MALAYSIA


Diary/Travel guide

Kuala Lumpur

Dates : September 9th, October 8th and 9th 2007
Duration : 3 days
Visited country : Malaysia
Visited town : Kuala Lumpur
Visited sites : Chinatown - Petronas Twin Towers - KL Bird Park - Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens
Accommodation : Hotel
Transportation : Train - Monorail - Underground - Bus - Taxi
Number of persons : 2 (Emmanuelle & Gilles)
Used language : English
Average exchange rate during the travel : 1 EUR (Euro) = 4,75 MYR (Ringgit malasio) = 1,40 USD (American Dollar)


Summary of the route

NIGHTS

VISITS
1 night in Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur
27 nights in Indonesia (see travel book Indonesia)
2 nights in Kuala Lumpur Kuala Lumpur

Preparation

Looking for a plane ticket for our travel in Indonesia, we have found an interesting flight via Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), which has allowed us to make a one night stopover during our outward flight and a two nights stopover during our return flight.

Apart from the round trip flights (Germany-Malaysia-Indonesia) we hadn't booked anything in advance.


Outward journey

The outward journey was divided into two flights ; a first flight Frankfurt-Bangkok lasting 13 hours and 30 minutes (with the airline company "Lufthansa" including a 3 hours route Strasbourg-Frankfurt by bus ; a second flight Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur (507 EUR inclusive of tax the return ticket per person, for the complete route Strasbourg-Frankfurt-Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur (french website) ), which has allowed us to spend 1 night in Kuala Lumpur.

It is 6:05 PM when we land in Kuala Lumpur. It is planned that we take off the next day at 4:40 PM to Bali (see travel book Indonesia), which lets us one morning to have a glimpse of the city of Kuala Lumpur. During the return flight, we are going to spend 2 nights in Kuala Lumpur, which will allow us to take advantage of this capital a little more.


KUALA LUMPUR

Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia, is a modern city whose population is cosmopolitan, with an important number of people from Asian descent, of course, but also Indians, Westerners, etc. As for Indonesia, it is a country with a predominantly Muslim religion (60 %), you must add to this 20 % of Buddhists, about 10 % of Taoists, Hindus, Christians, etc. The official language is the same than in Indonesia, that is to say Bahasa, which is practised by about one out of two inhabitants ; the alphabet is the same than the occidental one, contrary to the neighbouring countries (Thailand,..) As a former British colony, English is of course very often spoken.

MALAY LANGUAGE
Here are a few words in Malay language :
  • yes : ya ;
  • no : tidak ;
  • good morning (until noon) : selamat pagi ;
  • good afternoon (from noon to 3:00 PM) : selamat siang ;
  • good afternoon (from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM) : selamat soré ;
  • good evening (after 6:00 PM) : selamat malam ;
  • welcome : selamat datang ;
  • good night : selamat tidur ;
  • goodbye : selamat jalan ;
  • thank you : terima kasih ;
  • you're welcome : sama sama ;
  • what's your name ? : tapanama ? ;
  • French : perancis ;
  • town : kota ;
  • mountain : gunung ;
  • volcano : gunung api ;
  • banana : pisang ;
  • chicken : ayam ;
  • fried rice : nasi goreng ;
  • fried pastas : mi goreng.

The climate in Malaysia is very hot and very humid all over the year, with a peak of monsoon during April and October ; so we have been surprised several times by driving rains with violent gusts of wind.

KLIA Airport (Kuala Lumpur International Airport)

Most of the big airline companies land and take off from KL International Airport. Since it is a big Asian aviation hub, airfares are cheap, as they are departing from the airport of Bangkok in Thailand. We have managed to find a flight for 507 EUR inclusive of tax the return ticket, for a route Strasbourg-Kuala Lumpur with the aid of this flight comparator (french website) (fares 2007).

It is 6:05 PM when we land. As the airport is distant from the town, we get to the capital by train in order to find an accommodation for the night.

TO GET TO THE CENTRE OF THE CAPITAL FROM KLIA AIRPORT (OR INVERSELY)
To get to the centre of the capital, you have the possibility to take an express train called "KLIA Ekspres" or "KLIA Transit" which is situated at the level 1 of the airport (take the lift and follow the pink bills). This train links KLIA Airport to "Sentral Station" in Kuala Lumpur in 28 minutes (7,50 EUR for a single ticket ; 15 EUR for a return ticket).
If you don't want to take the train, there are of course some taxis and buses which make the route, but it will take about 1 hour. The bus will cost about 2,10 EUR per person and the taxi about 20 EUR (whatever the number of persons).

Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
KLIA Ekspres

Sentral Station

In the train, we back our watches 6 hours compared with France. Once at the station "Sentral station" (it is actually written "Sentral" and no "Central" ; see map), it is then possible to take the "Rapid KL" (it is a metro train) - line "Kelana Jaya Line" - to get to Chinatown or even Petronas Towers. Another possibility consists in going out of the station, to go through the big parking, then to take the "KL Monorail" (it is an air monorail) also to get to Chinatown (see map).

Chinatown

The Chinese district of Kuala Lumpur is ideal to find some accommodations and restaurants with moderate prices. Furthermore, from this district, it is easy to tour around and visit the rest of the city. From the station "Sentral station", we choose to take the "KL Monorail" to get to Chinatown. A few minutes later, we arrive at the stop "Maharajalela" (2d stop ; 0,34 EUR per person ; see map). The other possibility was to take the "Rapid KL" as far as the stop "Pasar Seni" (1st stop ; 0,21 EUR per person ; easier than the previous version, but at this time, we didn't know it yet).

TO TAKE A METRO TRAIN OR A MONORAIL
It is very easy to get around Kuala Lumpur thanks to the 3 underground lines and the monorail line. To go aboard, you just need to buy a ticket, either at the vending machines, or at the ticket offices if they are open (according to the opening hours). You must know in advance your final destination, because the price will be set according to the place where you want to go. Indeed, the entrances and exits of the platforms are equipped with ticket barriers which open thanks to the ticket that you have bought. So you have to be vigilant when purchasing the ticket.

We go out at the stop "Maharajela" (see map) and we walk for about ten minutes before arriving in Chinatown. At past 7:00 PM, the dark streets are deserted. With our big bags on the back, the heat and the ambient air very humid make the sweat trickle down our entire body.

We arrive at the main alley of Chinatown, "Jalan Petaling" which is swarming with people ! Numerous stands are being taken down. With the heat, fish smells and other various smells hard to recognize, the emanations are really sickening ! Since we don't have the energy to look for an accommodation for a long time, we halt in the first one found, "Hotel China-town 2" (70-72, Jalan Petaling, 603-2072 9933 ; www.hotelchinatown2.com ; 21 EUR for a big room "Delux" ; 19 EUR for a small room "Standars" without a window ; clean ; air-conditioned, internet access for 0,21 EUR per 10 minutes and quite fast ; see map).

Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

We have dinner nearby, at "Swiss Inn" (delicious ; vegetarian spring rolls for 2,50 EUR ; nasi lemak = too spicy ; big fruit juice for 2,50 EUR). There are many other restaurants or stands where it is possible to have something to eat for modest costs.

More photos of Chinatown...

The following morning, we wander in the park situated at the rear of Petronas Towers then we go back to our accommodation to... have a rest until noon : jet lag is being felt ! We have lunch again at "Swiss Inn". Before leaving our accommodation, we book a room for one month later, since during our return flight from Indonesia, we will have a 2 nights stopover in the Malay capital.

We leave Chinatown with the "Rapid KL", from the station "Pasar Seni" to the station "Sentral Station" (a few minutes ; 0,21 EUR per person).

LCCT Airport (Low Cost Carrier Terminal)

Most domestic flights and international low cost flights land and take off at/from this airport, among them the flights of the airline company Air Asia.

TO GET TO LCCT AIRPORT FROM THE CAPITAL (OR INVERSELY)
A good means to get to LCCT Airport from the centre of Kuala Lumpur is to take the bus. To do so, you firstly must get to the "Sentral Station" with the metro train "Rapid KL" (line "Kelana Jaya Line") or with the monorail "KL Monorail" (see map). Once at the station "Sentral Station", you must go to the level 0, at the place where the buses stop. From this place, the buses "Aerobus" leave for LCCT Airport, with departures almost every 30 minutes, from 3:15 AM to 10:30 PM. It is recommended to arrive early enough, because depending on the queue, it will not always be possible to board the 1st bus coming. The fare costs 1,70 EUR for a single ticket and 2,95 EUR for a return ticket. The route to the airport lasts about 1 hour and 15 minutes, if there is no traffic jam ! Buses are comfortable and air-conditioned.
Another means to get to this airport is the taxi, but it will of course be much more costly !

