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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

My fiance and I spent 6days on this trip last year (with a day trip to Singapore), though 3days would have been enough.  Come to think of it, we really just wanted to do something different for my birthday so I guess the extra 3days were okay somehow. When we started planning, we agreed not to spend excessively so we had our minds set to avoid malling even if KL is famous for shoes and clothes on bargain. Instead, we spent time and money sight seeing, eating, eating, and eating! :D

We booked our flight and accommodation with Cebu Pacific and Allson Genesis Hotel respectively — all done online 3 months ahead of schedule that’s why our overall expense appeared to be cheaper.  With extensive research and early reservations, you will be surprised to know how reasonably our money was spent for the entire trip.

Our hotel was located in Bukit Bintang, the shopping and entertainment district of KL.  Entering the lobby for the first time was a bit disappointing, but the cleanliness of the room as well as its size were enough to compensate.  Our reservation came with free breakfast which could be better, as the menu didn’t change until our 4th day.  Generally, it’s great for budget travelers who are after accessibility above anything else.

hop-on-and-offWe did all the tower, park, and museum visits  the 1st 2 days.   To conveniently explore KL, we purchased Hop-on Hop-off (HOHO) bus tickets sold at RM38 (about $11) good for 1 day… good thing station #6 was just a 2-minute walk from our hotel (many thanks to our friend Pauline who suggested HOHO).  The bus route actually covers 43 tourist attractions including shopping centers, but we only went to 20 of them.  What we liked so much about HOHO is that you have the option to either stay on the bus for the full tour or hop-off at any of the designated stops and explore the place at your own pace.  Every bus has a 30-minute interval, so if you miss the next bus, you can always hop-on to the next ones.

6a00e54f8d09138833010534daf6b9970c-500wi1We love visiting towers whenever we travel, and it’s interesting that KL has two.  We first went up to the Petronas Twin Towers.  Tickets to the SkyBridge/viewing deck are free, however, only 1300 tickets are awarded daily and there is always a long queue to get one.  We got there as early as 7am but to our surprise, about 200 people were already waiting ahead of us.  Viewing happens every 15mins and is open to the public from 9am-5pm,  Tuesday-Sunday.  The ticket counter opens at 830am, although on a very busy day, tickets are all awarded by 10:30 in the morning.  To avoid any disappointment, I would suggest you be there as early as possible so you wouldn’t have to wait too long in line.  **Petronas Twin is at bus stop #22 of HOHO**

kgtoh0605000901Then we visited the other tower, Menara KL.  Tickets are sold at RM20 (about $6) each which serves as entrance fee to the 335-meter high observation deck.  We took the high-speed elevator going up, and as we entered the deck, we were asked as to the language we prefer — soon after, each of us were given mp4 players with pre-recorded audio tour.  The tower offers an exhilarating view of KL including Genting Highlands; and since there’s no time limit, you can enjoy the views around the deck at your own pace.  There’s a fine-dining revolving restaurant just below the observation deck that showcases a different view every minute ( it takes about an hour to enjoy 360 degree view of KL).  We planned on having our lunch there after the tour, but we didn’t know that a reservation has to be made in order to be accommodated.  Oh well :) **KL Tower is at bus stop #2 of HOHO**

aquariaI’m not a fan of aquariums because I think they’re all the same — but my fiance is an aquatic person so we hopped off the bus to explore Aquaria.  Upon entering to begin our tour, we were greeted by a gallery that provides information on the evolution of fish.  After that, we headed down a wooden staircase to check-out the 5.3m high tube tank with aquatic wildlife such as catfish swimming around it.  The floor also had open pools about 3-4ft high that enabled visitors to see the fish up close, and even pet them.  As we walked the length of the pool, we came across some baby sharks but they didn’t seem to faze the catfish and stingrays from enjoying their time in the pool.  After those close encounters, we headed to the tunnel aquarium which had mini school of sandtiger sharks.  There were quite a few sections that I passed through without seeing, I totally lost interest and just wanted to go and see “Jaws” which marked the end of everything in Aquaria.  The entrance fee per person is RM38 (about $11).  **Aquaria is at bus stop #4 of HOHO**

merdeka-squareWent off to see the historical Merdeka Square, also known as Independence Square.  It’s the place in Malaysia where all the old British colonial buildings are situated.  The lawn frontingRoyal Selangor Club holds a hundred-meter flag pole which is said to be the tallest in the world.  Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is just across, is very impressive — it’s very well designed and built, with a copper dome and a clock tower similar to Britain’s Big Ben.  If you love to see diverse architectures, you’ll sure enjoy your time in this place.  **Merdeka Square is at bus stop #16 of HOHO**

istana-negaraAnother architecture that’s worth seeing is Istana Negara — the official residence of the king and queen of Malaysia.  The palace is not open to the public, so visitors can only see and take pictures from the high black iron and gold crested gates.  On each side of the arch-shaped entrance gate is a guard house, and each of them had a guard mounted on a horse.  We came right in time to see the changing of the guards at the main gate, however, it was very short unlike the grand ritual of the Buckingham Palace.  **Istana Negara is at bus stop #10 of HOHO**

parkToward the end of our 2nd long day, having some snacks while seated on a bench at Taman Tasik Titiwangsa was very relaxing.  It is one of the most popular recreational parks in KL, where most locals go to canoe, jog, bike, and do their workout routines.  During our visit, the Eye on Malaysia, a 60m high viewing wheel consisting of 42 airconditioned gondolas was still operational in the park (apparently it’s been relocated to Malacca).  At the edge of the lake sits a floating restaurant that served local cuisine.  **Taman Tasik Titiwangsa is at bus stop #20 of HOHO**

Three days before our flight back home, we decided to go on a day trip to Singapore.  We were supposed to travel by air but since it was a last-minute decision, we were not very lucky to get a morning flight.  Instead, we took a KTM overnight sleeper train and by 8am we were already at Keppel Road in SG.  It turned out to be a good decision to travel by train because the cabin was comfortable enough that I had continuous sleep the whole time (which I’m sure would have not happened if we took a bus).  I’ll give a more detailed story of that day trip in my Singapore blog.

The friendly nature of the Malaysians make the tourists happy and their trip even more comfortable and enjoyable.  You can barely defy your appeal to go for endless shopping avenues, varied culture, tasty local foods and fascinating theme parks.  The most important thing that each and every visitor search for is the facility for accommodations.  In KL, you never face any problem in getting a good accommodation facility because it is filled with quite comfortable hotels and they include diversity of accommodations at rates which suit anyone’s budget.

5 Responses to “Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia”

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