Thursday, 3 December 2015

Chimelong Paradise: The Complete Experience

I will talk about my experience at Chimelong Paradise, a theme park in Guangzhou, China. I know many people think that roller coasters in China are rough, dangerous contraptions that are always on the verge of collapse. The reality is much different. Chimelong Paradise, for instance, is a well rounded theme park with a good selection of world class Roller Coasters, an excellent kids area and some interesting flat and movie-based rides.

Chimelong Paradise is part of my 2015 Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong trip. I will continue to upload the other theme parks and attractions over the next few days.


About Chimelong Paradise


Chimelong Paradise (长龙欢乐世界) is part of the Guangzhou Chimelong Tourist Resort. The resort boasts 2 hotels, several wildlife attractions and the most popular water park in China: Chimelong Water Park. However, the crown jewel of this resort is no doubt Chimelong Paradise, a theme park with no less than 4 world class roller coasters, multiple thrill and movie rides and one of the best kids areas I seen outside Disney. There is a light-hearted carnival atmosphere with some interesting theming.

Chimelong Paradise theme park is part of a larger resort with multiple attractions. Here is the centralised ticketing and inquiries area near to the Chimelong Metro station.


To get to Chimelong Paradise, or the Chimelong Resort, simply take Guangzhou Subway Line 3 to Hanxi Chimelong (汉溪长龙) station. 

For me, I traveled directly from Hong Kong airport by tour bus. Simply purchase tickets at the coach area in Hong Kong International Airport terminal 2. You can choose to take the bus to Panyu estate where Chimelong paradise is located, but I think it is safer to simply take the direct bus. The bus journey takes 3 hours and you will have to change buses at the Hong Kong-China border.

Alight at Hanxi Chimelong (汉溪长龙) station on Guangzhou Subway line 3

Diving Coaster (垂直过山车): King of Coasters!


If you want a big, scary roller coaster that gives you bragging rights. This is it. Diving Coaster at Chimelong Paradise is a nasty 20 storey contraption that holds you at the top of a 90 degree drop for 3 seconds before dropping! In fact, the park brands this as the king of roller coasters (过山车之王), and an identical ride in Shanghai is labelled the number one roller coaster in China.

This is what you see even before you get into the park. Don't look down!!!

This ride is designed to intimidate. Before you even enter the park, you see a few pieces of steel track many times higher than the surrounding trees, supported by only a few vertical columns. Then there's the noise. The noise the ride makes is a low pitched hum, almost like the distant dragon signalling its imminent arrival. It is not very loud by brutally effective. FYI, this is not those Made-in-China type roller coaster. It is designed and built by Swiss manufacturer Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M) and is inspired by an identical ride in the US (Shiekra at Busch Gardens Florida).

I must admit, I was extremely nervous and only took this ride after "warming up" on the others. The 20 storey first drop is obviously the most intense but even the second drop is more intense than the on Battlestar Galactica at USS. Seat comfort is average and the ride is very smooth. If you sit on the side, the ride is exceptionally thrilling because there is nothing above of below you. You may also get wet if you ride on the back row due to the water splashdown at the end.

I took the ride 5 times in total. Shortest queue that day was about 2-3pm when the weather was quite hot.

Look out for this ride. For coaster fans, this ride alone is worth the trip to the park!

Yes, you may get wet!

A little test seat. Please note that there is a MAXIMUM height limit of 1.95m in addition to the minimum height limit. This is true for many roller coasters in China.

10 Looping Roller Coaster (十环过山车): Feeling giddy anyone?


If you like upside down. This is the ride for you! 10 looping roller coaster turns you upside down 10 different times while reaching a respectable 72 kilometers per hour. However, I do not like this one as much as diving coaster. Here's why: The restraints are not comfortable and the ride is quite bumpy. Add these 2 together and your ears will get really painful at the end of the ride. I thought I was being nit-picky when I thought this ride was uncomfortable, but when I spoke to some local Chinese a couple of days later, they had the same opinion of the ride.

10 Looping Roller Coaster has 1 loop, a cobra roll, 2 corkscrews and 5 barrel rolls!

This is such a waste. This ride is designed and built by Swiss manufacturer Intamin, and the identical rides in Italy and the UK have received excellent reviews. I also found the layout really superb, with nice forceful inversions, some airtime and a lot of hang time; the poor seating design really ruined the experience.


Even 10 looping Roller Coaster celebrates Christmas!

The area just before and after the cobra roll is the most bumpy of all!

Family Coasters


Chimelong Paradise also has 2 family coasters: A Mack Rides family coaster called 飞马家庭过山车 (Flying horse family coaster) and a Vekoma motorbike called, conveniently, (摩托过山车) Motorbike Roller Coaster. The Mack Rides one is surprisingly long for a family coaster and is smoother than the other standard layout family coasters I have taken at some other theme parks. However, Motorbike was closed for maintenance that day so I cannot comment on that ride.

