I have heard so much about Malaysia’s Genting Highlands that, on a recent vacation in Kuala Lumpur with my eldest son, we made it a point to visit this beautiful resort high up on the mountains.
Located north of Kuala Lumpur, approximately an hour’s drive, it is officially known as Resorts World Genting, or RWG, and is an integrated tourism development which includes hotels, shopping malls, theme parks, and casinos. The first phase of this 6,000-hectare development opened in 1971, thanks to the vision of Malaysian businessman, the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong. He conceptualized it and moved heaven and earth, literally, to ensure that it materialized.
Because it is on top of Mount Ulu Kali, 1,800 meters above sea level, it has a temperate climate, averaging 19 degrees Celsius all year round, making it the favorite weekend destination of the residents of tropical Kuala Lumpur and of other cities in Malaysia.
So what awaits visitors to this mountain resort? Too many, one can’t finish visiting them in a day.
There are seven hotels, two theme parks, two casinos, a humongous shopping plaza, a Premium Outlets mall, karaoke bars, dozens of restaurants, a challenging golf course, and fruit, vegetable, and flower farms, among many others. All these spell F-U-N for any visitor! No wonder it has been attracting hordes of tourists all throughout these years.
The image of Genting Highlands that keeps on popping up in my mind is of those cable cars that ferry passengers several kilometers up to the resort. Needless to say, I was most excited when I finally had the chance to be in one. The Genting Skyway is recognized as the “World’s Fastest Mono Cable Car System” as each cable car travels at a speed of approximately 22 kilometers per hour. It is also the longest cable car system in Malaysia.
There were no other passengers in our cable car, so when my son and I boarded it, we were like little boys on our first carousel ride in a carnival, with our ooohhhs, aaahhhs, and wows, while we “sailed” over breathtaking sights everywhere we looked!
The exciting ride brought us to SkyAvenue, a large mall which houses dozens of shops and restaurants around a huge atrium where gigantic LED screens dish out attractive and colorful video presentations every 30 minutes.
But what left our mouths gaping in awe was the First World Hotel, which is annexed to the mall. The Guinness Book of World Records has proclaimed it The World’s Largest Hotel consistently since 2006. It has 7,351 guest rooms, with an additional 1,100 rooms still under construction.
The hotel lobby is so big, with so many people crisscrossing it at any given time. When you are in the middle of it, you feel like you’re in New York’s Grand Central Station. The hotel doesn’t have a reception counter but instead it has dozens of individual electronic kiosks where guests can easily check in by themselves, a process that takes only two minutes, maximum. Check out is even easier as all one needs is to insert the room key and the bill is automatically charged to one’s credit card, a process that takes a maximum of only eight seconds.
The sheer number of guest rooms made me very curious, so I approached the concierge and asked for more details about the hotel. Its average occupancy throughout the year is a whopping 97 percent, which means that 7,130 rooms are occupied any given day. Its laundry system is very sophisticated that it can wash 40 tons of linen a day, that’s approximately 75,000 pieces every 24 hours!
But, surprisingly, only around 3,000 employees are involved in running the hotel’s day-to-day operations. Maybe because a lot of its facilities are run electronically.
Another attraction of our Genting Highlands tour was the beautiful Chin Swee Caves Temple. It has the statue of Qingshui, a Buddhist monk who is considered an important deity because of his supernatural power to bring in rain to drought-stricken provinces, and to drive away evil spirits. This temple is located almost halfway through the ride, either on the way up or down from the mountain peak.
We could have gone around some more to enjoy its many other exciting offerings, but we only had a day to spend at Genting Highlands, a day of excitement, luxury, and entertainment for us. I’m sure all the other visitors to this resort feel the same way, which is why it continues to attract millions, in number of tourists and their expenditures. Last year, it registered approximately 23 million visitors, and is expected to bring in 30 million by 2020.
So, if you’re in this part of the world, share in the Fun at THIS Peak. It will give you an insight on the sense of pride the country has when it proclaims itself as “Truly Asia.”
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