Can theme parks help boost domestic tourism?

  • Malaysia
  • Saturday, 07 Sep 2019


Did you know that Malaysia is unofficially Asean’s “theme park capital”? There are over 20 major theme parks and water parks – including indoor amusement centres and adventure parks – located around the country, with a handful more expected to open next year.

Just in time for Visit Malaysia 2020.

For some travellers, theme parks may not seem like the ideal holiday destination as they are usually expensive (while you can get discounts on entry tickets, you’d still have to spend a lot on food and beverages, unless you’re allowed to bring your own) and very crowded, especially on school holidays. But there are those who simply love the experience and think that theme parks are like a one-stop entertainment and activity centre.

More often than not, too, a theme park is suitable for folks of all ages; there’s almost always something for everyone to try. This is an important factor for families, especially those with younger kids, or those who frequently travel in a big group.

Theme parks are also great for domestic tourism. According to a report recently released by Tourism Malaysia, the number of domestic tourists grew 10.9% from 2017, recording a total of 78.2 million tourists. The state with the highest number of domestic tourists in 2018 was Pahang (9.2 million arrivals), followed by Johor (7.8 million), Perak (7.6 million), Selangor (6.8 million) and Negri Sembilan (6.1 million). Many of the top theme parks in Malaysia are located in these states.

The total expenditure by domestic tourists also registered a double-digit growth (11.7%), recording a total of RM60.4bil in 2018.

Most foreign tourists prefer cultural and adventure experiences in Malaysia, often making their way to our forest reserves, mountains, islands and kampungs. Local tourists, however, normally head to the city for some shopping and sight-seeing (the Petronas Twin Towers is a big hit), as well as beaches/parks for a picnic, and theme parks or amusement centres for a day of fun.

We may not love the large crowds at theme parks – or the endless hours of queuing up for rides – but they are one of the more popular tourism products that Malaysia has to offer.

Here are 10 theme parks that are worth checking out on the next long weekend in Malaysia:

1. Lost World Of Tambun

Located in Ipoh, Perak, Lost World Of Tambun is a family adventure park that’s surrounded by lush jungles, hot springs and even a limestone hill. There are seven parks in this property, some of which are open till late (the Luminous Forest attraction is only open at night). This is the only theme park in South-East Asia that has a natural hot spring.

Legoland Malaysia is one themepark that young kids would enjoy.

2. Legoland Malaysia Resort

This is the first international brand theme park in the country, and Asia’s first Legoland. The park in Johor Baru recently added a new attraction – Sea Life Malaysia. There is a water park within the property, as well as a number of rides, Lego kingdoms and cities, and a hotel too.

3. Skytrex Adventure

There are three Skytrex parks in Malaysia: Langkawi (Kedah), Melaka and the latest, Sungai Congkak (Selangor). Skytrex claims to be the “first-of-its-kind” outdoor adventure park in the country that lets visitors “fly”, “glide” or swing from tree to tree.

Skytrex is an outdoor adventure park.

4. Escape

The world’s longest water slide – 1.14km-long – is set to open very soon at Penang’s Escape theme park. The place has three main attractions: Adventureplay, Waterplay and Gravityplay and each one has a ton of activities scheduled each day for visitors.

5. SuperPark Malaysia

SuperPark is an all-in-one indoor activity “park” from Finland that is suitable for the whole family. It offers as many as 25 activities like ice skating, pedal car track, trampoline platforms, augmented climbing walls and giant slides. It is divided into three themed areas: Adventure Area, Game Arena and Freestyle Hall.

Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast.
You can try indoor rockclimbing at SuperPark Malaysia. Photo: SuperPark Malaysia

6. Sunway Lagoon

One of Malaysia’s oldest theme parks, Sunway Lagoon in Bandar Sunway, Selangor remains a very popular tourist destination today. It has over 80 attractions spread across its 36ha space. Not only is it a theme park and water park, Sunway Lagoon is also a top concert venue.

7. Skytropolis Indoor Theme Park

This family-friendly indoor theme park is located at Resorts World Genting. With over 37,000sq m of space spread across four floors, this park is fit for both adults and kids, with many thrilling rides and activities to join in. Tickets are on pay-per-ride basis, so you don’t have to pay for what you don’t want to do. Some of the attractions include The Void, a hyper-reality centre, Imaginatrix which combines physical rides with virtual reality, and the BigTop Video Games Park, a circus-themed arcade.

8. Bukit Gambang Resort City

A water park, a safari park and an academy park. These are just some of the attractions at the Bukit Gambang Resort City in Pahang. Timboi the white lion was born at the safari park, the largest in Malaysia, in 2014. He’s the first white lion to ever be born in Malaysia! There are other animals too including hyenas, bears, tigers and a cheetah, said to be the only one in the country.

9. A’Famosa Water Theme Park

This park is the same age as Sunway Lagoon, but slightly smaller. There’s a water park, a safari and a theme park with rides and other fun activities. The Freeport A’Famosa Outlet mall is adjacent to the park.

Bukit Gambang Resort City Safari Park.

10. Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast

Set against the backdrop of a fishing village, the Adventure Waterpark Desaru Coast in Johor is one of the biggest water parks in the world. There are 20 different rides and slides located at five “splash zones”. There are special sections for babies, toddlers and younger children, so parents don’t have to worry too much about that. Adventure Waterpark is home to the first water-coaster in South-East Asia, and has one of the biggest wave pools in the world. Some of the rides include Kraken’s Revenge, The Tempest and the Swinging Ship.

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