The charm of Malaysia is one of a definite cosmopolitan character. Even in its treasure trove of biodiversity and the stunning magnificence of its Buddhist temples, the diverseness of the country occurs as one of its very specific identities. But in this composition of its nation is resident also an overwhelming feature of what paints a picture of hugely urban popularity. Think the Petronas Twin Towers in all prominence and it might be easy to view this country as a composition in greater citified being.
Standing up to this popular image of its sophisticated appeal also would be certain aspects built in to the Malaysian identity as curations of a leisurely essence. After all in its bearing a tropical climate, the southeast Asian nation sees a large flow of tourists excited in exploring the extents of its variegated existence. Tourist attractions abound in Malaysia whether it be islands and beaches or historical structures and architectural specimens or of course the sky scraping sights of towers and hotels and resorts or just about everything individually appealing to a range of preferences.
Offering a mix of all these elements in beauty and relaxation perfectly complemented by the luxurious avenues of that exploring would be each of the 10 hill stations ‘stationed’ in Malaysia. Shining in a light of its own even from within this sphere of sophisticated serenity would be the first of such establishments after the country’s independence that which assumes distinctive identity as the Genting Highlands. By that account though, it also is one of the more recent of the country’s hilly escapades and the most ‘modern’ of them all. Genting Highlands is almost Malaysia’s highest hill station at only some few feet shy of the 6000 count. Perched precisely at an elevation of 5997 feet, this defining dimension of the Malaysian landscape is only narrowly eked by the Cameron Highlands that is the biggest and best known of such arenas of the country.
The very beginnings of Genting Highlands was as a hill resort in all definiteness Assuming form out of the vision of businessman Lim Goh Tong, this hitherto unexplored hilltop came to be the premise upon which would be sparked numerous traits of distinction. The founding of the hill station itself occurred in 1971 even as a plan to that effect was devised already in 1965. But it would be the setting up of the Resorts World Genting in 1980 that would bring upon this exquisite location recognition for its special beauty. Replete with hotels and amusement parks as well as a golf course, and also the only operating casino in Malaysia, the entire identity of the dreamy escapade that Genting Highlands today entices tourists in is one wholly availed out of its commercial construct inspired though by the grandeur of what unfolded across the Cameron Highlands.
The experience that awaits one at this zenith of luxurious living is one as impeccable as could be. After all it is here that the world’s largest hotels sprawls its expansive reach across, with the First World Hotel laying claim since 2015 upon the title as awarded by the Guinness Book of World Record. This follows a first ever stint in such capacity occurring way back in 2006 and reinstates further the kind of uniqueness that is but a character essentially outlining the Genting identity. Conveniently situated at some distance away from the capital of Kuala Lumpur and easily accessible as well, this hill station definitely sums up the substance of Malaysia as being a nation where the elements of nature have been made to fuse with the conventionalities of modern existence for an experience that is unparalleled indeed.
Such ‘worldly’ exposition of the Genting Highlands does account for much of its character. But the possibilities of what it offers tend to be sufficiently multifarious as well. Apart from the obvious prospects of fun and adventure at its theme parks, and other essential touristry ‘practices’ of shopping and partying and gaming and gourmet indulgence that Genting Highlands offers options galore in, one can also discover in some surprise a certain presence of the spiritual. The Chin Swee Caves Temple and the Mohamed Noah Foundation Mosque are the two grounds for divinity to permeate the aesthetic Genting assertion.
The temple itself is distinctive in being the sole Buddhist temple named after the Ancient Chinese monk Qingshui even as a massive Buddha statue stands behind the building. The architecture itself is one of striking measure, with elements of Buddhist beliefs most prominently the nine pagodas standing right next to its entrance establishing the sanctity of the structure.
A visual narrative also characterise the place, specifically relayed through the Bridge of Fairies leading the way up to the sharp rocky slope near the peak of the resort where the temple sits. There also is a sky terrace opening up another dimension of heavenly beauty altogether from atop this brilliant juxtaposition of the serene and scenic. Also referred to as the Place of Heavenly Offerings, this newer expansion makes for a space where visitors and devotees can leisurely walk among the “clouds in heaven”. What’s more, there’s also a Starbucks inside the temple premises to impart still all feels of the high-end even in this abode of soulful existence- whether it be through a realisation of the Godliness or in soaking up the peace nestled in its immaculate beauty.
The mosque at Genting Highlands is no less remarkable in the view of what it offers. Modelled after the national mosque of Malaysia, Masjid Negara in a splendid creation of architecture, the sensibilities of modernist style flow parallelly with the sanctitude palpable throughout the space defining the Mohamed Noah Foundation Mosque. Another notable attraction at the Genting Highlands is the Gohtong Memorial Park that is the site where founder Lim Goh Tong remains buried. A wooden sculpture of the commemorated is very visibly positioned amidst a vibrant bloom of orchids even as a mural of the highlands sits in the background.
Genting Highlands offers also succor of a biodiverse nature with quite a few attractions housing the splendor of the greens. What awaits to greet one’s eyes in such gallery of beauty isn’t just a verdancy of the views though. At the Genting Strawberry Leisure Farm for instance, it is an exuberance of the reds that shine and serve as the source of all beauty. Complementing brilliantly this dramatic scape would be gardenful of roses on one hand and lavenders on the other, with all these tones and hues and contrasts of color only elevating the experience of what would be encountered in this largest of all strawberry farms of Malaysia.
The Happy Bee farm makes for another engrossing space to explore where happy bees abound and so does their sweet produce of delicious honey! There also is a specific Butterfly Wonderland of another beautiful measure to find delight in and a large fragrance boutique stocking everything from imported perfume to beauty products and souvenirs makes this place the ultimate happy haven for Genting Highlands to be duly hyped in. A definite stop at the Mini Cameron Highlands off the satellite town of Gohtong Joya too should make for a part of the itinerary for the very existence of the Genting identity hinging upon this forerunner to fame of all hill stations of the country.
Exploring the Genting mountains itself makes for another worthy thing to do up at the Highlands where the ambience is one of cool disposition. Soaking up the pleasant quietude of its calm environs even as you take deep breaths of its cool, fresh air in a setting climatically pretty as well would make for some of the most precious moments you live in the midst of some of the world’s finest provision in luxury. That, even when you are perched somewhere high up in the clouds almost, even transcending and ‘travelling’ through them in one of the many gondola lifts that ply regularly to bring you as close to heaven as possible and the experience that entails from this wonderland called the Genting Highlands is anything but mainlandic.
In fact so profuse is the beauty of character endowed upon this hill station of an unusual occurring that plays out magically even from afar. The city itself is not very far off from the capital of Kuala Lumpur but even in such locational proximity, a different detail of drama assumes out of the dimension in which Genting Highland scouts identity. When viewed from a distance, Genting Highlands seems to be like a floating kingdom of the kind conjured up in all magic across the fictional constructs of fairy tales and sci-fi stories, stirring even further all strands of the imagination that has us already floating in that ‘out of the world’ space of all earthly existence.