18 Juni 2014

KUALASINGA [Part 2]: KL Old and New

Petronas Twin Towers
You might misunderstand when reading the title. But this KL Old and New Tour does not mean to take place in a new year. Instead today we were to bring the tour attendants to the old and also the new part of the city. Unlike many other big cities in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is not a seaside city. But somehow it eventually became the capital and so many old buildings from the colonial era can be seen here. The best ones are in Dataran Merdeka. The area is a must-see thing when visiting KL. Not only admiring the building architectures but also learning history is what we can do, because here in Dataran Merdeka Malaysia declared its independence. Some big events today are still hold on this open field. As a tourist spot, this area is made up very clean and neat - very different from Chinatown area, only few meters away-. The thing I don't like from Dataran Merdeka - because it's an open field - is the sun heat. However, some places around are available to avoid this:

1. KL City Gallery.
This place is my favorite. Here we can get free maps, tour information, and stuff people may get in a tourist information center. It also has a gallery and a convenient shop. The best thing here is what so called 'The Spectacular City Model Show' where we can see a miniature of KL and its future planning of development. No flash allowed when the show is running.

2. Tourism Malaysia.
Just knew about this place in this trip. This is the official tourist information center. At that time, there were two persons on the desk ready to answer any question about Malaysia tourism. But since our purpose was only to cool down, we just sat around in this air-conditioned room and made some selfie photos using the computer there. Those two persons did not really care what we did inside here.

3. Dataran Merdeka Underground.
Just below the open field there is a parking area and a shopping complex. But there's almost nothing to do here. Though going pass through here to reach the KL City Gallery is not a bad shortcut when it's really hot out there.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building, the most prominent building around Dataran Merdeka

Dataran Merdeka has a pool

These guys are not really friendly but helpful I guess

Inside the official tourist information center

The city model inside KL City Gallery
Done with Dataran Merdeka area, we shifted to Central Market for free shopping time. Having been there since 1888, the air-conditioned market is the right place to buy artworks. That's why it's also called Pasar Seni (Art Market). While the others were looking for goods to buy, we visited Art House Gallery in the Annexe Building we were curios about. It was free to enter but honestly not very convenient as the gallery keeper always kept an eye on us. It seemed that she expected visitors not only see around but to buy some. So, this place is not very friendly toward visitors who don't look have money to spend,
Just looking around inside the Art House Gallery

My lunch menu in KFC Kasturi Walk; fried chicken with bread.

After lunch, we were ready for leaving the old and entering the new KL. Getting from Pasar Seni to Bukit Bintang, we did not need to pay a cent. Thanks to GoKL Bus -my favorite transportation mode in this town- to provide free between the two important points. In Bukit Bintang we entered a shopping mall called Sungei Wang (which literally means river of money). Here is one of the best place to hunt cheap things. No wonder it's bustled with tourists and locals alike. Actually there are many other shopping malls within a walking distance from here. One of them is Pavilion, our next destination. 

Different from the down-to-earth Sungei Wang, Pavilion offers some exclusive and branded goods. Still it offers many things to see for budget travelers like us, such as the crystal fountain outside the main entrance and thematic decoration inside the building. Well-connected to Pavilion by Bukit Bintang Skybridge, Suria Mall KLCC offers more expensive branded products. It is also home to Petrosains and many others.

A pedestrian walk in Bukit Bintang area
In front of a shop at Sungei Wang
The Crystal Fountain

Appealing ice cream at Pavilion

Bukit Bintang Skybridge connects Bukit Bintang and KLCC area
The three shopping malls mentioned before are just some looks of the new KL. But the most prominent one is undoubtedly the Petronas Twin Towers which stands right above Suria Mall. In order to enjoy the sight of the twin towers, we stepped outside the mall to KLCC Park. Here we killed our time while waiting for the sunset for taking perfect pictures with the twin towers. Many things to do here such as jogging, swimming, swinging at the playground (but sometimes an official will blow a whistle at you as the play ground is meant for children only), and watching water show at a man-made lake.
Get wet at KLCC Park! (at least your feet)
KLCC Symphony Water fountain Show viewed from Suria Mall

After sunset, the water show becomes more colorful

Taken from a bridge at KLCC Park

The late sunset at 7.30 pm was out of scenario. We would catch a sleeper train to Singapore this night and still we spent time for taking pictures, taking goKL bus back to Chinatown, and having dinner. It made 9.30 pm already and so we had to be hurry to take our luggage at the guesthouse and straightly leave for KL Sentral where the train departed. No time to take a shower. Fortunately, we did not miss the train at last. It was just 10 minutes after we boarded, the train moved. See you KL!

Setelah lelah berjalan-jalan di Kuala Lumpur pada hari-hari sebelumnya, kami tentu butuh istirahat yang memadai. Akan tetapi, jadwal tur mengharuskan kami melakukan perjalanan malam ke Singapura. Merupakan sebuah keputusan yang tepat kami beserta para peserta tur memilih naik kereta api malam dengan tempat tidur. Kami semua dapat tidur dengan nyenyak di atas kereta sehingga merasa segar ketika bangun di pagi harinya (meskipun tidak ada yang mandi sejak kemarin!). Pasti ceritanya menjadi lain jika kami duduk di gerbong dengan kursi biasa. Gerbong berisi tempat tidur hanya dibanderol kurang dari 50 ringgit per orang. Harga itu sangat murah secara kami tidak perlu membayar biaya akomodasi untuk malam itu. Coba saja kalau ada kereta api bertempat tidur macam ini di negeri sendiri. (UPDATE: kereta malam bertempat tidur telah berhenti beroperasi sejak 19 Mei 2016)
Still got a chance to pose before taking a bus back to Chinatown
Mee goreng mamak, my dinner

Inside the sleeper train to Singapore

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