This trip was planned as a getaway birthday trip for mommy. We didn’t plan anything other than a visit to the Sunway Lagoon theme park. The rest of the trip was based on ad hoc shopping and just on impulse visits.
Budget – Quite affordable other than the accommodation.
Everything was quite affordable comparable to Singapore, especially with the currency of 1:3.1 now, effectively reducing the costs of living by a third. With free wifi at airports and hotels, Grab and its promos reduce the costs of transport as well. The accommodation was expensive but it was chosen for the purpose of comfort, and was worth it in my opinion.
Complexity – Easy with Grab
We didn’t go many places and for transfers, Grab was a good choice. For the visits around the area, walking was our choice and it was quite easy since everywhere was within 15mins walking distance.
Knowing that it was the last day and we had some eating and last minute purchases in mind, we still woke up later than planned. When we were finally ready, it was already almost 9am. Wanted to visit the colleague recommended Komugi cafe in Pavilion for breakfast but the mall wasn’t opened till 10am and settled for the Loaf cafe which was also recommended for their breakfast. Ordered and waited. Was disappointed that we were told that there wasn’t any croissant and then we saw so many of them being served. Also, my wife finished her breakfast and my came after being reminded. Otherwise, the breakfast was really delicious and the coffee was kinda unique. Wifi was available luckily and we distracted ourselves from waiting while going online. In fact, many eateries in KL had wifi and you gotta ask for the password sometimes.
Visited the Komugi store to bring back some beautiful pastries. Some last minute shopping and my wife snagged a few pieces of clothing. Since we had to check out soon, we went back to the hotel and repacked the new stuff into the luggages and checked out.
The reception did the check out smoothly but the luggage storage and the reservation for cab took place at the concierge in the middle of the lobby. Paid a reservation fee of Sgd20 and the balance of 40RM was due later. Tagged out baggage and left for lunch, our final eating stop and the return to Oversea restaurant.
There was a table already reserved for us and the Char Siew was served after we confirmed the dishes. As we weren’t really hungry, we only had the meat and a free soup. Still it was just satisfying to have that Char Siew at the restaurant itself as usually I only get to have it when I package it home after each trip. And it wasn’t any different this time as I had also reserved a package of Char Siew and roast pork home, though I wasn’t impressed with the big box for a small amount that required to be repacked.
Returned back to the hotel and our luggage was given to us. Repacked all the stuff that we bought into the luggage (including the yummy meat) and a whole later, a budget taxi arrived for us. It was the same 1hr heat back to LCCT. Again!
We arrived 2hrs ahead of flight time and proceeds to check in, without queues. It was kinda warm and we got ourselves a Mango Tango from Boost. Shopped again and bought some more local foodstuff before going thru the gate for immigration. There was a large waiting area and some shops with duty free products. Didn’t get any and waited for the call to board. There was a queue forming and once the call for the plane number, we proceeded to queue too. The gate soon opened, a 3mins walk to the plane, a short wait for plane to get ready before we boarded from the back of the plane (there were two locations to board, at both the front and the back). Home Sweet Home.
I had been to KL previously alone for business but this time it was with my wife and that we spent time shopping and enjoying each others’ company. Definitely a feasible getaway.
Set the alarm to start the day early but overslept. Discipline wasn’t a priority, after all it was supposed to be a chill out getaway without an itinerary. Went to the 18th floor Club room lounge for our breakfast and saw that there were some dress code requesting no shorts and slippers. I was in chinos and we just tried our luck. There was 2 Japanese men already in the small area having their breakfast but no hotel waiter in sight. A small breakfast buffet was laid out and not much of a variety but there was a city view consisting of the twin towers and the Menara tower in view. Left soon after since we were already running “late”.
First stop today was Petronas twin tower visit. Walk to Pavilion mall and took the connecting bridge to the KLCC – a 15 mins walk in a sheltered air-conditioned walkway. From KLCC, you could see the twin towers clearly and a good photo opportunity. Continued walking under shelter to the KLCC shopping mall. The entrance of the mall led out to a nice little park and a place to strain your neck looking up at the towers. We went back to the concierge to ask for the directions to the ticketing counter for a visit to the top. It wasn’t really obvious and was located at a level below first floor, at a corner. Once below, a left turn led us to the ticketing counter where we lined up according to the curvy line drawn on the floor. A volunteer girl approached us for some details before the counter and informed that the morning tickets were fully sold out and the next available was 3pm. We didn’t planned for that and thus gave up and proceeded to next location. Having visited Taipei 101, Empire State Building and Top of Africa in Joburg, this came as a slight disappointment and a lesson learnt that we should book ahead if we wanted to visit the Twin Towers the next time.
