is fun and exciting – especially the Vuvuzuela, the world’s largest vortex ride! The launch tower is 11 stories high and it plunges through 152m of awesomeness. I rode this a few times when I was here last year, because one time just isn’t enough. That drop from the tube into the vortex especially. 🙂

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Slides for the kiddies who can’t go on crazy rides until they’re older.

 

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The Zulu Walk area has restaurants and souvenir shops on both sides. Food is pricier than usual in the theme park. For convenience, there are no cash transactions, as you have to buy a pre-loaded card for any F&B purchases.

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Locker/changing rooms are also here.

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There is a mini zoo next to the Zulu Walk, which houses a variety of animals. At the entrance are some colourful parrots. Staff will come by to feed them and visitors can take photos with them at certain times of the day.

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The mini zoo is divided into sections. The wooden gazebo-like area houses small animals such as tortoises…

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Fluffy sleeping ferrets…

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And cute sleeping lizards.

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Over at the open-air Jungle Trail, larger wildlife can be found.

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What does the otter say? Otters make a high-pitched, clucking noise, like birds. Or hyenas. Idk.

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A sleepy, slow loris.

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And this raccoon. It was white (?). An albino, perhaps?

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It’s housemate was so fluffy it looked like a ball (!) 🙂

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Flamingoes.

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The aviary section has a small waterfall and birds/waterfowl roamed around freely. It’s a nice place to get upclose to peahens, peacocks, ducks and the like.

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Being a bird is just a state of mind. I am not defined by feathers and beaks. – Squirrel in the Aviary

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There was also a big cat display with one male and one female white lion. The enclosure was quite small for them though 😦

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Prices for the theme park have gone up since I last visited… to a whopping RM150 for adults and RM120 for children (!!) The family package for two adults and two kids is RM292. If u buy online, there’s a 15% discount.

Is it worth it? Personally, the ticket price is too pricey for me, but if you’re willing to fork out some money for a fun time without having to travel out of state, Sunway Lagoon is a nice place for family-friendly entertainment.

For more details, visit www.sunwaylagoon.com.

Universal Studios Hollywood Part 2

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Movie ‘magic’.

It is how our beloved movies and TV shows come to life, and where we can delve into a make-believe world of monsters, dramas and dreams.

Universal Studios Hollywood offers visitors that experience: one that shouldn’t be missed, with their Studio Tour. Forget all the rides and stuff which you can get elsewhere: in the heart of Hollywood, here is where the magic happens.

There were three tours on the day we visited, so we hopped onto a tram that would be taking us around the movie sets of many beloved films, such as King Kong, Jaws, and Psycho.

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View as we set off from the tram station. We were ‘accompanied’ by Jimmy Fallon, who provided informational tidbits throughout the ride, in addition to the real tour guide.

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Leaving the rides and restaurants behind, we started moving towards the filming and production buildings; large grey blocks which can be seen from the upper levels of the park. The studios have their own fire station, which is, apparently, not just for show.

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Along the way are billboards depicting different movies produced by Universal Studios, according to chronology.

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We arrived at our first movie set, depicting modern day America. I was impressed: it looked just like an urban metropolis, but empty. Tour guide said that by just adding a few props and actors, they can transform it into a busy New York intersection – without actually having to fly the entire cast and crew to the place/cordoning off traffic for filming.

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Some of the films made here? Bruce Almighty, Transformers and Back to The Future, to name a few.

They don’t look like it, but the buildings are all made of wood and are collapsible, if needed.

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From New York to Skull Island! This attraction was added a couple of years ago and is called the KingKong: 360 3D ride. The tram entered the cave-like structure and onto a motion-based platform, surrounded on both sides by 200ft (61m) high 3D screens; which are so high that you can’t see the top.

The smell of damp jungle hit our nostrils as we entered the dark cave. And then the story starts. Colourful foliage coupled with surround sound and 3D images lent a very realistic feeling to the experience. Dinosaurs gave chase on both sides of the tram, which swayed and tilted based on their movements. Kong arrives, and the large creatures battle it out with our poor tram caught in the middle. Throughout the ride, we were sprayed by water and blasts of wind!

