The body is like a car that needs fuel. Even if you’re traveling on a budget, never sacrifice on food. The body needs energy. This was lesson number one in my Southeast Asian trip.
It was around 11:30 am when the plane flew to the skies. I forgot to order an inflight meal and fell asleep. When I opened my eyes, it’s already quarter to 2:00 pm. The plane’s about to land at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Yes, the challenge has begun.
From afar, the LCCT looked like a warehouse but it was presentable. Travelers from different countries hurried to queue in front of the immigration counters. As a first timer at the LCCT airport, I took my time to observe the people. If my estimate’s right, there were hundreds of passengers who were rushing here and there. Tourism in Malaysia is indeed healthy.
I lined up and prayed silently that the immigration won’t question my itinerary. Nonetheless, I was prepared to explain that I’ll be going to Yogyakarta after. It was my turn. I handed out my passport and smiled. He just stared at me, put the stamp, and returned my passport. No questions asked. Yes! Maybe, he saw the two previous visits in KL.
It’s my third time to enter Kuala Lumpur. The first one was for a work assignment. I covered a technology event. The second one was for the Youth Engagement Summit, which is also work-related. This third one was really just a transit to Yogyakarta.
Thank God for the free wifi at the LCCT terminal. I readily checked my Facebook to send a message to my travel buddy, Ate Macon, who came from Singapore. She arrived earlier than me since SG was nearer to KL. We agreed to meet at My Hotel. I wasted no time and bought a bus ticket to KL Sentral for RM9 (Php 125.50). It was past 3pm. I heard my stomach grumbling. But I have to run and chase the bus or else I would be waiting again for another 15 minutes.
I just followed the signage outside the LCCT terminal. I was catching my breath when I called the attention of the conductor to wait for me. Thank God! I was able to get in the bus just in time. I was the last passenger to board the Skybus.
RIDING the Skybus
At first glance of the bus, most of the seats were taken until I saw the first row, where a bag was placed on top of the seat. I politely asked the European (?) to please put down his bag. He did remove it. But instead of sitting on the vacated seat so I can sit easily on the aisle seat, he did not bother moving to the window seat. So I have to exert extra effort to get into my seat. Whew! Sigh of relief.
It was already 4:00 PM when the bus arrived at the KL Sentral Station. The airport was an hour away from the city. My initial instinct was to climb the stairs to the station. I was scanning the map of the station trying to find how I can get to MyHotel Sentral. A Malaysian guy who thought I was lost said, “Excuse me miss, may I help you? What are you looking for?”
I replied, “I’m looking for MyHotel Sentral.” He said, “Oh. Just go down and cross the streets.” I thanked him and returned downstairs. I was still clueless but trusted what he said. My feet led me to the other side of what seemed like an under construction pathwalk. I followed the people passing by until I reached a road. I crossed the street and saw MyHotel Sentral. Whew! The guy was right. It was just a few meters away from KL Sentral Station.
The security of the hotel opened the door and asked if I have a reservation. I told him that my friend has booked already. Weary from the travel, I sat down on the sofa and texted ate Macon. Then the receptionist noticed me. I asked her if my friend has arrived already. And she answered affirmatively. Relieved.
After a few minutes, we met. I went up to the room, dropped my bag, and rested. The room came with a complimentary bottle of water. The thirst was quenched.My stomach could not take it anymore.
We returned to KL Sentral Station. And guess, where we ended up eating? The fastfood with the golden arches—McDonalds. It was a lunch and early dinner at 5:00PM. My energy was back!
On our way back, I saw a tourist information center at the KL Sentral Station and asked for maps.
Photowalk at BRICKFIELDS
From KL Sentral Station, we walked to Brickfields Little India. I first saw it in pictures, which then inspired me to visit it.
The artistic lamp posts and feminine-looking arches welcomed us.The sight and smell of Brickfields made it a piece of India in Kuala Lumpur.
Indian women fancy clothes outside a shop while men were eating merrily at a nearby eatery.
Scary Vendor at Jalan Petaling
After the glimpse of Little India, we went to China—China Town that is. Just a few steps away from Brickfields was the KL Monorail Sentral Station. While waiting for the train, I checked on the map and Ate Macon caught it on cam. Hahaha. It made me looked like Dora the Explorer.
For a fare of RM 1.60 (Php 22.31), we boarded the train to Maharajalela (I really had a hard time pronouncing this one).
Jalan Petaling (Petaling Street) or China Town is just a few steps away from the Maharajalela Station. On our way down the station, we passed by this Buddhist Temple.
It has caught our attention because of the intricate designs on the wall. Imagine how the sculptors made these.
During my first visit to KL in 2009, I went to Jalan Petaling. This made it easy for me to return to the place. They say that the cheapest goods can be found from Jalan Petaling.
From wrist watches, bags, clothes, and other souvenirs, you can find them in this busy street. Bargain hard. When the vendor bids his price, haggle for the 50% off the price. Most items were marked-up way higher than the true value of the product. But just a word of caution: Some vendors may become rude.
While browsing for a bag, we haggled but then we still wanted to compare with others. Then this vendor went mad and yelled at us. He was so furious. We walked fast away from him. It was really scary. We had a sigh of relief when we found another vendor who was calm and very approachable. This was how a vendor should be to his customers. And because of his attitude towards customers, he made a sale.
Promoting the Philippines in KL
The sun was bidding farewell. From Jalan Petaling, we walked to Jalan Tun Hslee, where the 7/11 store and the S & M Warisan Shopping Center are located.
We bought drinks and waited for JV, our FC brod who’s working in KL as a teacher. Check out what I saw at 7-11: A newspaper whose name reads “Utusan Malaysia”. In Filipino, Utusan means servant. But it has a negative connotation.
While waiting, the staff of the store asked us, “You Filipina?” I smiled and answered affirmatively. He then began telling us that he’s going to Manila, Philippines. My ambassador button was on and there I was sharing the beauty of the Philippines in KL. He said it would be his first time in the Philippines. I urged him to visit the islands too.
After 20 minutes, JV arrived with a car. Ate Macon was thrilled. We weren’t aware that JV would be picking us up with his own car. Yey!
The Dazzling Twins
From Jalan Tun Hslee, JV drove us to the famous icon of KL- the Petronas Twin Towers. It was my third time to visit these towers but it always felt like the first one. I hope one day, I can get inside the towers so I can climb to the bridge that connects the two.
We entered KLCC (Kuala Lumpur City Center), one of the luxurious malls in KL.
From there, we exited to the park. Kuala Lumpur has one of the best public parks that I’ve seen.
This proves that the money of the taxpayers were put into good use. I do hope that someday I’d see the same for the Philippines.
Outdoor Dinner at Jalan Alor
It was already 10pm when we left the park to go to Jalan Alor for dinner. Jalan Alor is a street where you can taste some of the best Malaysian cuisines.
I ordered Bah Kut Teh with rice for RM 12 (Php 166.84) while ate Macon ordered Char Kway Teow.
Bah Kut Teh is a healthy dish with tofu, beef, and vegetables. It was good for the price.
We called it a day when the clock struck at 11 pm. We were back at the MyHotel around 12am. As soon as I saw the bed, I was dead tired. Whew! And guess what, we have only 4 hours to sleep!
We need to leave KL by 5am to reach the LCCT Airport by 6am. Flight was at 7:30am. Oh Yes, that’s how tight this trip was. But nonetheless, every second, every minute, every hour was worth treasuring.