I have been to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 3 times before…
First time in December 1992 – on my first trip back to India from US as a Student… with a group of friends from ASU. We had a day break and visited a few places that day.. only have a couple of photos from that trip.
Second time in 1997, while working for Motorola, came to Malaysia to give training in our QA software… went to the island of Penang, Malaysia.
Third time was also in late 90s… don’t remember exact time.. but didn’t go out of airport.
Since 2005, I started traveling to India via Europe mostly… as more european carriers added flights and Delta, United and others joined in. So haven’t travelled via Pacific in 7-8 years. So this time when a great fare sale came up on Malaysian airlines during Thanksgiving, I decided to take this route. I could have connected in Chennai (Madras) and reached Hyderabad earlier, but decided to take the day break in Kuala Lumpur to revisit the city after a long time and take the direct flight to Hyderabad late in the night. So started my 18 hour day in KL.
We arrived 4:30 a.m. from Tokyo to KL… most of the airport is still sleeping… not much activity. Got through immigration and customs in 5 minutes and was out in 20 mins… at the train station. There is KLIA ekpress.. a 28 minute ride from KL International Airport to KL Central station.. the fastest train in southeast asia (as they claim). It started right on time at 5:20 a.m. and arrived exactly 28 minutes later as scheduled. The train had free Wi-Fi and at that early hour there were only a handful of us on the train.
Central (sentral as spelled in KL) was also barely active. I booked room in Le Meridian, which was supposed to be next to the station. Google Maps showed I had to walk 1.2 km (0.8 miles) to get there… I was contemplating taking a taxi, then asked the one security guy that was there and he said it is close to walk straight.. and there it was just across the street… so Google Maps is not always 100% accurate 🙂
Checked into the hotel… with my elite status, they allow early check-in and put me on 15th floor suite. For the price I paid, it was one of the best hotels I stayed in… Since I was sitting/sleeping at an angle for 28 hours.. decided to take a quick nap… and before I knew it… it was 8:30 a.m.
Got ready and went to the club lounge on 33rd floor (views attached)… tried to locate the Petronas towers from both sides of the floor – couldn’t find them. They are supposed to be visible from most of KL. Later I found out that they were on the side of the hotel. After a good breakfast checked with Concierge and figure out taking a train from the station is the best way to get there… so around 10 a.m. set out to visit City Center.
The central station has so many different routes and options, it took me a little while to figure out where to go and which train to take. After getting on the right train, it was 5 short stops to KLCC station – Kuala Lumpur City Center… it was the center indeed. The train station itself was on the lower level of a mall… you walk out and right across the street and the towers are within walking distance. The new mall “Suriya KLCC” was really high end with all top brand stores and stretched a few city blocks and also connected the 2 towers.
Once I reached the towers, I took selfies and a few shots of the towers like everyone else from the park across the street from the towers. Pictures really don’t do justice when it comes to these tall buildings. Then I went inside the towers to see if I can score a ticket to the skybridge (the bridge between the 2 towers, half way up). Looks like the tickets are sold out online, I should have checked, so I decided to just walk around and do some window shopping.
One amazing thing was the minimum security around the towers. Other than a few occasional cops/security guards, no metal detectors, X-ray machines… what am I missing here? Do they have no threats? Will this kind of normalcy ever come back to US? Probably not.
After an hours of walking around, decided to get back to hotel… had a buffet lunch at the hotel that offered 5 different cuisines (Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Western) – then decided to not take another trip out… I was tired from lack of sleep and had another quick nap.
Checked out of the hotel around 7:25 p.m. for my 10:30 flight… later found out it was too early. I was able to catch the 7:30 p.m. train at the hotel and reached airport exactly at 7:58 p.m. Passed immigration/customs in less than 10 minutes… didn’t expect that. The airport security was also so minimal.. no need to take computer out, shoes off… again, almost reminded me of pre-9/11 days.
Kuala Lumpur definitely offers a cultural diversity… You see Chinese, Indians, Malays and a lot of other ethnicities… you will see huge mosques and also Indian temples. I am not sure how day-to-day life here is, but it sure has its own intrigue… I enjoyed my visit and am glad took the day break…