Thursday, February 21, 2013

Piece by Piece: Our Legoland Malaysia Trip

The brick from our childhood days comes alive in Legoland Malaysia (shortened to LLM hereafter). This is the newest theme park situated at the Johor-Bahru estate, southern tip of Malaysia, just between the Singapore-Malaysia border. We went to LLM during the CNY holidays albeit cloudy skies and chance of rain.

Here are helpful information for those of you who are interested to visit LLM one of these days. My pov is coming from Singapore as the starting point though, but should apply even if you are coming from other parts of the world.

Booking and Getting There

We booked the LLM trip at the package tour office in Novena Square. It includes 1-day pass and coach bus from SG to MY and vice versa.

I would recommend getting a package tour.  First, the entrance ticket was given to us before we left SG and therefore, you don’t have to queue at the ticketing booth when you arrive at LLM. This can save you time esp if you happent to visit on a busy day where there could be hordes of tourists/visitors. Second and more importantly, you will have a convenient tourist bus transportation from the predetermined bus pick up point and will drop you exactly at Legoland Malaysia park already.  Same process going back- they will pick you up infront of LLM parking area and take you back to the originating point of bus pick-up. This also include drop off and waiting time at the respective SG border and MY border Immigration. Our pick-up point was at the Singapore Flyer where there are sattelite offices for package tour providers. This need to be booked in advance.

From SG flyer, one way trip is about  90 minutes including immigration clearances.

While the LLM park is situated just across SG-MY border, you will need to pass customs of both countries. Also, the location of LLM is at an estate that is still under development and is not accessible by normal public transport. You will need to book for your transportation arrangements. So I suggest getting a package tour altogether.

What to See

Just like any other theme park, there are rides for the young and old alike. The unique attraction would be the Lego City featuring replicas of famous landmarks from Asia using – lego bricks of course! Malaysia featured KLIA (airport), Kuala Lumpur Petronas Towers and the KL cityscape. I liked the Singapore city scape featuring the Marina Bay skyline with the Singapore Flyer, Merlion, Fullerton Hotel and the Riverside / Boat Quay. I was frankly quite puzzled with the choice of feature on Philippines. It could have showcased the Banawe Rice Terraces or Mayon Volcano landscape.

Ain't this a familiar site?


KL Cityscape with the Petronas Towers looming by

I noticed that LLM has quite a number of ‘daring rides.’ I wasn’t in the mood for uh—passing out or something gross afterwards – so I kept to the ‘safe’ rides. The cars were designed to look like replica of lego models and look very colorful. There were also several lego-inspired figures around the park where you can have your quirky picture taken. Even the fountain was made from lego.

Bring some change of clothes if you will dare the water-rides

... This was a safer bet.

The kids will enjoy the Nissan Driving School adventure where they get to experience “actual driving” in a multi-lane driving track complete with traffic lights, traffic congestion, et al. They even get to have their own driving license with picture!  Kyla tried this and hubby keep on reminding her to keep into her own lane and follow the arrows and traffic light.  My sister and I were watching in the sidelines and smirking that if this were a real road at least Kyla was a good defensive driver (takes after the father and not after her reckless-driving titas, hahaha). Suffice it to say that at least this was just a make believe driving! There was one kid who kept on railroading anything and anyone moving and non-moving creature along the path! It was funny and amusing to watch, but not if you were the parent of the kid whose car he kept on bashing against. And he was the only one who parked the wrong way when it was time to park the cars to the starting point, and yep, bashed a few more cars in front of him.  At least he provided the watchers with entertainment...

The Nissan Driving School adventure
What to Bring

Unless you are a Malaysian, you need to bring the passport!

Local currency (MYR) is required when paying at the food booths and the restaurants within the park. There are several restos inside the park, with both western and local fare. Bringing of food and drinks into the park are not allowed. Credit cards are accepted in the souvenir shops.

Hats and umbrellas for either warm weather or rain. Sunscreen for sunny days.

Comfortable pair of walking shoes.

Comfortable clothing for a day’s worth of tour. Unless of course, your idea of comfortable clothing is a black, skin tight cocktail dress with all the bling-blings and 4-inch stilettos (?!). Well… it’s a democracy, so fine! (Couldn’t help this…)

Bulky bags are not allowed in some of the rides. Travel light.

What I Thought

I would give it 3-stars for now.  We came during a festive season so I was expecting a ‘festive atmosphere’ starting from having to see Lego Mascots at the entrance gate to welcome the visitors and maybe entice them for photo-ops, a common offering in other equally prestigious theme parks. It was quite dull when we arrived. There were no voice over music or announcements to liven up the park that could have made up for the nearly gloomy weather.  Music started piping in only around noon time. They do have fireworks towards end of closing time but we left earlier so we did not get to see this. We only saw one mascot throughout the day. They should install more mascots around, even if for shorter durations, at the different areas of the park.

If you are impatient (like me) to wait for long queue for food, you better go in line at the restaurants a little bit earlier than usual. I guess I was used to the hustle and bustle at the Kopitiams so waiting for the food (I was the ONLY person there) to be completely placed on our trays felt like an eternity. I had to stop myself rolling my eyes while waiting. This is a good case study for work process improvement (said to my then impatient self…).

Same can be said on how the queue for the rides was managed. They could do with a little bit of perky movements. The line in the driving range had 45 minutes waiting time so I had plenty of time to observe while waiting for Kyla's turn. It is inevitable some cars would collide from time to time and would need assistance to disentangle the cars so that the kiddie drivers can move on. In other theme parks I’ve been, the assistants would be alert and quick to react, safety considered.  In this case, the assistants do the metaphorical “walking-under-the-moonlight” act (“naglalakad sa liwanag ng buwan). So before the cars got disengaged, time was almost up. Thankfully, the other rides were more efficiently managed.

The Lego City and Imagination City was a great crowd drawer, just need to jazz up the energy there by a notch.

There are several souvenir kiosks around for Lego-branded trinkets and stuff.

Outside the park, there is an ongoing construction for Legoland Water Park and Hotel. This should draw more customers if there is a comfortable hotel across the park, they can stay overnight and enjoy the area for longer.

Overall, Legoland Malaysia promises to be the next big attraction in addition to USS here in Southeast Asia. With a wee bit of tweaking, it will be quite a blast!

More pictures and a whole lot more side comments in Facebook.

1 comment:

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