Racing around KL

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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The Twin Towers scene from the Price Hotel 30th floor.
Boy did I screw up the planning on this day.  We did plan on going to KL but we had wanted to go either by train or bus.  Just one day before I decided we needed to go to the meet up that was happening the next day.  So we needed an airplane tickets and fast.  My simple plan was just go to a local travel agent, like I would in Canada, and buy the tickets through them.  I remembered seeign an office down the street and it looked official so I chose them.  Mistake.

The lady was nice enough but I should have been worried when she did not use the computer system the airlines use to sell tickets.  All she did was make a call an tell me the price.  I thought then she had maybe called another booking company but later when I calculated the price into Canadian dollars I think she just called one airline.
  Then she told me I could not pay by credit card and so I had to go to a bank to get a cash advance on my Visa.  I mean who carries the equivalent of $500 Canadian in their wallet to pay for airline tickets?  Really I could have done better using an internet cafe and my own brain.

Oh well now we had a tickets to KL on Lufthansa.  The next problem was the flight was near noon and would get us to KL airport less then one hour before the meet time.  Nothing like trying to rush from an airport in a city, heck a country you have never been to, to make a party with a bunch of people you have never met before.  That is what this TB site does to you.

I was expecting all sorts of problems.  For one Benny had never been outside of Thailand and I was not sure how she would react to being outside of her country for the first time.
Love this sign. Found this as we were lost near the hotel trying to find convention center.
  I had also heard all sorts of horror stories of Thai ladies having troubles at different countries borders.  So after a quick flight from Bangkok's airport we were in KL's International Airport.  Good news the KL airport is not so big and easy to get around.  There is even a quick monorail inside the terminal.  This place looks very new.  Soon we are at immigration.  I sent Benny first in case there is trouble but the guard not even ask her anything and just put a couple of stamps into her pass port.  Yeah Benny's passport has some stamps on it now.

A very time later I am through as well and we are walking to our luggage carousel.  Still I know we are going to be late for the meet up.  We were told to meet at a place called Dome Cafe in a shopping center next to the Twin Tours.
meet up
  I had used Google Maps and an internet booking agent to reserve a hotel near the towers in a part of town called Golden Triangle.  I just was not sure how to get there.  While we waited or our suitcase I noticed a tourist information counter so I went to ask how to get to Golden Triangle. This turned out to be a great idea. 

The man at the desk listened to my problem and told me only way was take taxi.  He also told me to insist on budget taxi and it is much cheaper.  The taxi desk was right outside of customs and we could see it from where we were talking.  After we got our luggage we rushed to the taxi counter and I was quickly happy that I had talked to the man.  The girl at the desk quoted a price that was twice the rate he had said.  After asking her why she told me, "You not want budget taxi.
  It slow and small."  I kept asking why it was slow and finally she just say fine and give me ticket for the price I ask.  Finally I am getting a hang of this bargaining thing I hate so much. 

We had another short walk until we found the lineup for budget taxi.  I am not sure what happened but their was only one line up and we got in the same type of taxi as some guys from Europe that paid a lot more then us.  The taxi was very nice and the drive was not like Thai drivers who all think they are race car drivers.  We decided check into the hotel first and then call our friends and tell them we were on our way.

The main person that had to deal with my many calls and give us directions is Joanna(TB member Jopin and she was really patient with me.
Nice park near the convention center.
  She has a blog of the meet up at 

Holy Cow our hotel was nice.  The Prince Hotel is in the heart of KL commercial district names the Golden Triangle.  This hotel was the best one we stayed in on our trip.  I got the room for only $50 dollars a night which was a steal.  Later I checked the same hotel on the internet and they were charging 3 times that amount.  We got very lucky.  Even better after checking in we were given a room on the 30th floor that looked directly at The Petronas Twin Towers.  We wanted to stay and look at the great view but we were late.

Like I said before my sense of directions is normally good so this part is kind of funny.  We basically ran out of the hotel to get to the shopping center called Suria KLCC which is next to the towers.
Another bus.
  Seeing that we could see it from our hotel I thought we were close and could walk there fast.  All that would correct if we had walked the right direction.  Somehow I got turned around and walked the completely wrong direction from the hotel.  For several minutes I could not see the towers and was very confused.  I mean the tallest buildings in southeast Asia should be easy to see from less then 1 km away.  Right?????

