Category Archives: Genting

Staycation: First World Hotel – Genting, Malaysia (Resorts World)

Taken from: http://daytripswashbuckler.wordpress.com/2012/09/09/first-world-hotel/

I lose count whenever people ask how many rooms First World Hotel has and indeed this hotel is huge! A good starting point for you who wants to scour a bit for Genting but then again, perhaps it’s just too much just to stay here aside from just wanting to savor the cool air. Find out why next.

My two visits were marked with easiness in checking-in. The first one was organized by lovely tour people who were so helpful and secondly, though with a little bit of waiting, was done by the PR of Resorts World to fulfill an invitation for a certain event held there. If it weren’t up to them it may took like forever to do that thanks to the crazy amount of rooms there and people flocking there for the affordable rooms.

The lobby is just massive and you had to cling to your number and queue for your room. Waiting seats and counters of fast check-in are available in front of the receptions. After you’re done with it, the bellboy counter is located at the end of the eastern part of the lobby to help you with your luggage. A lot of people waiting or just passing clearly create a noisy environment, not to mention also that sometimes ice cream man rings his bell or clowns act by playing loud music. So waiting here would be the first test of patience, especially for a room with a quality that you might already had a doubt before judging from the conservative design of pretty much everything.

Both of my experiences were actually quite pleasant in terms of the quality of the room. The first one in 2008, I had a double bed room which was quite small but nonetheless clean and has amazing view downhill to the untamed mountains behind the resort. The last one was even better, the room was already huge with a comfy and clean queen size bed. Additionally the room got sofa, a space to do my prayer, a proper bathroom with a bathtub! The only downsize was only the view – limited with shades and overlooking a very old looking and creepy apartment or hotel, well I couldn’t care less.

On top of that the cleanliness was the highlight of my stay as housekeepers were also quite attentive with our needs even though more smiles would be better. So it’s pretty much an improvement since the last visit although some of my friends here had bad experiences but I’m sure it’s quite different now thanks to renovations done after the first time I had been here assumingly.

The second test of patience is probably to witness how chaotic First World Café during breakfast time as hundreds of guests rushing every stations to get their eggs, bread and so on. Not to mention also the availability of the tables where you might have to share it with strangers, especially those who do not have manners in doing so. The masters of every station are usually not in a good mood as well since they had to serve so many people and the quality of the food is also a mediocrity. It’s hard to expect a tasty breakfast in this kind of ambiance and when it feels as if the food is cooked for the sake of maintaining the quota only. Well, pricewise that’s what you’ll get anyway.

For this, I would definitely recommend you to have your breakfast at the top floor of the hotel, World Club Lounge, for a peace of mind. But then again, having breakfast there is probably only exclusive for patrons who rent more expensive rooms. If you can’t do that, other alternatives such as eateries in the mall are quite limited until the opening time at 10 am.

But to raise again your spirit, the proximity of this hotel to attractions at Genting Highlands is top-notch. Firstly, the mall and the theme park are nearby. Selections of food and shops are also plentiful and that will indeed make you forget the chaotic breakfast. Even so I still found the design of the mall as shabby as the hotel. Again, it’s already old and even a good friend of mine who happens to have traveled to many places around the world deemed this place as dodgy. For that, I rest my case.

Contrary with the check-in procedure, you’ll only need to plunge your room card at machines available on every corner of the ground floor just to check-out. Yup, it’s that easy because there’s nothing to be charged back at the room – no drinks or food in the fridge, no amenities that require payment, and that’s all.

Not to forget, my last time there was colored by a brief visit to witness the surroundings of Chin Swee Temple, just a one stop ride by bus downhill of First World Hotel. It’s a must visit if you want to spectacle great view and for some pilgrims, your spiritual needs can also be fulfilled here alongside a visit to a decent vegan restaurant there.