Of course, Kong won in the end and the tunnel opened, with our tram riding out into the sunshine.

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Passing by a collection of cars from various films.

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A generic Mexican-looking town. But what was special in this section was this….

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A ‘river’! With the help of modern technology, the water in the river can be controlled at will. It was scary to see a wall of it rushing towards us from the top of the slope!

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Another set, which was straight out of an old Western film.

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Perfect set for a shootout.

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A ‘European’ setting, which can be turned into any city in Europe by installing the proper props.

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Can be turned into small French village in a jiffy. 🙂

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The powers of movie magic extended to recreating an earthquake in a subway. @_@ Similar to the Kong experience, our tram landed on a motion platform, which shook and tilted as things crashed down around us and water flooded down from the stairs and through the gates. PS: Look at that cheeky poster.

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Do you recognise this famous movie set? Take a guess!

Yes, it’s Jaws! Look, they even have the big bad fish itself hanging from a rope by the dock.

A mechanical diver moved near the boat and the infamous theme played… a fin sliced through the water before said diver disappeared in a bubbling pool of red underwater. Then fire and explosions! Because Hollywood, you know.

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Houses on Wisteria Lane! You’ll recognise them from the drama Desperate Housewives.

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Funky looking pink structures from The Grinch. 

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Just next to it was the infamous Bates Motel. They even had a Norman Bates actor there who stuffed a body wrapped in a sheet into the car boot, before noticing our tram and striding towards us with knife raised. Great acting!

…..or was it?

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Last but not least was the set of War of the Worlds, which looked totaled. I bet the crew had a great time trashing the place, lol. What impressed me was the fact that they bought an entire Boeing plane to destroy, to be used as the prop for the shooting. It’s no wonder the movie had a budget of 132mil.

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The set grounds were very large, so the tour took nearly an hour.

It was a great behind-the-scenes experience and very informative! I think this sets the Universal Studios Hollywood apart from the rest of its counterparts around the world, and I definitely recommend it to movie buffs when you’re visiting LA.

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We went back to the upper floor to catch the last show for the day forWaterworld. There was still some time, so we continued exploring.

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Car from one of the Fast N Furious films, complete with very realistic looking Vin Diesel.

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I can’t remember the exact plot for Waterworld since I watched it when I was very little. Its basically a story about a post apocalyptic world where everything has been submerged and people live on boats while they search for the legendary ‘dry land’.

You will get completely soaked during the show if you sit in certain areas, so they tell you in advance for those who want to keep dry. The actors perform stunts with speed boats, climbing on the high platforms and abseiling/jumping off while they battle the bad guys. At the climax, a plane crashes through a part of the wall and the fuel tank explodes, while epic music plays.

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After the show, we had to rush on the rides before closing time. The Minion themed one was very popular and we had to wait close to 40 mins. To keep visitors entertained, they have quizzes and short clips of the cute Minions in the waiting line.

The ride was similar to the Transformers ride, whereby riders have to wear 3D glasses. It wasn’t particularly frightening, but still fun. I think families with kids would like it.

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I find that Universal Studios Hollywood has many 3D stationary rides – theKrustyland ride was also similar to Transformers and Minion.

Our last ride for the day was the Jurassic Park water ride. It started off slow, with the boat floating through a lockdowned Jurassic Park area with mechanised raptors and T-rexes. It soon became one of the most thrilling rides in the park that we have gone on so far with a massive 84-foot plunge. We weren’t expecting it because the boat goes up a couple of levels without you realising you’re up so high, and you don’t know you’re plunging coz you can’t see it from the top!

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We managed to finish almost everything (except a couple of shows), so it was time well spent the whole day. 🙂 It was a great experience and I had a lot of fun.

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We hung out at the Citywalk for a bit. It’s just next to the entrance to the theme park and has loads of souvenir shops and restaurants lit up by flashy neon signs.

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Universal Studios is worth a visit for people from all walks of life. There are a few thrill rides for adventure enthusiasts, but nothing too extreme. Families will love the interactivity and fun attractions. Movie buffs should definitely not miss the Studio Tour.

