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PLACES TO GO
PLACES TO GO

Sunway Lagoon Malaysia Trip

Sunway Lagoon is not a big name park like Disney or Universal, but it is among the top 10 most visited water parks in Asia. It is currently home to one of the world’s largest wave pools and the world’s largest funnel type water slide. Although this park also has substantial theme park and wildlife park facilities, most people will associate Sunway Lagoon as a water park.

I visited Sunway Lagoon with my father (who took this photo), sister and 2 of her friends

I visited Sunway Lagoon with my father (who took this photo), sister and 2 of her friends.

Overview

This park really has a bit of everything split into 5 zones. It has a roller coaster, haunted house, 3-4 flat rides, about 6 types of water slides, 2 wave pools, lazy river, ATV ride, Go-Kart, zipline, wildlife exhibits and a few other surprises. Unfortunately, that also means quality of each individual component suffers. While most attractions are included in the reasonably priced RM120 (SGD48) admission, there are a handful of attractions that require an additional charge. Theming is quite inconsistent, with some areas exhibiting Universal Studios quality while others are just sloppy at best.
 
This park has a surprising approach to dining. Rather than offer their own series of restaurants, Sunway Lagoon outsources its catering to fast foot chains and night market style vendors. While prices are more competitive than regular theme parks, they are by no means cheap. You may not realise how much you spent, though, as the park uses a wristband payment system where you load some money into your wristband and then just scan to purchase. Staff are generally friendly and passionate, but some do not know English.

NEW for 2016: Nickelodeon’s Lost Lagoon

 

Adding movies and cartoons to theme parks seems to be the latest trend in Malaysia – 20th Century Fox, MAPS… At Sunway Lagoon, the Nickelodeon zone includes a children’s play area and seven. Yes, no kidding, seven water slides. Thats the same number as Adventure Cove Waterpark!!!

The massive playground is still not open when I visited. However, I did see performers on their final rehearsal runs so I guess it can't be long before opening!

The massive playground is still not open when I visited. However, I did see performers on their final rehearsal runs so I guess it can’t be long before opening!

Woah! look at the number of slides!

Woah! look at the number of slides!

 

The most intense slide is Monsoon 360, which is an aqualoop (think Torpedo at Wild Wild Wet but you actually go partially upside down). The 4 tube slides each have unique character, and the 2nd drop from the highest slide is actually quite intense. The area really has a strong adventure and mythical feel, but I don’t see much of Sponge Bob, Dora the Explorer or Blue’s Clues.

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The 2nd drop of the tallest slide (green section) is surprisingly intense.

The 2nd drop of the tallest slide (green section) is surprisingly intense.

Look at these beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of theming you see at Nickelodeon's Lost Lagoon.

Look at these beautiful sculptures. This is the kind of theming you see at Nickelodeon’s Lost Lagoon.

 

When I visited, Sunway Lagoon is still making the final touches. The Children play areas and a couple of the slides are still not open. This includes the largest ones: the aqualoop and a freefall wall slide.  There is also a small roller coaster under construction.

Another kids play area which is not yet open.

Another kids play area which is not yet open.

This roller coaster is a custom wild mouse. It does not look as intense as Lost City of Gold, though.

This roller coaster is a custom wild mouse. It does not look as intense as Lost City of Gold, though.

Theme Park

This is the first area a guest will encounter when he enters the park. It is actually split into 2 areas, Wild Wild West and World of Adventure. Honestly, I think that there is almost no real distinction between the 2 themes, and the landscaping and features of the whole area mirrors the American Wild West. The attractions are very well spaced and the landscaping is quite good, even though there is no real story-telling and the queue lines are quite stale.
 
The highlight of this section has got to be Lost City of Gold, an airtime packed mine-train roller coaster. It does not look very impressive from the outside, but the ride is impeccably themed and also quite exciting. The headchopper effect at the second ejector airtime hill is as good as any you get on a B&M winged coaster. However, the lift hill of this ride is really, really slow: 45 seconds to reach a mere 20m height. Worse still, the ride holds you down primarily by a seat belt (the lap bar is loose fitting), so you will literally lift off the seat in the airtime hills. Not recommended for roller coaster first timers.

 

Lost City of Gold mine train is filled with airtime and has excellent theming

Lost City of Gold mine train is filled with airtime and has excellent theming.

 

The River Rapids ride is not too bad, given the really hot Malaysian climate. The length is a little too short, though, and there is little to see (unlike, say, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure). There is no big drop in this ride, so you will not get too wet. There is also a raft slide called Colorado Splash, but you will not get wet.

This rapids ride does not feature a drop like Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure

This rapids ride does not feature a drop like Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure.

Although this slide is powered by water, you will not get wet

Although this slide is powered by water, you will not get wet.

 

Sunway Lagoon has several flat rides that are by far the most intense rides of the park. Pirate’s Revenge is a 360 degree pirate ship, which means the ship will rock all the way to the point when it is  completely upside down. The other, Tomahawk, is even worse as it spins you head over heels continuously for over a minute. As I do not like going upside down, I did not go on the flat rides.

