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Ocean Kingdom + Hotel Trip Report


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Last weekend I took my first trip into China to go to the new Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park on Hengqin Island (across the water from Macau). I had booked a groupon package with ferry from Hong Kong to Dou Men (what an experience, the ferry went WAY past where we were going and then we had to go back on ourselves by an hour and a half to get to the park).

 

We stayed in the onsite hotel which was amazingly grand (and unfinished...) which came with free front of line access to some of the rides (unfortunately not all of them were open but Walrus Splash and Polar Explorer were testing while we were there, Walrus Splash looked pretty much ready to open).

 

We went on Flying Over The Rainforest three times, once in front row and twice in the back. The back row feels a lot more forceful, but the outer seats were shockingly rough. However, I really enjoyed the ride. I thought it was a better layout than the other wingrider I have been on before (Swarm at Thorpe Park), there was a few parts that had some airtime and the first drop was surprisingly good for a coaster of its height. The parrot trains also look AMAZING.

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The entrance to the theme park is pretty impressive

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The screens look great and reminded me of the Freemount Street in Downtown Vegas

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The entrance to Flying Over The Rainforest

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The first time I went on the ride I tried the test seat and fitted there fine, I think it's a bigboy test seat and the other seats are more snug. But good to know this version has Big Boy seats in row 4.

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They kept trying to get me to not ride, despite telling them I had fitted in the test seat. Even the second and third time. I pulled the retraint down myself and everything. But once it was down and clicked they wanted to double check. They weren't trying to click it again, it was more like they were trying to pull at it to make sure it wouldn't come undone? Incredibly strange. The guy in the control station looked as unamused as me, his thumb up waiting for the loaders to stop tugging at my restraint. It wasn't a click thing, it never clicked again before we left the station and they weren't pushing the restraint to make it more secure either. I was just incredibly strange.

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There's a dark ride that also shows off parts of the aquarium.

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Along with this little buddy. A mix between Nemo and Flounder.

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I can't figure out why there's a volcano, but it looks pretty.

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This turtle was such a poser!

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The mid afternoon parade.

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Some of the entrances to the enclosures were awesome, like this one for the beluga whales.

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Lots of engineers climbing all over this one, looks fantastic, I wonder what is inside.

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Very sad looking bear. Even though most people were acting well at the park, there was an entire family screaming at these bears for a few minutes trying to get them to look at them. Poor bears. They were screaming at the top of there lungs.

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Obviously the best ride name in the park. Shame it is just bumper cars, name makes it sound much more exciting.

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Soooooooo much construction. We saw people welding all over the park and lots of areas are still being built.

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Walrus Splash just looks amazing.

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The boats looked awesome and it didn't seem like it the ride would soak people.

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Just look at the walrus mountains! Insane.

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The ride entrance, looked like they were still doing something in the queue to get ready for opening, but the ride was testing for quite a long time.

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Bow down before the whale shark god!

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Oh beautiful whale shark, we couldn't find an actual one so we built you a massive statue.

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Some of the areas are really nicely done, even if they were quite bare. It felt very strange that there were so few people here on a weekend.

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The aquarium that houses the manatees.

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More photos!

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Wait... What? I can't believe it!

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I wish this were open.

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Useful.

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The boat ride that connects the theme park and hotel is quite nice. It's an upcharge but it was so cheap.

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One of the many lounges. The hotel is HUGE!!!

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The view from our room was great, there are only theme park or sea views so to me that's win/win.

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Lit up at night.

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All the restaurants are themed, but super empty. Breakfast buffet was excellent (and included) had choices for everyone. Dinner was pretty good and cheap for hotel prices.

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The circus is right next door too.

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The outside in the day. Extremely grand.

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Everything about this hotel is INSANE and HUGE. Shame so much of it is unfinished. We kept turning round corners and finding construction everywhere. With nothing to warn you or tell you to stay out or anything. The pools sound likt ehy are going to be amazing, lazy rivers and something called "Dolphin Pool".

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The foyer is probably the grandest thing about the place.

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Not a bad view, shame it was a misty day.

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The tickets and pink neon front of line passes.

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The hotel map, 50% of this stuff isn't completed. There's 3 restaurants, a drinks lounge, fitness room and business centre. There's a few shops there to buy clothes, Ocean Kingdom merch and chocolate. They really need to get a shop to buy soda and bottled water and snacks though.

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Outside the front.

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Great stuff! I've always felt that Chimelong Paradise was in my top parks already in China, and it looks like they might have one-upped themselves.

 

Also, does anyone have a really good pic of the giant Whale Shark? Been wanting to see what the detail is like on that thing.

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Wow! It's a beautiful park. I love all of the large statues of sea creatures. The hotel looks exquisite too.

 

What marine mammals do they have at the park? I'm guessing belugas, are there false killer whales as well? Any dolphins? Personal curiosity, I love cetaceans

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The park actually looks really nice. The flume ride with the two Walrus' looks really nice. I also love how the Wing Coaster dips and dives through the terrain a lot near the end. The hotel is very impressive too, especially that lobby with the dolphins!

 

Thanks for posting the report!

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Great stuff! I've always felt that Chimelong Paradise was in my top parks already in China, and it looks like they might have one-upped themselves.

 

Also, does anyone have a really good pic of the giant Whale Shark? Been wanting to see what the detail is like on that thing.

