This trip to Kuala Lumpur was inspired by one night in KL that happened a little over a year ago, at a time when I only had around fourteen hours in transit. Yes, 14-hours in the city is barely enough. Anyway, the city had an instant impact on me and I knew indeed I needed to return for a longer spell in this incredible city of many cultures and diversity that has me eager in getting to know Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia a little more.
In the month of April 2018, I have finally arrived back for more, so here it is, Kuala Lumpur the return leg, and in the first edition (days 1-3) of my ten-day adventure in KL, my awesome family is tagging along for the ride and attempting to be the star attractions as usual and take all the gloss off me. So far, they are succeeding in their endeavours.
It promises to be another fantastic edition of travel diaries in magnificent Malaysia and it promises to be full of fun, adventure and culture. I am not going to let me spirts drop because it is the wet season and there usually is a heavy rainfall every afternoon, I mean it is only rain after all. So, let’s get into it shall we and show off the highlights of the first edition of Kuala Lumpur Diaries – Days 1-3 – Getting to Know Kuala Lumpur.
Friendly Advice: Learn a little about Grab Transportation
Let me tell you about Grab, an Uber kind of taxi service, that is really cheap and an efficient way around Kuala Lumpur. Download the App, it’s different to Uber, which Grab bought out in most Southeast Asian Countries, and once downloaded, put down your personal details, including a credit card and enjoy no-fuss transportation around KL. It really is simple.
Highlights of KL Diaries: Days1-3 – Getting to know Kuala Lumpur
Arriving in Kuala Lumpur
I have been to Kuala Lumpur International Airport more than any other international airport outside of Australia and on most occasions, it has been the budget AirAsia terminal, KLIA2. After getting off my AirAsia flight from Perth, which was a smooth ride, as usual, I had to remind myself to go through to the arrivals area and into KL, instead of turning left at the transfer counter.
It was a pleasant feeling to know that on this journey I didn’t need to hang around waiting in transit for the next flight, which at times can take up to hours, it was straight out the airport and a 45-minute taxi drive (about $30) to the city centre of Kuala Lumpur. Not that waiting in the transit area of KLIA2 is a bad thing, because it’s a very nice airport, with a bit going on.
A Magnificent Airbnb Apartment
I love booking through Airbnb, just as much as I enjoy staying in a luxury resort, and I often find myself crossing between both in search of suitable accommodation for the right moment. On this occasion Airbnb was a standout winner for a suitable family stay in the heart of KL.
We stayed at the Face Suite, a combination between a luxury hotel and privately-owned apartments which is commonly used for rent on Airbnb website, with many listings on the site situated at the Face Suite. As mentioned, our accommodation was perfect for the family, two separate bedrooms, a living area, kitchen and a washing machine. Perfect for good quality family time and privacy for when moment warranted it. I mean what parents don’t want the comfort of their very own bedroom.
To make matters even better and the apartment has a real holiday feel, because we still had the benefits of the hotel facilities, which included access to the 51st floor that contains rooftop dining, bar, an infinity swimming pool, a gym area and gorgeous views of the city that includes both the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL tower. Breathtaking doesn’t begin to express how brilliant it was the very top of the Face Suites.
AVT fun at Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam
I had the honour to catch up with a couple of Malaysian friends that I met during my time Volunteering in Laos of June 2017 and this time, we had an adventure of a different kind. With the family in tow, we headed off to an adventure theme park, Taman Botani Negara Shah Alam, which has a host of thrilling adventures to participate in, such as, Skytrex (to conquer your heights), an Extreme Park, Jungle trekking and ATV riding, only to mention a few inside the park.
We didn’t get to all attractions as the admission fee for each activity is quite a fee and time consuming, but we did have ago on a 90-minute ATV trek, with the kids riding at the back and it was a lot of joy to go off track, down the hills, over a few bumps and even swerve off course a few times, we were after all beginners on an ATV, yes sad for a grown man of my age, but heck, you are never too old to try something for your first time.