Walked back the same way looking for the LRT as we wanted to visit Berjaya Times Square and it was really far to walk all the way there. Followed the signage and got to Raja Chulan LRT. Tried to buy the tickets on the automated machine and took a while to figure where we were and where we were going. A token per pax was dispensed for about 2.40 Ringgit for 2 persons for 2 stops. Went to the platform and a whole later, the train arrived.
Got off at Imbi station where the shopping mall was and went in for shopping. Things here were cheaper than the mega malls but this was in place of quality. Before taking on this mall, got ourselves a Boost energizer fruit juice and some donuts from Krispy Kreme. There were many floors of stores and we were merely browsing quickly. There were some areas where there were themes such as a Taipei shopping street and a 1st Avenue Street. Things of interest were handphone covers as there were a variety of stores that sold a variety covers. There were many clothing but were not really of our taste, in that aspect Bangkok would make a better shopping place. Before departing for lunch, we bought a taro flavoured soy milk with red beans – liked the tasty beans.
Our restaurant of choice was Oversea restaurant as we were yearning for the famous Char Siew. After we sat down and served the cold dish slices of soya sauce chicken, we were informed that the Char Siew was sold out already! Opened at 1145am and at a quarter over 1pm, it was sold out. No choice, we ordered some dishes and made a reservation for lunch the next day, and also to packet some Char Siew and roast pork home. After lunch, proceeded to Sungei Wang for more shopping.
Sungei Wang had many floors of shops too and linked with BB plaza, it was also quite a feat if you want to see everything. The difference was that the shops here were more compact that those in Times Square and there were a chaotic bunch of people moving around. We got tired and went to the ground floor where we saw an interesting cafe selling bear palm printed burgers and we can’t resist and ordered one to try. It was pretty tasty and the store was decorated with an interesting pictorial story telling. After this, we walked around the ground floor shops but couldn’t find anything of interest and left.
As we walked towards Pavilion, we visited another mall en-route called Fahrenheit 88 since we had some time and wasn’t that hungry for dinner yet. Went to the basement and bought some cheap tees. Shop around the upper levels and saw that there was a table soccer competition going on with many representatives from various countries there. Didn’t spend much time looking at them as my wife thinks that there was a weird odour around the playing space. Proceeded to the top level where there was an anime theme deco of the place. There we bought some interesting tees too. It was an unexpected place to have purchase clothes but it was satisfying though. As we were about to leave for Pavilion, we found ourselves stuck as rain started to pour and we only had a small umbrella. Tried waiting out the rain while sitting at one of the benches in which I fell asleep due to tiredness and woke up some 15mins later. Still raining. So we braved the rain to get across the street, with wet shoes and crossing the roads with light against our favour but together with the crowd, we got to a crowded entrance where many were waiting out the rain.
Proceeded to the basement where Madam Kwan’s restaurant was located and waited behind a queue. Wasn’t too long and we were seated by an old lady whom I suspected having the same name as the restaurant but didn’t further verify. The food was mostly popular Malaysian street food but at inflated prices. Ordered a bowl of curry noodles and my wife ordered dumpling soup and otah. The curry noodles was too spicy for me though the other 2 dishes was delicious. I was in the opinion that it wasn’t worth that much as I could have paid the same price for better choices in some other restaurant such as oversea restaurant. Went over to the DVD shop to browse and bought some cheap DVDs. As we left, stores were already beginning to pack and we realized it was almost 10ish.
Walked back to our hotel along the busy Jalan Bukit Bintang where there were jammed road of cars and many massage parlour touts and provocatively dressed ladies along the street, seemingly trying to get some business going. We went into a shop selling some local food products to buy home and a few steps away, we were back in the hotel. A really long day out and pretty soon we hit the sack.
The Airasia flight to KL was at 1210pm which I mistakenly thought it to be 1240pm and realized a little late. As we waited for a frustratingly long time for a cab and when it did finally arrive, the cab somehow went to the customers waiting behind us when we were standing in front begin the earliest people there. Didn’t make a fuss over it since it was their Deepavali after all and quickly made a call to book a cab after fumbling with the app unsuccessfully. The cab arrived soon after at about 1050am and by the time we reached row 13 for Airasia check in at about 1115am, there weren’t any queues and luckily, it wasn’t closed. Hoped things get better.
Went to look for disposable underwear since I didn’t bring any, and managed to find a packet at Watsons that costed me Sgd5, more expensive that what it would cost in town. After a some window shopping, boarded the plane amongst the earliest in order to secure luggage storage space (since usually people bring carryon luggages). Flight was smooth and arrived earlier than planned.
