Wednesday, January 11, 2017

[JOHOR BAHRU] How to Legoland in Malaysia

I’ve Legolanded thrice in this lifetime so far. Before heading to Billund back in 2014, I was already Legolanding a year prior at the newly built one in Malaysia’s Johor Bahru, a mere hour away from Singapore. What happened, though, is not uncommon to lazy bloggers with a bad procrastination habit. I promised myself that I would write an article about it the next day but as we all know, we never run out of next days. It’s been almost four years now. I guess the time has finally come with this repeat visit.

Legolanding in Malaysia is way easier and cheaper than in Denmark. Billund seems to be stuck in the middle of nowhere. Either you land there on a cheapo Ryanair flight or you go by land and suffer the exorbitant transportation costs common in Scandinavian countries. You don’t have that problem in Johor. Just ride a bus from Singapore or fly from KL. With cheap travel options abound, you’ll get there without having to sell one of your kidneys. Contrary to rumors, crossing the land border is not really a hassle.

A day ticket for the theme park will not go over MYR 150 (PHP ~1,650). Add another MYR 100 (PHP ~1,100) if you plan to explore the water park too. Just like Tokyo Disneyland/Disneysea or the Korean Everland/Caribbean Bay combo, Legoland Malaysia offers both, although admission to one doesn't necessarily mean the other comes free. Back in 2013, that water park was still under construction. We totally snubbed it this time around. We shouldn’t have.

It’s a good decision to include a water park given the heat and humidity on this side of Asia. Once you are done walking around Miniland drenched in your own sweat, you might find it comfortable to wade in actual water your body did not produce. But what are we saying. As if we’ll have time for the water park! The theme park itself should take us forever to navigate given the huge throngs of camwhores! Wrong answer. That’s what makes Legoland Malaysia unique. NO ONE GOES THERE.

Okay, that was harsh. Of course, people do go there. What I’m trying to say is that of all the theme parks I’ve been to in the last five years or so, Legoland Malaysia seems to be the only one allergic to crowds. Many attractions were closed simply because no one was lining up to ride them. I felt bad for some of the staff members performing because they looked pitiful talking to a “crowd” of two kids with an average attention span of 5 seconds. But why are we complaining? This should be a good thing. Well, it is!

If you want an entire theme park all to yourself or sharing it with perhaps less than a hundred people, then you can Legoland in Malaysia in January. I don’t know if it’s the same case Legolanding in Billund at certain times of the year. Less camwhores to compete with is always a good thing. But is Legolanding in Malaysia really worth your time? Maybe there’s a legit reason why everyone is avoiding it, right? Well, I’d say that it is still worth the admission ticket. The crowd favorite, of course, is Miniland.

Being the only Legoland in Asia, this version of Miniland features all Asian destinations with some countries snubbed in favor of more popular ones. Southeast Asia is well-represented, although some choices are rather questionable. Malaysia and Cambodia have the Petronas Twin Towers and Siem Reap, respectively, while the Philippines has this not so well-known town I’m not even sure exists. It probably does, but why choose that over Vigan or Ifugao’s rice terraces, for example? I guess we’ll never know.

What we are quite sure of is that hundreds of hours of labor and how many thousand Lego bricks were involved in coming up with such mini masterpieces. Many of them are so accurate that I was able to fool one Facebook friend years back that Brunei’s mini mosque on display there was the real thing. It’s all about the angle, baby! They even rely on robotics to make some of the displays more interactive. If you love to travel, you will have a good time exploring Miniland. It’s not just for kids!

The park caters to children, lest we forget. They have a rollercoaster or two but not one packs enough G-force to tickle your sense of adventure. Instead, you’ll see many playgrounds as well as activity centers where you can watch your kids be creative building their very own Lego masterpiece. As a parent and kid at heart, you are not forbidden to join. Needless to say, it’s a good opportunity for family bonding, except if you don’t have one and you’re going to die old, bitter, and alone. But that is SO NOT my problem.

If you miss the good old days when your Lego collection was complete, you can also come here to shop. They offer tons of bricks both old and new, sold by the kilo. Of course, you’ll also find various Lego collections to add to the one you have at home. Star Wars, in particular, is very popular now. They even have a new attraction dedicated to it, recreating the sets used in the film with nothing more than Lego bricks. It’s a real treat for fans and pseudo-fans alike.

We ended the day watching the Ninjago puppet play. It was awkward AF because there were less than ten of us inside and the three or four toddlers there didn’t seem interested at all. But the show must go on. I actually enjoyed it, but then again I am always amused by narratives with elements as the main storyline. If you need to go back to Singapore, make sure the ticket you booked is round-trip. Otherwise, spending a night in JB is not that bad despite the lack of attractions. When all else fails, chill.

[JOHOR BAHRU] How to Legoland in Malaysia

1 creature(s) gave a damn: said...

It seems to me that this is the most interesting amusement park for children, since the children of all my friends are very interested in Lego.

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