1Day Ticket price: 95$. *I recommend booking through GoLA which helps you save 15 – 20%.

How to get there: Take the train from Hollywood/Vine station on the Red line to Universal Studios Hollywood.

 

Movie Magic @ Universal Studios, Hollywood: Pt 1

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved stories.

Movies, like books, tell stories. I love how almost anything is possible in the make-believe world of movie magic. In college, I went to watch movies almost every other week, because they offered a few hours of escape from studying and the everyday stresses of life. Sadly, I haven’t found time to watch that many since I started working.

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Since I was in the entertainment capital of the world – Hollywood, Los Angeles – there was no way I was going to miss on visiting one of the most well-known movie places on the planet: Universal Studios Hollywood. 

We set off early in the morning on a bus to the Hollywood/Vine subway station. It was my first time using an American subway, even though we have underground trains in Kuala Lumpur as well.

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But while our KL train stations are dull and drab, the ones in Hollywood are decorated with various props such as large cameras. The ceiling is also covered with film reels.

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Train to the Universal Studios stop via Red line. There are two subway lines – Red and Purple.

The trains are tired looking; not surprising, since they’ve been operating for over 20 years. The seats look faded and the walls are a dirty beige.

We rode the subway a couple more times while in LA, and it wasn’t uncommon to see homeless people riding the train. Some smelled of weed, others just smelled bad. It was really sad. In KL there are homeless people but they don’t often come up to ask for change, preferring to sleep under bridges, and are generally not very visible to the public.

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Arriving at the Universal Studios stop. It was also decorated with artworks in the form of colourful ceramic tiles on its pillars.

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Walked a short distance to the tram stop and took a tram up to our destination.

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There was a boulevard full of shops and restaurants outside the theme park and studios. Of course, being LA, palm trees made their appearance on the sidewalks.It was a weekday, so thankfully there were not too many people.

This is my second visit to a Universal Studios. I went to the one in Singapore and enjoyed the experience very much, so I was looking forward to this trip.

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Entering the compound, we were greeted by a few statues…. or are they? Some visitors got a fright when one of said ‘statues’ moved. His makeup was so well done! Can you spot the real among the fake?

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The ‘Main Street’ of Universal Studios. There are various city-themed attractions, so visitors can take pictures in settings of New York, Paris and even London.

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Our first ride was the Shrek 4D movie experience. We were just in time to catch the first show. Outside at the waiting area, there were Wanted posters of fairytale characters as seen from the movie (which is one of my favourite animated movies, btw!).

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The experience was exactly the same as the one in Singapore. Visitors were ushered into a ‘torture chamber’ while fairytale characters navigated us through a story. Lord Farquhar (from Shrek 1) has returned as a ghost and is intent on capturing Fiona and making her his ghost bride, so Donkey and Shrek (and you!) must go on a journey to save the damsel in distress.

The 4D ride includes jerking seats, blasting air currents and sprinkling water, all cleverly incorporated into the show.

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Moving on to the other themed area, featuring French inspired buildings and decorations.

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Further in was the town of Springfield from The Simpsons. This was something that wasn’t available in USS. The shops were all themed around characters from the Simpsons.

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We decided to go to the bottom level where the studios were + some more rides. It was a very long escalator ride down.

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The bottom level of the park featured rides from blockbuster films, such as Jurassic Park, Transformers and The Mummy. Since bags weren’t allowed on the rides, we put them in a free locker which identifies the user by thumbprint. Performers like this pretty lady were seen walking around taking pictures with visitors.

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We were lucky coz there weren’t that many people on weekdays – so the most we had to wait for rides was 10 to 15 mins. We went on the Transformers ride first. It was the same as the one in Singapore, but I didn’t mind going on it again because it was my favourite.

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We were seated in a jeep-like contraption, surrounded by ceiling-high 3D projectors, and were given 3D glasses. The story goes that you are a cadet, and the Decepticons are attacking the base. The jeep then speeds out onto the ‘streets’ while trying to make an escape. All the while, riders are bombarded with real sensations and smells like smoke and even heat from a fire!