After my second stay I still conclude that a visit to Genting is something that you have to plan first. If you want to just visit the theme park, well it’s better to just stay at KL and take a bus to Genting, have fun, and then return back in the evening. But if you want to savor the cool air, to shop, and to play then one night tops it all because two nights might be too much. Unless you want to stay at Awana Genting downhill then two nights would probably good for you and stories about it will be posted here soon!

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FIRST WORLD HOTEL

Genting Highlands Resort

69000 Genting Highlands, Pahang – Malaysia

+60.3.6101.1118

http://www.rwgenting.com 

Mountain of Food Explorace II (Resorts World Genting, Malaysia) – The Finale

MOUNTAIN OF FOOD EXPLORACE II – The Finale (July 19-20, 2012)

Taking a real shower after a hard day’s work, or in our case after a crazy jungle trekking and an extreme outdoor sport, sure was really nice. Our duplex condominium at the 28th and 29th floors of Awana Resort was kinda oldie but it was neat, well-maintained, and this time we had superb views of the greeneries around the golf course and way uphill to the Genting Highlands. Our stay at the hotel was a really nice experience and we spent a night there comfortably.

No time for viewing pleasure now since we’re required to gather again on the front entrance at around 6 pm for dinner, closing ceremony, but this time with our +1s! We relived again the course we took this morning to the campsites on the edge of the jungle and therein resides the Pondok Ikan Bakar. It was raining that night but they’re all ready with the big umbrellas and took care of us good. The pondok itself was very decent though you might want to bring your jackets because it’s getting cold and windy.

The closing ceremony and some critical notes

Pondok Ikan Bakar was a decent place for the ceremony. It was closed for the event, intimate and served appetizing seafood grills for our dinner. Well despite the hunger, we had to bear first with some speeches but finally, they announced the winners for the second explorace! I didn’t win by the way but it pleased me to heard that my other two Indonesian bloggers managed to reach both the second place and as the winner! While also owing their Malaysian counterparts for their knowledge of Genting and mostly their perseverance, but it’s good to know that we’re the first Indonesians for the event and yet we managed to get the trophies!

But I had to complain a bit for the good of this event.

If you read my previous posts, you’ll understand the amount of blood and sweat that we sacrificed without previously knowing about the details, whether we were asked first of our readiness; whether we were insured or not; whether we realized the risks or not; and the fact that they didn’t tell any hint about what we’re going to win! Let’s just talk about the ultimate prize and it was, sorry to say, only a Fuji Instax camera that I can buy easily in 7 Eleven stores back in Jakarta for a not so hefty price.

In addition to that, we were also given some cash vouchers to shop at Crocs, Wrangler, and Travel For All only in Malaysia valid until September 2012, but we also had to return back home with the already arranged plane tickets for tomorrow. So how do we suppose to shop? We’re supposed to return back again just to shop there? Well, that’s just absurd.

But to note, I don’t mean to be ungrateful, especially with the huge opportunity to work together with Resorts World Genting, or by not appreciating the hard work that the organizers did, but it was a bit unfair because the event lacks transparency. We can actually Googled a bit about the previous Explorace but it’s actually more about the duty of the organizers to be transparent. Safety and readiness should be the highlights of the event and by that, we all know the risks and by knowing and realizing that, the indemnity agreements will be signed with full knowledge and responsibilities from us.

I believe I had to say this so that the organizers will take a note about this and therefore will be able to improve the quality of similar events for years to come. Truly, I applaud such rare initiatives and realized also the amount of investments they had made for us. To appreciate that, it is my duty as a responsible blogger to deliver also an honest message about everything. Well, I might also not totally right about all these stuffs and contradict other bloggers for example, yet that’s why it’s good to also discuss about everything and work for improvements in the future.

Hey, enough with the grim faces and let’s enjoy the dinner now!

Pondok Ikan Bakar served decent grills from lambs, stingrays, crabs, chickens, dories, and squids. In addition to that, Malaysian proud nasi lemak and its condiments were also available. For the sides, rojak, fresh assorted fruits, dessert corner, and the dynamic duo of kopi tarik and teh tarik were also there. We had our sayonara time in a lively manner. It’s all about good eats, food exchange, talking about food, casual talks, talking about what we had gone through and telling tales about our countries.

