Malaysia Quickie 2014 Rundown

Accomodation

I recommend booking.com because most hotels offer free cancellation up to a certain period of time, normally up to a day before the scheduled stay. All you need is a credit card as a guarantee but it’s your choice if you want to pay with cash or card when you arrive at the hotel. They offer discounts as well especially if you book ahead of time.

We stayed at the V’la Heritage hotel located in Jalan Berangan, Bukit Bintang for MYR 264 ($ 74.12/ ₱ 3200) for two nights. The hotel seems new and location is superb. It is surrounded by a lot of pubs and restaurants but it can get a bit noisy until midnight. I even heard a Sexbomb song being played which was really weird and surreal. Perhaps, the DJ was a tacky Filipino dude. No wonder, there are lots of Filipinos here, even our hotel receptionist. Anyway, breakfast buffet was included but the wifi connection was horrible. Good thing I bought a U Mobile sim card with 3g data for my iPad.

Food

Our hotel was near Jalan Alor, famous for side-to-side street food stalls. This is a must-visit for street food lovers. This is literally what you call outdoor dining because under the red and orange Chinese lanterns are the plastic tables and chairs placed on the street. You can just imagine how narrow the road is for the cars and the people passing through. Here you can choose from Malaysian, Chinese or Indian food. We had chicken satay, some steamed vegetables and fresh lychee juice. You can eat while you listen to some local street bands who play for tips or just for a chance to be discovered.

Transportation

Kuala Lumpur is 4 hours away from Johor Bahru via shuttle bus. We mostly got around KL by taxi. It’s not the cheapest mode of transportation, obviously, but we didn’t have plenty of time to visit the attractions. Plus, did I mention already that it was motherfudging hot in Malaysia in July? Just don’t get ripped off by taxi touts though.

Must Sees and Dos

  1. Batu Caves: It’s one of Kuala Lumpur’s best-known cultural attractions. Actually, it’s not really in Kuala Lumpur but if you google “Things to do in Kuala Lumpur”, this one will be at the top of the list because it is really near. I’ve read that it’s accessible via train, but you can go via taxi as well if you don’t mind paying a little more. It’s a labyrinth of caves with big ass Hindu shrines and statues. There’s no entrance fee to the main entrance but make sure to wear pants or long skirts if you don’t want to be forced to rent a sarong for MYR 5 ($ 1.40/ ₱ 63).
  2. Petronas Twin Towers: A trip to KL without a photo with the twin towers as background is incomplete, or so they say. If you just want the cliché shot, no need to pay for any fee. You just have to find the best place outside the building, much better at night. They sell tickets to go to the Skybridge or Observation deck. You can visit https://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/ for more details.
  3. Jalan Alor: Get your fill of the best street food KL has to offer. This seemingly never-ending stretch of street food stalls is one of the most famous in Kuala Lumpur, for the locals and tourists alike.

Malaysia Quickie: Part II (Batu Caves + Petronas Towers)

Day 2 of our Malaysia quickie was spent visiting the main tourist spots of Kuala Lumpur. First stop: Batu Caves. It was boiling hot outside and we didn’t have the blood sugar to take the train. While walking along Bukit Bintang to hail a cab, a lot of taxi touts offered to drive us to the caves for a rip-off price. I don’t know what happened but we just agreed to one who had the least aggressive attitude. We even asked him to fetch us 2 hours later.

From afar, you can already see the big ass Lord Murugan statue at the entrance. I was wearing a short dress so I was stopped by some ladies at the entrance. They asked me to rent a sarong to wrap around my waist for RM 10, with RM 5 as deposit that you can claim once retuned. It’s a long way up to the top and there are cheeky monkeys trying to steal anything that resembles food from your grasp.

More kitschy Indian art at the top.

The cab driver fetched us at 1 in the afternoon and instead of going home, we decided to visit the Petronas Twin Towers first. It’s definitely better to visit this at night but we were already there so we just had our pictures taken. You can actually go to the top of the building or the skybridge that connects the two towers but it was already closed when we got there. There is a mall inside though where you can chill after being exposed to the sun just to have that cliché tourist photo of the twin skyscrapers.

Since we couldn’t get to the top of the twin towers, we decided to go to Kuala Lumpur Tower, another tall tower in KL, obviously. We actually had to walk from Petronas, because Google Maps told us it was near. Maybe it was near, but ugh, the heat. When you get here, there is a shuttle bus that you can wait for to bring you to the entrance of the tower. I forgot how much was the entrance fee and you can choose from a lower and a higher floor. The lower floor was cheaper, so we chose that. From here, you can see the Petronas Twin Towers and a good view of the city. Not breathtaking, just good.

We decided to stay one more night in the hotel and ride a plane instead of bus back to Singapore. We booked an Airasia flight from KL to Singapore for Monday morning. We also asked the hotel to find us a cab that will bring us to the airport at 5 AM. We took care of all of that before having dinner at Bukit Bintang and then back to bed. We checked out early in the morning and headed to the KL Airport. Singapore was just an hour away by plane so we still had time to take a nap before my friend went to work.

Malaysia Quickie: Part I (Legoland + Bukit Bintang)

Like I mentioned in my last post, I went back to Singapore two months later. I was given a two-week break from work so I took advantage of it to fly back to SG. Since we weren’t able to visit Legoland Malaysia last time, we made sure we’d be able to do it right the second time around.

Since it was a Saturday, I bought two one-way tickets to Legoland from Singapore for S$24.50 from the same bus company, Superior Coach. No need to hurry back to Singapore the following day. I tried to book the Legoland Theme Park tickets in advance since they offered 20% discount 7 days before the date of visit. I wasn’t able to successfully pay online, not sure why, so I sent them an email. They made me fill out a manual form and later on gave me a pre-booking number. I was informed that I could pay RM 224 ($ 62.89/ ₱ 2792 for 2 persons) at their counter on the date of visit, still with the 20% discount.

I flew to Singapore the day before, had dinner at CMK (Little India) and went to bed. We woke up early to catch the bus at Lavender Station, this time, at the back of Wendy’s. It was a Saturday so the bus was crammed with kids. We left the station at around 9:30 AM and arrived in Johor Bahru, Malaysia at around 10:30 AM. Since we were crossing borders, we had to get off the bus and go through immigration and have our passports stamped. The bus guide instructed us on where to go after immigration so we could get on the bus again without getting lost (which happens a lot according to them). We arrived at Legoland at around 11:00 AM.

Legoland seems to be geared mostly to very young kids. No extreme rides like in USS. But the park looks really cool and the intricate details put into each display were quite amazing. The miniature of Asian cities in Miniland might be my favourite.

We tried some of the attractions like Legoland Express (if you want to see the sights in the park without walking under the scorching sun) and Lego 4D studios (if you want escape from the extreme heat). I’m a fan of theme parks but not of that kind of weather. So we left the park at 5 PM and hopped on our booked bus to Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur is 4 hours away from Johor Bahru via shuttle bus. The bus was comfortable enough and it was dark outside already so we mostly slept through it. The hotel we booked, V’la Heritage was located in Bukit Bintang. I booked the hotel via booking.com for MYR 132 ($ 35/ ₱ 1582) a night for two persons. There are lots of pubs and street food stalls along this strip with a variety of cuisines to choose from. My friend wanted to watch the World Cup match that night so we looked for a restaurant where it was being watched. We found this Indian eatery with lots of Indians watching the match so we ate chili crabs and chicken rice there. The hotel was within walking distance from this very lively strip. Advantage: lots of things to do here. Disadvantage: very loud, you can hear the tacky music until midnight.