July 21-26, 2016
Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine
GPS waypoint: 3°09'28.4"N 101°42'41.8"E
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
It was a mad dash out of Ubud to catch a cheap flight to Kuala Lumpur. I made it on time thanks to my Good Samaritan, Dhemy, who owns the Ubud Backpackers Room. The flight was painless and smooth, but upon arrival at KLIA 2 close to midnight, the buses and trains were no longer available. Taking a cab would have been pricey. The only option left was to sleep at the airport until sunrise when the bus becomes available again.
at Starhill Gallery with Karine, just to experience what it's like to be in an expensive cafe. We ordered the cheapest coffee on the menu.
In an interesting twist of fate, a fellow traveler from France, Karine, was in the same situation. We became friends and spent the night at the airport, squeezing oursleves on the row of seats at the terminal hoping to get a good night's sleep. Karine and I would be spending the entire day together in Kuala Lumpur, exploring Chinatown and savoring cafe pleasures. The first half of the day saw me pounding on the pavement for a hotel deal as Karine stayed at a cafe looking after our stuff and researching on Kuala Lumpur. I came out empty handed - no hotel deal. Ultimately, we landed at a backpacker guesthouse that left much to be desired - Natalee Guesthouse (not recommended).
Yum Cha Cafe
Another interesting development was meeting the owner of Yum Cha Cafe, Gary. Gary is a cool guy who was generous with his cafe offerings to both me and Karine. Among other things, I tried their house specialty, the "Nasi Lemak" to my gastronomic delight. Yum Cha Cafe is my kind of cafe...good climate control, fast wifi, good food and coffee, subdued (not noisy) and just perfect for online work or conversation, right in the heart of Chinatown. It could be a little hard to find but well worth the search.
Karine had to resume her trip north to Cameron Highlands while I stayed in Kuala Lumpur to process my Chinese visa. Safe trip and happy trails, Karine!
Beijing or Bust
My coming to Kuala Lumpur was primarily to work on my Chinese visa for a Beijing visit and to spend time with Cheng, a Singaporean who helped me out in Siargao (Philippines) with whom I've become good friends with through the ensuing years. The Chinese embassy told me to get my visa in the Philippines. That killed Beijing.
My good friend Julia Clarette wasn't in town either so I was more or less roaming about Chinatown, my default haunt for its cheap dorm beds - MYR 15/night. Chinatown changed in the last year since I first arrived. Following the heels of Penang, street art has become popular. I was informed by a resident that to locals, they understand the veiled statement of some of the art - a political protest against the corruption that has been the talk of the town...and perhaps the world.
I met Rakesh last year when I offered to increase their online booking in exchange for a few nights at the iconic Incasa Hotel. This did not materialize, but I felt a kind of promising connection during that talk. This time, I intended to do the same thing. He gave me an audience, but at the outset, I shifted my position and just said, "Let's forget business. Let's just consider this a social call". We talked about everything under the sun and it was a good sharing. I didn't realize until later we talked for 3 hours! All the best Rakesh...may you achive all that you strive for!
Lora and Mid Valley
With my Beijing prospect gone and Karine up in the north, finally, I could take the offer of an acquaintance from Davao, Lora, to crash at her place in Mid Valley. She attended my yoga class back in Davao, but she has gone leaps and bounds since. Moving to Mid Valley would start another mini chapter to my Kuala Lumpur experience.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
KL Tower - dine at the revolving restaurant (3°09'10.3"N 101°42'13.7"E)
Petronas Twin Towers - once the world's tallest building (3°09'28.4"N 101°42'41.8"E)
Batu Caves -Hindus take pilgrimage to this cave
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park - world largest free-flight walk-in bird park, 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, 21 acres (8 ha), 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, phone: +60 3-2272 1010, adult admission CurrencyCurrencyABBR 48, http://www.klbirdpark.com
Aquaria KLCC - ocean aquarium under the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Jalang Pinang, open daily from 10:30am - 8:00pm, check schedule for Piranha feeding, adult admission RM50, +603 2333 1975 / 1976 / 1977 or email at email@example.com
China Town - for authentic Chinese cuisine, night market, bustling activities, history and culture
- Yum Cha Cafe - coffee, food, desserts
143 Jalan Petaling, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur | 012-639 8222 | 08:30 - 18:30 | 3°08'29.7"N 101°41'52.4"E
- Arabesque - middle Eastern cuisine
92, Jalan Petaling, Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur - 3°08'34.4"N 101°41'52.5"E
- take a the red AirBus to the KL Sentral train station, 48 kms, MYR 10/pax
- from KL Sentral train station, take the purple Monorail (it's actually a 5-min walk outside the station) to Bukit Bintang, 5 stops, MYR 35/pax
- the tourist area where most of the night outdoor hawker-style eateries and bars are located along the Jalan Alor Street area and Jalan Changkat (one of many)
- Train - KL Sentral is the center for the city's urban rail-commmute system although they are not integrated. Tickets are required separately for each system and interchanges are not conveniently connected. The rechargeable Touch & Go stored value card (MYR10 deposit) which are available at all LRT stations, can be used at the electronic gates to the LRT, train and monorail systems. Trains are more practical than buses when commuting within city limits.
