Where: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Who: Mr, Mrs & Little Miss Wanderlust, Aaron, Janey, Alexi, Anton, Mamita, Papi
When: Dec 2014
What: Tour the city of Kuala Lumpur
This was Mr & Mrs Wanderlust's first trip to Kuala Lumpur, or Malaysia in general. Similar to Philippines when it comes to climate, yet a bit more better in terms of economy and a bit higher cost of living compared to other South East Asian countries (with the exception of the power countries, HK, SG & JP). There are similarities as well with the language (Bahasa Melayu) and how some of its people (Malay / Bumiputera) look.
Kuala Lumpur's heterogeneous populace includes the country's three major ethnic groups: the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians, although the city also has a mix of different cultures including Eurasians, as well as Kadazans, Ibans and other indigenous races from East Malaysia and Peninsula Malaysia. And having a diverse population of different ethnic groups means that there shall be plural and religiously diverse.
The city has many places of worship catering to the multi-religious population. From Islam practised primarily by the Malays and the Indian Muslim communities. Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism are practised mainly among the Chinese. Indians traditionally adhere to Hinduism. Some Chinese and Indians also accepted Christianity.
Kuala Lumpur or often abbreviated as K.L. is the capital and largest city of Malaysia. It is characterized by a huge valley known as Klang Valley. Kuala Lumpur is a tremendous city because of it multicultural population such as Malays, Indians, Chinese and Pan Asians. Indeed, Kuala Lumpur is crowded with beautiful Malaysian ladies.
Kuala Lumpur is also known as fascinating shopping paradise to the local people and tourists. It has developed into a mega shopping destination with a wide-variety of shopping centres and megamalls which carry well-known local and international brands. Several famous shopping places like Petaling Street, Central Market and Chow Kit Road will provide great bargain and offer assortment of customary arts and craft merchandises for visitors. KLCC, Berjaya Times Square and MidValley Megamall play big roles in providing numerous shopping outlets that attract consumers from other countries.
Hence, KL is the fastest growing metropolitan region within Malaysia in terms of population and economic.
It is very easy to get to the city of Kuala Lumpur as one only needs to book a flight from your destination (Manila, Philippines) in our case. Flights from NAIA to KLIA is a total of 4 hours.
KLIA2 is where our terminal which was a replacement to the old LCCT (Low Cost Carrier Terminal). This is terminal for flights coming from AirAsia, Tiger Airways, Malindo Air and Cebu Pacific.
KLIA is around 50 KM away from the city center or around 45 minutes drive, you can get there through riding local bus, their train system, or the easiest way is just renting a taxi.
Getting around is easy just avoid the rush hour 6am-8am / 4pm -7pm.
In general, transportation system has got a B+ grade from other travel websites. Transportation systems are, by regional standards, pretty well functioning. Planes, trains, buses, and taxis are linked in a system conceived and constructed by, if not an order-loving architect, at least a dedicated planner.
Suggested is also the Double-decker in KL called Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour buses serve 42 notable places. There is free Wi-Fi on board. An information commentary is given through headphones. Tickets (valid for 24 or 48hrs) give unlimited use during their validity. Children under 5 ride free. The buses are scheduled every half hour but waits may be as long as two hours due to traffic jams, so try to maximize use of the service outside rush hours.
Budget accommodation can be found everywhere; dormitory beds can cost as little as MYR12 per night, though MYR20 and higher is common. Find the cheap ones online if cost is an issue. Increasingly, newer & better ones are opening in the Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman/Chow Kit and Jalan Ipoh areas, the so-called growth areas in the city centre. On the other hand accommodation for Kuala Lumpur is similar in price to Bangkok for 5 star luxury hotels, with rooms available for as little as MYR400 or even less.
The gang chose to stay in
Berjaya Times Square Hotel
Mr & Mrs Wanderlust's Reviews:
+ Hotel is near the city center and many places to see are easily accessible.
