Pack your sense of adventure and hold on tight! Kate Farr checks into the five wildest theme parks in the region.
Whether you have kids at home (or are just a big kid yourself!), a great theme park is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
Of course, Hong Kong is well- served with its own parks, with both Disneyland and the home- grown Ocean Park being sure- fire crowd-pleasers. But if you’ve ridden Space Mountain one too many times or are on first-name terms with the entire Ocean Park panda enclosure, here’s just a taster of some of the very best theme parks in the region.
Legoland Malaysia Resort
Everything is awesome at Legoland Malaysia Resort, an interactive tribute to one of the world’s most popular toys. Consisting of a 30-hectare theme park with over 70 themed rides, shows and attractions, plus a separate water park packed with slides, rapids and pools, it’s impossible to tackle the entire resort in just a day.
Instead, book yourself into the onsite Legoland Hotel, which consists of 258 Lego-themed rooms and suites, not to mention the vast block-built structures and free play area in the reception (making this one of the easiest check-ins ever for those with small children).
Located in Johor Bahru, Legoland Malaysia Resort is just over an hour’s drive from Singapore, making it ideal for a twin-centre theme park holiday when combined with a visit to…
Resorts World Sentosa
The mother of all Asian family attractions, Resorts World Sentosa is home to Universal Studios Singapore, with its seven distinct movie-themed zones packed with rollercoasters, rides and games. But that’s just the tip of the immersive iceberg: Resorts World also plays host to the vast S.E.A. Aquarium – one of the world’s largest – and Adventure Cove Water Park, for wet-and-wild fun and games.
The site spans 49 hectares, and also boasts Singapore’s only tall ship, the Royal Albatross, a multi- sensory Maritime Experiential Museum and 3D-tastic Trick Eye Museum.
Resorts World Sentosa’s dedicated kids’ club offers up a packed schedule of shows and events and even the world’s bounciest trampoline (yes, really). Your only dilemma will be how to pack everything into your stay.
Shanghai Disney Resort
If you feel that theme parks are synonymous with a certain rodent, then this newly opened Shanghai outpost of The Magic Kingdom is for you. At 390 hectares, Shanghai Disney Resort is some three times larger than its Hong Kong counterpart, with the Enchanted Storybook Castle being the park’s flagship attraction. The park boasts a plethora of rides, from white-knuckle to toddler-friendly, and there are two large hotels if you choose to stay on-site.
Shanghai Disneyland Hotel offers a free water-taxi service across picturesque Wishing Star Lake, while the 800-room Toy Story– themed property is perfect for fans of Woody, Buzz and friends. Pack comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water, and avoid public holidays when the park can become extremely crowded.
Can’t decide whether you prefer classic fairground rides like Ferris wheels and dodgems; high-speed adrenaline-fuelled thrills, such as rollercoasters and go-karts; or splash-tastic log flumes and rapids? A trip to the Enchanted Kingdom means you don’t have to play favourites, as all of these and plenty more besides are on offer.
Loosely themed around the adventures of a kindly wizard named Eldar, the 25-hectare Philippine park offers a huge range of rides, shows and other family-friendly attractions. There really is something for everybody, so little ones won’t feel left out while elder siblings hit the big rollercoasters. The food is typical theme-park fare but there is a good selection of options, meaning that even picky eaters should be able to find something they’ll enjoy.
Best of all is the location – in Santa Rosa. You’re just over an hour outside Manila, so it’s easy to escape the bustle once mummy and daddy start flagging.
Everland resort and neighbouring water park Caribbean Bay cover 100 hectares and combine to create another fantastic double- header attraction. Expect all the usual theme park thrills and spills, including ‘coasters, flumes and teacup rides, along with the Zootopia zone – a safari experience where visitors view animals up close and personal, while the inhabitants remain happily undisturbed.
Of course, being in high-tech South Korea (Yongin), there are also a wide variety of virtual reality experiences on offer, including robot rides, an augmented Ferris wheel experience and a live hologram theatre.
And a heads up for bargain-savvy Hong Kongers – visitors showing either an old ticket or annual Smart Pass for Ocean Park can bag a decent discount (10% and 15% respectively) off their admission fee.
• Enchanted Kingdom, www.enchantedkingdom.ph
• Everland, www.everland.com
• Legoland Malaysia Resort, www.legoland.com.my
• Resorts World Sentosa, www.rwsentosa.com
• Shanghai Disney Resort, www.shanghaidisneyresort.com
Images courtesy of Kate FarrTags: travel, adventure, family attractions, theme parks