What is it about theme parks that makes these two big kids jump for joy?  There’s just something about the sound of people screaming in the distance, and the smell of hot dogs and funnel cakes that instantly makes us grin from ear-to-ear.  And while we’ve explored theme parks all over the States and Disney theme parks around the world, we’ve yet to conquer a park in southeast Asia.  However, that may have to change soon as we’ve discovered a behemoth, Sunway Lagoon just outside Kuala Lumpur.

Two Theme Park Junkies Heading to Malaysia

As a kid, my family was actually a bit obsessed with theme parks.  Growing up in Idaho, there weren’t any in our hometown.  But luckily just 5 hours away near my father’s hometown was a theme park.

I’ll never forget my first ride on a REAL rollercoaster — I was about 5 years old.  I was ecstatic when I reached the height stick, and so was my dad (perhaps even more than I was).  It was a classic white wooden coaster, full of big hills.  I remember getting in the car and giggling with excitement as my dad gushed over me with his own.  I remember I wasn’t even scared going up that hill, clink-clink-clink…but all that changed with that first big drop!

Riding Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Riding Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

The rush in my stomach was something I’d never felt at such a young age, and I wasn’t expecting it.  Immediately I gasped and fell over in my fathers lap in agony for the rest of the ride.  I wasn’t traumatized, but I didn’t exactly want to ride anymore.

Luckily, I got over that hurdle fairly quickly and soon became my dad’s go-to coaster riding buddy.  Soon after, my young siblings joined our little coaster club, and each summer we began  seeking quests to conquer the newest, the biggest, the fastest, and the scariest coasters around the USA.

As an adult, my theme park quests haven’t diminished.  And I was lucky to find a husband who shares a love of theme parks as much as myself.  So much so that from time to time we would wake up to go to work on a lovely day and say “let’s play hooky and go ride roller coasters instead of work!”

And we did (#sorrynotsorry)!

Having been living and traveling around Asia for nearly 2 years now, the urge still gets us from time to time.  We’ve been to Disneyland Hong Kong many times now, and will be visiting the new Shanghai Disneyland here in just a couple weeks.

In fact, last year while riding a bus to do some shopping in Guangzhou, China one day we passed a theme park with amazing looking coasters.  Not being able to resist the perfect day outside…we looked at each other with eyes wide and said “wanna go?”  We immediately hopped off the bus and abandoned our plans, instead spending the day at Chimelong theme park!

On our way to the store on day in China...and couldn't pass up riding this!

On our way to the store on day in China…and couldn’t pass up riding this!

We are currently Shanghai, but next on our itinerary is to meet some friends down in Bali — then we are planning to make our way back up into Malaysia for a while.  And wouldn’t you know, I’ve stumbled across a giant theme park complex near Kuala Lumpur that I never knew was there!

This we cannot miss!

How Did We Not Know About Sunway Lagoon in Kuala Lumpur?

We’ve actually been to Kuala Lumpur a few times now.  Years ago it was one of our stops during our first time in southeast Asia.  We ventured out to the famous Batu Caves and even had an exciting experience getting lost on local buses after our bus broke down and left us stranded on the road!  But we loved every moment of our experience, and even found one of the most beautiful Geocaches ever right near the famous Petronas Towers.

Made it to Batu Caves!

Made it to Batu Caves!

Since that first visit we’ve popped in a few times for short stopovers between destinations around southeast Asia.  And while we explored most of the tourist sites in Kuala Lumpur, we never knew that there was a massive theme park just a short ride away.

What is So Great About Sunway Lagoon?

Located just 15 kilometers southwest of Kuala Lumpur, Sunway Lagoon is actually a large theme park complex.  At first, I thought it was just a big water park.  And in the brutal heat of Malaysia, I must admit that spending a day at a giant water park sounds awesome on its own.  However after doing a bit more research, I learned that it’s actually much more than just a water park.

Through a series of expansions, the park now includes 5 distinct areas that include the Water Park, Scream Park, Amusement Park, Extreme Park and Wildlife Park.  I mean, just looking at the Sunway Lagoon website I’m a little overwhelmed with the possibilities.

The water park has so many crazy looking rides, things that spin you around, spit you out, and launch you high — there’s also a race slide that goes 25 miles per hour (that’s fast on a slide).  Not only that, but there’s a flowrider surf simulator and a giant wave pool where you can experience the Sunway Surf and even go bodyboarding (my favorite).  But beyond the water park, we’d definitely be all over the amusement park, wildlife and extreme park.  I don’t know about the scary park…that’s looks a little too much for me!

Sunway Lagoon

We May Need to Take a Detour from Bali Next Month…

We have a friend who is visiting the Gili Islands near Bali next month, and we haven’t been to Bali yet (shocking, I know!).  So we’ll likely go down there and relax with some island life for a while — and definitely do some snorkeling!  But beyond that, our plans are still a bit open.

Hmmm, now I’m thinking we may need to take a bit of a detour to satisfy our coaster-craving!  Unfortunately our schedules are always a bit crazy when we travel.

But these two travel & coaster nuts can’t resist some good theme park fun!

Luckily, Sunway is near the city of Kuala Lumpur – which is a central location and a convenient transportation hub.  And I’m surprised to see that tickets for Sunway are not that expensive (compared to the price of parks like this back in the States). We usually stay in the heart of KL when we visit, but if we want to spend a few days out at the theme park, then we may want to look for something that’s easy to compare and book near the park for the most convenience.  So we’d probably find a cheap hotel in Sunway, preferably with no booking fees to save some cash (always concerned about that travel budget!).

That’s always the hard part of traveling long term – trying to find the right itinerary that maximizes fun but minimizes our expenses.  

what are we missingWhat Other Awesome Theme Parks Are We Missing?

Being a coaster fan, I’ve always known that there were some great theme parks outside the States.  But this discovery got me thinking, maybe there are some other awesome theme parks out there we’ve totally missed!   During our travels around the world, we’ve been so focused on cultural sights and natural scenery that I can’t believe we overlooked searching for theme parks.  We could really be missing out on some fun.  And these two big kids can’t stand the idea of missing out on some fun on the road.

Do you have any theme park suggestions in and around Asia?  Share them in the comments below!

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