China 01/20 – Xishuangbanna Sunac Land
I’ve always been tempted by this place, even though it seemed slightly out of reach. What didn’t help this time around was the degree of uncertainty about it all. They didn’t update their 2020 calendar/opening dates until the 4th January 2020 (the night before we flew), until which it just said we’re open 10:00 – 19:00 from 1st July 2019 to 31st December 2019. Helpful.
I threw caution to the wind and booked flights anyway, I was reasonably confident given the part of the country it was in that it was gonna be a 365 day a year job, but you never know. I’ve already personally been on the receiving end of every single excuse this country can throw at me to not open something.
I love taking the big trains everywhere in China so it sucks that it had to be a plane in this case – they’re such a faff, and more expensive, and less refundable. And planes are the only option here unless you want a 9-16 hour coach drive (I’d rather walk). I believe from what we saw out the window they are working on some trains down here, carving their way through absolutely everything. Might be easier in future. Might be gone.
So we jumped on a plane first thing.
Or should I say Xishuangbanna.
Had our first ever female taxi driver in China to the park, which was a welcome change. They clearly do things differently round here.
Slight confusion at the ticket office as tickets were so offensively cheap (£9) I wasn’t sure whether they included the rides or just admission. They did.
Day 5 – Xishuangbanna Sunac Land
And it’s another pretty start.
Also a very typical start. Arrive for opening but have literally nothing to do but mince around for the first hour, I guess having a laugh with friends and thinking ‘I’m in a theme park!’, because none of the attractions are open yet.
Exciting sounds. The sole reason I made this journey today. She’s testing.
I tried not to look at the layout too hard while watching. I still wanted to be surprised by this thing. To the untrained eye, it’s a Superman clone, and they suck. I most likely wouldn’t have come if it was one of them.
But it’s not, and it’s awesome. It hits the pretzel loop first which kicks your ass, winds you, messes with your head and is amazing all at the same time. Then it doesn’t end. It maintains that intensity through another corner in a similar vein to Acrobat/Manta by which time you’re shouting ‘ahhhhhhhh I cant stands no more.’ Then out of nowhere – weird airtime on a flying coaster, it whips into an unexpected drop over the water.
Sadly (or perhaps not, it could have shot something nasty into my face) the water effect wasn’t working, the whole water around the area with fake animals and stuff in it looks a bit… forgotten.
From there it does a cool inversion (not an inline as RCDB would have you believe) and then it’s like the best bit of Air/Galactica where you swoop down really close to some grass before the finish. And no spit on the ground.
So I loved it and I’m really glad I went. The experience made the plane ride worthwhile alone. As a bonus I’ve now got every flyer layout in the world.
I could leave now.
But let’s see what else this quaint little place has to offer.
Round the corner is one of these things. Bit shorter than the original.
The first splashdown was off and overall much less wet. Lift is cool, is what it is.
Last cred is in the Tea Horse Trail area.
The name makes it sound much cooler than delivering tea, but it’s not.
Being a clone of Pony Express, it’s a figure of 8 with a launch on some horses. Shorter than the time it takes to walk through the queue.
And that was that really. As with the other Wanda/Sunac places I’ve done so far it lacks in certain ride categories – namely dark rides and leaves you feeling a little short around halfway through the day.
But we were stuck here all day until the flight that evening, so chilled out and made the most of it.
Found Xishuangbanna cat.
There were a couple of ‘cultural’ shows throughout the day including some traditional dancing by these ladies.
And then some more traditional dancing – I approved until the other guests joined in and made a hash of it. The blokes with the bamboo poles basically act like robots for 30 unflinching minutes, moving them in and out to a rhythm. You have to get your timing right and step between the poles without tripping up.
Rapids opened up later on – it was alright. Didn’t do a whole lot.
So I took many more rides of this beast.
Amusingly it might have the most ghetto exit of any B&M out there. You’ve got competition, Six Flags Great Adventure.
The park was dead, as ever, and it was a weekend as well so it got unnervingly quiet at the end of the day.
They said there was one last show at closing time, outside the entrance and what this consisted of was all the performers from earlier lining up to do a bit of a jig and wave goodbye to everyone as they left the park. But despressingly, there was almost no one to say goodbye to. They outnumbered the remaining guests at this stage.
I liked it though. Quirky and special, fitting for the park as a whole.
It was an easy ride back to the airport, no flight issues, no complaints.
Surprisingly really. Something’s got to go wrong soon.