Singapore & Malaysia, 2011 - Kuala Lumpur, Feb 20th, 2011

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Singapore & Malaysia, 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 20th, 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21st, 2011
Cameron Highlands, Feb 22nd, 2011
Cameron Highlands, Feb 23rd, 2011
Ferry Journey and Pulau Pangkor, Feb 24th, 2011
Pulau Pangkor, Feb 25th, 2011
Pulau Pangkor, Feb 26th, 2011
Malacca, Feb 27th, 2011
Malacca, Feb 28th, 2011
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 Kuala Lumpur, Feb 20th, 2011

Well, the idea had been that we get up early with my alarm going off, and catch the 8 o'clock bus if we could make it, or the 9 o'clock bus if we couldn't. It turns out I messed up and didn't turn on my alarm afer all, so, after waking up late, we made a mad dash for it and caught the 11 o'clock bus just as it was pulling out. Buses appear to be the standard method of long distance travel in Malaysia, and there are loads of different bus companies. Some use the official bus terminals, but others, such as Aeroline, use shopping malls or hotels to operate from. While Aeroline is slightly more expensive than some of the other companies (£2 extra on the Singapore - KL trip), I think they are worth the extra. It is only a slight increase in the price, and for it you get a meal, large, clean leather seats that lie almost flat, similar to business class in aeroplanes, and a steward that makes sure everyone is on board after stops etc. This last luxury is actually quite useful. As you go between the countries you have to get off the bus twice. On the first stop you leave the country, so have to take your passport and departure card and go through immigration, before getting back on your bus again. At the next stop you go into the new country, so have to take all your luggage with you for screening. We heard stories of busses not waiting for people, and driving off, leaving the traveller stranded. Hence the usefullness of someone making sure everyone is onboard.

The other advantage of using Aerolines apeared when we arrioved in KL. Instead of being dropped off at the Bukit Jalil bus station on the outskirts of the city, we were dropped off at the Corus Hotel, right at the foot of the famous Petronas towers. Staff at the Aerolines desk in the hotel helped us to orientate ourselves, and pointed us in the direction of KL's metro/underground system, the LRT, and we set off to find a hotel and look around.

KL's LRT system is different from that you find in most cities, in that each line is run by a different company, including the monorail system that interlinks with it. At each train change you need to buy a spereate ticket which can only be done when enetering the station. Still, the tickets are cheap, and it isn't too inconvenient. We caught the LRT to Bukit Bintang, and walked through the streets and squares till the Federal Hotel caught our eye. After checking in, (again, a decent hotel and not a bad price, either), we wandered around KL, discovering the China town street markets and the covered Central Market. As night fell all the trees that lined the streets were illuminated by fairy lights that had been hung along their branches, and chinese lanterns hung from houses and shops. People hit the streets, a Reggae band with a bagpipe player started up in the Bukit Bintang square, and the city really came to life.

We stopped in the Central Market to have our feet 'cleaned' by 'doctor fish', and by a massage parlour a few shops away from our hotel for reflexology and back massages. Then we found a local restaurant, ate, and chatted. The plan had been to just use KL as somewhere to change buses, but we enjoyed it so much we decided to stay another night, so went back to the hotel and booked in for the next night before having a swim and heading to bed.



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