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Monday, March 31, 2008 @ 11:46 am
Our long overdue getaway didn't feel like a getaway at all. I felt like I've never left Singapore even! Ipy and I went to Genting Highlands over the weekend. Both of us haven't been there for over a decade. Since Singapore's weather is getting hotter by the minute, an escape to the cool mountain region seemed like a good idea.
Our single-decked coach to Genting Highlands
Our journey started well. There were no delays at both customs and on the roads. We departed at exactly 10.30p.m. on our Transtar Premium coach. Ipy was hoping to board the double-decked bus because he had never been on one. Our coach was the single-decked one instead, which proved to be far superior than the double-decked bus as we found out later.
Ipy and I outside our coach at Lavender
Me in the coach
Ipy and I monkeying around in the coach
Despite having individual on-board entertainment devices, we spent most of the journey asleep. We sat right at the back, so nobody could disturb our private shenanigans.
We arrived at Genting Highlands bus terminal at about 6a.m. Our hotel was right next to the bus terminal. It was a very quite walk to our hotel, until Starbucks at the hotel lobby lit my eyes. After about 7 hours on the road, a tall glass of Frapp felt like God-sent!
First World Hotel lobby was huge! But it was garish! The whole hotel was garish! It was like a poor man's version of a Las Vegas hotel. It's Baroque deco didn't appeal to me at all. The nude Greek statues generously implanted all over the lobby and reception floor looked like they came from Phua Chu Kang's home.
The lobby at First World Hotel
The hideous Baroque deco at the Reception
After looking at the directory, I wouldn't call it a hotel though. It had everything under one roof, so it was more like a massive complex than a hotel.
A model of the hotels and facilities at Genting Highlands
Since we arrived so early in the morning, we couldn't check-in till 12p.m. We decided to chill with coffee and have breakfast, before exploring what this massive monstrosity had to offer. We dumped our bags at the porter and headed to Starbucks. Alas, Starbucks had closed its doors just before we were about to patronise it. How devastating that was!
A test shot of me by the view of sunrise
Sunrise over Genting Highlands
Thank god I don't look half as bad early in the morning!
Ipy and I on the cool mountain
After sunrise... 2 shots of our hotel with 2 different camera (the first was taken with my Nokia 6288)
The monorail about to start operations
Everything else looked closed except for the casino. 2 restaurants near the casino had just opened. Their menus weren't thrilling. Still, what else could we do till the shops opened right? We went into one of the restaurants called "Only Mee".
Our order of nasi padang (with 3 vege and 1 meat), 2 roti canai with eggs and 2 coffees cost us RM33. That's quite an exorbitant amount for ordinary fare. Until we found out that there was a 24-hour MacDonald's and KFC nearby.
New York? Nahhh... We're at the First World Indoor Theme Park before breakfast
Oh look! Something crashed through the wall!!!
Can you see the Venetian gondolas behind us?
It was still too early to check-in, so we decided to just start our day on the Genting Skyway. It was just a cable car ride on the mountains. Apparently, it was supposed to be the longest and fastest cable car ride in Southeast Asia! We saw nothing but blue sky and green trees. We did get to see some chimpanzees on a tree though!
Views from the Genting Skyway
Ipy and I in our rowdy cable car
We headed towards the outdoor theme park after the cable car ride. Still too early to check-in. An all-park day pass cost about RM60 per adult. That was really affordable for a bunch of Singaporeans!
The outdoor and indoor theme park guide
Welcome to the outdoor theme park!
Ipy at the outdoor theme park
Link bridge to more rides
Ipy and Geno the Giant Lizard (I think!)
Me and Tabby the Tiger
Even before we reached Genting Highlands, I've already made up my mind to forgo the thrill rides. 10 over years ago, I could go on these rides. But now that I'm an adult, my body doesn't seem to be able to take such rides. I get motion sickness just on our expressway! So, I'm sticking to the family-friendly rides, boring as they may be.
In front of the ferris wheel
Ipy on the ferris wheel
Me on a family-friendly rocket ride
The Pirate Ship ride or viking
I would rather pose for photos than go on the Pirate Ship
Doesn't this look like a Korean drama shoot?
Cheesy grin? Yes. Ride on the Corkscrew? No.
Another picture of our ugly hotel
Clowning around at the outdoor theme park
No Flying Coaster for us!
