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mistybleu Kuala Lumpur - A travel report by Amanda
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Kuala Lumpur,  Malaysia - flag Malaysia -  Wilayah Persekutuan
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mistybleu's travel reports

Cheap Chic in KLCC

  14 votes
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What a fabulous city. It’s just perfect, everything is so conveniently located; well that is if your intention is to explore the centre. I didn’t find a lot of cultural references, if you don’t do temples, but a great metropolis, nonetheless.


The Petronas Towers
The Petronas Towers
Kuala Lumpur means 'muddy estuary', which dates back to the late 1800s when the city was names by the tin prospectors. Nowadays KL is a great showpiece capital. There are many green areas, which makes it even more pleasing to the eye; however it is like a giant shopping mall, as many malls are linked together.

The city is dominated by the majestic Petronas Towers and even if you can’t actually see them, by the evening when the lights illuminate the sky, it’s possible to pinpoint where you are in relation to them.

Know before you go:

The local time is 8 (7) hours plus GMT (CET) and its 13 hours flying time from the UK. The national language is Bahasa Melayu, however English is the language of business and I only found a few instances where the local didn’t understand me.

Travelling from the airport (50km south of KL) is quite simple. The best way to get to the city centre is by using the KLIA Express (the bus takes 1 hour in non peak times and costs 18MYR or to KL Sentral 10MYR) or KLIA Transit (the rail link costs 35MYR) that goes to KL Sentral Station. If taking a taxi it is better to prepay which should cost around 80-100MYR if you bargain a little.

The local currency is the Malaysian Ringit (MYR) that is divided into 100 sen. The exchange rate at present is 1MYR = €0.20¢, £0.16p, or $0.32¢.

The average temperature 35°C and has a hot tropical climate with heavy rain storms throughout the year, mostly in the early evenings.

As tropical diseases are quite common in this region it’s best to check what vaccinations are recommended; I didn’t take any vaccines for this trip but then I travel fairly frequently.

Malaysia is largely Muslim country and therefore Islamic customs should be respected and from my reading that says women should cover up; however in KLCC tourists seemed more at ease.

Favourite spots:
Evening beneath the towers
Evening beneath the towers
Most definitely my most favourite thing to do was to see the Petronas Twin Towers.

There is no 'best time' to see them, as they look great against the azure morning sky or the late evening hues or the contrast against the dark night that shows off its bright lights.

The towers were built (1998) by the Petronas Corporation (the nation’s petroleum company) and they occupy Tower 1. It is worthwhile taking a trip up; this can be done in two ways either your hotel can organise it or go in the morning and obtain timed ticket for later that day. They do go very quickly so you have to get there early.

The lift takes 41 seconds to climb 41st floor (of 88); but you don't really feel the speed. The building has the revolutionary double lift system whereby it services two floors at a time.

The views from the Skybridge are nice but not perfect, as it isn't possible to get a panoramic view of the city like from the KL Tower, but it's more of a nice thing to do.

What's really great:
Shopping Mall
Shopping Mall
I think cheap chic in Malaysia is the name of the game; you can get really great bargains.

Hotels for less than you would ever pay in New York or London for the same quality.

This also includes designer clothes, well maybe not half the price, but discounted. Silly things like getting prescription glasses and sunglasses - cheap. Laptops, printers, printer paper, video iPods, PS2s, DS Lites, cameras etc, if you choose the right make and model then substantial savings can be made.

I went to the Central Market and watched people haggle over the price of a sarong and a piece of batik was just insightful. Watching locals crowd around a television to watch the evening news was perfect.

The Central Market is a great place to buy arts and crafts, souvenirs, antique weaponry, paintings, antique jewellery, pottery, batik fabric, shadow puppets and ceramics etc.

I loved staying in the city centre; the shopping, the sights and the people - it’s just a nice city to be in.

Sights:
KL Tower
KL Tower
The main thing to do in KL is shop, however there are other places to explore:

The flagpole in the middle of Merdeka Square was erected in 1957 when Malaysia gained independence; surrounding the square are some wonderful colonial buildings.

Chinatown is a really colourful area and is considered a hot spot. The main thoroughfare is Petaling Street and during the evening until midnight it’s closed off to traffic. It comes alive to the sights and sounds of China and has a really high energy level that’s not to be missed.

The KL Railway Station is beautiful; with its classic design it emphasises Moorish elegance; painted white it takes a prominent place on the city streets.

The great panoramic view from the Menara Tower (aka KL Tower) is great.

The Petronas Tower as described above.

Other places of interest include Taman Negara - the national park, Muzium Negara – the national museum, Lake Gardens, Masjid Jamek which is the national mosque; and so much more.

