The Genting Highlands Rundown
If you have an urgent desire to holiday in one integrated resort on a forested mountain summit in Southeast Asia this year, only one place will do. The Genting Highlands is a leisure and entertainment capital and focal point of the lush Titiwangsa Mountains of Malaysia. The flagship resort property of Resorts World Genting, a division of Genting Group, Malaysia’s foremost multinational corporation, sits astride the border between the states of Pahang and Selangor.
To call Genting Highlands the crown jewel in a prolific corporate portfolio that includes notable leisure and hospitality assets and brands like Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore, Star Cruises and Awana Porto Malai in Langkawi - not to mention numerous casinos in the United Kingdom - is far from hollow flattery. This is, after all, the destination that has won, at last count, top international casino resort honours from the World Travel Awards&™ on three separate occasions.
For couples young and old, singles young and old, groups small and large and, indeed, parents with children in tow, the Genting Highlands delivers the goods. With a practically limitless activity lineup and spectacular backdrop - this is the backbone of the Malay Peninsula, after all - the premier resort destination offers wholesame and predictable family fun.
Genting Highlands’ Top 10
10. Genting Theme Park The linchpin amusement and theme park in the Genting Highlands complex has over forty rides.
5. Pavilion Hall Yet another showcase for all manner of spectacles, Pavilion Hall can accommodate up to 6,000 people.
9. Casino de Genting A classic casino for neophytes and connoisseurs alike, Casino de Genting has all the requisite table and jackpot machine games. Visitors must enrol as Genting WorldCard members to collect any windfalls.
4. Times Square Cineplex One of the best cinemas in Southeast Asia, the Times Square Cineplex at First World Plaza plays all the latest Hollywood blockbusters.
8. Genting International Convention Centre Miles from your average convention space, the Genting International Convention Centre measures over 150,000 square feet and has a massive grand ballroom to boot.
3. First World Plaza Genting Highlands’ First World Plaza is a bright, sensorial shopping experience, with close to a hundred shops and outlets.
7. Arena of Stars One of Genting Highlands’ major entertainment venues, the Arena of Stars hosted the 2008 MTV Asia Awards.
2. Genting Skyway For thrills and beautiful scenery, the Genting Skyway monocable gondola lift is a must.
6. Genting International Showroom The intimate Genting International Showroom holds 1,700 people and is a multi-media, state-of-the-art platform for myriad entertainment acts.
1. Genting Highlands Golf Tee it up 3,000 feet above sea level, with highlands views from every fairway and green.
Genting Highlands History
- Kota Gelanggi Caves – A million-year-old cave system featuring geological formations from prehistoric times.
- Bandar Palace – An early 19th-century palace built to host guests of Sultan Alauddin Shah, the fifth Sultan of Selangor.
- Bukit Melawati – The second sultan of Selangor built this fort to protect his position in Genting Highlands.
- Meriam Penggawa – Contains the burial grounds of three sultans of Selangor.
- Royal Mausoleum – Built in 1898, this is the mausoleum for Sultan Abdul Samad.
Genting Highlands Art & Culture
- Sungai Lembing – A small town northwest of Kuantan where you can see what Malaysia was like during the British and Japanese rule in Genting Highlands.
- Batu Caves – Located 15km north of Kuala Lumpur, the Hindis have converted the cave system into a religious shrine of sorts.
- Pulau Keladi – A cultural village that contains the birthplace of Malaysia’s second prime minister, Tun Abdul Razak.
- Kumpulan Kesenian – This group performs dance and cultural shows at the Taman Budaya compound and the Auditorium.
- Museum Tokah – A sort of heroes' museum, this site has exhibits about people who most influenced and enriched the state of Pahang.
Genting Highlands Shopping
- Berjaya Megamall – Located in Kuantan, this site contains more than 2 million square feet of entertainment, retail stores and food shops.
- Batik Cottage Factory – Watch local workers craft batik and take some of this beautiful fabric home with you.
- Malaysian Handicraft – A centre in Genting Highlands where local artists make woodcrafts and other handmade items.
- Kuantan Parade – A megamall with tons of stores to find unique goods in an air-conditioned setting.
- Sunway Pyramid – A major shopping mall in Selangor that offers merchandise with an international flavour.
Genting Highlands Gay & Lesbian
- Genting Apartments – A gay- and lesbian-friendly place to stay in Genting Highlands.
- Lai Kong Gay Bar – A gay bar in Selangor.