We choose to take this bus to get to LCCT Airport and take one return ticket. 1 hour later, we are at the airport. Inside, there are numerous check-in desks but we notice that the only airline company here is Air Asia. Our flight takes off in time at 4:30 PM for Bali in Indonesia (46 EUR inclusive of tax the single ticket per person, for the route Kuala Lumpur-Dempasar in Indonesia ; ticket bought on www.airasia.com from France ; no meal on board, but possibility to buy something to eat ; 3 hours flight ; no extra cost).

LINKS BETWEEN THE TWO AIRPORTS
Nota Bene : If you don't want to go through the town centre of Kuala Lumpur, some shuttles commute between the two airports ; duration of the route : about 25 minutes for about 0,32 EUR.

(INDONESIA : KOMODO, RINJANI AND BALI)

Part of the travel which takes place in Indonesia (see Indonesia), before coming back to Kuala Lumpur (see below).


We are already on the way back... We take off, as planned, from Surabaya in Indonesia at 6:30 PM with the airline company Air Asia, to get back to Kuala Lumpur (flight bought from France on www.airasia.com for 16 EUR inclusive of tax per person the single ticket ; no meal on board, but possibility to buy something to eat ; 2 hours and 35 minutes flight ; no extra cost).

We land at LCCT Airport in Kuala Lumpur 25 minutes early. In getting our bags back, I have a bad surprise noticing that one of my zips is open, but nothing has been stolen ; apparently it has come undone all alone and only notes and visiting cards have been lost.

We take, with our ticket bought during the outward journey one month earlier, the bus "Aerobus" which drops us off in the centre of Kuala Lumpur and more precisely at the station "Sentral Station", (see above, LCCT Airport).  We take the metro train "Rapid KL" as far as the station "Pasar Seni" (a few minutes route ; 0,21 EUR per person). Then we walk for 10 minutes as far as the centre of Chinatown to get to the accommodation "Hotel China-town 2" that we have booked for 2 nights during our previous stay one month earlier. It is 1:00 AM when we go to bed.

The following morning, lie-in, then we spend 1 hour at the cybercafe of our accommodation (fast access for 0,21 EUR per 10 minutes).

Petronas Twin Towers

Designed by the architect Cesar Pelli and unveiled in 1998, Petronas Twin Towers are 452 metres high and each one is made up of 88 floors. They are linked by a footbridge built at the level of the 42th floor, 170 metres away from the ground. The building is a business centre very secured which notably shelters the offices of the Malay oil tycoon Petronas, owner of the two towers, and who, moreover, has given his name to them. So it is impossible to enter this place without a temporary badge.

We had glimpsed the two towers in the film "Entrapment" starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery, but seeing them in real size, huge and wondrous, drives us enraptured !

HOW TO GET TO PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS
The easier way is to take the line "Kelana Jaya Line" of the metro "Rapid KL" as far as the stop "KLCC" (see map). Otherwise, it's bus, taxi or walking !

To get to Petronas Twin Towers from Chinatown, we take the "Rapid KL" ("Kelana Jaya Line") at the station "Pasar Seni", as far as the station "KLCC" (15 minutes route ; 0,34 EUR ; see map).

To visit and reach the footbridge, you are bound to take a guided visit. The visit is free of charge, but a good organisation and time are necessary... Indeed, you have to hold a ticket which can be got inside the two towers, from 8:30 AM (it's marked and if you don't find it, you just need to ask someone). The ticket gives the visiting hour (time slots of 30 minutes). Visits begin at 9:00 AM and end at 9:00 PM (check the information). We were there at 7:30 AM, and the huge queue composed of persons which were waiting in front of the ticket office since 6:00 AM to get the 1st tickets, has deterred us from waiting in our turn !!! In other words, the tickets of the day are already cleaned out early in the morning. After having made inquiries, we have learnt that it is not possible to get a ticket the previous day... Another information to know : Monday is closing day !

So we have given up the idea to visit the towers and we have settled for taking photos of them from the outside, by day and by night. At the rear of the twin towers, is the park "KLCC" where it is good to wander or to have a drink at one of the numerous sundecks (for example : "The Dome"). In the park, a show with water-jets comes alive every hour.

