When my sister, Arman, and I decided to go to Kuala Lumpur, we only had one tourist spot in mind – the Petronas Towers. We didn’t really have any idea about the other tourist spots in the Malaysian capital so it was a blessing that we stumbled upon the KL Hop-on Hop-off website during our last minute research.
The KL Hop-On Hop-Off is a city tour wherein you ride a double-deck bus that goes around the city and stops by the major tourist attractions. There is a recorded commentary that guides the tourists as well as a real tour guide that directs our attention to noteworthy sights in KL. A 24-hour KL Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour pass costs 38 MR, roughly around 520 PhP. The tour starts at 8:30 AM and ends 8:30 PM.
We woke up pretty early at around 7:30 AM. When we were getting ready to go out and explore KL, I suggested that we wear the ‘I ❤ MY‘ shirts from Giordano while touring KL rather than on our way back to Manila. Why? So that we looked like proper tourists. Haha, okaaay.
Rather than having breakfast in our hotel, we went to Bintang Walk and scouted for a place where we can grab a quick breakfast. We saw a KFC branch and went inside without hesitations. They were serving breakfast meals and I ordered their Sunriser meal which costs 8.80 MR.
Just a friendly advice, avoid KFC Bukit Bintang’s washrooms! I just couldn’t describe how horrendous the smell was. I thought it was just in the men’s room but my sister said the ladies washroom was gross as well.
We walked towards the intersection of Jalan Bukit Bintang and Jalan Sultan Ismail where the Bukit Bintang Station of the KL Monorail was. We were looking for a sign that would point us to the drop off point of the KL Hop-On Hop-Off but we couldn’t find one. We found out at the end of the day that had we walked a little further, we would’ve seen the drop-off point. Since we didn’t see any signs that would tell us where the drop-off point was, we decided to ride the KL Monorail instead then transfer to RapidKL to reach the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) where the Petronas Towers are located.
It took us less than 30 minutes to get to KLCC. We went inside Suria KLCC first since we wanted to use the washroom. Suria KLCC is an upmarket mall at the base of the Petronas Towers. It houses luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton.
For a high-end mall, Suria didn’t really impress me. It housed luxury brands but it didn’t really feel that luxurious. The atmosphere of Suria reminded me of Trinoma. What makes it special though is that it is below the Petronas Towers. Still, the award for the most luxurious mall I’ve visited in Southeast Asia goes to Plaza Indonesia.
The ceiling of Suria is made of glass. While walking around the mall, I looked up and saw one of the Petronas Towers which I thought was a cool touch to the mall.
We looked for the exit so that we could finally see the famous and iconic landmark of Kuala Lumpur. We walked towards the end of Suria and found our way out of the mall.
I was really in awe when I saw the Petronas Twin Towers. They’re the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I couldn’t stop admiring the structures and I walked around to see them from different angles. It’s such a shame that the viewing deck was closed for renovations when we were there.
After doing all the mandatory photo-ops with the Petronas Towers, we headed to the KL Hop-On Hop-Off shed. There was a lady there selling the tickets so we purchased three and waited for the bus to arrive. KLCC is the tour’s first stop by the way.
We were given a map of the tour bus’ route and we checked which spots we wanted to explore. First stop, the Menara KL (or the Kuala Lumpur Tower). The Menara KL is the world’s second tallest free-standing tower and it’s used for communications purposes. The tower is built on Bukit Nanas, a hill containing the city’s lone virgin tropical forest.
Most of the attractions in the Menara KL complex can be accessed only if you buy a 45 MR ticket, a price we found too steep. Too bad, I really wanted to see KL from the tower’s viewing deck. There’s also a revolving restaurant at the deck but you have to pay extra to eat there. We just roamed around the areas which can be accessed for free and admired the KL skyline from the hill.
After seeing all the free parts of the complex, we headed to the bus stop and waited for the next KL Hop-On Hop-Off bus. We spent roughly 30 minutes in the area and we came back just in time because the tour bus just arrived.
The other stops after the Menara KL weren’t that fascinating for me. The KL Convention Center and Aquaria seemed cool but we didn’t go down the bus to see it. We passed by Bintang Walk and saw the stop we were looking for earlier that day. We checked the map again and the next interesting stop would be KL’s Chinatown.
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is located along Jalan Petaling. KL’s Chinatown, like Binondo, is dotted with restaurants and shops. There are plenty of stalls on both side of the streets selling clothes, souvenirs, and whatnot.
After exploring KL’s China Town, we went back to the KL Hop-On Hop-Off drop off point and waited for the next bus to arrive. While we were waiting, we wondered about the possibility of going on a side trip to Singapore the following day. Why? Because it seems like we’ve already seen what we have to see in KL. I asked the lady manning a bus company’s booth and she told me that it would take a while before we reach Singapore. Okay, scrap that. True enough though, we didn’t do much on our third day. Moving on…
It started to drizzle while we were waiting for the next bus. Thank goodness that the bus stop had a roof or else we would’ve been touring KL with wet clothes. The bus arrived before it started to rain hard. We had to sit at the lower deck of the bus since the upper deck was already full.
