You’ve probably heard of Desaru, a beach destination in Johor that boasts of nice beaches and family-oriented resorts.

But tucked away at the edge of Desaru is a new development that’s expected to be the country’s latest premium travel destination. Desaru Coast is an integrated resort that houses three renowned hotel brands, a golf course, a retail outlet, a convention centre and a fun-filled waterpark.

At the moment, only The Els Club Desaru Coast and Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark are fully operational; Hard Rock Hotel is also open for business but parts of the property, including the kids’ centre, are not ready yet.

Developed by Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels, the other resorts at Desaru Coast are Westin, Anantara and One&Only, while the retail, dining and entertainment “village” is called Riverside.

Set against the backdrop of a fishing village, the waterpark covers about 10ha and is one of the biggest in the world. During a media visit recently, a walk around the property recorded a distance of 3km on a fitness app!

At full capacity, the park is able to take in as many as 12,000 guests. There are 20 different rides and slides located at five “splash zones” for children of different ages. Adventure Waterpark is home to the first water-coaster in South-East Asia, and has one of the biggest wave pools in the world.

If you’re hungry, just head to one of the five food and beverage outlets within the park, or fill up at one of the restaurants or cafes at the Riverside before making your way in. Those who stay at the Hard Rock Hotel can re-enter the park premises as many times as they wish in a day (if you opt for the special Adventure Waterpark packages, that is).

Some of the rides include Kraken’s Revenge, a water-coaster and flume ride with a 360˚ horizontal loop and a 27m drop; The Tempest, which comes with a 60m-diameter funnel; and the Swinging Ship, a dry ride that’s bound to bring out a few screams out of its passengers.

Desaru

Riptide is one of the four giant water slides at the park.

Toddlers and babies are not left out either as they can still have a splashing time at the three age-appropriate play areas. Frankly, some adults would probably enjoy some of the fun slides at these areas too!

The park welcomes everyone and tries to accommodate the needs of many, including differently-abled people. Wheelchair access and accessible toilets can be found all over the place, while prayer rooms and baby changing rooms are also available.

Best of all, the park is a 100% smoke-free facility!

Safety is also a big concern for the park so over 100 lifeguards are stationed at every ride, beach and pool. Guests at the Tidal Wave Beach and 350m-long Penawar River are fitted with lifejackets; jackets are also available upon request at other areas.

Desaru

Tidal Wave Beach is one of the biggest wave pools in the world.

Maintenance checks are done a few times daily while the water is filtered throughout the day, with the chlorine level automatically checked and adjusted. During rainy seasons, the park takes extra precautions.

“It’s a waterpark, so since most people will be wet anyway, there is no reason to stop them from having fun when it rains. All the rides will still work. However, as soon as we get notified of a storm, we will stop everything. You do not want to be out there when there is thunder and lightning!” said Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark general manager Jeff Jouett. He added that an early warning system is already in place for the area.

At the preview, park attendees welcomed guests with a lively dance performance (to the tune of Fun, Fun, Fun by the Beach Boys) at the entrance. This is probably to help put everyone – guests and staff – in a good mood even before stepping into the park.

“(The waterpark) was built with one vision in mind, and that is to be the perfect place for everyone to create fun and fond memories … We want everybody who comes here to have fun and to have a fun experience from the moment they arrive at the resort,” shared Jouett.

The park is open from 10am to 6pm daily, including on public holidays. Tickets start from RM90 and you can get them from the website (www.dcawp.com) or at the gate. Kids under three years old can enter for free.