It was my first time flying Airasia and it landed at LCCT International Airport instead of the more familiar KLIA which I mistakenly thought to be. The airport looked like a bigger size bus terminal where people gotten walk pretty long distance to the immigration counters, in non-air-conditioned sheltered walkways. There were many passengers trudging their luggages along the way and as expected, queues were long. Took almost an hour to clear immigration, with the occasional inefficiencies due to officers chatting and ignoring the passengers.
Once out, we booked the taxi to town at the counter just before exiting the arrivals. Pleasantly surprised that there were any queues, unlike the previous time I visited KL where booking a taxi required queuing too. Took the budget option for about Sgd30 that was ok when I took it at KLIA.
Our buying and eating trip started just outside the airport where we had our lunch at Oldtown cafe. Made and paid the order at the cashier and soon the yummy Malaysian cuisine was served to us in the non-air-conditioned eating area. I had dry Mee Siam and my wife had Curry Mee. Portion was ok and tasted ok too. Coffee was good as expected.
After lunch, walked further away towards Coffee Bean for the taxi. Had to cross the road towards a “Budget Taxi” signage and gave the ticket to the dispatcher and we got into a red coloured vintage looking taxi. We realized this was not a good idea then about taking the budget option because the aircon wasn’t cold enough and the heat was coming in thru the windows, making the taxi felt like a sauna. It only got better when we were about to reach town, some 1hr from the airport.
Our hotel Royale Bintang sits on the extremely busy, usually jam packed street of Jalan Bukit Bintang. The Indian taxi driver then started his complaints about the jam and such and we had a amusing conversation for a while till we got off the taxi, after some squeezing thru traffic with more cars-then-lanes experience.
Check in took awhile as there was already a guest before us. We had booked the Deluxe Club room due to the 30% discounts with an additional 7% with Maybank Agoda deal and on top of the points we had, the price was shaved to about Sgd90 per night. The room was at 17th floor just 1 floor below the Club Lounge where breakfast was to be served for Club room guests.
Our first impression of the room wasn’t good, there was a salted fish smell once we stepped in and we saw an opened bottle of water and a hand towel on the sink. It seemed like either someone has used the room or it wasn’t made up before our arrival. Then we saw the water in the toilet bowl was yellowish and flushed it, that’s when the smell subsidied. To think that we paid more for a better room, what about the rest of the normal deluxe rooms we wondered.
Furthermore, we were promised a combined bed rather than a separated twin beds and this was not given in the room, which said so much about their service. There was however complimentary wifi with login and password required and so we surfed awhile and charged up the handphone for a while before heading out to Pavilion Mall, 10mins walk away.
It was a huge ass of a mall (thought it was comparable our Singapore Ion) with lotsa variety of shops from luxury goods to popular clothing labels to departmental stores. Difference was the space and although there were many people, it wasn’t squeezy like Ion. After window shopping, we sat down for some desserts at Taiwanese style cafe.
Continued to window shop around. It wasn’t sale season so there weren’t great offers for purchase. And then it was dinner time. We were meeting up with friends whom had moved back to KL for dinner and were introduced to Grandmama’s for some good Malaysian cuisine. Ate and caught up what’s going on around till it was 9ish that we decided to call it a day. They offered to fetch us back to our hotel and there we experienced the jam again. By the time we arrived, it was already 10pm. We probably could have reached earlier if we walked.
The lingering smell of saltiness was still there and again the water looked abit yellowish. I guess the toilet system was the culprit for this smell. Saturday night was football night, and luckily there was Fox Sports and I had managed to catch my team’s match and retire for the night.
Total duration 4D3N Singapore is on the same time zone as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Flight time is 1hr direct flight on Airasia from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. Saturday noon flight on 2nd Nov and arrival in Kuala Lumpur at 10 mins after 1pm.
This escape plan was triggered by sudden acknowledgement that it was a long weekend (Monday given leave due to Sat being a holiday, by company). There wasn’t anywhere cheaper in terms of flights and accommodation and something that we could do on 3 days and less. More savings made when I converted some Starhub points to BIG points and using the BIG points to offset some costs from the tickets.
The trip consisted mainly of shopping places and food that was eaten – the main objective of the trip anyway.
Budget nature: Affordable if manageable
With a strong SGD against the Ringgit, everything else was less than half the price published, but mostly food and non-branded items were really cheap while others were comparably expensive.
Complexity: DIY possible for the beginners
This is an easy place to navigate with planning and English was spoken in tourist locations. Touring the city with little planning is possible and should be DIY for maximum costs savings and flexibility.