In Pirate's Revenge, you will hang upside down for over 3 seconds

In Pirate’s Revenge, you will hang upside down for over 3 seconds.

 

There are a few kiddy rides as well, such as a Carousel near the entrance and a spinning teacups ride Apache Pots near the escalators. Personally, though, I find this park not very kid friendly as the proportion of kids attractions is too low and they are very widely dispersed. There is a small playground for kids as well, and when I say small, I really mean it. Finally, the area is connected to Extreme Park by a large suspension bridge.

This suspended bridge is over 400 meters long! Note the flying fox and bungee jump station at the other end of the bridge.

This suspended bridge is over 400 meters long! Note the flying fox and bungee jump station at the other end of the bridge.

 

Scream Park

If you think 1 haunted house is bad enough, try having 4 of them back to back. That’s what Scream Park is all about. Located underneath the lift hill of the roller coaster, I actually went an extra round on the coaster instead of going inside.

From what I heard, there are actually some special elements like 3D based scare effects. However, the haunted house as a whole is rather uneventful and there are very few actors or props to bring up the fear factor (the darkness and background music was doing most of the scaring).

Extreme Park

For me, this is the area that makes Sunway Lagoon special. The activities offered here are more reminiscent of a sports park or a campsite based resort, yet they were able to squeeze them into the confines of a theme park. The most popular attraction is by fat the Flying Fox, which spans over the massive wave pool. Even though the landing is in the wave pool, there is no splashdown so it is possible to participate without getting the upper body wet (you still need to wade out of the wave pool) I did not ride simply because the wait time was over 1 hour when I arrived.

The park also offers archery, though the targets are way too close to be any fun. Paintball target shooting and ATV rides are also included in the admission. Surprisingly, I find the trampoline to be one of the more exciting complimentary activities there, though it is quite physically tiring. For a little relaxation, there are also swan Pedal Boats.

There are only 6 ATVs for guests so the queue moves painfully slow

There are only 6 ATVs for guests so the queue moves painfully slow.

Just look at how close the targets are!

Just look at how close the targets are!

I am all suited up and ready to jump!

I am all suited up and ready to jump!

 

However, the most exciting attractions here all requires additional payment. The bungee jump will drop you off from the middle of the suspended bridge, but your wallet will also drop by RM130. The go-kart is another pay per ride attraction costing RM20, though I must admit the circuit is quite short. The karts top about 50kph, from my visual reference. Large scale paintball matches and the G-Force X are the final rides that need extra payment. However, I can assure you that given the number and variety of attractions at Sunway Lagoon, you can have an enjoyable day without ever participating in one of these pay-per-ride attractions.

The go kart track is a relatively short loop. I am not sure if the RM20 ticket for this ride is on per loop or on a timed basis.

The go kart track is a relatively short loop. I am not sure if the RM20 ticket for this ride is on per loop or on a timed basis.

 

Wildlife Park

 

I have only 1 word to describe this section – unnecessary. For one, most people are busy at the other 4 zones and spend little time viewing the animals (my party wanted to view them just before park closing but the park told us that the area is closed by 5pm). However, the worse part is that the animals are kept is really cramped conditions. The truth is, Sunway Lagoon does not seem to have the expertise to nurse and take care of these animals, I can see that they are really lonely and lethargic (compared to, say Zoo Negara or Singapore Zoological Gardens).

The only exhibit that people experience is the tiger enclosure, and that’s because it is located at a primary pathway on the way to the Water Park. Moral of the story, leave the challenge of showcasing wildlife to the wildlife professionals.

Water Park

This is the signature area of Sunway Lagoon. In fact, I was quite lucky as I visited the park just after 2 new attractions opened. Vuvuzela, the world’s largest vortex water slide, is by far the best water ride I have been on. The pacing of the ride is great and the sixty degree drop into the funnel rivals the first drops of many full-sized roller coasters. For me, I love it when the ride reaches a banked turn as I will literally be floating against the side wall of the slide. The capacity if this ride is excellent so even if the queue looks long, the wait time is actually reasonable. I rode this 3 times.
Vuvuzela is by far the most prominent ride in the whole park. It is also my favourite attraction at Sunway Lagoon.

Vuvuzela is by far the most prominent ride in the whole park. It is also my favourite attraction at Sunway Lagoon.

 

The other new attraction is WaterPlexx 5D. The park claims it is the first in the world and I must say the quality of 3D images is actually quite decent for Malaysian standards. However, I think there is too much water splashing around and it frequently hits the 3D glasses so I spent half the ride wiping water off the glasses.

Other water slide include the mat racer Congo Challenge, twister slides African Pythons and a weird mini-boomerang like slide called Cameroon Climb. There is a lazy river called Zambezi River, and the theming is actually not too bad. However, there are too many splash elements, in my opinion. There are also 2 kids play areas, the main one for the kids up to 12 years old and a smaller one near to Congo Challenge for the little kids. Note that if you are an adult, you are not allowed to go on the slides in the playground area.
The landing area of Cameroon Climb. The slides actually extend beyond this picture in an upward slope, so the ride actually ends of like a mini-boomerang as the raft will slide back to the exit here.