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At different times throughout the day, characters from the Transformers film will be out and about. Their costumes look hyper realistic and they also talk in the exact same voices.

The Mummy ride was the only coaster in the theme park. I was worried my glasses would fall off, so I stuffed them into a safe compartment near the seat. Which meant that I couldn’t really see what was going on (I’m technically blind without glasses!). I think some of the mechanical contraptions were creepy hands waving from the ceiling, mummies lining the walls and trying to ‘grab’ you while Imhotep muttered creepy things about taking your soul while he chased riders through a dark tunnel.

It was a good coaster – fast and with all the right turns, altho no big drops or turns. We went on it twice 🙂

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Break time! The lower level didn’t have a big selection of food, so we went up the long escalator ride again to ‘Springfield’. I was craving fried chicken, so we went to Cletus’ Chicken Shack.

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The restaurant is designed like a barn with wooden paneling and funny props, like a portrait of Cletus’ large family (playing on redneck stereotypes) and random animals hanging from the ceiling. They also have a large tv playing all the ‘restaurant’ clips from The Simpsons.

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Chicken platter, with three pieces of chicken, half a corn cob, biscuit, and mashed potatoes with gravy. Tastewise it was okay.

Stay tuned for part 2!

Forest of Lights, i-City Shah Alam

I remember when I-City first started off a couple of years ago.

It was just the Forest of LED Lights, before they added all the other attractions. Designed to look like an avenue of trees like the one on Jeju Island, made famous by the Winter Sonata Korean drama series, it was a new thing for Malaysians and they’d flock to it in droves, especially on weekend nights. Since then, there has been various additions to the place, including rides and magical fountains – transforming it into a family-oriented theme park of sorts.

Although I’ve been here a couple of times before, it was still nice to walk around, because entrance is free.  It can be quite romantic to stroll around with your significant other 🙂

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A new feature is the ‘mist fountain’, which emits.. well, mists as visitors walk around a clump of LED trees. The foggy atmosphere creates a faint halo around the lights. The resulting effect is quite magical!

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Went for this ride called Skytrax – basically a two-seater mini car contraption that travels around the ‘trees’ via an elevated track. Highly recommended for couples – just no hanky-panky coz they have people standing on platforms taking photographs, which you will be able to buy at ridiculously inflated prices when you get back on the ground.

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The lights can hurt your eyes after a bit

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Swingy thing with a double-storey carousel in the background.

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The ‘music’ fountain, which is lit up by more lights and ‘dances’ according to music.

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I went on this rotating thing which goes up and down in a U-shape. Although it didn’t look very impressive, it’s quite scary when you’re actually on it. Or maybe I’m growing old. When I was younger, I was a real adrenaline junkie – I’d go on the scariest looking rides like they were nothing. These past couple of years, I prefer having both my feet solidly on the ground. Signs of aging (?)

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Pirate ship and (right) Giant Ferris wheel. The line was super long, so didn’t go on it.

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Since I still had a lot of money in my card, went into this random kiddie ride where you sit on a cramped little boat on shallow water through a sea-themed tunnel. The boat’s movement was extremely slow, and the passage was so narrow that it often got stuck. I got impatient so I kept pulling it forward. It still took 15 minutes, even though the space wasn’t very big. There was nothing to do but wait for the boat to inch forward….

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Exhausted by then, so time to call it a night! The next morning, we had a couple of hours before checking out, so it was on to the Water World – i-City’s water theme park.

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We played some games as part of an ‘ice-breaking’, then everyone went off their separate ways. I stuck with a few other media members so that we could go on the Typhoon ride (it’s that big funnel thing on the right), which required four members. It was empty on a Sunday morning, so we basically had the whole place to ourselves. Honestly, that ride was the best of everything I had visited in i-City so far.

That’s all for my trip to i-City! There are some sights more worth visiting compared to others, but all in all, a fun affair for all the family. Just pick the right attractions to get the most of your money’s worth.

iCity

Jalan Multimedia, 40000 i-City, Malaysia.