Tasting Durian – A Popular Malaysian Fruit
I have heard of Durian before, never tasted it, and I’ve always know the tropical fruit for its unique smell which can put off a few people when tasting Durian. My Malaysian friends finally introduced the fruit to me for the first time and while I didn’t find the smell off putting by any means, I found the fruit to have a unique taste that wasn’t so appealing. Durian is not for me, but each to their own.
But still no matter the taste, things need to be tried, because here I am in Malaysia, getting to know Kuala Lumpur, the Southeast Asia region, the culture and even its most popular fruits.
The tourist area of Bukit Bintang
A vibrant part of the city is Bukit Bintang, a hugely popular shopping hub for all tourist, but most importantly the food experience at Bukit Bintang is happening at the Jalan Alor Night Food Court which is a street food delight of many Asian cuisines.
We arrived from the Monorail and got off at the Air Asia Bukit Bintang station, yes, they even have a station that is sponsored it’s that popular. It’s obvious from the get-go that this is an area that all foreigners rush to when staying in KL. It’s easy to see why too with all the major franchise chains, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks are seen here as well many other locations in KL.
Also available in Bukit Bintang, for those who love to shop and create a hole in their credit debt, much like my dear wife, the retail outlets will certainly help you out in that area, with a range of American Brands, Korean brands and Japanese Brands all situated in Bintang to further help the shopping experience, amongst the locals, own brands of course.
At dinner time, for obvious reasons, made our way to Jalan Alor Night Food Court, because it’s hands down the best dining experience in KL. With so many places to choose from, hundreds, in fact, it was time to be a little unique. We ate at a street vendor where you select a variety of meat, seafood or vegetable skewers, and the cook grills your selections on the hot BBQ, before sitting down on a little stool with a tiger beer, while enjoying a few prawns, chicken and pork skewers. It was delicious.
A stroll around Perdana Botanical Gardens
Using Grab, which was about a fifteen-minute drive through traffic and around $3AUD in cost, we made our way to the Perdana Botanical Gardens.
In steaming hot conditions, we had a stroll through many varieties of plants and species that made up the Perdana Botanical Gardens, from the Orchard and Hibiscus Gardens, to the enormous Amphitheatre and the huge playground which has all the kids excited with castles and monkey bars to climb, and not to mention much appreciated relief from the suns thanks to the many trees that provide plenty of shade inside the gardens. The local’s workers certainly appreciate it too, with many having a shut eye by a tree.
The Lake Garden is the biggest attraction, and it’s easy to see why, because in our own experiences we had the pleasure to take a relaxing stroll around the large lake that is perfectly landscaped with beautiful gardens, and features fountains and a walking bridge to the islands that have more gardens and even shaded infrastructure for a bit of relaxing.
A side note, in the same grounds of the Botanical Gardens, is the Butterfly House and Bird Park that requires an admission fee, we didn’t go on this occasion but it may be something that takes your fancy.
Chinatown Kuala Lumpur Style
It’s Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur and it’s crowded, chaotic and full of culture everywhere you look.
Chinatown is one of the places I look for in most destinations I visit, if indeed that certain city does indeed have a Chinatown worth visiting, and inn my humble opinion, it’s worth getting to know Kuala Lumpur version because it is quite the atmosphere in the crowded spaces of Chinatown.
There are plenty of marketplaces that sell all kinds of goods, from clothing, phone accessories, cap hats, toys and plenty other merchandise that can come in handy for your everyday lives, as well as stocking up on “I love KL” souvenirs for your memories in the big city.
Furthermore, to the marketplaces, there is plenty of Chinese street food tucked between the market stalls with delicious dim sims the way to go when you want to eat on the run, which I can tell you I took full advantage of. Inside is a maze of people, where there is plenty of entertainment and Chinese lanterns to decorate the KL Chinatown to give it that real Eastern Asia appearance that you look for whenever visiting any Chinatown world-wide.
It’s the first Edition of KL Diaries, days 1-3, it was busy, fun and entertaining. It was a great way to start getting know Kuala Lumpur.
Read A Little More About Malaysia