I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
Published December 3rd 2012
Could this be Asia's best attraction?
KL is home to many giant shopping centres such as One Utama, Berjaya Time Square, and Mid Valley Mega Mal. As such Sunway Pyramid can be easily dismissed as just one of the shopping malls in KL. However, this one particular mall is special for quite a few reasons.
The first reason is the facade of the building which resembles a lion sitting in a position like the Sphinx (except that the Sphinx has a lion body and a human head), guarding a pyramid. And I'm not talking about a baby statue either. This lion and pyramid combo towers high above the roof of the shopping mall and to take a picture of this giant concoction, you have to take many, many steps back from the doorway of the mall.
Inside the mall itself, other than the usual stores and restaurants, it also has plenty of entertainment outlets such as bowling lanes, an IMAX cinema, an archery centre, and an ice rink. You can literally spend the whole day from the opening hour to the closing hour of the mall (which is 10am to 10pm daily) and not finish everything it has to offer. I don't think there is any other shopping mall in KL that offers all these under one roof. There is also a hotel in the same complex, but this feature is not so unique as Mid Valley Mega Mal is also attached to the Boulevard Hotel.
Sunway Pyramid Ice
But wait, that is not all. Another reason this place is special is the existence of Sunway Lagoon right behind the shopping mall, within the same complex. Sunway Lagoon is a combination of five theme parks: an amusement park, a wildlife park, a water park, an extreme park, and a scream park. They claim themselves to be Asia's best attraction. I don't know about that, but I do know that my kids certainly enjoyed our day out there.
To enter the park, we need to purchase their general admission tickets and once we have them, we can enjoy most of the attractions inside. There are some "exclusive" rides (mainly under the umbrella of the extreme park and scream park) for which we have to pay separately. I opted not to do those, and still had enough to occopy my whole day there. Well, that's my official reason anyway, although to myself I'd admit I have no stomach for bungy jumping or horror entertainment.
We started with the amusement park as it was the first one that we encountered once we passed the entrance gate. There are kiddy rides such as the merry-go-round and ferris wheel as well as more scary rides such as the 360-degree Rotating Pirate Ship and the World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge (428m long). Some rides have height limitations and/ or no bag rules (not even a handbag). So you have to either rent a locker, take turn with others in your group, or leave your belongings unattended outside the ride (at your own risk).
Sunway Lagoon seen from the Sunway Hotel. The World's Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge is crossing about the middle of the photo-it's sort of blending into the background, but you can see it if you look closely.
Next we moved on to the Wildlife Park and although it's not as complete as a major zoo in a big city, it was nice to walk slowly along the enclosures, under the shades of trees. Beware of mosquites and wear some repellent if you can.
After a quick lunch, we moved on to the Water Park, which for us was the main deal. I spent most of our time there, alternating between going down the various big slides with my eight year old son and watching my three year old daughter enjoying the kiddie water playground.
If you can pick any day, I'd strongly suggest you pick a non-school holiday weekday to visit Sunway Lagoon. Otherwise, you'd spend half your time queueing instead of sitting in the rides and slides, and I can tell you queueing in the hot tropical sun surrounded by various sweating kids is not my idea of fun. However the downside of coming on an empty day is that some rides require a minimum number of people (e.g. 360-degree Rotating Tomahawk require at least 4 people to balance the two sides of the ride) and unless your group is big enough to fulfill that requirement, you'd have to wait for another group to come along and join you.
There are a few rules that could be annoying if you're not prepared for them. For example, you're not allowed to bring any food or drinks from outside, and if they happen to find some when they check your bag on your way in, they'll advise you to rent a locker to store your prohibited belongings prior to entry. You're also not allowed to go out (e.g. to have lunch in the shopping mall) and come back in. In other words, you are forced to buy their food and beverages, regardless of whether you like them or not. Some water fountains are available, so if you buy a bottle of drink, don't throw the empty bottle away and use it instead to refill rather than keep buying more drinks as the heat would certainly keep us thirsty the whole day long.
There is also the matter of the wristband which every visitor (including children) has to wear and return on our way out. The wristband has the capability to store some credit (optional), so you could use it to buy food and drinks. Make sure you don't loose any of your family's as fee applies for non-returned wristbands.
My overall verdict for this place is "Good." Definitely worth a visit, just make sure you come with the right expectation regarding queueing time, food/ drinks, etc. Come early as people do come ahead of opening time to start queueing for tickets. Or better yet, buy your tickets online, they're cheaper that way and your queue to pick up your wristbands once you're there will be shorter.
Isn't Weekend Notes supposed to be for ideas- places to visit and things to do- in our own town or city? If you look at the Weekend Notes' how to be a writer it says to write about things in our own town/city. I don't think overseas or other non-Western Australian holidays count. For other Australian cities, they too have their own local Weekend notes reviewers