After we took our last pictures together, we bid our farewell and returned back to the hotel.

It’s time to say goodbye

After a long night gossiping at the living room of our condo and enjoying our last night at Genting, we then fell asleep like babies. The next morning, we packed our luggage quite early so that we can enjoy breakfast and leave soon for the peak. We were attempting to cash in the vouchers for any available shops we can visit up there.

We were supposed to take the 9.15 bus heading for Genting Skyway, which we originally thought to be the one just nearby the Travel For All shop up there. The bus came late and we hopped in without really checking the destination. Then we realized that we’re heading downhill! The bus driver said that the Genting Skyway that we meant was actually the one downhill. We arrived down there at 9.45 and realized that there’s not much time left even just to make our way to the peak because we’re supposed to check-out at 12.30 and head straight to the airport.

We decided to just head back to Awana again with the same bus and spend our remaining time taking pictures and snacking. It’s actually a shame that the organizers didn’t let us to detour a bit to KL before heading to the airport because we don’t know when we’ll return to Malaysia again.

Then came 12.30 and we bid farewell again to everyone that we found at the front entrance. We extended our thanks to the organizers for taking care of us and I also hope that our cooperations will continue in the future. So finally, it’s time to return back to our motherland!

We arrived around 2.30 pm at LCCT and had a little trouble at the Air Asia baggage drop because Julia lost her boarding pass. The land staff responsible for checking our bags in was rude and didn’t print Julia’s boarding pass which we originally thought was okay. But when we tried to get pass the initial check-in before immigration then it became a problem. So then Inez and Julia had to return all the way back to baggage drop section just to get her boarding pass reprinted.

I’d be sure to slap that staff if we’re late because of that! Not only that she lacks courtesy by not being polite to me and by rudely telling Sara to remove the previous baggage drop registry by herself, but she said that it’s okay not to print the boarding pass and we’re misled about that! It’s just outrageous! Previously we also witnessed that she told a passenger before me to find smaller bank notes because she didn’t have the change, so the passenger had to ask everyone around just for that. It’s actually her responsibility to find the change and it’s her obligation to respect the passenger!

So from all the tales of my latest Malaysian adventure, you might sense a bit of love and hate relationship between me and everything that happened there. Rest assured that I was actually content about my adventure there. Some injustices occurred but that’s life right? It was a great experience for us and it signifies that food bloggers can become something bigger in the future! I’m grateful and thankful for Resorts World Genting for the opportunity but certainly, improvements are required. So, I bid them good luck with Mountain of Food Explorace events to come and to all of you my fellow contestants, I pray that we’ll meet each other again someday soon. Godspeed!

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Pictures will be added soon!

Mountain of Food Explorace II (Resorts World Genting, Malaysia) – Last Day of Challenges

MOUNTAIN OF FOOD EXPLORACE II – Second Day (July 19, 2012)

Still drained by the first day challenges, legs strained, but with new found spirit, finally the last day of challenges arrived. I woke up a bit late only and we had to quickly pack our bags to ready ourselves for a trip downhill. It was pretty exciting judging that we get to try different hotel, which equals different experience, and Awana Resort said to have beautiful surroundings.

So what about the challenges? No one knew anything aside that we had to wear light weight clothes and sports shoes. We were given the challenge to reach Awana with our luggage and arrived with the first bus from First World Hotel.

We all gathered around at the bus stop just in front of the lobby. The Indonesian envoys: me, my wife, Sara, and Julia all there together with the rest of our partners but not Inez. Her Malaysian partner left her stranded here while she had made an effort to arrive at Awana earlier. Perhaps she wanted to have the advantage or perceived this challenge as an extra point for those who arrive earlier, but it was actually needless and we were all laughing about it.