Walking out back to our hotel
It was already about 12.30p.m. We saved some of the outdoor rides till later in the afternoon. Now, all we wanted to do was to check-in into our hotel and take an afternoon nap on a proper bed!
I wished I had taken photos of our room. We were too shagged to remember to do so! What could I say about our deluxe room? If anyone had ever lodged at any of the Hotel 81 hotels, those rooms were far better! Our deluxe room didn't even have a closet! Nor even a remote control for the 14" CRT television!
Like I said, we were too tired to complain. Our afternoon nap turned out to be a 3 hours sleep! We woke up feeling a little fresher but hungrier. So off we went to continue with the rides!
Connector from the indoor theme park to the outdoor theme park
My ride to Chelsea
I've arrived in Chelsea! Not!
Yummy steamed corn, without salt of course!
Ipy getting ready to go on the love boat
The teacups that made me dizzy
Ipy at the barely there waterfalls
Me in the man-made cave
Can't remember where this was taken
Me waiting for our antique car to arrive
Ipy and I in our yellow antique car
Two sad boys behind us who couldn't fly their Dumbo
Getting ready to race on the go kart track
So I lied... I couldn't avoid the thrill rides entirely. Ipy made me go on the Corkscrew. Couldn't remember much of it because I had my eyes closed the entire time. Of course I was sick afterwards! My heart was pounding out of my chest!
This horsing was making me dizzy
Ipy in a reflective moment on the carousel
That's why I skipped the Spinner and the Space Shot rides.
Ipy before the Spinner take-off
Agippy on the spinner
Back on the inside, we had about 4 hours to finish off the rides at the indoor theme park. We rested in our room for a while. Our batteries needed recharging after all. The plan was to finish off the rides, have some drinks at a pub then check out the casino.
Our pathetic pasta dinner from Pizza Hut
Ipy and his long-lost cousin, the walking ape
Me waiting for our gondola
Ipy and I in the gondola to nowhere
Can't remember which ride this was
A Rio float in front of us
Lady Liberty rocking on a Harley
Ipy on the Golden Gate Bridge
It was past 12 midnight when we completed all the rides. Strangely, here, the ATMs don't work after midnight. We were short of cash. The only money changer operating 24-hours was in the casino. Ipy couldn't enter because of his camera. So I went in to change some money.
Guess what? I had to go out and back in again, because I didn't have my passport with me, just to change SGD100. What was there to check??? I didn't come in to exchange $10,000! I sure didn't appreciate it when the staff took her own sweet time to scrutinise my records.
She asked me why I didn't go to the public bank a floor down. Hello!!! It was already past 12 midnight! The bank was closed!!! She was about to open her mouth again when I raised my voice about NOT shutting down the ATMs after midnight.
All this blood boiling for just SGD100... I think it was time for a drink!
We went to the only bar in this giant hotel. A sports bar with a live trio of performers. When we sat down, Arsenal was 2 goals down against Bolton. Then, somehow, Arsenal managed to gain 3 goals at the final whistle.
The best part was when Man U played afterwards against don't know who. It made the 10 bottles of Heineken all too sweet with its 4 goals.
Man U won 4-0 against ermm... I forgot!
Next morning, with surprisingly no hangover, we got dressed for breakfast. I will never, ever have breakfast at this hotel again! It was so crowded and so unserved that a dormitory canteen felt so much better! In fact, I don't think I'll ever stay in this hotel again.
Checking-out of the hotel
Foot reflexology before going home
Ipy getting his feet kneeded
The bus terminal at Genting Highlands, right next to First World Hotel
That's not our coach!
The coach that would take us home was very, very disappointing. Ipy did get his wish come true to ride on a double-decker coach. But it was very, very over-rated. We couldn't do this and we couldn't do that in the coach.
We had seats on the ground floor which had windows above our heads. So what was there to see on the road??? My supposed massage seat didn't work. Our seats smelled of diesel the whole time. And worse of whole, it made pit stops where I couldn't eat nor buy anything!
This was our coach! Don't be fooled... It only looks good
Ipy at Batu Caves, tucking into a keropok
I wish I could say I left Genting Highlands on a high. The last day of our trip was clearly disappointing. From breakfast to the journey home. I was very moody and testy throughout the day.
Maybe Ipy and I are meant to go on relaxing holidays, not adrenaline-pumping ones. We enjoyed our Fraser's Hill and Melaka trip last year. This one, not so.
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