14 April 2012

Genting Highlands Trip 01 Apr 2012 - 06 Apr 2012

Transport

On 01 Apr, our 7.30am coach was slightly late as there were too many coaches competing for the tight parking space beside Golden Mile Complex. We finally boarded at about 7.40am and it was a quite a quick boarding since everyone was already waiting and we left at about 7.50am.

Our coach was Sri Maju Group SVIP 24 seater, and I purchased at easibook.com. The ticket price was 30 SGD plus 3 SGD surcharge and 2 SGD convenience fee, so total cost of one ticket was 35 SGD.

When we were about to reach Singapore customs, we were told to leave our belongings on the coach and bring only valuables and passport for clearance. At Malaysia customs, we had to bring everything to crossover. For our return trip, it's the other way round, leave everything onboard at Malaysia customs, and bring everything to crossover back to Singapore. Just to share, if anyone is wondering.

The entire ride was fine and I must emphasize that they have comfortable seats. They had an LCD TV onboard and I thought it wasn't working but they played a movie only when we were reaching in about 2 hours time, but not too bad as I enjoyed the scenery and chatting with my wife. So remember to ask.

The coach only stopped twice, first time at Yong Peng and the final time somewhere in Kuala Lumpur. So try not to consume too much liquid. And if possible, try to clear your bowels before you board the coach in Singapore.

And while your at Yong Peng, and if your a smoker, stock up enough cigarettes for your entire trip because it's much cheaper there. The cigarette pricing in Genting seems to be standardized at 11.50 MYR for all brands, but at Yong Peng, you'll see Marlboro selling at 10 MYR, Sampoerna at 8.50 MYR. Check it out.

And finally, we reached First World Bus Terminal at about 2.15pm.

Oh, remember to buy the return ticket only at the bus terminal as it will be much cheaper. For Sri Maju rides, 45 MYR for 24 seater and 55 MYR for 21 seater. Just for general info, the ticket prices at the terminal ranges from 35 to 100+ MYR.

Accomodation

We stayed at First World Hotel , checked-in on 01 Apr at around 2.35pm. Not many visitors there and I tried out their check-in kiosk service but failed at the first time as the system weren't able to identify my passport info. But there were quite a number of staff on standby, ready to help. So the entire check-in process took less than 10 minutes. Impressive.

I booked their Standard room via their online booking system, 260 MYR per room for 6 days 5 nights, 01 Apr check-in, 06 Apr check-out at 12pm. I think I got a good deal.

The room was overall very clean and tidy, I think cleaner and tidier than my own room, fantastic. Only problem was the TV signal, sometimes good, sometimes bad. It was at first terrible, then I noticed that the cable was plugged to the wrong port; it was plugged to FM port, so I switched to TV port and the signal improved tremendously but still not as good as I expected, but well, not going to be staying in there all the time, but then, would be nice to lay back, snack and watch TV when I got tired of walking.

The check-out process was even faster, took no longer than 5 seconds as they have these check-out kiosks, just insert your door card and your done.

Food

There were plenty of food choices but I'll just mention those that I thought were terrible.

Avoid Hot Pot Buffet. I remember the total price for one person was around 18 or 19 SGD, can't remember how much it costed in Ringgit though. They have these fish cakes in different colors, shapes and sizes, tasted like they were all made from the same material, rubbery. I tried to stir-fry some beef, but their beef was very tough, difficult to chew. Their red-colored and brown-colored beverages tasted like plain water. And they have weird plastic cup designs, burnt with fire, look at those white bubbles. And I paid 10% service charge for their staff to stare at me with an unsmiling face, like I'm an alien from outer space. There are better food elsewhere, don't waste your money here.

Avoid Kenny Rogers. Terrible service. Terrible food. Staff chatting, playing with gadgets, laughing, eating in front customers, food flying on the floor when clearing table, a piece of meat dropped on my feet and that guy looked at me nonchalantly. They served food without utensils, no serviettes, no chilli sauce, you got to get everything you need by yourself, and they even charge you 10% for service, good job Kenny Rogers. The chicken tasted bland, the sauce tasted bland. The macaroni cheese is a mound of poorly cooked macaroni and watery cheese. The potato salad smells of plastic, you'll be wondering how they cooked it. I think I paid about 30+ MYR for one person.

So generally, if you dine-in, they will charge you 10% more for service, it's really not worth paying for but you have no choice. I think that the Genting management should really look into improving their F&B customer service standard, it's really bad. Their staff should be sent for proper training, just look at Kenny Rogers, how can they even let a bunch of untrained kids run the place.

And regarding food money, I think it would be safe to budget 20 MYR per meal for one person. Or you can takeaway to save on the 10% service charge.

Weather

According to the thermometer at First World Hotel lobby, it was always 19 degree Celsius every time I looked at it and I wondered if it was working. It rained almost everyday and it was chilly most of the time, especially at night. This was okay compared to the last time I went in October, that was really cold and foggy everyday.

Theme Park

I booked our Outdoor theme park tickets online, together with the hotel rooms. One pax for 42 MYR. I think it was a bad idea, should have bought at Genting, even though it would be slightly more expensive, but at least I can check out the weather first. As mentioned earlier, it rained almost everyday so my outdoor theme park day was screwed up as most of the rides were closed due to bad weather. So I ended up taking a walk inside the park with my wife, enjoyed the chilly and foggy weather, not too bad.

Currency Exchange

The rate at Genting was 2.265 MYR to 1 SGD. Glad I changed all my money in Singapore for 2.385. So always change in Singapore.

Shopping

I am really not into shopping, my wife does it all and my job was to carry stuff, but what I can say is that shopping in Genting is not much different from shopping in Singapore; in terms of pricing, they are almost the same. Tourist attraction, what did I expect. But I think I got a good deal, 4 boxes of Danson chocolates, each 400g, and I paid only the price of 3, so total 90 MYR, about 37.70 SGD based on my exchange rate. Good quality chocolates. I think a box like this would easily cost 10 over dollars in Singapore.

In case you walk too much without realizing and your leg muscles hurt, better bring along Yoko Yoko or any other easy-to-apply muscle rub so you can use on the go.

Entertainment

Watched 3D Wrath of the Titans for 19 MYR per person and played some silly arcade games. The movie was okay, great visual effects and decent story but ended quite fast, around 1hr 25mins.

Then we went to the casino for donations, like everyone else does. Lost 130 MYR in casino, 30 playing slots and 100 playing "Pontoon", a 21 points card game. Actually we won 125 at first, but I got greedy and lost it back. Well, just to look around and experience stuff as my wife haven't went to a casino yet so I guess it was an eye opener for her, to see why casinos are making so much money.

Those Chinese and Arabian gamblers were really ballsy, looking at how they bet makes me nervous. Phew.

This is not too much of an entertainment but I saw that a cable car ride costed only 6 MYR so I took my wife for a to-and-fro ride, really scary, I think it's scarier than taking a theme park ride, especially when it vibrates, don't think I will ever take it again. My wife enjoyed it though, makes me wonder.

So that about sums up my trip, overall I think it was quite enjoyable and I hope what I have written here is useful to someone, thanks for reading.


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