The jungle trekking

At Awana, we gathered around for a quick brief about the route we’re going to explore. It was a 1.8 kilometers jungle trekking and we were equipped with Watson medikit and plenty of mosquito patches. It was a bit surprising that our guides told us that this jungle trekking would involve small leeches as the obstacles. I was actually still quite confident judging that I had worn the right equipments and what I thought as a jungle would probably already paved and made safe.

But I was wrong..

At first we had to climb another flight of stairs. Well, I conquered the pagoda yesterday so this was an easy task. Afterwards we walked a bit, passing outdoor activity grounds and campsites. A Sarawak long house was discovered in the process and we took our pictures with it. I was very delighted to found that there were plenty of trash bins for outdoor grounds like these and most of all, they manage to keep it neat and tidy.

It was not long until we headed for the ‘real’ jungle trekking. It got dark, wet, slippery, harsh, and wild. The leeches or pacet were found everywhere and the girls were screaming when they found out that some of them swiftly ventured on their shoes. We also encountered millipedes, probably some snakes, ivies, planks, fragile bridge, and most of the time aside from the pacet, the precipice on the left side. I was quite furious that no one was told about the risks. We weren’t told to have a warm up session before or even asked of the readiness. Many of us surely weren’t up for this challenge but they had to go through and swallow their fears. I stayed behind to help my friends getting through the obstacles and led them to safety with all my might and thank God that my Indonesian friends were safe and sound. The Malaysian and Chinese teammates were also quite quick to subdue the jungle.

After God knew how long, we finally surfaced on the edge of the beautiful golf course of Awana Resort and took the much-needed break. Without knowing, I found my foot already bleeding because of one pacet strike and cured it right away. My mate, Evelyn, found five strikes on her feet and we helped cleaned her shoes from remaining pacets. She’s a brave young lady indeed! I saw no signs of fear, but only mere worries, which is very understandable. Though initially we all a bit scared about the leeches but at one point due to exhaustion, I couldn’t care less anymore as I just swept away all the attacking leeches by my bare hands.

We returned back for lunch at Rajawali Restaurant at Awana Resort. It was quite a long walk getting through the golf course but certainly much better than the jungle trekking. The spectacle was also beautiful. We can see the peak of Genting Highlands slowly getting swallowed by the mist from this far. I was hoping that I could ride one of those golf buggies but we were too busy with the challenges for today. Perhaps next time, I imagined.

The final challenges

The lunch was a decent one but my feet were killing me. One of the highlights was the Yong Tau Fu dish as the broth was thick and excellent, while the rest were just okay. After we had our lunch and rest, the stationmasters tested us with food guessing challenge and it went well for our team. Once done, we again headed outdoor again for the final challenge. At this point, we were just walking leisurely, a bit unmotivated because they not yet reveal the grand prizes are, and again because we’re all already exhausted.

The final challenge would be the 45 degree plank scaling. I forgot the real name was but we were to equip ourselves with safety tools and go uphill first for a trial. The challenge would be to downscale the planks as fast as we could for the best time among us. At first some of the challengers were a bit awkward but we conquered our fears fast and the competition became a thrilling and fun!

It’s all a wrap! We were just required to do some blogging for a while again with the 4G Yes! modems before readying ourselves again for the prize giving ceremony and dinner at Pondok Ikan Bakar nearby the Sarawak long house later tonight.

So, the challenges have come to an end and on the next post, I will write a bit about the closing ceremony and how we part ways with Malaysia. Had to admit that my last visit there was particularly memorable and my wife liked it there. So stay tune!

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Pictures will be added soon!

Mountain of Food Explorace II (Resorts World Genting, Malaysia) – First Day of Challenges

MOUNTAIN OF FOOD EXPLORACE II – First Day (July 18, 2012)

All that we knew was that we’re gonna face more than a dozen challenges. We didn’t know that it’s gonna be all about running and sweating. Especially us from Indonesian, we’re pure food bloggers and we’re so decadent so that any sweat caused not by eating would be a sin. We’re punished for it but surprisingly, it was one of the happiest moments I’ve ever had and I’m thankful for it. Not because of the calorie burns but our togetherness as fellow food bloggers and our first time doing so abroad.