 

These are the best ones I got and a couple more of the brilliant entrance to the park. I took about 500 photos, but didn't want to be too repetitive so if there's anything you wanted to see, let me know.

 

Chimelong Ocean Kingdom does, indeed, look impressive (particularly the entrance). Love the photo with the fireworks.

 

I'm still not over that I could watch the fireworks from the hotel balcony.

 

Wow! It's a beautiful park. I love all of the large statues of sea creatures. The hotel looks exquisite too.

 

What marine mammals do they have at the park? I'm guessing belugas, are there false killer whales as well? Any dolphins? Personal curiosity, I love cetaceans

 

I'm not sure what a "false killer whale" is... But there's belugas, a dolphin show and dolphin pool.

 

The park actually looks really nice. The flume ride with the two Walrus' looks really nice. I also love how the Wing Coaster dips and dives through the terrain a lot near the end. The hotel is very impressive too, especially that lobby with the dolphins!

 

Thanks for posting the report!

 

The flume ride is the most impressive looking water ride I've seen. The coaster was better than I expected too.

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Bonus manta ray!

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Awesome report! The more I see of this park, the more blown away I am. That entrance under the ray is stunning. And that hotel is out of freaking control. Have to get there some day.

 

Thanks and more photos would be most welcomed!

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It most certainly is a beautiful park and hotel. I have to wonder though is there really enough public demand for such places in China or are these parks just another way for the government to funnel money into the economy to keep it from self correcting. The point I am getting at here is the Chinese are becoming quite famous for building things, like entire cities that will hold hundreds of thousands of people who don't exist. Giant ghost towns with skyscrapers all over the place and no one living or working there. Simply built to keep the economy going. Another example is the worlds largest shopping mall, lovingly maintained by a staff of grounds and maintenance people, the problem is... it's empty, not a single store is open inside the mall!

 

How busy was Ocean Kingdom when you visited? Did it seem like there was enough money being spent to keep the place open on the income generated by those visiting?

 

Sorry for the questions, just wondering.

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^I'm not going to lie, I don't know anywhere near enough about the issues for me to even begin to give you any kind of answers. I think this particular theme park has been built to encourage tourism from the neighbouring Special Administrative regions (as well as the region in mainland China). The area is incredibly close to Macau and with a bridge between Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai in the works, there could be some added tourism through that. There's also Guangzhou (the third biggest city in China) within day trip distance. I'm not sure how much of that will actually mean that Ocean Kingdom is successful. Especially when Hong Kong has the immensely popular Ocean Park.

 

I went on a Sunday and the place was pretty empty, by the time we left in the mid-afternoon there were very few visitors there. The longest queue was the ride around the aquarium, I can't remember if the posted wait time was 20 or 30 minutes. There was only two major rides open and I can't believe the queues were so short as I thought so many people would be going to them as there weren't many options. I'd imagine most people who were planning to visit came in the first week or they are waiting for the two water rides to open. The hotel was fairly empty too, but there was so much that wasn't opened there. The swimming pools didn't look like they were anywhere near finished, we asked about it and they said maybe June. So many restaurants had signs, but you'd get there and they weren't open. I think 3 were open and there's plans for something like 8 restaurants.

 

I wouldn't say that this is the same as the other projects you might have heard of, because there is so much potential in the park and there's a lot of themeing that makes this seems like this isn't just a throwaway project. I hope so anyway.

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Thanks for the response, going from the amount of people I could see in the photos and how you described what you saw I would say this park like many other large projects in the China are on the same government mandated bill. Built simply to spend money and keep the people busy. Please don't take the way I described those empty cities the wrong way. Those empty cities were not just tossed together. They are beautiful, fully modern, 6 lane avenues, traffic control systems, water supplies, power and all the other things needed for a city to work. The buildings are gorgeous high rise apartments and office buildings inside and out, not just empty shells. They, like this park I don't believe are meant to be disposable. With its location near Hong Kong, a very "different" kind of Chinese city with a much more Western culture it may continue to grow once the transportation infrastructure is finished and not have the same fate as these other projects.

 

I was watching a documentary on yet another one of these empty cities up in the northern part of China. Even though very few people live and work there (about 2% of its capacity) it has a population of "tourists" that spikes every afternoon. Can you imagine taking a bus trip to visit a newly built empty city for the afternoon?

 

Anyway, sorry to bring your topic into this. I was just wondering. The park was beautiful to look at through your camera and I hope that even if it was built just to "be built" they lovingly maintain it as well as they do the" worlds largest [empty] shopping mall". If so, those who do visit will get to enjoy it.

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^&^^ Here is my opinion:

 

Chimelong is a private owned company started from a sea food restaurant in 1983. With the opening of another restaurant, the gigantic zoo, the hotel, the nighttime zoo which was closed and rebilt to Chimelong Paradise and the water park, Chimelong has grown into a very successful company. They know they are doing the right thing before they invest all the money into the resort. Yes, the government encourage tourism and might have given them some special treat since they did an excellent job in Guangzhou, but it doesn't mean Chimelong has anything to do with the situation of most northern cities.

 

About the empty cities, this topic can get really complicated. When all the countries are investing money to China, if the government does not figure out a way to spend them or transform them out of the country, the price of everything would get extremely high. They have no choice other than that. While everyone is laughing at them for doing pointless jobs and invest huge amount of money to the African and South Asian countries, they are saving us from living a life like the Zembabweans.

 

Sorry for distracting the topic even further.

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