| Part 1: Introduction
This year's trip to Malaysia consisted of two brief stays in Kuala
Lumpur, a three days one before the trip to Japan and another three
days one after the trip to Macau before flying back to Germany, and one
night spent in KL on November 10th between the Japan and the Macau
Not much has changed in KL since our last visit, although you can see
that the infrastructure is aging. Malaysia seems to go through a phase
of stagnation, with a slowly growing economy and not rising wages. For
instance the taxi fares have been essentially unchanged since 1999.
With the Euro exchange rate close to RM5 our holiday was quite
inexpensive. Overall the pricing level in Malaysia is low. It is
possible to find decent hotel rooms for less than RM100 in KL (20 Euro)
and you can eat for less than RM 10. Taxis are also very inexpensive.
There is an incredible variety of food in Kuala Lumpur, with tons of
restaurants and eateries everywhere. In every shopping complex there
are one or two floors dedicated to restaurants and food stalls.
Especially in the basement floor of the Midvalley shopping complex in
KL there are tons of places where to find all sorts of food and snacks.
Prices are a fraction of what they are in a developed country.
We stayed in four star places, costing between 250 and 320 RM (50 - 64
Euro). Prices have increased since our last stay and have steadily
increased over the past years. We had to take a deluxe room in the
Boulevard hotel because there were no more standard rooms, paying an
additional RM60 per day. A few years ago we were paying around RM150
for a room in a four star hotel (see the Malaysia
2002 travelogue). Still, accomodation in KL is less expensive than
comparable accomodation in Europe and the breakfast buffets are great.
/ Exchange rate (November 2007)
1 Euro = RM4.93
the Universal Currency
ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a
Cirrus/Maestro ATM card. You won't need traveller cheques.
phones and prepaid cards
We bought prepaid cards from DiGi, which cost RM15 with RM15 of
available calls. Dirt cheap and most likely DiGi lost money on us. You
can also roam with your GSM phone, but connection charges will be
extremely expensive, so it makes sense to get a local prepaid card even
if you stay just two or three days. Good coverage everywhere. By the
way, 3G networks have been introduced in Malaysia.
For the first three days I used the WLAN access offered by Starbucks
coffee shops, for the second three days I used the in-room LAN
connection of the Boulevard hotel (a bit slow). Otherwise there are
Internet cafes in downtown KL offering Internet access for RM4/hour.
Tropical weather, hot and steamy. Sometimes blue skies with only a few
clouds, but mostly more or less overcast. At the end of October mostly
blue skies, in mid-November mostly overcast with some rain.
The usual set of vaccinations for tropical countries (consult your
doctor) and recommended. These include polio, Hep A, tetanus,
diphteria, typhoid, although this list may be subject to change. We
didn't refresh any vaccinations for this trip.
VISA / Entry
A valid passport is necessary. EU
nationals automatically get a three month visa upon arrival. This also
holds for nationals of many other countries - check with the Malaysian
embassy in your country.
No issues here. Malaysia is a
very stable and peaceful country.
We used mostly taxis (very cheap) to get from A to
B. Taxis were unavailable when I arrived with the Skytrain from KL
international airport (fast connection, 35 RM, 28 minutes) to KL
Sentral station on Saturday at 6pm. To put it more precisely they would
have brought me to the hotel for RM30, approx. six times the metered
rate. The taxi drivers complained of too much traffic - no point
working if you make very little and are stuck for half an hour in the
traffic. Also in Bukit Bintang street taxi drivers refuse to use the
meter, elsewhere they do use the meter. In any case, the streets in Kl
are quite congested.
The other option is to use public transportation, which in central KL
is not too bad. The monorail runs between KL Sentral and Titiwangsa and
there are some fast LRT (light rail transit) lines in KL.