Anxiety ruled my morning as I had to accompany my wife for breakfast while searching for my partner in the process, inside the jungle of extreme busyness of First World Café where hundreds or more people had their breakfast rush. We went downstairs straight at 8 am while we also need to be at the World Club Lounge, God knows where, at 9 am as a team!

Clad in the Wrangler tops and jeans, I was definitely ready for the challenge but still can’t help with the anxiety. Lucky that both me and my wife found a small time in-between all the rush for a bite or two. Moreover, I also found that my teammate, Evelyn, happened to be on the table just behind mine alongside her Malaysian besties.

The World Club Lounge challenge

We headed to the uppermost floor of First World Hotel for the lounge and then told to enjoy our time there for breakfast! But we already had one downstairs while cannot help to feel that the lounge is a better place to enjoy the breakfast. Less crowded, cool, and we get to choose our dishes easily. Unfortunately the organizer hadn’t told us earlier that we could just actually have our breakfast here instead. As a result, we’re too full to savor anything at that moment.

As a substitute, we just enjoyed the remaining time before the next challenge by getting introduced to one another, had our coffee and cakes, and laughing together. Meanwhile the organizer distributed the Fuji Film digital cameras for our documentations while doing the explorace today and tomorrow.

Then came the time to finally open the second challenge and we’re required to devise an ‘energetic’ breakfast, present it to the stationmaster, get your dish approved, take a picture of it and then finish it all altogether with your partner. Evelyn and I decided to put more proteins in the dishes, leaving the carbs behind, and not to forget that we have to properly equip it with cutleries and a drink.

Successfully fulfilling the task, we head for next challenges such as to scour all over the peak to find a Travel For All store just nearby the Genting Skyway to decode a password for sponsored jackets, had our pictures in front of the skyway, the store, and finally it’s lunch time. We got one of the challenges wrong so we had to travel all the way back to First World Café while in reality, we only had to just visit the Coffee Terrace of Hotel Resort just nearby the Skyway.

The Hotel Resort challenge

Anyway it was okay and we had a nice lunch at a restaurant famed for its six live kitchens representing different dishes from local dishes, peranakan, Western, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian. I had some interesting bites involving ostrich meat and other rarely found dishes in Indonesia. Not much of a surprise for a restaurant reviewer for me but it’s always good to experience something new.

The restaurant also has an observation deck overlooking the surrounding hills, which was something new for me as back in Indonesia, Puncak has never been developed into something very elaborated like Genting for instance.

The Theme Park and Chin Swee Temple challenges

Finally it’s time for more challenges to come involving pictorial guessing and another fast travel to the neighboring Hotel Theme Park for more clues. This time finally, we got ourselves admitted for adventures down at the outdoor Theme Park! The challenges are mostly photographical. We’re supposed to enter rides, sometimes taking turns to take each other pictures. The rides were the Spinner, Carousel, Space Shot, Corkscrew, and many else. It was all fun but quite exhausting and we’re at a point where we cannot really enjoy the rides anymore. Until finally it’s time to head back to First World Hotel to head back for the next destination!

We’re waiting for the bus to take us down at Chin Swee Temple for the last challenge of the day and to have our vegetarian dinner there. The Chin Swee Temple was indeed exotic and beautiful as it overlooked magnificent landscape especially the view from the 9-storey pagoda. The statues and the plaza were also amazingly huge but it started to rain and we were already worn down because of exhaustion. Definitely, the dinner will seal the deal for that day.

It was a pleasant dinner, a very Chinese-styled vegetarian dinner with the Lazy Susan in the middle of our table to really save our energy of reaching the dishes we wanted. It’s already around 6 pm at that moment and we all head back to the hotel to call it a day. But suddenly the organizers distributed 4G Yes! modems to all of us for our blogging needs but unfortunately to be returned back again before midnight. I was actually a bit disappointed since they could have just lent it until the end of the event so that we can make use of the gadget better and help our blogging needs better. In case of any damages caused by us, then it’s our responsibility. As simple as that. But that’s what we call in Indonesian ‘pesan-pesan sponsor’ and then we had to make time later tonight to return both the cameras and the modems.