- Monorail systems
- KLIA Transit
- KLIA Ekspres
- KTM Komuter
- Bus - At the Jalan Sultan Mohammed bus stop in Chinatown, there is a booth where you can pick up info on routes, schedules, stops and buy season tickets. Maximun single fare is MYR1.
- Hop-on Hop-off - city tour, MYR 45/24 hours and MYR 79/48 hours, 2.5 hours loop, bus frequency every 20-30 mins, kids below 5 years are free
- Metro Bus -
- KL Go City - free shuttle bus around KL. Purple Line ends at KLCC, Green Line ends at China Town (Petaling Street)
- Rapid KL - convenient to use as their destinations are clearly displayed (1 800 388 228 / www.rapidkl.com.my)
- Taxi - meter starts at RM2 for the first kilometre, and 10 sen for each additional 200m or 45 seconds. They are all over the place and relatively cheap. There are designated taxi stops within the city but some empty taxis can be flagged down on the street. rom 12 midnight to 6am, 50% surcharge is levied on the metered fare, and extra passengers over two, are charged 20 sen each. Luggage placed in the boot is an extra RM1 and there's an RM12 surcharge for taxis to KLIA. The airport has a coupon system where you pay in advance.
- the tourist area where most of the night outdoor hawker-style eateries and bars are located along the Jalan Alor Street area and Jalan Changkat in Bukit Bintang, and along Jalan Petaling in China Town
- transit map of Kuala Lumpur
- Petronas Twin Towers - once the world's tallest building (3°09'28.4"N 101°42'41.8"E)
- KL Tower - dine at the revolving restaurant (3°09'10.3"N 101°42'13.7"E)
- Batu Caves - Hindus take pilgrimage to this cave
- Kuala Lumpur City Tour - lose yourself in KL's old neighborhoods and be amazed at the new neighborhoods. Visit Chinatown and the oldest Hindu Temple
- Putrajaya at Night - this well-planned city illuminates at night...perfect for dining by Putrajaya Lake
- Kuala Lumpur Bird Park - world largest free-flight walk-in bird park, 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, 50480 Kuala Lumpur, 21 acres (8 ha), 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, phone: +60 3-2272 1010, adult admission MYR 48, http://www.klbirdpark.com
- Aquaria KLCC - ocean aquarium under the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in Jalang Pinang, open daily from 10:30am - 8:00pm, check schedule for Piranha feeding, adult admission RM50, +603 2333 1975 / 1976 / 1977 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Bukit Bintang - aka Bintang Walk or Starhill, a district in Kuala Lumpur known for shopping, entertainment, hawker-type eateries, al-fresco cafés, swanky bars and night market
Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Ticket Price - adult MYR80, adult (MyKad) MYR25, child MYR30 and child (MyKid) MYR12
- Operations - Tuesday to Sunday (closed every Monday), open on all public holidays with the exception of Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji
- Hours - 9am - 9pm (closed from 1pm - 2.30pm on Fridays)
- Ticketing Counter - Concourse level, PETRONAS Twin Towers. Issuing of tickets will start from 8:30am (tickets are limited and issued on a first come, first served basis). Advance purchase is available.
FREE Stuff in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur rivals Hong Kong as one of the most tourist-friendly destinations in Southeast Asia. Wherever you go in KL, you see a free tourist map with guided walking tours, transit info, etc. People have a better command of English than Thailand, Vietnam, laos or Cambodia. But to just to make things even better for the traveler, here are a few FREE stuff you'll find in KL to make your visit more comfortable, more memorable and more engaging.
