Malaysia will soon get another theme park in the highlands, this time amid the cool surroundings of Cameron Highlands.
Escape Cameron Highlands is an upcoming nature-based adventure park that will be built into the natural hilly landscape of the popular holiday spot in Pahang.
The first phase of the theme park, spanning across a 60-acre (24.28ha) valley at an elevation of 220m, is scheduled to open in the first half of 2023.
Upon completion, the European-themed park will be the first of its kind in the region to offer an outdoor ski attraction within an equatorial climate.
Its developer Sim Leisure Group has assured that the park will preserve the natural habitat of Cameron Highlands, setting the trend for sustainable theme park development. Construction of the venue will adopt a low impact development approach in design and execution.
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"Escape Cameron Highlands will adopt our signature minimalist approach to construction, minimal disturbance to nature, lots of tree planting, minimal use of energy, rainwater harvesting, and lots of recycling initiatives," said Sim Leisure Group founder and chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng.
The upcoming theme park, Sim said, will be a “zero-energy facility”.
"We will rely 100% on renewable energy which will come mainly from our photovoltaic facility, some from wind turbines and mini hydropower," he explained.
On the decision to build a theme park in Cameron Highlands, Sim said it boiled down to the destination's untapped potential.
"Cameron Highlands is definitely more than just nice weather, vegetables and strawberries. It has a huge potential of becoming a world-class family friendly destination," he said.
This marks the third Escape brand of theme parks in Malaysia after Escape Penang and Escape Challenge in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
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Fun in the highlands
Escape Cameron Highlands will feature the company's signature downhill rides and adventure-based attractions.
It will also incorporate the brand's Gravityplay and Adventureplay games to new heights, capitalising on the site’s overall 220m height difference.
More notably, the park will showcase the world’s first outdoor ski facility in an equatorial setting, featuring a ski lift elevating visitors to the top.
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Meanwhile, a 1.2km dry ski track will take skiers through scenic routes, including local themed villages.
Escape Cameron Highlands will be themed into five different European villages at varying elevations.
The section will start with the Iberian village at the bottom, followed by the British, Balkan and Nordic villages moving up, before finally peaking at the Alpine village at the top.
The themed villages will feature accommodation and rental offerings, in addition to hosting traditional European pastimes and activities.
According to Sim, the upcoming theme park will introduce new attractions annually.
"Unlike other theme parks, Escape adopts the strategy of development in multiple phases to continuously add the novelty factor by introducing new attractions every year," he said.
Escape Cameron Highlands is built in collaboration with the site’s landowner, Hektar Muda Sdn Bhd, led by Datuk Jimmy Doh.
Doh said there are still "substantial landbank" remaining around the site of the upcoming theme park.
"We have a far-sighted vision for Cameron Highlands, involving securing more operational partners to assist us in this journey, while being anchored by Escape Cameron Highlands,” he said.
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