+ Rooms are big and clean, with a nice view of the 2 giant towers, Petronas Twin Tower & KL Tower
+ Hotel staff are nice and many are also Filipino (kabayan!)
+ Connected to a mall for shopping lovers from tiangge style souvenir shops to retail chains.
+ The mall that is connected to hotel also features theme park with giant roller coaster
+ Free Wi-Fi for up to 4 devices in all rooms, strong signal not fake claim.
+ Has a big swimming pool with a view of petronas tower and 2 extra kiddie pool on the sides.
- Their suite rooms for 4 pax don't feature free breakfast on their rates.
- Room is kinda old/dated, and on our 3rd night on a different room we had leaks in toilet
Price: $$$ 9,000 -10,000PHP for 4 pax (suite with 2 rooms with 2 bathroom + 1 kitchen & living area)
Service: 5 star - staff were polite, and some were Filipinos too.
Facilities & Amenities: 4.8 star - Rooms are older/dated but clean and nice view / on 3rd day toilet leaks.
Restaurant (foods): n/a - Our rooms didn't come with breakfast, we always ate at mall connected to hotel.
Bar: n/a - We haven't been to the bar and can't honestly rate it for you this time.
Overall: 4.9 /5
1. Petronas Twin Towers - Soaring to a height of 451.9 metres, the 88-storey twin structure is Kuala Lumpur's crown jewel. Majestic by day and dazzling with lights at night. It is not to miss site when in KL, also, first 6 floors are shopping area for retail shops from regular to high end / luxurious brands. The rest of the tower are private offices / however there is also a walkway which also serves as a tourist spot that has observation deck and the sky bridge that connects the towers that would allow you to see KL high above the building.
2. Cental Market - Central Market Kuala Lumpur a few minutes away from Petaling Street. It was founded in 1888 and originally used as a wet market, while the current building was completed in 1937. It has since been classified as a Heritage Site by the Malaysian Heritage Society and it is now a landmark for Malaysian culture and heritage. Provides a focal point for piecing together K.L.'s past, taking in its current artsy-craftsy pulse and exploring nearby Chinatown. This is where we got lots of souvenirs and also lot of good buy from arts, antiques, crafts and cultural items.
3. The Bird Park - Dubbed as the world's largest free-flight walk-in aviary, allows you to chase peacocks and hornbills, pose with owls and parrots on one's shoulder, feed parakeets, watch ostriches lay eggs and be awed by soaring storks and flamingos in surroundings that hardly feel caged-in or too commercial.
4. Batu Caves - Just a 30-45 minute drive from KL can get you to a giant Hindu shrine dedicated to Lord Murugan and behind is steps 272 of them up the massive limestone structures into the natural caverns with smaller hindu shrines, lots of bats, pigeons and monkeys along the way. For the not so fit or older, prepare to challenge your cardio. Prepare bottled drinking water, and extra clothes/ towel etc.
5. Temples & Museums - Being really diverse in culture and religion, there are lots of temples that can be seen within the city. And some historically and culturally rich museums. From Mosques, to Buddhist & Hindu temples, to museums regarding history, and some also religious.
6. Shopping - Shopping in Kuala Lumpur is one of travel's greatest pleasures! Kuala Lumpur alone has 66 shopping malls and it is the retail and fashion hub for Malaysia. Goods are available in every price bracket.
From the luxurious Suria KLCC (just below Petronas Twin Towers), to Pavillion KL in Bukit Bintang Areao similar to Tokyo's Ginza, Singapore's Orchard Road or New York's Fifth Ave. For gadget hunters, they can look for Low Yat Plaza. Whilst shoppers hunting for the latest in affordable Asian style should definitely check out the mammoth Berjaya Times Square which is by the way the 13th largest shopping center in the world featuring a huge indoor theme park that even has a 7 story high loop roller coaster for bigger kids, horror house and more rides perfect for little ones as well while others are busy shopping, and Bukit Bintang / Sungei Wang Plaza. I don't think you will run out of malls to say as there are many more malls that I for sure have missed in this list.
