Fun @ Sunway Lagoon Theme Park!

by Audrey Lim, Sep 16, 2002 | Destinations: Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur
Congo Challenge & Cameroon Climb

Congo Challenge & Cameroon Climb

Congo Challenge & Cameroon Climb

Bandar Sunway or Sunway Town is one part of Malaysia that refuses to look like it is a part of the country. Tucked away in a high traffic area and definitely very centralized, Bandar Sunway is a nightmare getting into but a pleasure when you do finally arrive at the quaint and unique township.

However, don't let my statement above scare you from venturing into Bandar Sunway for there are a lot to be discovered once you are there. For starters, there is a huge shopping complex that is unlike your regular malls. Aptly named Sunway Pyramid, this shopping complex is built shaped like the Sphinx of Giza in Egypt with a pyramid at the back! On the walls are hieroglyphs (picture writing), which gives it a more authentic feel.

But this article is not about the pyramid or shopping at Sunway Pyramid. That will be for another time. This article focuses on another part of Sunway that is stuck in an ancient time but is frequently changing its "face". Hailed as Malaysia's largest theme park, the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is all about fun! It was first opened in the year 1993 and to date, the theme park has attracted more than 20 million local and foreign visitors. Sunway Lagoon Theme Park is separated into 3 major themed lands, each with its own thrills and spills for you! The latest one is not only beautifully decorated, but promises a "splashingly" fun time!

The "Waters of Africa" is the new water park that I visited recently after having given in to the frequent advertisements and hype about the place. As promised in the ads, the "Waters of Africa" is where visitors will have the time of their life going through a "wilderness" and slipping in and out of a python's belly and more! The fact that it is Malaysia's only African-themed Water Park got the better of me. I just had to see the new stuff there!

Wonderfully so, the newly-refurbished theme park offers 11 brand new adrenaline-pumping, scream-inducing water rides as well as other new attractions such as the Congo Challenge, Cameroon Climb, African Pythons and lots more! The new Congo Challenge is also a first in Malaysia. It is a speed racer water slide where you go down - head-first! On the Congo Challenge, you will hardly have the time to catch your breath as you race down the slide head-to-head in competition with other people while traveling at speeds of about 40 km per hour. My friends were rushing to the finish line in this six-lane racer slide. However, I was the chicken here and refuses to join in. However all is not lost because it was also highly exciting to watch the "race" as well. Because it can accommodate a group of people at any one time, it was really quite hilarious to watch. The few of us who did not go on the slide had a whale of a time as we shouted out words of encouragement to our "favorite racer" of the group. I noticed that the heavier you are (in terms of body weight), the faster you can go. However, if you are small and lightweight, stay away from the fat person of the group or you could suddenly find your ears filled with water as he/she splashes off first!

Once we're through with that headlong slide, we head on next door to the Cameroon Climb. This is not exactly my favorite ride for I got the shock of my life from it. However, if you are a dare devil, then you could find yourself going up the slide many times. The difficult part is to drag the 2-seater float up to the start of the slide, which is some 15 meters up many steps. The Cameroon Climb is the first of its kind to present an inverted double tube climb where it drops two riders at one go from the top height of 15 meters. The drop is steep and fast. When you reach the bottom of the slide, you will be shot up again another 8 meters before sliding back in a see-sawing position before coming to a complete halt. Again, a word of caution. Go with someone your weight. I was unfortunate to be partnering a guy who is double my weight and with him in the back seat, the momentum was enough to knock my breath away, leaving me with shaky legs as I wobbled off the float when it stopped. However, if you are looking for some extreme fun, then the momentum will give you a real thrill. At any rate, this ride remains one of the park's favorite rides, although I won't take that risk again!

Immediately next to the Cameroon Climb are another 3 winding tubes known as the African Pythons. This is my all-time favorite. Just like the previous ride, the Cameroon Climb can also accommodate two people at any one time although lugging the flat up the steps once more just isn't my idea of fun. Then again, no work, no fun for you! There are three rides to choose from; two covered rides and one open slide. The enclosed ones are fun, because it is absolutely pitch black within the "belly" of the python, therefore, we simply cannot predict where the next turn will be or when that sudden pull to the left will come as our eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness. All I can feel is that the walls are very near, and there is always the fear that I might just knock against it or that my anticipated right-turn might suddenly decide to take a rush to the left! The thrill of the unknown is what makes this ride so fascinating and thrilling. I went on all three... many times. Best of all, the ride starts off rather slowly, then as you gain momentum, you will feel as if you're totally out of control... then when you thought that you've have had enough, a bright spot of sunlight greets you from the end of the tube and you will find yourself splashing into a pool of water, giving you a refreshing jolt back to reality (and a big gulp of water as well if you're not careful). I had several mouthfuls...

