Mimaland, the abandoned theme park near Gombak, brings to mind “Spirited Away” — the wonderful film from Studio Ghibli, makers of the Japanese animated classic Totoro.
“Spirited Away” is about a family who stumble across a defunct theme park that was built during Japan’s bubble economy of the 1970s and later abandoned.
After sunset the 10-year-old heroine, Chihiro, discovers that the park gets taken over by spirits and monsters and her parents are turned into pigs. Chihiro has to work in a spirit-world bathhouse in order to secure freedom for her parents.
Mimaland opened in 1975 and was a popular water park until it closed down in 1993.
This predecessor of Sunway Lagoon had water slides, boating and fishing ponds, a dinosaur attraction, chalets and other facilities. Today, it is almost forgotten. It is overgrown and there is even talk of tiger sightings in the area.
Mimaland is just off the old Bentong road, not far from the Orang Asli Museum. There is a turn-off point that passes under a wooden gateway with weeds growing out of the roof.
The road is badly rutted and potholed, so explorers are advised to park the car by the roadside here and continue on foot. After about a 15-minute walk, a tall metal fence blocks the road, marked with warnings not to trespass any further.
By peering through a gap in the fence, the park’s dilapidated entrance gate can be seen. There was a small hut with a motorbike parked outside, presumably belonging to a security guard.
It is clear the jungle is reclaiming the park and visitors are no longer welcome.
A side trail did not offer a better vantage point to see what is inside as the tall, metal fence continued.
It was not a comfortable walk, with clouds of mosquitoes in search of a meal. Using repellent is highly recommended.
Don’t expect to see any ghosts or stink spirits at Mimaland, but it might not be a great place to visit after dark.
This article first appeared on Thrifty Traveller.