September 28, 2010

KooL in Kuala Lumpur (Part 1: Petronas Towers, Central Market, Merdeka Square)

     Every time Gin and I pass by the international check-in counters at the NAIA Terminal 3 on our way to the domestic section, we always say to ourselves that there will come a time when we will be lining up in that part of the airport. Well, after more than a year of wishing and preparing for that moment, the day that we will be flying abroad finally came.

     Kuala Lumpur wasn’t exactly our dream destination. However, dirt-cheap airfares to that part of the globe enticed us to forget Bangkok or Hong Kong. We initially booked our tickets at Air Asia for only P1068 roundtrip (no kidding). However, due to lack of uhmm parental consent, we forfeited 3 opportunities and decided to wait until the right time comes.

     After effortlessly securing the nod of Ginny’s sister as our willing and able chaperone, we finally bit the next promo that came our way. Quite surprisingly, it turned out that Cebu Pacific’s latest offer at that time was a P4,000+ roundtrip vacation to the Malaysian capital. Talk about a fated destination :)

Resort World Manila

     Our 8:55 p.m. flight was scheduled on a Thursday. We nearly missed our flight as we took an ill-advised stroll at Newport’s Republiq after we checked in. It was literally a photo-finish brisk walk towards the boarding gate! We tried to catch a few winks during the flight, but as usual, the in-flight games blew the natural adhesive away from our eyes as we scoured our wallets and pockets for the “show-me” games.


     Our plane landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule at around 12:15 a.m. We made a quick walk towards the airport in order to catch the last Star Shuttle bus. Our mini dash was cut short by the long but quick-moving lines at the immigration counter. It was there that I realized that Malaysia is indeed truly Asia as people from different parts of the continent made up most of the queues.

KL-LCCT Immigration Counter
     After exchanging a few thousand pesos at the 24-hour money changer booth at the KL-LCCT, we proceeded to Star Shuttle's booth and bought 20-Ringgit (MYR) tickets to Radius International Hotel. Upon arriving at the bus platform, we were greeted by the bus boy in Filipino! It turned out that he has Filipino roots as his father is from Palawan.

Decent Thee-Star Hotel

     The bus left around 2:00 a.m. and was only half-full. We arrived at the Bukit Bintang area an hour later. We encountered some minor check-in problems as the person manning the front desk thought that we were booked for only one night. After verifying our Asia Web Direct voucher, she immediately gave us our keycard and we proceeded to our room.

Radius International Hotel Kuala Lumpur
     Radius International Hotel is a fairly decent three-star hotel. Its location is superb as it is situated in the middle of Kuala Lumpur’s shopping and tourist area. The building could use some renovation, but it was already fine for our taste.

Early Morning Stroll Towards Petronas
     After an hour and a half of sleep, we tested our footwear’s mettle by taking the 20-minute walk from our hotel towards KLCC where the Petronas Twin Towers stand. It was still dark at 7:00 a.m. We thought that we would already be encountering many locals by then, but the streets were still rather empty.

Jalan Sultan Ismail
     Upon arrival at the towers, we were greeted by a fairly long line at the entrance of the Skybridge. We had to line up early as the tickets to the viewing deck are only limited. After two hours of waiting in line, we finally got our 15-minute opportunity to see Kuala Lumpur several thousand feet above the ground. The view was spectacular. Although we weren’t at the pinnacle of the structure, the Skybridge still provided us with a panoramic view of the city. It was definitely worth the wait.
View of the KLCC Park From the Skybridge
KL Monorail Joyride

     After having a Malaysian breakfast at Suria’s foodcourt, we headed back by foot towards the hotel to rest for a while. Gin and I then tried Kuala Lumpur’s famed monorail towards Bukit Nanas and took the interchange to Dang Wangi RapidKL station enroute to Putra Gombak where we will be buying our Go Genting tickets for the next day. Travelling via mass transit in KL was a breeze! Riding on a fully-packed monorail was a scary experience, though, as we felt like the train was just hanging unsteadily on the concrete rails.

KL Monorail
     Our next stop for the afternoon was Central Market for an early pasalubong shopping. We again took the mass transit and alighted at Pasar Seni station. From there, we strolled along the river that divides Merdeka Square from the Central Market area. The shopping area is housed in a two-storey light blue building. Everything is a bargain here. We were able to buy key chains for only 1 ringgit a piece. It was a great buy considering that the same items cost twice or thrice as much in the malls.

Merdeka Square

     After completing our pasalubong hauls, we then proceeded to Dataran Merdeka for some photo ops. The most noticeable structure in the area is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, a Mughal-style building which originally housed the colonial masters of Malaysia. The magnificent structure is a sight to behold at night as it is laced with luminous blue streaks. Facing the building is the Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) and the Royal Selangor Club.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building
     Our night stroll was cut short by a light drizzle that made us dash to the nearest LRT station. Theresa’s legs and feet were already crying bloody murder, so we decided to forego our KLCC itinerary and headed back to the hotel. We tried to fill our tummies first at KFC and McDonald’s, but they weren’t serving rice at that time so we ended up having our dinner at Secret Recipe. 


Pinoy Boy Journals said...

i miss riding the monorail. meron siyang part na nakataligid ka, parang lang ride sa amusement park! he he cool blog!

Hearn Chloe said...

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