When I have had enough of heart-stopping rides, my pals and I leisurely skip over to Jeffrey's Bay and surf the waves. These waves can go as high as eight feet in this world's largest man-made surf wave pool! Not only do we get to see the world's largest man-made surf pool, but we also got to swim while admiring a spectacular backdrop of Asia's first man-made erupting volcano! I tell you, the awesome backdrop will have you lazing back on a float whilst admiring it for many long minutes. For another breathtaking view, take on the majestic Elephant Walk, where the life-sized elephant sculptures standing guard of the magnificent lake are! Floats are also available for rental for a small fee. It is for keeps for the rest of the day, rain or shine! There is also a short slide on Jeffrey's Bay that is absolutely fun as you slide can down on it with a whole lot of friends.

Then suddenly, without warning, the sky turned dark and torrential rain starting pouring down on us. It poured cats and dogs for 2 hours straight on and the ten of us had to take shelter at a little cafe, which sells truly delicious junk food. Unbelievable! When the rain let up a little, we decided to continue our fun despite the slight drizzle. Still in our wet bathing suits and dripping tangled hair, we went on to check out other things (aside from the mad rides and slides). Zulu Walk was our next target, a place where we were informed hold exciting things at each corner. Sometimes a visitor could be greeted by a fire-eater, at other times a group of African tribal dancers and at other times, a group of cowboys/cowgirls during a routine. We stood there a while, watching the cowboys and cowgirls perform their dance.

Very soon, we find our stomachs growling away and that is when we discovered that we were actually quite ravenous from spending a whole morning splashing way in the waters. So for moments like these when you are feeling as if you can eat as much as that Siberian Tiger you see at the theme park, then tantalize your senses and go on a gastronomical food adventure where a specialized menu has been created for people of all ages. A few of us refused to stop for a break, so these people bought some food that can be purchased and carried along with them. Since we were already at Zulu Walk, we were tempted by the delicious aroma that was wafting around the area. Fresh meat kebabs, tacos, and finger snacks such as popcorns, and other desserts and cold drinks are the perfect carry-along food items. The rest of us decided that old age is indeed catching up on us, therefore we looked for a place to rest our tired feet at the Cape Town Café where we could unwind in comfort. The café offers specialized gourmet coffee made from imported Ethiopian coffee beans. You may have your coffee hot or ice-blended. Light meals are also available, including croissants, baguettes, and homemade cakes. The best-selling cake is without contention, the chocolate fudge. Then again, I've a weak spot for chocolate cakes. There are also freshly baked pastries and sandwiches. The quaint little café is also a good photo-taking spot as the décor is very much in line with the overall theme. Best of all, the place can accommodate more than a hundred people at a go! There is also a Mrs. Brown Restaurant, an indoor restaurant that is air-conditioned, or you can choose to dine al fresco at the Alamo. Alternatively, stay back at the beach and cool off at the Zanzi Bar.

Then there is also fast food for those who practically lived on them! Don't expect to find the regular McDonald's or Burger King's joint, instead we had our intake of fast food at Botswana Burgers. Tucked in the heart of the water park, Botswana Burgers will fill you up in double quick time, minus the queue. There is a selection of Western and Asian food items. Amongst them are grilled meat burgers, spring rolls, fried dumplings, spaghetti, pizzas and chicken chop. In an attempt to stay out of the drizzling rain as much as possible, we ventured towards the entrance near the World of Adventure, where we stop by for some refreshing drinks and cooling ice creams at the Tiger Walk. This place is a must-stop because it is the only chance one will have to dine next to the Siberian Tigers. Without being bias, I must say that the food did impressed me quite a bit. Being a Malaysian where good food can be found at almost every street corner, I was expecting the worst from the theme park's restaurants. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they actually came out pretty good. Of course, prices are a little steep. A plate of fried rice with three side vegetables plus a bottle of 500 ml mineral water come up to about RM11. That is averagely double the usual price of a regular restaurant elsewhere. However, this is only to be expected as it is a theme park.

Aside from fast rides and delicious food, souvenirs are available at trendy retail shopping outlets. These outlets sell items like t-shirts, shorts, caps, key chains, and soft toys. There are also useful products like batteries, film for the camera and sunblock. There are also float for the kids or pretty sarongs for the ladies. So take a piece of Africa home with you at Sahara Boutique or check out the surfing products and apparel at the Mozambique Reef Shop along the Beach Walk. There are also more souvenirs at the Aladdin's Stall.

For those of you who have the opportunity to visit Kuala Lumpur, do make the effort to check out the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park. When you are done, simply walk over to the Sunway Pyramid for a shopping spree or photo-taking opportunities. There are various interesting sculptures scattered throughout the shopping complex as well. Each are very unique and in line with the theme.

* * * * *

Fact File:

For directions, hours, fees and ticket purchases, check out the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park web site.

* * * * *