Phone: +6 03 5521 8800

Red Carpet Wax Museum, i-City Shah Alam

The only wax museum in Malaysia, Red Carpet@i-City, Shah Alam is modelled after an ‘Oscar awards’ setting, just like the one in Madame Tussauds all around the world. My first visit was a year ago when they first opened (the entry was >Rm100!), and they have added a couple of new exhibits this time around. The price is much more reasonable now at only Rm30 per ticket.. I guess they reduced it because nobody was going lol.

Anyway, I highly recommend coming on a weekday afternoon, because you have the whole place to yourself.

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The wax figures aren’t very impressive as some do look like.. well, wax figures. But I know I can’t be comparing it to Madame Tussauds in London, which is THE standard for wax museums all over the world. Anyway, the place is not hard to locate within I-City; it’s the flashy fire-engine red building with lots of colourful, flashy stars. Once you enter, famous actresses dressed in cheongsam-dresses greet visitors. These are mechatronic and will bow periodically with a ‘welcome’.

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The place is divided into small themed sections. On the landing going up, there is a Monkey King figure (featuring HK action star Donnie Yen in his latest fantasy flick), and Marilyn Monroe who is only recognisable by her dress. Once you enter the actual exhibition area, the first section is dedicated to political leaders from all over the world.

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On a podium is Obama(left), next to Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Some other notable figures include Mao Zedong, Yasser Arafat, Kofi Annan, the ex-Pope, and our very own Tunku Abdul Rahman(center).

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Some of the wax detailing seems to be fading a little, coz the ‘skin’ looked patchy in places, but otherwise the hands were realistic with curves, grooves and tiny indentations in them.

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The late Steve Jobs and (right) a young looking Bill Gates.

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Movie stars. Not just from Hollywood but from Asia as well like Andy Lau (far left).

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Sport personalities..

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In a random room, an alien.

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And just before leaving, the Governator.

Verdict: At Rm35, I guess it’s pretty affordable and there are ample wax figures to take pix with. 😀 If you’re a foreigner, it’s gonna cost you triple though at Rm100 per ticket.

Red Carpet Wax Museum

i-City, D-1-G, Jalan Multimedia 7/AJ, Seksyen 7, Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia

Business hours: Open daily from 10am to Midnight (until 1 am at Weekends and Public/School Holidays).

 

 

House of Horror & Space Mission,i-City

We continue our exploration of the various attractions around i-City: namely the House of Horror and a new addition, the Space Mission. First things first, some spooks!

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Unlike Scream Park in Sunway Lagoon which has actual actors in it, the House of Horror relies solely on atmosphere and mechatronics. Since it’s located in a double-storey shoplot, you have to climb the stairs to get to the entrance. Once you enter, you’ll be greeted by low creepy lighting and some skeleton/cobweb props. When we visited that afternoon, the place was completely empty, which kinda added to the creepy factor.

As you make your way through the exhibits, sensors detect your presence and will trigger the appropriate mechatronics to move or make noises. After the quiet ambience, this sudden loud explosion of noise can make you jump. Mum and I ended up walking through the whole thing with our fingers stuffed in our ears, because we both disliked sudden loud noises.

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Apart from some regular ghosts and ghouls like the Headless Horseman, they also incorporated some local flavour with things like the Pontianak (a local female vampire) and Pocong (corpse).

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Overall, the ambience isn’t spooky per se, but visitors are kept on their toes in anticipation for the next cheap scare. If I were to compare Scream Park with House of Horror, the former is much better because it is not only interactive, but they also have trained staff and realistic setups that can scare the bejeesus out of you.

Ticket price: RM15. Not worth the hefty price tag, but if you’re REALLY bored…

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We moved on to the Space Mission, supposedly a new attraction designed to emulate a ‘space adventure’. What we got was basically a boring walk-through a cold, empty hall with a couple of exhibits bathed in blue light. There was virtually no interactivity, other than the odd robot or panel emitting some noise. I thought we could have at least interacted with the ‘boards’ which were done like a space ship panel, but no – they were simply boards with lights behind them. No buttons, no nothing.

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They ripped off Transformers with a badly done Bumblebee replica.. I wonder if Universal Studios licensed this?

