Friday, July 07, 2006

Kuala Lumpur Trip

On 24-25 June 2006, I and Irza went to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a short sightseeing during the weekend. My company was organising a weekend trip to Kuala Lumpur using bus/coach, so I and Irza went along together with my colleagues from the office, while Inka stayed at home with her mother.

On Saturday morning, 24 June 2006, we left home at around 6:30am because we needed to reach the office by 7am. Note that in Singapore, sunrise is at 7am, so 6:30am is still considered dark here in Singapore (equivalent to 5:30am in Jakarta). The super-VIP coach bus, with Singapore registered number PZ 1257 T, left my office at Science Park at around 7:15am and hit the Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) towards Tuas checkpoint, which is Singapore's gateway to Malaysia on the west side of the island. The queue on the bus lane was quite long (despite that we have reached the checkpoint quite early), and the bus only left Tuas around 8am.

The bus then cross the Tuas Second Link bridge before hitting the North-South Expressway towards Kuala Lumpur. Bus made a brief stop at Yong Peng, to allow those people who haven't had any breakfast that morning, to have some light breakfast. More pictures during the bus journey from Singapore to Yong Peng can be found here, while pictures in Yong Peng can be found here.

From Yong Peng, the bus continue its journey towards Ayer Keroh area, Malacca, and stopped at Restoran Lee, a halal Chinese restaurant. We reached the restaurant at around 12 noon, just in time for lunch. We had a nice lunch there, which cost was absorbed by the tour company since it's part of the tour. The Chinese food was delicious, and the pictures can be found here.

After lunch, we continue our journey to Kuala Lumpur. We reached Kuala Lumpur at around 2pm, and we went to the hotel to check-in. We stayed at the Istana Hotel, a nice five-star hotel around Bukit Bintang area, specifically along Jalan Raja Chulan, not too far from the Raja Chulan monorail station. I and Irza got a room on the fifth floor, with a view towards the monorail track along Jalan Sultan Ismail. Irza was really excited with the view, since he could see the monorail moving on its track. More pictures at the hotel room can be found here.

We had time for our own after checking-in, because the city tour would only start the next morning. After taking a short break in the hotel room, we then started our journey in Kuala Lumpur. Our first destination was the Berjaya Times Square, a shopping mall which is located along Jalan Imbi, which is not far from the hotel, only two monorail stations away. So, from outside the hotel, we crossed the Jalan Raja Chulan towards the monorail station, and from there, we took the monorail to Imbi station, which is located in front of and directly connected to Berjaya Times Square. Irza wouldn't need to purchase any tickets for the monorail, only adults are required to purchase tickets. The system is similar to Singapore's old farecard system before migrating to the new EZ-Link system. While passing the gate when entering the station, we would need to insert the ticket, and take it back. Once we reach the destination, we need to insert the ticket again while passing the gate upon exiting.

Berjaya Times Square is a big shopping mall, which is equipped with two indoor theme parks, one for children and another one for adults. It's similar to Bandung Super Mall, but in a much bigger scale. Last time we also had visited this mall couple of times when we visited Kuala Lumpur. However, Irza (and also Inka, last time) didn't like the environment inside the theme park, which can be very noisy, especially when the roller coaster is running. I know that Irza won't be comfortable there, so I decided to take Irza to Mines Wonderland instead, a small evening theme park which is located around Serdang, south of Kuala Lumpur.

We took the monorail from Imbi station to KL Sentral station, which is the biggest interchange station in Kuala Lumpur. The KL Sentral monorail station is located outside the main KL Sentral building, so we needed to walk through a market alley, similar to Bugis Village in Singapore. Inside the main KL Sentral building, we looked for the ticket counter for the KTM Commuter train to Serdang. Different from the monorail, for this commuter train, Irza needed to pay the child fare.

After buying the tickets, we went straight to the gate towards the KTM Commuter train platform. After checking the map displayed, we found out that to go to Serdang, we needed to go to platform 6 to catch the next train to Seremban. Once we reached the platform, there's a plasma TV display showing that the next train would arrive at 17:24hrs. It turned out to be that the train only arrived at around 17:35hrs, more than 10 minutes behind its schedule.

The train was very very crowded. I immediately put all my wallets and mobile phone inside my bag, since KL public transport system is very infamous for the pickpocketing activities. Luckily, someone gave her seat for Irza so he could sit down during the trip.