- FREE bus rides - free shuttle bus around KL's Central Business District with KL Go Buses. Purple Line ends at KLCC, Green Line ends at China Town (Petaling Street)
- FREE wine tasting - at Cronier Wines, every Friday from 17:00 - 18:00, reservations are required, 5-6 The One Avenue, Pelangi Utama Condominium, PJU 6A, Jalan Masjid, 47400 Petaling Jaya, Tel: +603 7722 2252 or +6014 965 1037
- FREE art gallery admission - at Petronas Art Gallery, 10:00 - 20:00 Tuesday - Sunday, Lot 341 - 343, Level 3, Suria KLCC, PETRONAS Twin Towers, +603 2051 7770
- FREE bicycle rides - 07:00 - 10:00am Sundays at The Square, Publika, Solaris Dutamas, 1.2 km loop
- FREE movie screenings
- Palate Palette - classic films, documentaries, shorts and romantic comedies + free seaweed snack, select nights, 21, Jalan Mesui, 50200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 03-2142 2148
- Moontree House - discontinued until further notice!!! Sundays from 18:30 - 21:00 near Petaling Street, Chinatown, feminist-oriented big screen titles
- Publika - call first as this may have been discontinued!!! at Publika every Monday night, Malaysian and regional films, in English or with English subtitles / Level U2, Block C5, Solaris Dutamas, No 1, Jalan Dutamas 1 / 03 6207 9426 or 03 7960 1235
- FREE rock climbing - at Batu Caves, but bring your own gear. Over 160 climbing routes sprinkled on 150 meters of limestone hill face. Come early to get your spot for your level of expertise
- FREE food tasting sessions - weekly at KL's best restaurants, with Open Rice's Makan Ventures. You need to go through a selection process though to qualify. First, be a member of Open Rice.
- FREE walking tours
- Kampong Bharu - the cradle of Malay culture in Kuala Lumpur, Tue/Thurs/Sunday, registration time 4:15pm - 4:30pm, walking tour 4:30pm to 7:00pm, 1 day advance booking recommended, 603 2698 0332, email@example.com
- Brickfields Heritage Walk - Tourism Unit, KL at - 03 2698 0332 - email: firstname.lastname@example.org., Saturdays, meeting at Vivekananda Ashram at 9:00-11:30am, 2.5 hour walk
- Dataran Merdeka Heritage Guided Walk - get the inside stories behind the independence of Malaysia through the historic buildings and monuments around Dataran Merdeka / Mondays-Wednesdays-Saturdays / 8:30-11:45am at Kuala Lumpur City Gallery / 603 2698 0332 / pelancongan@@dbkl.gov.my
- FREE garden park admission - on weekdays (weekends are not free) at the Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens, 230 acres including the Hibiscus Garden, Orchid Garden and Deer Park, bring snacks and water
- FREE Kundalini Meditation - 6:30pm Tuesdays at Vivekananda Ashram on Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Brickfields (Little India) / 03 2722 5051, 53 012 379 1324
(US$1 = MYR (Malaysian Ringgit) 3.59 = Php 44.23, as of Jan. 23, 2015)
best place to change US dollars to MYR is at the local money changers, not in airports, specially not from the airport of your departure (e.g. US$1 = MYR 2.95 at Da Nang Airport, MYR 3.35 at KL Airport and 3.55 at the money changers in KL)
- 1.5 liter drinking water
- one hour massage
- noodle soup with meat
- rice meal
- dorm bed
- sugar cane juice
- Petronas Twin Towers ticket
- bus/monorail ride from airport to Bukit Bintang
Lora Frances Lorente(Aug 19, 2016)
- Cool Climate of Cameron Highlands June 19-23, 2016
- Overnight in Kluang, Malaysia Aug 13-14, 2016
- Funky Flow Yoga with Lora Lorenzo at YogaOneThatIWant Studios July 27, 2016
- Deja Vu Kuala Lumpur with Karine July 21-26, 2016
- Layover in Kuala Lumpur June 22, 2016
- The Kuala Lumpur Experience Jan 21 - Feb 20, 2015
- Police Harassment in Kuala Lumpur Feb 17, 2015
- Visiting Batu Caves of Kuala Lumpur Feb 18, 2015
- Walking Tour of China Town Feb 5, 2015
- Breaking New Ground in Kuala Lumpur Jan 21, 2015
- A First-Timer in Malacca July 28-Aug 8, 2016
- Art Scene of Malacca August 6, 2016
- The River Charm of Malacca August 5, 2016
- About Malacca July 28, 2016
- Penang (Malaysia) Immersion May 27-Jun 19, 2016
- Exploring the Emergent Cafe Culture of Penang Jun 18, 2016
- Encounters with the Guru-Types of Penang Jun 17, 2016
- Overnight Camping at Turtle Beach Jun 10, 2016
- Yoga, Pranayama and Meditation in Penang Jun 10, 2016
- Daytrip to Batu Ferringhi Jun 9, 2016
- Savouring the Food of Penang May 27 - Jun 6, 2016
- Surreal Glow-in-the-Dark 3D World at Dark Mansion June 3, 2016
- The Animated Street Art of Penang Jun 3, 2016
- Exploring the Lush Greenery of Botanic Gardens May 29, 2016
- Up up and Away to Penang Hill May 28, 2016
- About Penang May 27, 2016
For a while there, I thought you were back here again
July 21-26, 2016
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Yum Cha Cafe
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