Since it was raining really hard, we couldn’t go down and explore the other tourist spots. Then again, most of the other tourist spots need not be explored. The downside is that I wasn’t able to take decent photos of those spots. I managed to take a few snaps by peeking outside the bus’ doors when wide open but they aren’t that good…
We alighted the bus once it reached the first stop, which is KLCC. Basically, we have seen most of the must-see places in Kuala Lumpur. It was still raining when we reached KLCC and only I had an umbrella. Since I was wearing a jacket with a hood, I lent my umbrella to my sister then dashed towards Suria.
We weren’t able to eat lunch so we went to Suria’s food court. I was supposed to have Nasi Lemak for lunch but something similar captured my attention.
That’s Nasi Bojari. As I’ve mentioned, as long as there’s chicken… I’m good. The seafood viand was also good, it would’ve been better though if it was a bit more spicy. We bought Malaysian pastries after as our dessert.
We went around Suria a little bit more after having lunch. My sister was able to buy some things in Suria but sadly, I wasn’t able to do so since most of the merchandise there are (way) out of my budget. We headed to the bus stop after going around Suria so we can go back to the Bukit Bintang area and then walk to our hotel for a much needed rest.
Later in the evening, we were supposed to go out and walk to Pavilion for dinner. Sadly, my sister wasn’t feeling too well and told Arman and I to go ahead without her. She just requested for us to buy her Floss (a type of bread) from Breadtalk. By the way, Pavilion is another upscale mall in Kuala Lumpur at the end of Jalan Bukit Bintang. It’s fairly new, it was opened in 2007.
For me, Pavilion is a hundred times better than Suria. Okay, I was exaggerating a bit but it’s much much better than Suria. I guess I expected to much from Suria because it was *the* mall at the base of the Petronas Towers. I really enjoyed going around Pavilion. Also, the atmosphere has an upscale but laid back vibe into it.
Arman and I went to the first level of Pavilion since the food court was there. While walking around the food court area, something caught my attention…
Sticky is a shop that sells traditional, hand-made candies. It originated from Australia but the shop nearest the Philippines is in Kuala Lumpur. One of my colleagues in IBM brought a jar to the office and it was really good. I watched the Sticky staff make candy by rolling thick slabs of candy into a thick tube.
I wanted to buy a jar of candies with assorted flavors as pasalubong for my mom but I decided to look for other stuff first just in case I find something better. A jar of assorted candies costs 20.00 MR, which is a bit expensive for candy. Then again, it was for my mom and I don’t mind spending that much for her.
For dinner, I bought a plate of chicken curry, fried egg, and vegetables with steamed rice. No, I didn’t have Nasi Lemak.
It wasn’t spectacular but it was good enough. It wasn’t as spicy as I hope it would be though.
Right after having my dinner, I had this sudden craving for something sweet. I scanned the shops near the food court and my sight locked to a shop whose name I had heard of before… J.Co Donuts & Coffee. J.Co Donuts & Coffee is a popular doughnut shop that originated from Jakarta, Indonesia. Another colleague of mine told me to try their donuts when I went to Jakarta earlier this year but I failed to do so. I approached J.Co’s counter and ogled at the shining, glazed doughnuts before my eyes. I was supposed to take a photo but a staff member told me that it is not allowed, shame. I asked the lady what the doughnuts were and I chose Why Nut, a doughnut filled with peanut butter. I’m such a sucker for anything with peanut butter.
The doughnut was delicious! Again, I couldn’t recall how much it costs but I’m pretty sure it didn’t cost more than 3 MR. Calling enterprising Filipinos, please franchise J.Co Donuts & Coffee as well as Sticky here in Metro Manila!
And that concludes our second day in Kuala Lumpur. We pretty much covered the must-see places of KL in a day. Too bad it rained though but it was okay, we still had fun. Problem is, since we’ve visited most of the tourist spots in a day, we had no clue as to where to go on our third day.
Oh, just a random observation – Malaysians really love their flag. I mean, wherever you go in Kuala Lumpur, there’s a Malaysian flag. The lamp posts have Malaysian flags hung on them, buildings have Malaysian flags on their facades, heck, even our tour bus had Malaysian flags beside every window. I wouldn’t be surprised if Malaysians have blankets and wallpapers with the Malaysian flag on it. Not that I disliked it, not at all. I’m actually impressed with the patriotism of the Malaysians.
Also, I noticed that unlike in Jakarta where the streets were flooded with new cars (with a number of them being of luxury marques), quite a number of vehicles in Kuala Lumpur were old. Most of them look similar as well. The cars in KL are either Proton or Perodua, I rarely saw cars from foreign manufacturers.