Flying Horse Family Coaster.


Motorbike Roller Coaster. It's such  a waste that the ride was closed that day.

Other Thrill Rides


Chimelong Paradise also has several thrill rides such has a pendulum, a half-pipe, a top spin and a small drop tower. These thrill rides are relatively common among most thrill based amusement parks and complement the roller coasters very well.

Ever wanted to ride a giant skateboard? Here is your chance!

What? Are you telling me that only this ride is disinfected!!???

The pendulum looks very impressive and never fails to draw onlookers. This version is less intense because the pendulum only swings about 100-120 degrees in either direction.

A small drop tower, but it drops you many times (6 times down the full 7 stories, to be exact)

Movie/Major Rides


Alright, my compliments end for this section. I personally do not like the 3+D attraction at Chimelong Paradise, or any other China theme park for that matter. 

The 4D show at Chimelong Paradise, is particularly noteworthy. The afternoon shows are themed to the Chinese movie 九层妖塔 (Chronicles of the Ghostly Tribe), which is like a Chinese version of Final Destination. Imagine all the horrific death scenes perfectly synchronized with special effects. When the water and seat shaking came, I still thought it was quite good. However, when an actor was impaled by an icicle, a hard object suddenly thrusts out of the seat backrest and you feel you just got stabbed. Chimelong, you went a step too far this time. There is a clear line between thrilling and disturbing, and this is clearly way too vicious.

Here is the theater where they screened perhaps the most vicious 3D show I have ever experienced

Following this less than entertaining experience, I pretty much skipped all the other similar attractions there and continued on the roller coasters and other rides. However, at least the 3D effects at Chimelong are all working well, so that is one plus point.

This is the River Rapids ride at Chimelong Paradise

Another D type show. This time, the ride is 5D. Actually, I never understood where the 4th, 5th and 6th D comes from. To me they are all 3D.

Family Rides and Kids Zone


Chimelong Paradise brands itself as a family theme park, and it certainly has a good collection of family and kids attractions to match. In addition to multiple family rides like a double decked carousel, safari jeeps and water bumper cars, Chimelong Paradise also has a large indoor kids area with multiple play structures, a decent sized arcade and even more kids rides. Man! The kids get to enjoy the park even when it is raining, while the adults have to sit and wait for the weather to clear!

Double Decked carousels seem all the rage in China now! This is not the only China theme park to feature this attraction

Do you need some exercise?

No! I rather take the bus!

There! The largest indoor kids zone I ever seen at an outdoor theme park!

For some of these play areas, even the adults can join in and play. I certainly had a good time in the softball shooting arena (shooting the parents, and not the kids)!


Additional Tips


Chimelong Paradise is in China, so obviously you want to avoid all the China school holidays, as well as the Chinese New Year period. I heard from the locals, ride queues can well exceed 2 hour during the school holidays. Other important information include:

  • Toilets at Chimelong Paradise are mostly squatting types, except in the handicap toilets. If you really need to use a seated toilet, there is one located near motorbike roller coaster in the normal toilet. If not, use the handicap one and pray that no wheelchair or elderly person shows up :P
  • To complete most signature attractions, I advise spending about 4-5 hours at the park. All 4 roller coasters are worth riding and you can try out the 3D shows if you can tahan (tolerate) being stabbed in the back.
  • Food costs about RMB50 per set meal. Not too expensive for Singapore standards but certainly extremely steep for the locals. The quality is considered acceptable relative to other theme parks.
  • There is also a couples discount which applies for both married and dating couples on MONDAYs only excluding public holidays. Its not much but every bit counts.
  • There is also an upper age limit for some rides, ranging from 55 to 65 depending on thrill level. However, seniors are entitled to cheaper senior citizens tickets if you show your identification (ie. Passport)
Admission: RMB250 per adult
Opening Hours: Varies, typically between 9.30am and 6.00pm

Not too bad set meal!

You see, the landscaping is actually not bad at all. In fact, SOME areas in Chimelong Paradise is almost as good as Universal or Disney.

Overall

  • Roller Coasters: ☆☆☆☆
  • Thrill Rides: ☆☆☆☆
  • Shows: ☆☆
  • Family Rides: ☆☆☆☆
  • Theming: ☆☆☆
  • Operations: ☆☆
  • Overall: ☆☆☆
There are more posts coming up about Theme Parks in China, so stay tuned. In the meantime, you will really do me a favour if you share this post through the buttons below and like the second drop facebook page.


China and Hong Kong Theme Parks