The train journey from KL Sentral to Serdang took about 20 minutes, passing through Mid Valley station, which is located just in front of the Mid Valley Mega Mall, a famous mega shopping mall around the area. Serdang station itself is a small and open-air station, very much looks like those small stations we can find along Jakarta-Cikampek train line in Indonesia. After exiting the station, we took the overhead bridge crossing the Sungai Besi Highway, towards the water taxi stop which is located opposite the station. We then took the water taxi, through a small lake and into a canal which goes straight to the Mines Shopping Fair, a Venetian-themed shopping mall with a big canal equipped with boats inside the mall. More pictures during our journey from the hotel to the shopping mall (the monorail, KTM Commuter train and water taxi rides) can be found here.

The entrance of Mines Wonderland is located just beside the shopping mall. The admission tickets were very expensive, RM 32 (around S$13 or 80,000 Indonesian rupiah) for adult, and RM 21 (around $9 or 52,000 rupiah) for child. Wow! But since we're there already, we decided to give it a try. Fortunately, I can save around RM5 by showing a 10% discount coupon from one of the Mines Wonderland brochures we got from the hotel, so I only needed to pay RM 48 (instead of RM 53) for one adult and one child.

Mines Wonderland itself is a simple and small theme park, much smaller than Jakarta's Dunia Fantasi in Ancol, or Kuala Lumpur's Genting Theme Park in Genting. However, it doesn't stop Irza from having a great time and enjoying all the attractions. We tried the Unity Train, Road Tram and the Vintage Car, circling around the park. We could even see the white tiger inside a mini zoo found along the Unity Train track. Irza also tried the small roller coaster there, and we also watched the Musical Fountain show, a fountain show with light and laser similar to the one in Sentosa. After having a great time there, we went back to the mall to buy back some KFC chicken for our dinner at the hotel. We then took a taxi ride back to the hotel. The taxi fare from Mines Shopping Fair to Kuala Lumpur downtown is RM 30, which is fixed and not using the meter. More pictures at Mines Wonderland can be found here.

The next morning, after having breakfast at the hotel, we started our city tour around Kuala Lumpur by visiting a chocolate factory around Jalan Imbi area, not far from the hotel. Here, we could sample some chocolates and listened to their presentation on how the chocolate was being made. Unfortunately, the chocolates are quite expensive, so I only bought one box of chocolate for Irza to bring home. More pictures can be found here.

From there, the bus took us to Istana Negara (the Palace), which is the official residence of the King of Malaysia, the Yang Dipertuan Agong. Of course, we could not enter inside the palace complex, so we only took pictures in front of the gate. The pictures can be found here.

We then continued our journey to the National Monument (Tugu Negara). which is located inside the Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Perdana), not far from the Parliament Building. The monument was erected to commemorate the Malaysian soldiers who gave up their lives during the Japanese occupation between 1942-1945. One of the monuments depicts 7 Malaysian soldiers symbolising the seven quality of leaderships, surrounded by a small pond with dancing fountains. Irza was having a great time there. More pictures can be found here.

The bus then took us to some other historical buildings around Kuala Lumpur, such as the old railway station, the Merdeka square and the Sultan Abdul Samad building, although we only passed them through inside the bus, and did not get off the bus to take more pictures. The bus then continued the journey to the Mid Valley Megamall, and after some rounds around Bangsar because the driver missed a turn, we reached Mid Valley Megamall at around 11am.

We are given about 3 hours, until 2pm, for us to spend some time in the big shopping mall for shopping and lunch. I decided to bring Irza to the MegaKidz in the third floor. MegaKidz is a big indoor playground site with slides and steps to climb, similar to eXplorerKID at Downtown East in Singapore. Irza was having a great time there. We also had our lunch at the Food Junction, a food court on the same floor as MegaKidz.

After finishing our lunch, we went to the basement floor to buy some doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts, which we cannot find in Singapore, and also some breads from Bread Talk, which is surprisingly halal in Malaysia. We then go back to the bus, and continue our journey back to Singapore.

All the pictures during our trip to Kuala Lumpur above can be found here.

[Indonesian version]

1 comment:

Belly SUrya Candra Orsa said...

Great Blog..!!!! Keep Blogging.... :)