On day four of our road trip in Malaysia, we left KL for the town of Ipoh. I have never been to Ipoh and really had no idea what to look out for there. While searching for suitable accommodation on Agoda, I chanced upon a newly opened hotel called Lost World Hotel located near the theme park of the same name. A night’s stay is about S$90 including taxes and breakfast, of which I used my Reward points earned from last year’s Aussie trip to offset.
While the drive was uneventful, one can immediately observe the stark difference in scenery as we approach the capital of Perak. Towering limestone karsts begin to flank the North-South highway lending it a very other-worldly kind of adventure. I tried to relieve the boredom by suggesting that perhaps these geographical features were really dragons hiding in plain sight. (Thanks to a wonderfully delightful children’s book called Where’s the Dragon?).
Lost World is not exactly within Ipoh itself but a suburb called Tambun, which by the way is famous for its pomelo. The hotel was opened in April 2011 although the theme park by Sunway group has been around for more than a decade. What attracted me to this location was the existence of hot springs which surprisingly came with the hotel booking. However the hot spring is only open between 6 – 9 pm every night.
Ironically we planned to meet Theo’s uncle and his family for dinner this evening and by the time we were done, it was pass 9pm. What a bummer! I take comfort in knowing that I’ve been to a hot spring at Sungei Klah about two years ago so this wasn’t an entirely unique experience.
The hotel room is relatively big with a king sized bed and room for an extra single bed. However I didn’t sleep too well as I kept sneezing either from poor air con ventilation or dusty sheets. That’s a big minus for me. Breakfast was a simple fare at the nearby Pappa Rich cafe which is a popular franchise in Malaysia.
After breakfast we headed to the theme park to spend the day away. While I hadn’t planned on visiting the park, I was always clueless on what else we could do in Ipoh that would be interesting for the children. So grudgingly I agreed to pay the RM150 entrance fees for all of us. However I have to say that the experience in the theme park was relatively worth it.
Between playing in the water and exploring the petting zoo, the children were extremely delighted and exhausted by the time we left around 3pm. The water park has many levels depending on your child’s tolerance for adventure. You can rent a double seater float for RM12 and use it to float down an Indiana Jones like ‘Lost World’ river with generated waves. It was really cool. There’s also a water playground with mini slides and even higher ones for older children.
Other than the petting zoo, the park is also home to two full grown tiger which I understand from Theo’s uncle have been around since they were cubs 10 years ago. That’s really amazing. The tigers were rather active, pacing up and down the enclosure and even taking a dip in their moat, compared to more lethargic exhibits I have seen before. There is also a lake with many beautiful white and black swans gracefully swimming around. We even got up close with one of them. I totally adore swans although this one tried to nip off my finger.
At the petting zoo, the children were introduced to many small lovable creatures such as the raccoon, prairie dog, hedge hogs which we hardly see in Singapore. However some of them didn’t look like they enjoyed being touched by inquisitive children. What was the most thrilling experience though was touching an albino python and my brave children took turns to poke and stroke that poor snake. I am so sorry.
If nothing else pleases the visitor, I would say that the scenery itself is a winner. Surrounded by 300 million years old limestone karsts, one can really imagine having the adventure of their life in the Lost World. The hotel itself has a huge ancient looking map detailing some legends about the area but I didn’t have the time to go explore. I am not even sure if they are real for that matter but it certainly added a mysterious air to the atmosphere.