- Doppel Kafe – A mixed club for women. Both straight and lesbian females welcomed.
- Enigma – A lesbian-owned club that caters mostly to women, but welcomes gay men also.
- Palace Bar – A private club featuring karaoke, disco and cabaret.
Genting Highlands Outdoor
- Genting Highlands Theme Park – An amusement park that features a 4D movie theatre, boating and a variety of entertainment venues in Genting Highlands.
- Taman Negara – This is the national park in Pahang, a unique tropical setting filled with greenery and a peaceful river nearby.
- Shah Alam Lake Gardens – These beautifully landscaped gardens in Selangor are the centre of many cultural events.
- Wet World Water Park – An amusement park filled with a variety of water games fit for children, teenagers and adults.
- Balok Beach – A great place to sunbathe, go windsurfing, sailing or to simply watch the sunset.
Genting Highlands Sport
- Go diving around the Pulau Tioman or the Pulau Labas islands in Genting Highlands.
- Take in 18 holes of golf at the Awana Golf and Country Club.
- Take part in the Malaysian International Dirt Bike competition in Kuala Lipis.
- Enter or observe the Monsoon Madness windsurfing event in Kuantan.
- Enjoy a sport game at the Gombak Shah Alam Sport Complex in Selangor.
Genting Highlands Local
Genting Highlands may be a popular integrated resort but, happily, the entire Titiwangsa Mountains region of Malaysia offers a plethora of options for those who want to get out and explore beyond the confines of the hotel, casino and theme park. Either within or outside the resort area proper, points of interest abound for intrepid visitors who crave a full holiday experience.
Titiwangsa Forest Complex incorporates some of Malaysia’s and, indeed, Southeast Asia’s most attractive forest scenery. While it strikes some as a little odd to have all that natural beauty on the doorstep of a colossal casino leisure resort, the veritable “Central Forest Spine” of Peninsular Malaysia is worth more than a cursory glance. Tour arrangements of the forest interior, which, in general, runs parallel to the Titiwangsa Mountains, can be made by special appointment. Significant areas include the Greater Belum Forest Patch, Greater Fraser’s Hill Forest Patch, Greater Gunung Nuang Forest Patch and Greater Angsi Forest Patch.
Chin Swee Caves Temple is a Taoist temple and shrine built at the behest of Lim Goh Tong, the late Chinese-born founder of the Genting Group who, at one time, was the wealthiest man in Malaysia. The former billionaire magnate was the visionary force behind Titiwangsa’s conversion from a clandestine, impassable, 130 million-year-old virgin rainforest zone to a highly profitable casino resort tourist hub. The temple is a magnificent USD 2.5 million structure which visitors can access from the main resort area by shuttle bus. Perhaps the most solemn and restrained point of interest in the Genting Highlands.
Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort evinces the best of what the Genting Highlands is all about. The prevalent ethos of the purpose-built hilltop pleasure park, after all, is dependable fun, family or otherwise. The Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, as the name clearly augurs, delivers a village-like complex of diverse, quality rooms, restaurants and entertainment, all smack dab in the heart of ancient rainforest. Though carefree leisure is most definitely on the menu, active guests can choose from a wide variety of “eco sports”, as it were. The list includes jungle treks for all ages, less rugged nature treks, indoor rock climbing, and indoor abseiling.
Hutan Lipur Lentang, or Lentang Recreational Forest,is a nature sanctuary within close proximity to all the Genting Highlands resort action. The waterfall and forest reserve is a popular day trip from Kuala Lumpur and, certainly, for anyone able to tear themselves away from the Genting blackjack tables, slot machines, hotel pools, restaurants, shows and shops. The small, rustic town of Benton is a popular jump-off point to Hutan Lipur Lentang and easily identifiable by the singular perfume of the area’s top export - durians. Park highlights include waterfalls, curative thermal waters, picnic areas and a vibrant assortment of bird and insect life.
Kampung Bukit Tinggi Oft-ignored, until the completion of the Karak Expressway, Bukit Tinggi now welcomes a steady stream of travellers who pop into the village for a durian or mangosteen fix and a bite of authentic, Chinese-Malay cuisine. The town’s most notable claim to fame, however, is the Colmar Tropicale area of Berjaya Hills Resort, which seeks to re-create the indelible charm of Colmar, the pretty capital of Alsace wine country in France.