The landing area of Cameroon Climb. The slides actually extend beyond this picture in an upward slope, so the ride actually ends of like a mini-boomerang as the raft will slide back to the exit here.

 

The highlight of the waterpark, though, has got to be the 2 wave pools. The smaller one is typical, with a small pirate themed slide at the shallow end. However, the Surf Beach wave pool is really stunning. For one, the landscaping and atmosphere is almost as good as most of the top tropical themed wave pools like Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Aquatica Orlando. It also boasts a sand beach with several islets and nice mushroom fountains in the shallow areas. There is even a Flowrider there. However, be warned: the waves there are really, really huge, up to 2m (6ft) high. Stay within the sand bottomed area unless you are a good swimmer or is willing to rent a float.
[tip]After certain hours, there will be no more big waves. It is the perfect time for non-swimmers or weak swimmers to go to the deeper areas of the wave pool. Do ask the staff members for the schedule of big waves.

Dining

 As mentioned before, the dining experience here is different from the typical theme park. There are fast food chains like Marrybrown and Burger King in the park, and most of the vendors sell light finger food rather than full meals. Prices for fast food are similar to outside.

However, seating is really at a premium here. There are far too few seats and some of the dining outlets (especially those a the locker area) do not even have any seats for customers. This is something I hope Sunway Lagoon can look upon. I also feel that the park is overkill in its food and drink policy – it is almost like an airline, anything other than water and baby formula is not allowed. There aren’t many water coolers in the park, so happy hunting.

Queue lines

The longest queue lines for this park is at the ticket purchasing counter and the lockers. While you can bypass the former by buying online tickets, you cannot avoid the latter. My advice is to either rush to the lockers first thing in the morning or to wait till past 1pm before purchasing them (note that some rides don’t allow you to bring your belongings on board, but Sunway Lagoon is quite lenient about letting people put stuff on the loading platforms).

There are very limited queues for most of the theme park rides, perhaps with the exception of the Roller Coaster as there is only 1 train in operation and the lift hill is so slow. The haunted house queue appears long, but this is because guests are dispatched in batches once the critical mass is hit (or the minimum time interval) the entire group will be dispatched into the attraction. At extreme park, all attractions have short or no queue except ATV ride and Flying Fox, which exceeds 1 hour in the afternoon.

For the water slides, be careful of Cameroon Climb and African Pythons. In addition to the queue for the floats, there is a queue for the slides themselves. This means you are queuing twice. The same is true for Congo Challenge, but that one usually no queue. Vuvuzela moves at almost 600 people per hour, so even it extends all the way down the 10 story slide tower the queue will not be more than 45mins. Waterplexx 5D also has long lines, as the theater is really small (120 seater, as far as I remembered)

[tip] Avoid going to the water park in the hottest time of the day (1pm-3pm), the queues are the worse then. If you want, use the wave pool or lazy river.

Overall

Sunway Lagoon offers a lot. I am not kidding about this. However, quantity often comes at the expense of quality, and I really hope the park is able to find it’s niche and focus on it. Most attractions are worth a visit, but not more than one. In fact, I think this park is best for moderate level thrillseekers as a large proportion of rides are quite (though not very) intense.

I think the park can do a better effort in maintaining cleaniness especially of the water in the play areas, and PLEASE, PLEASE provide soap in the toilets. There is a variety of light food options, though for full meals you have to eat fast food. Even though the resort claims that you need 2 days to complete, I think 1 will suffice.

  • The park uses a wristband payment system. Do not forget to return to the ticketing counter at the end of the day to get your refund of any remaining cash in the wristband.
  • Lockers in this park are quite small. Please bring the bare minimum required (extra set of clothes, towel, soap, umbrella, sunblock and thats it). You need to pay extra for a larger locker which isn’t really that large either
  • You do not need to be in swimming costume or trunks to take part in the water park attractions. Just t shirt and shorts will suffice.
  • If possible, refrain from leaving stuff at the loading platform even if the staff allow. Sunway Lagoon is not exactly one of the most crime-free parks
  • WARNING: Sunway Lagoon enforces a 2 person on water slide policy (even though the safety instructions say 1 person up to 135kg is allowed). If you come alone or in odd numbers, you have to pair WITH OTHER PEOPLE YOURSELF to ride the 2 seat water slides.

As a theme park:

  • Roller Coasters: ☆☆
  • Thrill Rides: ☆☆☆
  • 3D/Simulators: ☆
  • Kids Areas: ☆
  • Shows: ☆☆
  • Dining: ☆☆☆
  • Price: ☆☆☆☆
  • Overall: ☆☆☆

As a water park:

  • Lazy River: ☆☆☆
  • Wave Pool: ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Kids Area: ☆☆☆
  • Water Slides: ☆☆☆☆☆
  • Special Attractions: ☆☆☆
  • Theming: ☆☆☆☆
  • Overall: ☆☆☆☆

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