Well as I was about to give up and find a taxi I turned around and saw the damn towers.  They had been hidden from view by our own hotel towers.  Just the wrong angle and I had been walking with my back to the Twin Towers.  Now we are really late.  Grab a taxi time right?  Nah we are so close we run.

I found out quickly hurry to a Canadian means going a lot faster then a Thai lady.
Look hard and you can see water fountains.
  I would walk a bit turn around and see Benny way behind me.  I would wait and ask her to walk faster and start going again.  In a few moments I would be a few hundred meters in front of her and have to wait again.  Another problem is there are no straight street in KL.  Every time  we thought we on a road that would take us closer to the towers it would suddenly turn away and we would have to look for a cross street that went the direction we needed. 

We finally found the shopping center and the cafe just as the group was getting ready to move on to another area for dinner.  I was so happy they waited.  We had a decent meal at a place called
Madam Kwan’s in another shopping center.   Too save me some typing go to Jopin's blog.

The highlight of the night was going to a car I thought was called the School.  Reading Jopin's blog it was actually called 11:15.  I think it was designed as a horrible prison in the 1980's and nothing has ever been done to it since.  I really think the original dirt was still included in the toilet.  I have been to some "interesting character bars" in a few cities and this one had a lot of character and characters.  We even got to see a mini bar fight as two Indian decent young guys fought over the right to talk to one of the bar maids. 

This place was so dark the servers had hold cigarette lighters to the many so we could see what to order.  Kind of scary as the menu were made of paper and the tables were so soaked in alcohol that I was worried about flash fires.  In the end I still could not read the menu, maybe it was written in Malay, and we just ordered a bunch of Tiger beers.  After a bunch of Tigers someone poured both Benny and me into a taxi with an American friend Mark mnico78 and our Singapore friend Chris
TBK3355 into a taxi. 

The next day we wandered around KL.  We were hoping to see something interesting in Chinatown and we did see what looked like a neat street market.  Too bad most of the things for sale were just cheap tourist t-shirts, knock off watches and many many suitcases.  Nothing was for sale that looked Malaysian.  Basically it was like a lot of markets I had found in the streets of Bangkok and Chang Mai just more expensive.  There was good energy of people and we did enjoy doing some people watching.

The most interesting thing for us was the Deepavali festival that was being celebrated all over the city.  I do not know much about this festival beyond it is a Hindu festival and I know that some of Vancouver suburbs celebrate it as well.  In every shopping center we went into we saw beautiful flower arrangements to help the celebration.  There was also many tourists from India who were really enjoying themselves.  The biggest surprise for me, in Malaysia, was how many Indian people there are in this country.  When I think SE Asia I do not think about many Indian people being there but there was literally thousands all with very good English. 

I also wanted to try the KL Monorail just for fun.  This might be the least organized transit train I have ever tried to ride.  First all the stations are well above the road, just like Bangkok's Skytrain, with narrow steep stairs leading to the stations.  After climbing the stairs we stood in along line to buy the tickets from human tellers.  Apparently the company that runs  this service has not realized computers are used every other place in the world to serve this purpose.  Once we got our tickets we squeezed onto the platform with half of the population of KL.  It was so hot up there.  We waited for about 15 minutes when I saw a very crowded small train arrive and everyone started to push forward to get on.  I am not sure if this is normal for this train or it was a busy day or what but I had enough.  I like riding trains but not this much.  Since we did not need to ride the train we decided it was not worth the hassle and just left while I still had some patience left. 

Maybe one day I will try again.  It was time to get out of big cities again.  Next day we planned on taking a bus to Penang.

newtampo says:
So good now, she got the stamp on it! :) But sure would be more difficult for Europe. Don't tell the embassy that you know someone in the country that you're going is the better way to get the visa and support yourself for all the expenses and show them the letter that is written by your company that you'll come back to work after your trip. Then you'll get the visa. The embassy and immigration are really strict as so you know. :)
Posted on: Jan 08, 2009
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The Twin Towers scene from the Pri…
The Twin Towers scene from the Pr…
Love this sign.  Found this as we …
Love this sign. Found this as we…
meet up
meet up
Nice park near the convention cent…
Nice park near the convention cen…
Another bus.
Another bus.
Look hard and you can see water fo…
Look hard and you can see water f…