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Kuala Lumpur

28/07/2009
Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur

A couple of days ago I got back from a holiday in Kuala Lumpur (KL). I was last there for 2 days as part of a Japan school trip some 10 years ago, so it was time to go back and the check the place out.

I booked my tickets with Air Asia and from Medan its only a 45 minute flight on an Airbus A320. I’m not a big fan of low-cost airlines, while they are on the face of great for the travelling public they are leading us down a path of changes within the industry that aren’t all that positive and in the long-term may have some serious safety effects. That said sometimes you need to be realistic and a return flight for US$95 including travel insurance and bus transfers from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to KL Sentral Station can’t be sneezed at (so much for principles eh).

Booking cheap tickets (and I got that price 5 days out from departure) was a good idea financially because 2 days before the holiday my just over 2 year old Compaq laptop decided now was the opportune time to have a hard-drive failure (and I’m pretty sure the power supply was rooted too). That did not please me much as you can imagine but thankfully computers are pretty cheap in Indonesia. I ended up settling on an Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T. It’s a nice machine, 13.3” LED screen, 8 hour battery life, 500 GB hard-drive, 4 GB RAM but no DVD drive. It’s very light and slim and the battery life is truly fantastic. I will probably get a portable external DVD drive at some stage.

But I digress, armed with my shiny new laptop I set off to KL with Air Asia, the flight as is typical for low-cost airlines was a little delayed but we made up some time in flight thanks to Malaysian air traffic control who unlike their Indonesian counterparts don’t attempt to write their names in the sky by vectoring aircraft all over the place with little purpose nor reason.

After picking up my luggage from the carousel I went to exchange some Indonesian Rupiah for Malaysian Ringgit. As I was walking up to the counter I noticed a familiar face standing there. Sure enough it was another company pilot who was in KL for the day. We took the Skybus together and then a cab to the Novotel Kuala Lumpur City Centre where I was staying to drop off my luggage and then headed to the Pavillion shopping mall for Teppanyaki. After that we went to Bukit Bintang so he could buy a new phone and then down to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) area to a cafe in the Suria KLCC shopping mall at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers overlooking the KLCC park. After that it was time for him to head back to the airport to go back to work.

Suria KLL shopping mall at the base of the Twin Towers

Suria KLL shopping mall at the base of the Twin Towers

The Novotel was fantastic; I got a good deal for a King-size room on the ‘Biz floors’ (floors 23-28). Breakfast was served each morning in the Business Lounge on the 28th floor and snacks and drinks were provided each evening before dinner time – nice.

KL is a major shopping destination for south-east Asians and certainly does not disappoint. While not a huge shopping fan I did visit my fair share of shopping malls and depart with cash at the same time. Pavillion is very new and modern and was right across the road from the Novotel, Suria KLCC is quite upmarket and was just down the road. Times Square is massive and has a roller coaster in it, (was closed when I went there.) But the shops are pretty average. The last one I went to was Mid Valley which meant using the Monorail and Trains to get there and is really massive but quite nice.

10 years ago on the school trip I went to Batu Caves and I really wanted to visit there again. Given its so hot I decided to set out early one day and take the train to the north of KL where the Batu Caves are. It actually took quite a long time to find the KLCC train station (signage in the city is a bit disappointing) but eventually a security guard who hailed from Nepal pointed me in the right direction and I was soon on the train to Terminal Putra.

From the Terminal Putra station I got a taxi to the caves. The Caves are every bit as impressive as I remember them being and the area as a whole seems a lot cleaner than 10 years ago. There are 272 steps to the main chamber of the Batu Caves so I bought a bottle of water from a shop and headed on up. About halfway up a monkey tried to take my water bottle but I didn’t relent! Once in the caves I took an awful lot of photos (last time I had a film camera), it was a really nice time of day to be there with the mid-morning light streaming through.

Batu Caves

The steps leading up to the Batu Caves

The main chamber of the Batu Caves

The main chamber of the Batu Caves

Later that day I went to KL Aquaria, the city aquarium, admission was RM38 (NZ$16.50). It was very similar to Kelly Tarlton’s in Auckland but it also had a lot of Spiders, snakes and turtles. Overall it wasn’t that great but killed some time. I also went to the KL Tower (officially Menara Tower) which is a telecommunications tower 421m high (Sky Tower in Auckland is 328m). It of course provides commanding views of the whole city and the admission price like Aquaria of RM38 isn’t too bad.

Aquaria KLCC

Aquaria KLCC

The viewing levels of the KL Tower

The viewing levels of the KL Tower

Times Square from the KL Tower (orange buildings)

Times Square from the KL Tower (orange buildings)

On the final night after the evening snack and drinks at the Business Lounge I headed to 7atenine restaurant for a later dinner. This is a very nice restaurant sitting across the road from the KLCC complex at the base of The Ascott residences with views of the Petronas Twin Towers. Dinner was very nice – avocado crab and vegetable tempura washed down with a couple of glasses of chardonnay. For a trendy eatery like this the bill of RM91.40 (NZ$39.60) was incredibly reasonable. After that I headed to the Traders Hotel where they have the Sky Bar on floor 33. The hotel is at the opposite end of the KLCC park to the Twin Towers and provides magnificent views of the city from both sides as you sip you cocktail. I started off with a Kiwitini – Kiwifruit juice with Belvedere vodka and Moet – could have quite a few of those!

Sky Bar at the Traders Hotel

Sky Bar at the Traders Hotel

Overall I had a very enjoyable 5 days in KL. Malaysia is a fairly sorted country and with KL you can place it on the continuum between Jakarta and Singapore with Jakarta being a bit of a disaster and Singapore being clinical and highly organised. Based on my experience of KL I would place it centrally on the continuum but more tending towards Singapore. It’s a nice place and I will definitely go back.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 27/06/2010 04:45

    I’m visiting KL in August and this post is really helpful 🙂

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