Accommodations:
Mandarin Oriental
Mandarin Oriental
'Greetings, may I offer you a refreshing towel; would you like a cup of tea while you check in?' This was my first experience of the Mandarin Oriental in KLCC a 5* diamond hotel. A friend recommended it because of its views of the Petronas Towers and was lucky to have my room upgraded to a suite with a garden view.

Getting to my room I need a key to activate the lift that meant you could only go to your intended floor.

Once in the room I was greeted with a full length window that framed the park perfectly and I would just sit and stare drinking tea.

The facilities were also great with a rooftop swimming pool, Jacuzzi, a fitness centre that was larger than my gym; plus spa. The breakfast was a mixture if international (this included Japanese, Indonesian Chinese etc) and local. But a really nice balance.

All in all this was a wonderful experience and would recommend this hotel at a drop of a hat as the service kept on getting better.

Hangouts:
Shopping Malls
Shopping Malls
The ‘coffee shop’ culture is alive and kicking here too; I found quite a few chains, but to be fair they were nice places to hang out.

Cafes like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, San Francisco Coffee and my favourite the Dome Cafe. Originally an Australian company, there are 9 cafes around Malaysia; the one in the Suria Centre is in a nice setting, beneath the Petronas Towers looking over the pond; during the evening it is very pleasant sitting outside and stay there until it was late when the fountains were switched off.

Also outside the Pavilion Mall, there is a parade of restaurants including Crystal Jade Kitchen, La Bodega, Michael Angelo's and a few others that I can’t remember the name. But during the evening they have live entertainment. Whilst it isn't quite alfresco dining, most of the glass fronts are retractable encouraging the passers by to join in.

Restaurants:
Street Food
Street Food
There are many good restaurants dotted around the city, but one of the interesting things to do is go to a night market and try some street food. There are quite a mixture of food styles from the traditional Malayan Satay, to Indian deep fried seafood, to Chinese wok fried food; representing the main cultures within the country. The smells are wonderful that emanates from the stalls and I found myself, looking over at someone else’s plate to see what they were eating.

I think for my next trip I will have to explore more and go further a field, but what an introduction to Malaysia.

Other recommendations:
The Park KLCC
The Park KLCC
I think Kuala Lumpur is best enjoyed as a multi centre break; it's great to spend 3/4 days in the city with a bit of shopping, but then head to the beach for some rest and relaxation.

There are thousands beaches in Malaysia, the closet to KL probably is Morib also in Selangor. In the neighbouring state Negeri Sembilan some of the beaches are around 50/60km away (including Port Dickson and Blue Lagoon) and other areas of the peninsula are usually reached by either a flight or at minimum a 5 hour drive.

There are also many pristine beaches on some of the other Malayan islands including Langkawi and Penang.

Langkawi is an archipelago of 99 islands off the north west coast of Malaysia and Penang hardly needs an introduction. The beach are said to be wonderful and only a short flight from KL.

Published on Saturday May 3th, 2008


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Sun, Jun 08 2008 - 08:18 PM rating by eirekay

The pictures are so stunning! Great Report with some terrific insights!

Tue, Jun 03 2008 - 05:28 PM rating by magsalex

Great report and photos!

Fri, May 16 2008 - 10:59 AM rating by terje

I agree with Jorge! :-)

Fri, May 16 2008 - 08:35 AM rating by louis

Amanda,
As usual, excellent info provided, interesting way of writing. I have been in KL but I see that i missed some interesting things.

Sat, May 10 2008 - 10:15 AM rating by marianne

My favourite city! I loved to read about it and wish I were there...

Tue, May 06 2008 - 11:29 PM rating by rangutan

Great... and just a few miles from Singapore, SE-Asias largest airline hub.

Sat, May 03 2008 - 08:08 PM rating by bootlegga

Great photos and information!

Sat, May 03 2008 - 12:23 PM rating by krisek

Jorge said it all! I can only add that I fully agree. I am not sure I will add KL to my travel plans any time soon, but I definitely enjoyed reading the report! Thank you very much for taking time and giving it to us.

Sat, May 03 2008 - 10:50 AM rating by jorgesanchez

This report, like all the reports written by Amanda, is very accurate, very didactic and helpful, written with authority and knowledge, supplying practical information. It is a pity that when I was in Kuala Lumpur I had not read it, because only now I realize that I missed a lot. Furthermore, the pictures are first class, super class. Thank you, Amanda, for your gift.

Fri, May 02 2008 - 01:29 AM rating by brucemoon

Hi Amanda

Yes, KL is a 'buzz'. And, Penang is special.

However, there are many places in continental Malaysia that offer great beaches. And, those on the east-side are generally free of the commercialism of Penang.

bon voyage

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