KLCC Park in Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia

Between the park and the towers, is a huge shopping arcade called "Suria KLCC" open from 10:00 AM to 10:00 PM. We find there a mass of stores (clothes, food, hi-fi, restaurants, etc.), quite "upscale", but nevertheless less expensive than in France (but probably more expensive than elsewhere in Malaysia !) At the last level fast-food restaurants have established themselves, some are well-known, others are not. We have had lunch at a Sushi Bar where dishes pass customers tables, and you just need to help yourself, the bill is paid according to the number of dishes eaten (really not expensive compared with Sushi Bars in France). Apart from fast-food restaurants, there are numerous superb restaurants, Indian, Malay, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Thai,... We have tested the "Chakri Palace" (Thai restaurant ; delicious cooking ; from 3 to 5,50 EUR for one dish). Upstairs we have also noticed a centre for leisure and discoveries about science and experiments as well as a cinema.

Shopping centre Suria in Kuala Lumpur                   

So we have spent the afternoon at the shopping centre, wandering from one level to another, discovering the Malay "fashion" products.
After sunset, we observe again these two magnificent twin towers which stretch towards the sky... The lighting is superb....!

Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia        Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia         Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia        Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia                              Petronas Twin Towers - Malaysia

More photos of Petronas Twin Towers and surrounding area...

Late in the evening, we take the underground to get back to our accommodation in Chinatown, to go to bed at around 1:00 AM.

The following day, we want to get some fresh air and decide to visit "KL Lake Gardens" which apparently bring together a mass of parks : "Butterfly Park", "Deer Park", "Mousedeer Park", "Orchid & Hibiscus Park", "KL Bird Park", etc.

KL Bird Park

HOW TO GET TO KL BIRD PARK (OR KL LAKE GARDENS)
From Chinatown or from the underground station "Pasar Seni", here are 3 possibilities to get to KL Bird Park (or KL Lake Gardens) :
  • on foot : 45 minutes walking (with sometimes a very strong incline) ;
  • by taxi : 2,11 EUR for one taxi ;
  • there are some buses... but be careful not to get on the tourist bus "Hop-On Hop-Off" which will run around the city for an overall fare of 8 EUR, audio commentaries included...
    (that could be interesting but it's not the purpose here !)

We go on foot as far as "KL Bird Park" (45 minutes walking with a strong incline! see map). It is park where birds seem to live in relative freedom. Indeed, only a few species are in some enclosures, the other fly in a forest covered by a net tightened above trees. A pleasant moment, if you don't have the luck or the time to travel all over the rest of Malaysia, in order to discover the wild fauna in its natural habitat. The entrance fees cost 6,50 EUR, plan 2 hours for the visit. It shouldn't be missed if you have got children !

Bird park in Kuala Lumpur                      Bird park in Kuala Lumpur                      Bird park in Kuala Lumpur

More photos of KL Bird Park...

Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens

This magnificent garden is situated right opposite KL Bird Park (see map). This park, either free of charge, or not free according to the moment (0,21 EUR), is full of orchids and hibiscus. Wondrous...!

Orchid        Orchid

More photos of Orchid & Hibiscus Gardens...

We next go back to Petronas Towers, in order to make a few purchases and eat a local speciality.


The return

In the afternoon, we leave our accommodation in Chinatown, to get to KLIA Airport. We firstly take the "Rapid KL" from the station "Pasar Seni" to the station "Sentral Station" (0,21 EUR). Then we take the "KLIA Ekspres" as far as the airport (7,50 EUR ; 28 minutes route).

We take off at 9:25 PM with the airline company Lufthansa, to get back to Strasbourg, via Bangkok and Frankfurt (13 hours and 30 minutes flight, stopover included).


Supplementary information

Marks :

Petronas Twin Towers
KLCC Park
KL Lake Gardens
KL Bird Park
Chinatown

KLCC Station
Pasar Seni Station
Maharajalela Station
Sentral Station



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Conclusion

In Malaysia, we have only seen Kuala Lumpur, since it was a transit stage to get to Indonesia. So it's hard to give an opinion about this country... except that we were feeling good in this big city. Two or three days seem to be enough to discover the city, but it depends on what you want to discover there...

 

I hope that the summary of our travel have brought you dream and escapism, and that it will perhaps make you feel like discovering this beautiful world capital ! If you want further details for your future travel, don't hesitate to ask your questions on our forum !

Thanks for your interest, godspeed and see you soon, I hope, for a new adventure !

Gilles

Every photo of Kuala Lumpur...

 



 

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