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Wet, Wild and Fun Times at Mala Bay: Page 1

By Douglas Habecker

So it's hot, real hot. hThe moment you step out the door , sweat pours out of every pore and the humid air feels thick enough to cut with a knife.  All you can think about is heading for the next air-conditioned room or grabbing a cold drink.

For millions of Taiwan residents, the months of April through October are an annual struggle to stay cool.  Sales of anything liquid and cold explode and Taipower begins issuing warnings about over-use of electricity, as air conditioners suck up the megawatts. 

However, when the heat comes, the one place that Greater Taichung people generally do not head for is the beach, namely because there are no decent beaches to head for.  Swimming pools do provide some options (see About Town) but the practice of making the best of a hot situation by soaking up the rays on the sand or while paddling through the waves remains an alien one for central Taiwan.

Thanks to an exciting, impressive new addition that may begin to change.  On July 1, the owners of Mala Bay water park proudly cut the ribbon on the island's biggest facility of its kind. 

  The forgettable little Taichung county town of Houli, located within a few hundred meters of the North-South Freeway not far from the coastal town of Tachia, is home to this impressive development which covers several hectares of hillside land overlooking the highway.

The park is only a taste of what is yet to come--the international-class theme park, Discovery World, taking up about 20 hectares next door to Mala Bay and scheduled to open early next year.  It is all part of a NT$25 billion investment by the Yamay International Develoment Company which should help cement Greater Taichung's position as a leading Taiwan tourist destination.

For local residents and tourists alike looking to cool off and have a lot of fun, the most significant facet of Mala Bay is not its size, but its world-class quality.  This didn't come cheaply or randomly.  Yamay has hired a virtual army of leading foreign water and amusement park consultants from around the world to plan, design, construct and oversee operations of the park and its soon-to-come neighbor.  Given the fact that Disney is the benchmark for all such parks, it is significant to note that California-based LEDO International, made up of ex-Disney executives, oversees overall operations.  The park is also the brainchild of US-based White Water, designer of many world-class water parks.

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