Some call Happy Valley (or Huanle Gu) the Chinese version of Disneyland. As that nickname suggests, you’ll find a huge variety of attractions, performances, and festivals all in one place. The amusement park is divided into seven different areas, each with its own unique theme (Wild Fjord, Aegean Harbor, Lost Maya, Shangri-La, Atlantis, Ant Kingdom, and Happy Time). Whether you’re a casual explorer visiting with your family or a die-hard adrenaline junkie, Happy Valley promises boundless fun.
For those looking to score some blood-pumping action, Happy Valley has four roller coasters. If you enjoy the exhilaration of “flying” through the sky, we recommend the one-of-a-kind Crystal Wing, a rollercoaster that suspends you horizontally while soaring and dive-bombing at harrowing speeds. Besides roller coasters, there are plenty of other thrilling rides, such as the Trojan Horse, Apollo Wheel, and Twin Tower Heroes for the stout-hearted. (We mean it.)
For kid-friendly attractions, visit the Haunted Cavern, game booths, and the various small rides in the Ant Kingdom and Happy Time areas. Additionally, there are several water rides in the Aegean Harbor that will provide a quick escape from the heat. For more relief from the hot weather, visit the ice cream and cold drink vendors scattered around the park. Don’t forget your sunscreen, if you’re going on a nice day.
Restaurants and snack stands are all over Happy Valley, so you won’t have to walk far to get a quick bite or a full meal. On a side note, the toilets are reasonably clean, and all the bathroom stalls have a sign that indicates whether there’s a squat or Western toilet.
The service in Happy Valley is great. The staff is friendly and won’t hesitate to help. The instructions and advice given for rides are sensible and clear, and safety is obviously their number one priority.
Prioritize, because the queuing time in between rides can eat away a lot more time than expected. The amusement park is rather crowded, even during weekdays. If you’re unable to visit all of your planned attractions in one day, consider staying the night at City Inn Happy Valley hotel before heading out for another round the next day.
RMB 180, RMB 160 (university students with IDs), RMB 140 (middle school and elementary students with IDs), RMB 120 (seniors and kids between 1.2-1.5 m), free for seniors over 70 and kids under 1.2m. Daily 8.30am-10pm. Xiaowujibei Lu, East Fourth Ring Road, Chaoyang District (6738 3333)
Directions: Happy Valley isn’t located conveniently close to a subway station; the closest one is Jinsong (劲松) station on Line 10, which is located about 5km northwest of the park. Catch a cab from there. (In the future, Line 7 will include a Happy Valley stop; the line is slated for completion in 2013.)
Photos by Marcel Tan