Genting Highlands Eat
The array of restaurants in the Genting Highlands is predictably eclectic, with outlets to serve just about every budget and palate. From convenient fast-food stops to more elaborate, romantic and ambient fare, the premier integrated resort in Malaysia unfurls a delicious panoply of options. For the most part, meals within the resort complex take place at First World Plaza or one of the several hotels on the premises, such as Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort, Maxims Genting, Theme Park Hotel and First World Hotel.
Restoran Hainan Kitchen (Level 2, First World Plaza),purportedly specialises in Hainanese food though, in truth, menu items like grilled lamb chops and fish ‘n’ chips hint at a broader culinary approach.
Restoran Kampong (First Floor, Resort Hotel) is heaven for buffet lovers, with a rich medley of Malay, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes on offer.
Hou Mei Noodle House (Level 2, First World Plaza),is where savvy Genting Highlands visitors go for a taste of contemporary Asian cuisine.
First World Café (Level 3, First World Plaza), is a behemoth of a buffet hall, where diners can select from a massive variety of cuisines for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Fortune Corner (Monte Carlo Casino, Highlands Hotel), serves up affordable Malay faves like Hainanese chicken rice, nasi lemak, bak kut teh and curry laksa.
Resort Café (First Floor, Resort Hotel) also underscores Genting Highlands’ mission to please and provide a restaurant for everyone. From pastas to grilled meats, soups to desserts, the Resort Café is a sophisticated buffet experience.
Lao Di Feng (Lower Lobby, Genting Hotel) entices hungry Genting Highlands guests with sumptuous noodles and roasted meats.
Good Friends Express (Level 2, Highlands Hotel)is a self-service hawker food paradise.
Coffee Terrace at Resorts World Genting is about much more than a stellar cup of joe. From the Alfresco Terrace to the Nyonya Baba Corner, the food at the 600 diner-capacity restaurant is top-drawer.
Good Luck Restaurant (Hollywood Casino, Level 3, Hollywood Hotel)is the best bet in the Gentings Highlands resort for dumplings, rice, congee and noodles.
Genting Highlands Events
Genting Trailblazer is a tough, 14 km adventure race held in the Titiwangsa Mountains and rainforest every October.
The premier bicycle race event in Malaysia, the Tour de Langkawi, features a rugged mountain stage that concludes in the Genting Highlands. The race takes place anytime between late January and early March.
The Awana Genting Highlands Golf & Country Resort hosts numerous golf tournaments throughout the year.
Chin Swee Caves Temple celebrates the birthday of Reverend Chin Swee on the sixth day of Lunar New Year and for ten days thereafter. In future, the temple plans to mark the good works of Reverend Chin Swee and the legacy of Malaysian Chinese culture with more festivals and special events.
Many popular television shows film at Resorts World Genting, such as Malaysian Idol, Star Idol Malaysia, Project SuperStar and the MTV Asia Awards.
The Genting Open Texas Hold'em Poker Tournament is for serious players and lures the best in the world to the Genting Highlands every January.
Top Western and Asian artists, like Leona Lewis, The Black Eyed Peas, Andy Lau and Jacky Cheung, regularly fill Genting’s Arena of Stars.
The Genting International Convention Centre is the proverbial venue of choice for some of the most important business, scientific and inter-governmental conferences in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
When To Go
The relatively cool, temperate climate of the Genting Highlands is one obvious factor in the area’s persistent allure. Hill stations have always been a part of Malaysia’s holiday mystique, after all, from the colonial era developments of the Cameron Highlands and Fraser’s Hill to Genting’s integrated resort sprawl today.
With that, spring-like temperatures in the highlands and Titiwangsa Mountains of Malaysia vary, for the most part, between 61°F (16°C) and 75°F (24°C) for the year, with moderate to heavy rainfall.
Unless you can afford to charter a helicopter to and from Kuala Lumpur, the most reliable and common way in and out of the Genting Highlands is by bus.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport is the most direct point of entry to the Genting Highlands by air.
Though technically possible to hire a taxi from the airport to take you to Resorts World Genting, the most convenient and inexpensive option is to take the airport bus or express train to Kuala Lumpur Sentral railway station.
From the station, simply take a “Go Genting” bus to the Highlands resort city.
What To Miss
If you prefer to play tourist in a destination laden with culture, indigenous heritage and nature unadulterated by the ravages of the modern world, a hyper-developed integrated casino resort may not be the best place for you.
With that in mind, skip the casinos and shops in the Genting Highlands and maximise your time within the Titiwangsa Mountains.
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