7. Food / Drink / Wander - Markets from Little China to Little India that offer great injection of local color going through streets finding the shop that offers the perfect souvenirs for your friends and loved ones, and when tired, looking for the perfect hole in the wall restaurant that would let you taste the local flavors.
When hungry for say a midnight snack, we always look around the blocks and get lost trying to find something that would quench our "wander hunger" . Since most would be closed by 10 PM, maybe a stop for a convenience store to check out local drinks / foods that are local favorites. If lucky you can get even get an introduction to Malaysian food with 24 hour curry houses called (kedai mamak) or maybe chinese food house. And most definitely you would be able to find 7-Eleven around or other local convenience store such as KK mart that could also show you what local favorites are.
8. Other Day Trips
Genting Highlands 40 min by road on the East Coast Highway, has cooler weather, theme parks for the kids and a casino for the adults. Easily accessible by buses from KL Sentral. However the outdoor theme park has been announced that it will closed for 3 years for the reason of making way for Twentieth Century Fox Theme Park on 1st of September.
Putrajaya - Malaysia's megalomanic new federal administrative centre is 30 km to the south (20 min by KLIA Transit train). In the late 90's the government decided to decongest the capital city, KL by removing administrative buildings and move them over to a town nearby, where they also built housing for the government employees. Isn't that smart? I hope our home country's government planning take notes there.
For the Drinkers, the golden triangle area (the area around Petronas Tower) is perfect with a vibrant nightlife, epicentre of most of the partying and even cultural shows which goes on in the city. Nearby Bukit Bintang also throbs with action, and its neon-lit nightclubs, many of them with hostesses (for them gentlemans club and such), certainly have a more Asian feel to them.
Shopping: Do not always be fooled by the pricing as some unscrupulous sellers may have switched original components of devices with fakes. Verify before purchasing.
RESPECT: Public drunkenness in Malaysia is illegal.
If you can speak at least a few words of the four main local languages, namely Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese (especially Cantonese), Tamil and English, it will ingratiate you a lot with the locals. Also, while you may drink in pubs, restaurants and bars, public drunkenness is not tolerated. You will be more vulnerable to getting robbed or will find yourself in the back seat of a police car.
KL is ostensibly a liberal city and wearing revealing clothes will rarely cause major problems. However, avoiding overly revealing clothes goes a long way towards blending in. Many mosques and temples require covering up, and you will get more respect from officialdom if you dress up a little.
Always carry your passport: Malaysian law requires that visitors carry their passport at all times, and both police and "RELA" (civil volunteers) carry out spot checks for illegal immigrants.
The pricing and cost of living in the city of Kuala Lumpur is somewhat higher than that of Philippines and Thailand, but not as high as say, Singapore & Japan. But for certain examples such as booze, a can of beer in PH and TH is $1- $2 USD while in KL it may go up to $4 just for a can of beer in a convenience store.
Accommodation - Budget - $5-10 USD / Night -
Accommodation - 4-5Star - $100 USD / night or higher. But should be good hotel with that rate.
Transportation - LRT / Bus - $1 - $2 USD
Transportation - Taxi / 'Teksi'- $5- $10 USD - depending on location and traffic conditions
Transportation - Rental Car / Van - $100 - $200 USD / day depending on car/van/bus rent & other condition
Food - Budget / hole in the wall restaurants - $1 - $3 USD for full meal
Food - Mall Food court - $5-10 USD - full meal payable with prepaid card that is refundable upon exit.
Food - Restaurant - $100+++ - Luxury chinese food house on VIP, serves great food if cost is nothing.
Shopping - $5 - 10 USD - Souvenir keychain / shirt / hat etc.
Bonus: Sights & Sounds of Kuala Lumpur & Johor Bahru
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