|Cliff Racer slides at Lost World of Tambun|
One of the great things about Malaysia is that you can comfortably go to water parks all year round. There's Carnivall at the Cinta Sayang Resort in Kedah and Bukit Merah Laketown Resort near Tai Ping, but my favorite one of them all is The Lost World of Tambun in Ipoh. Located about 2 hours from Penang, it's close enough for a day trip, or you can stay overnight and pair it up with a visit to Gua Tempurang Caves or white water rafting the next day before you head back. Lost World is more than just a water park, though. With a petting zoo, tiger valley, swan boats, tin valley and carnival rides, we spent the entire day there and didn't get around to doing every single activity.
Lost World impressed me with being much more organized than other Malaysian water parks and the attention they put into really setting the scene so that you feel like you're in some rediscovered lost civilization in the middle of the jungle. The natural beauty of the lush, limestone cliffs rising up around you are an added bonus. RFID (radio frequency ID) wristbands loaded with credit kept us from having to worry about carrying soggy cash around with us all day. Just scan it in at the restaurants or game booths. The locker room near the entrance was open air yet provided privacy for changing. Make sure you don't accidentally go into the prayer room. (Hey, it was labeled "Ladies", so the mistake is understandable.) The bathrooms were plentiful — one even had tadpoles living in the fountain. After my previous experience at Bukit Merah where I felt scantily clad wearing a conservative, one-piece swimsuit, I opted for a quick-dry T-shirt, swim shorts, and sports sandals for my water park attire this time. Since we were there with so many friends, my tween took off with some kids his age, and we didn't see him for the rest of the day except during their periodic check-ins.
|Lots of hot tubs and soaking pools if you just want to relax|
The water park seemed to have something for everyone. The steep Cliff Racer slides were the most thrilling. Consider yourself forewarned that these use different tubes (free) than the ones you rent for the rest of the park. If you leave your rental tubes at the bottom, there's a chance they won't be there when you exit. I'm a big ole scaredy cat, so I skipped the Cliff Racer but enjoyed the long Tube Raiders slides. A pirate ship watery playground proved great fun for the younger kids. Adventure River was so slow it should have been called the Catatonic River, although I'm sure my daughter didn't mind the relaxing pace. The wave pool was quite popular but large enough that we didn't feel too crowded. Numerous hot springs soaking pools (37C to 43C), a steam cave, and the too-hot-for-me reflexology foot spa were options for those who really want a slower pace.
|You'll feel like you're floating through an ancient civilization's jungle on Adventure River.|
If you're tired of splashing around, you can try the animal encounters. At Tiger Valley, Siberian Tigers are feed publicly twice a day. Watch the pair wander around their enclosure in the mean time. We didn't make it to the Petting Zoo, but our friends who did seemed to enjoy it. They came face-to-face with rabbits, turtles, snakes, birds and marmosets. The star of the zoo is Ruby the Raccoon. Coming from Texas where raccoons are considered a nuisance, getting the chance to pet one seemed funny to the adult expats.
|All I could think of was Richard Parker's encounter with the goat in Life of Pi by Yann Martel.|
Swan Lake is next to Tiger Valley. Here, you and a partner can lazily paddle the darling swan boats around the tiny lake. I thought I spotted a faux historical village on the other shore with men in flattened conical, straw hats hard at work. When I reached that side, I realized they were just regular workmen putting together a dragon or some other decoration. Hah!
|Both real swans and swan boats float on Swan Lake.|
For me, one of the more fascinating parts of Lost World is Tin Valley. You can learn a little about the tin mining that was a major industry in Malaysia, once one of the world's top sources for this metal. Try your hand at panning for tin with a shallow, wooden pan downstream from the sluice boxes. If that's not enough to occupy your kids, there's always the faux elephants nearby for them to climb on. Long ago, these animals were the only way to move the heavy tin ore from the mines to the depots. We didn't have time for the Team Building activities such as the ropes course, para jump and ziplining just beyond Tin Valley. Perhaps next time.
|The kids try their hand at dulang washing (panning for tin).|
We ended our day riding the carnival rides and playing games. The carousel and train are perfect for little kids while those who want a little more excitement can take a spin on the Dragon Flyer or the giant swinging pirate ship of Storm Rider. My kids and their friends enjoyed winning prizes at the game booths. Just before closing time, we made our way back to the locker rooms to change into dry clothes and head into Ipoh for dinner and our hotel. All in all, it was a great weekend escape.
|Dragon Flyer at Lost World of Tambun|
|Trying his luck|
Tiekets available online for slighly cheaper than at ticket office.
RM 38.25 for Adults
RM 32.30 for Children (12 years old and below)and Senior Citizens (55 years old and above)
Free for Children under 90cm tall.
Team Building Activities and game booths are an additional cost.
Check website for additional packages.
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Public Holidays and Malaysia School Holidays
6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Hots Springs and Spa by Night with separate admission price
Closed on Tuesdays except for Public Holidays and Malaysia School Holidays
No. 1, Persiaran Lagun Sunway 1
Sunway City Ipoh
Bukit Merah Laketown Resort and Tai Ping Night Zoo
White Water Rafting in Perak
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday on Budget Travelers Sandbox and Friday Daydreamin' at R We There Yet Mom? Check them out for more around-the-world travel inspiration.