We know that citizens as well as permanent residents of Singapore get hit with an entrance fee if they want to frequent the casinos over at Resorts World Sentosa and the one at Marina Bay area. Each prospective fun-seeker would need to pay SG$100 before he or she starts losing money at one of these places. Now if you intend to spend a hundred Singapore Dollars in a slightly better way, may I suggest using that money for a drive to Genting Highlands?
The hundred dollars would be used as part of the North-South highway toll charges and some for petrol. And after a good three and a half hours or so of driving on the highway as well as through the Middle Ring Road II around Kuala Lumpur you reach the first Karak Highway toll collection booth. It is here where things can be a slightly more enjoyable motoring experience if you decide to enter the slip road right (photo above
) before the toll and then use enter Jalan Gombak (Gombak Road) and head towards Karak/ Bentong. This stretch of road is known as the old road to Bentong.
It is actually very scenic as you firstly pass all the 'kampung' or villages along Gombak Road up to the 12th (Batu 12) mile where it also passes a aboriginal/native hospital and museum (which is also a good tourist spot to visit if you're heading towards Genting). There are also some nice picnic spots beside the road where the Gombak River winds towards Kuala Lumpur. So you get to see some rustic Malaysian locales as well as soak in the tropical rain forest up close. You can't do this if you're on the Karak Highway.
Furthermore, after a long tedious highway drive you actually get a chance to do some very nice tight and twisty roads. It is almost hairpin after hairpin and at one point, you can actually see the Karak Highway from this stretch of road. Imagine yourselves using a hot hatchback or a nice all-wheel drive on this stretch of road. You'll be wringing out the engine in 2nd and 3rd gear for most of the corners (or 3rd mostly in a more powerful car) and hearing the sound of your engine bouncing off the hillside (on one side) and a ravine on the other. Yes, it may be a little intimidating as this stretch is quite narrow and occasionally you will either spend some time behind a timber carrying lorry or finding one barreling towards you from the opposite direction. But this is all part of the thrill of driving. And you may 'save' RM5 as you avoid paying the toll. (However you may spend more on fuel if you're really belting it)
This short windy 20 or so km stretch of road ends up at Genting Sempah where you'll see the interchange as the first sign of civilization (above
). Genting Sempah is where the highway continues all the way to Kuantan (the state capital of Pahang) and is the main transit point to Genting Highlands. There is also another extremely nice, but one with faster sweeping corners to Genting Highlands. The Ulu Yam-GohTong Jaya stretch. But that is another story that may also be told in here at a later date.
Some may say that the stretch from Genting Sempah to Genting Highlands is challenging enough for them. I would agree as the inclines are much steeper. But I would also disagree on another point as here, the roads are almost three lanes wide at some points and if there was less traffic you could technically use nice wide racing lines whereas if you started from the old road to Bentong, you may think you're on a tarmac rally rain forrest stage. Belting a Swift Sport through here comes to mind. But even if I took a bone stock (and slightly dull) Toyota Vios I'd have tons of fun.
I think this is a much better way to spend your hundred dollars (or more) instead of handing it over before you can even start to have fun at the places I mentioned in the opening paragraph. And while the Karak Highway (below)
may be fun as it is pretty windy in some stretches it can't beat those hairpins. Period.
genting highlands photo:wikipedia the rest: author's own
Genting, Resorts World and 3 more...
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