Finally, the first day came to an end and tomorrow we’ll head for the next hotel at Awana Resort far downhill for more challenges and a new hotel experience! It’s gonna be rough tomorrow but I guess I’m up for it!

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Pictures will be added soon!

Mountain of Food Explorace II (Resorts World Genting, Malaysia) – Arrival Day

MOUNTAIN OF FOOD EXPLORACE II – Arrival Day (July 17, 2012)

If it’s Jakarta, then the journey from the airport would be anticlimactic. You know the drill, all the fuss on getting a proper transportation just to get yourself to the city most of the times won’t be easy and on the icing of the ‘lovely’ cake after you got one? The traffic!

But that’s not the case even in the bleak but lively KLIA – LCC Terminal. Lucky for us, we went to Genting for the special invitation from Resorts World Genting, so no worries about the plane fare and the lodgings! After you’re done with the airport, then you’ll witness the view you’ve only seen in Jakarta’s midnight traffic. Malaysia proper comprises of around 20 million citizens, while Jakarta and its satellite cities only already have that many. Surely you can imagine how crowded Jakarta is, how dynamic it is, how colorful it is and also how miserable it is.

In Malaysia, it felt as if we can fly! Though the distance between the airport and Genting is probably like Jakarta to Cikampek, give and take yet we went uphill, still we finished it in around almost three hours. The same as if I’m heading to Bandung from Jakarta. This happen probably because the drivers are all educated and none of them buy the license through the back alley.

Anyway, it’s my second time to Genting and it’s already a bit cold there on the peak. My wife and my three fellow bloggers were excited but also anxious about what lies ahead. I assumed that it’s gonna be sort of The Amazing Race show we see on the TV since the PR seemed so secretive about the nature of this Explorace.

The Mountain of Food Explorace II event was designated for food bloggers and enthusiasts alike. Some were chosen because of their nature as bloggers and some of them applied for this opportunity through the social media line. In short, there were 20 of us from three different countries ready to compete in a race to explore about what Genting has to offer culinary-wise and also the adventures.

After resting for a few hours in the busy-but-getting-better First World Hotel, the biggest hotel so far in the world with 6000ish rooms, and had our dinner at the ubiquitous Marrybrown down at the mall, which was not provided by the organizer unfortunately, we gather around at Hotel Resorts and got introduced to one another. The dress code for tomorrow’s battle was provided by Wrangler, both tops and jeans. Though my jeans a little too long, might as well just flip and seal it a bit then!

The twenty of us were divided into teams of two and I got myself teamed with Evelyn. She’s part of the Nuffnang blogger community alongside several other enthusiastic Malaysians alike. After the introductions, we were given the first challenge for tomorrow and that would be to gather around at World Club Lounge of First World Hotel at 9 am as a team. Not sure where and what we’re gonna be doing afterwards but for now, the organizer entertained us first with VIP tickets for the Freeze show, apparently a famous show of synchronized  ice skaters, a little bit of humors, and a lot of magic tricks all in a single show!

So off we went upstairs for the show and got seated. Unfortunately they didn’t allow us to take picture or even videotaping it but it was one helluva show for a change! Freeze is a feast for the eyes for their tremendous skill in ice skating, acrobats, and thrilling magic tricks. It’s also a combination of people from Eastern Europe and Chinese, all adept and with good looks too! Now that’s a rare combination.

Awed with their performances, finally it’s time to have a supper, a very affordable 2 ringgit only nasi lemak down again at the mall, getting us some rest and ready ourselves for tomorrow’s challenges. Still a mystery but I came high spirited, ready to enjoy the fun, and most of all, the food!

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Pictures will be added soon!