Genting Highlands

We arrived at the resort by lunch time and our van driver dropped us off at the First World Hotel which, in 2006, was listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest hotel with its total of 6,118 rooms.  The resort has three theme parks – the Genting Outdoor Theme Park (set around an artificial lake), the First World Indoor Theme Park (arcade games and children’s rides) and the Water Park.

The Outdoor Theme Park

Among its 20 signature attractions are the Flying Coaster (a hang-gliding roller coaster), the Corkscrew (the only double-loop roller coaster in Malaysia, it speeds and spins up to a height of 90 ft. above the ground), the Genting Sky Venture (Asia’s only free-fall skydiving simulator), the Haunted House, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not!Museum, Solera Space Shot (a rapid vertical ascent and descent open-air amusement ride) and SnowWorld.

Snow World

We all tried the last mentioned attraction, donning thick winter jackets and gloves as we tried to last 30 mins. in this 6 degrees below zero winter wonderland. We only lasted 15 but within that time we went tobogganing and bravely ate ice cream before calling it quits.

Genting Skyway

Another welcome treat was our spectacular 3.38 km. (2 mile) cable car ride on board the relaxing Genting Skyway which, at its opening on February 21, 1997, was recognized as the “World’s Fastest Mono Cable Car System” (with a maximum speed of 6 m. per second or 21.6 kms. per hour) and the “Longest Cable Car in Malaysia and Southeast Asia.” Open 24 hours, our gondola lift ride took all of 11 mins. as we glided above a blanket of montane vegetation at its lush rain forest.

First World Hotel

Coffee and pastries at First World Hotel’s Starbucks outlet, prior to our being picked up by our tourist van and return to Kuala Lumpur, capped this cool, fun-filled day.

Genting Highlands: Chin Swee Caves Temple

After our long stopover at Batu Caves, we returned to our van and continue along the ascending road up to Genting Highlands. Along the way, we made a toilet stopover at the mist-shrouded Chin Swee Caves Temple. Cheska and I decided to make a short 15-min. tour of the temple, wrapping ourselves in our jackets as it was very cold outside.

Chin Swee Caves Temple

This 28-acre Taoist temple was built from 1976 to 1994 (at a cost of RM12 million) by the late Genting Berhad founder and gambling magnate Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Lim Goh Tong.  He discovered this serene site (similar to the Chin Swee Crag back in Penglai Village, where Tan Sri Lim was born in Fujian, China) when he started building the first hotel in Genting Highlands.  Taking 18 years to complete, it was officially opened on March 29, 1994.

Nine-Color Dragon Wall of Luck

Just after the entrance gate is the Nine-Color Dragon Wall of Luck.  It has 9 dragons, in different dispositions and shades of colors, painted on the wall.  In Feng Shui, 9 dragons represent longevity. Each dragon, representing different kinds of luck, can bestow blessings on people and symbolized good fortune, vitality and strength.

Statue of Kuan Yin

The sprawling temple complex, surrounded by lush emerald green jungle, has huge statues of a serenely sitting Buddha and a standing Kuan Yin and a smaller statue of the standing Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong.

The 9-Storey Pagoda

The 9-storey pagoda, overlooks the 5-storey, ornately decorated Buddhist Temple, is decorated with thousands of Buddhas covering the entire inner wall, from the ground floor to the top. There are thousands of “blessing lamps” for temple devotees to dedicate to those they want blessed by the Buddha.

The 5-Storey Buddha Temple

The aptly named Sky Terrace (Place for Heavenly Offering), a large, 35,000 sq. ft. square at the base of the statue of Kuan Yin, has an excellent panoramic view of the cloud-sheathed valley below and the layers of hills beyond from its observation deck.

View of the Cloud-Sheathed Valley Below

How to Get There: The temple is accessible by shuttle buses from Genting Highlands Resort or by taking the Awana Skyway cable car to the Temple Station at the bottom of the hill.

Selangor: Batu Caves

From the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory, we returned to our van and moved on to nearby Batu Caves, a series of caves and cave temples within a limestone hill. One of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India, the caves, discovered in 1892, are located 13 kms. (7 miles) from Kuala Lumpur.

Lord Murugan Statue

Outside the main cave is the world’s tallest statue of Lord Murugan (a Hindu deity for whom the temple is dedicated), standing at 42.7 m. (140.09 ft.) high. Costing nearly 24 million rupees, it is made of 1,550 cu. m. of concrete, 250 tons of steel bars and 300 liters (800 gallons) of gold paint brought in from neighboring Thailand.

The Magnificent but Quite Steep, 272-step Stairway

Me, Grace and my kids Jandy and Cheska all gamely climbed the magnificent but quite steep 272 steps (luckily there were landings along the way where we can catch our breath and admire the view at the same time) leading up to the 100 m. high and 400 m. long Cathedral Cave (or Temple Cave), the main cave (there are 2 others) where the Murugan Temple is located.  The huge chamber is lighted by daylight from several holes in the ceiling.

Cathedral Cave (or Temple Cave)

Along the steps and within the cave are numerous, naughty, playful and sometimes aggressive long-tailed macaque monkeys. The temple is the focal point of the colorful Thaipusam (on a full moon day between January 15 and February 14), the annual Hindu festival of repentance.

Lord Murugan Temple

Batu Caves: Gombak District, Selangor, Malaysia.  Tel:  +60 3 2287 9422.

How to Get There: The easiest way to get to Batu Caves is by Komuter train (RM2.00, one way) from KL Sentral station. You can also take a taxi (RM20.00-25.00) from KL Sentral, the Bus 11/11d from Bangkok Bank Terminus (Near to Pudu Raya Terminus) or Bus U6 from Titiwangsa.