Asia is becoming a thriving theme park destination with big players such as Disney, Lego and Universal Studios all having a presence there. Australian visitors can experience an adrenaline fueled ride, similar to their American and European counterparts, without needing to fly halfway around the world to get there. Here’s our pick of Asia’s five best theme parks.
Disneyland Hong Kong
Despite impending competition from the Shanghai Disneyland set to open in 2015, the Hong Kong version of the world’s most famous theme park still holds its own. In some ways similar to the original Disneyland, the park is split into several themed areas including: Main Street, USA, Fantasyland, Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Grizzly Gulch, Mystic Point and Toy Story Land. The kids will love it all – from the rides in Adventureland and Grizzly Gulch to Snow White’s Castle. For quirky souvenirs, look out for exclusive Disney-themed Nanoblock sets. Don’t miss out on the parades and fireworks as well.
Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore is a pint-sized amusement park that packs a punch in the thrill stakes. The immersive Transformers ride is so good that the US sister site has since replicated it. A superb blend of modern visual and special effects, don’t be surprised if you find yourself taking the ride multiple times. Not to be outdone, the Battlestar Galactica features two side-by-side bone-shuddering roller coasters, running simultaneously. There are also more family friendly rides such as the Madagascar boat tour.
Located in Johor Bahru, an hour or so by car north of Singapore, Legoland Malaysia is the group’s first foray into Asia. The park’s pièce de résistance is the gasp-inducing Miniland. More than 30 million bricks were used to create mini versions of 17 iconic Asian landmarks. Look out for the intricately detailed Taj Mahal, Petronas Twin Towers, the Merlion, Angkor Wat and many more. If the heat gets a little too much, duck into the air-conditioned theatre for 4D Lego films or go for a splash at the world’s largest Legoland Water Park. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the wave pools and other aquatic adventures.
Bali is an island of many facets, remaining a popular spot for party seekers, surfers, yoga lovers and those seeking Eat, Pray, Love-inspired spiritual enlightenment. Waterbom theme park offers another unique Bali experience. This family friendly theme park has nine rides and slides offering all manner of watery thrills and spills: from water slides to rafts and tubes. Get there early to book a gazebo for lounging and let the kids go wild. This eco-certified, sustainable park recycles 3600m3 of water daily. Yoga lovers are now catered to as well, with the recent opening of an in-house yoga studio.
Sanrio Puroland, Tokyo
Yes, Tokyo is home to Disneyland. However, the indoor Sanrio Puroland has a fanatical following all of its own. After all, where else can you find a theme park dedicated to the most iconic of Japanese creations, the kawaii (cute) Hello Kitty? This small park has a boat ride, parades, live shows, quaint restaurants and the life-size Hello Kitty house. Don’t forget to save some time to browse the gift shop – you’ll probably never see such a wide range of Sanrio merchandise outside of Japan.