The shopper's heaven - Kuala Lumpur
Our next trip from Singapore was to Malaysia. We had just one place in mind and that was Kuala Lumpur (KL). From the many websites, we looked, we had found out that there is an over night train to KL and would cost 31S$ per person. We thought it was a decent deal. But, we also had to stop by Johar Bahru, a city just one road across Singapore. So, we first decided to go to Johar Bahru and then take this train from Johar to KL. It all worked out very fine. Many people advised us to take a taxi to Johar. By Taxi it was 7S$ per person but by bus it was hardly 3S$ per person. As calculative Indians, we took the bus. Little did we realize a t that time that this would involve a lot of getting in and off the bus as we had to go through immigration. This was tedious, as we had to struggle carrying the bags in and out of the bus. -Once at Singapore, and then at Malaysia. At last after we cleared the immigration, we did not realize that we were already in Johar.
Johar is a beautiful city and as we walked to a taxi driver, we took in the heat and it was quite a contrast to Singapore. Singapore looked far cleaner and it amazed me that a piece of land across the road was another country that did look all that rich. We spent the day, with our relatives and then left the same night to KL by train. From here it was just around 27 Ringet (which worked out to just around 14S$!!)
The train journey was amazing and comfortable. We reached KL the next morning. As we took a taxi to our hotel Grand Paradise in Brickfields in KL, a very familiar pair of towers greeted us. Yes, we had the first sight of the world famous Petronas Towers.
We spent the day going to the National Museum. The National museum gave us a brief understanding of Malay culture and introduced us to many Asian cultures including that of Indian. We then went to see the Petronas towers. The moment was breath taking. The towers stood elegantly and I knew why they had come to be the symbol of Malaysia. Beside this stood the KL tower which is basically the communications tower. Free passes are given to visit the sky bridge on the Tower. As only 1000 to 1500 passes are given per day, we had to be there early in the morning to collect the same! Of course, we got to know the Tower in great detail. It was a truly discovering experience. The tower is about 452 m and has about 88 storeys. The sky bridge located between the 41 and 42 floors is 58.4 m in length. This sky bridge gives a complete look to the tower. Standing on this bridge (where not more than 100 people are allowed at any given time) we could get an excellent view of the city.
We walked inside the shopping mall which is below the Petronas tower also called the KLCC tower. This Suria KLCC shopping mall is perhaps the longest mall because as we walked we thought we had lost our way. This mall has almost everything and a showroom of every brand in the world. Other attractions include the Dewan Filharmonik - the concert hall, an art gallery, and KLCC park. In the evening, we went to China Town. This is a shopper's Paradise where you can buy a replica of anything of any brand at throwaway prices. Bargaining is a must.
The next day we went to Genting Highlands - the land of casinos. We took a bus to get there. The bus dropped us in one place from where only a cable car would go to Genting. We took the cable car and it was amazing how many cable cars were coming in. The queue was very long but we never for once stood. The line was moving constantly and it was not long before we sat in the cable car. The car stopped for a split second and we boarded it. It is perhaps the longest cable car journey ever. We sat in for nearly fifteen minutes before it took us to the highest point - Genting Highlands! IT was a mind-boggling experience and very different from my cable car experiences in the Alps or in Almaty. There I had seen just pure white snow but this was different - thick forest and its wild greenery greeted us and I liked the way it looked.
The place Genting has this huge casino, restaurants of every kind, and an adventure land with all kinds of joy rides. If you have the money to splurge, then, this is the place for you. Of course for those of us who can afford to gamble for less money, there are slot machines. At the end of the day, we came back by the cable car and took a bus to the city.
The next day, we went to visit the Batu caves. These are located slightly outside KL. This is where the temple of Lord Subramanya resides. Hundreds of devotees throng to this place during Thai Pusam which falls in the month of January. Built in 1892, this cave is 400 mtrs long and 120 mtrs high. Tourists visit this place to get a view of the breathtaking of the cave from inside.
Malaysia is famous for pewter. The Royal Selangoor Factory is the Pewter factory everyone visits. Pewter is a combination of tin, copper, and antimony. Here we learnt the making of pewter and also the amazing facts of pewter. The world's largest pewter tankard is found here. This is also in the Guinness Book of world records. We also visited the Batik factory where we learnt all about the Batik designs. In the evening we shopped at this huge shopping mall called mid valley. This place also has a huge food court where we could try some good food!
We had now just one thing to visit and that is the KL Tower. We went here the next morning. This communications tower is the 4th tallest tower in the world. The tower is 421 mtrs in height and tourists are allowed to visit one part of the building. It has 22 levels and tourists can visit the tower head which is observation platform and also has a revolving restaurant. This observation platform with many telescopes is a must for anyone. Tourists are given headphones and are allowed to view in the telescopes. This gives a clear view of KL and all its important places. After this visit, we got a clear idea of the geography of KL. We got a bird's eye view of KL. What more could we ask for.
We left the same afternoon to Johar Bahru by bus. The 61/2-hour journey with 120 degrees reclining chairs was no feat! We had finished our trip to KL but fond memories remain.
Malaysia is comparatively cheaper than Singapore. The currency is Ringet and is approximately 3and half times to the US dollar. Food is cheap and Indian food is available at Brickfields. Hotels are available from 80 Ringet a night. This is a place to shop. While shopping at China Town, take care of your belongs and bargain for at least one third of the quoted price. But once bargained, you should buy it.