OCT EAST SHENZHEN

All of the ingredients of a perfect beach holiday are at Dameisha: sun, blue water, tasty and inexpensive restaurants, history at Dapeng and walks. And, now, there’s OCT East.

This is the latest theme park from the OCT stable and the only one outside the Overseas Chinese Town area.

OCT East is set on a mountainous site overlooking Dameisha beach and the mountains of Hong Kong’s New Territories provide for spectacular views. The park’s designers, US group Falcon’s Treehouse, were given a brief to design an eco-tourism park which would be different from anything else in China.

The park is designed around four valleys. There’s Tea Stream Valley which celebrates tea culture and its links with Zen Buddhism, Knight Valley which has more traditional fun park rides, Wind Valley which concentrates on low energy consuming pursuits like hot air ballooning and, a little strangely, Guanyin Lotus Valley. Yes, religious tourism. The milling crowds in St Peter’s in Rome tell us that this isn’t such a strange idea but it took us a while to get used to it. At the top is the Interlaken OCT Hotel, one of Shenzhen’s most luxurious, and the OCT East Golf Course, which is definitely the peak of Shenzhen Golf.

Classic attractions include a log flume ride, a bob-cart ride, and a children’s zone packed with rides. Other rides include a 4D dark ride and a Splash Battle themed around disaster relief. And it’s not there yet but it’s planned to incorporate a 3D, 360-degree theatre to take the audience deep into an ocean.

But to us, even with all these undoubted attractions, the best part of OCT East is just getting around it. It’s enormous, almost vertical in parts, and very heavily wooded. We take our place in the line for the cable car. We are in the company of a young Hong Kong couple who can barely disguise their excitement. We rise quickly above the ground and a magnificent vista appears, looking across the broad sweep of Dameisha beach and the rocky headlands that guard it, to the tall mountains of the New Territories. Two enormous container ships seem suspended in motion, even though we know they are travelling at speed. Our Hong Kong companions let out loud exclamations. Green forested valleys interspersed with new attractions appear below us. We arrive at the top. We walk along a walkway. It’s hot but the altitude and a sea breeze make the walk pleasant. A vista of the golf course appears on the other side.

Don’t forget that, in common with all the OCT theme parks, the shows are the main attractions. These are on constantly. The Tea Stream Valley, for instance, has the “Tea Show”, a spectacular extravaganza featuring a cast of hundreds dancing to Tea and Buddhist themes. Don’t miss it.

Address: OCT East, Dameisha, Yantian

Buses nos. 53, 239, 103, 360, 364 Da Mai Sha Website: http: //www.octeast. com/en/


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