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“Alien section” with non-moving alien replicas. To be fair, these were done pretty well, but they were just statues, so… I guess kids would love them.

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The nicest part in this entire attraction – A tunnel of ‘running’ lights.

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Avatar and the Tree of Life or whatever you call it… they actually had boobs and nipples. I mean, wouldn’t the religious authorities come swooping down on them for indecent portrayal of statues? *inside joke*

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There was a ‘ride’ which took us through another area. It was really slow , and the only difference was that I could sit instead of walk lol. The ride was less than 2 minutes and involved looking at more static exhibits.

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Finally some touchscreen quizzes… but do they not proofread?

Entry ticket price: RM15.

It’s quite a ripoff, because we were out in like 15 minutes. It would have been better if it was more well thought out and had more interactivity. Not worth the entry price.

House of Horror/ Space Mission

i-City, D-1-G, Jalan Multimedia 7/AJ, Seksyen 7, Shah Alam, Selangor

 

Dai Nam Theme Park, Vietnam

After a night of intense souvenir shopping at Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City and with our luggage firmly loaded with bags of jackfruit chips, Vietnamese coffee and other trinkets, we continued our exploration of Vietnam! An early morning rise and shine was in order since we had to do some travelling by bus. But first: Buffet breakfast!

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In Malaysia, we don’t get to eat pork bacon at hotels because all establishments have to be Halal.Here in HCMC, I went nuts over the bacon strips, fried eggs fresh from the skillet done sunny side up, grilled tomatoes and pastries.

We stayed at New World Hotel Saigon, a posh place. It has a small casino next door catering to tourists. Vietnamese citizens are not allowed to gamble.

Had a big room all to myself with a king sized bed and like 15 channels to choose from. I felt much more comfy in HCMC than in Hanoi. It was too… quiet there. Here I could hear the thumping of the bass from at least five different clubs + the honking of vehicles, which slowly lulled me to sleep.

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Pork everything and chocolate pancakes. Artery clogging goodness.

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We then hopped on a bus to our next destination, Dai Nam Theme Park, which was a good two hour ride from the city. On the way there, we took in the sights of Ho Chi Minh City. So many bikes!

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Đại Nam Văn Hiến is a tourist complex and theme park in Binh Duong Province. We were there on a weekday and the place was kind of dead. Most visitors were locals. The complex was huge, divided into several sections such as a ‘historical area’ where they had faux temples and statues of deities, a dry theme park, a wet theme park with the largest artificial sea in S/E Asia. We didn’t go in because the entry price was expensive. There is also a mini zoo in the area.

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Visitors can rent tandem/single bicycles, but we decided to get some exercise after pigging it out at the buffet.

But the attractions were spaced so far apart, we finally decided to just go around in one of the free shuttle trains.

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Large, elaborate structures showcasing mythical (?) figures. The signs were all in Vietnamese and the staff spoke little to no English, so we didn’t know what most of these buildings were. Visitors have to purchase tickets before going in each attraction.

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SAM_2222-tileOne of the ‘wet’ rides.  It looked really fun, but we hadn’t brought a change of  clothes. And since we were writing for work, we stood at the balcony right opposite this ride to grab a pic of it coming down. The splash was HUGE and we had to dodge it just in time or risk being completely soaked.

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Go-karting circuit

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Dai Nam’s theme park area was a bit of a disappointment because of the lack of signages and lack of staff who could communicate basic English. The rides were small and were few and far between. Perhaps the beach (which it is more famous for) would be a better bet, so skip the dry park altogether and just go there. The zoo was a slight redeeming point. We didn’t get to see the temple area, but I heard that it’s nice there. But for me, I don’t think it was worth the long trip from and back to HCMC – you’re better off just exploring other places nearby.

DAI NAM THEME PARK 

QL 13, Hiệp An, tp. Thủ Dầu Một, Bình Dương, Vietnam
Entry: 100,000VND *Adults
Opening hours: 8am – 6pm
Getting There 
Ben Thanh Bus Station Bus no. 616 (VND 25,000/pax)