| Part 2: Kuala Lumpur
Dubai -> Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur.
Weather: foggy in the early
morning in Dubai, poor visibility, hot. Tropical temperatures at night
when we arrive in KL.
After breakfast we leave the hotel at 8:15am by taxi. At 8:55am we are
at the airport. Free wireless internet access at the terminal 3 (the
new one of Emirates Airlines).
At 9:45a we board the EK342 plane to KL.
There we are in the plane. Nothing happens until about 11:30am (flight
is supposed to take off at 10:30am. At 11:30am they disembark all
passengers - broken aircraft, needs to be fixed. We are all sent to the
gate 208 where another plane is waiting, new planned take off time is
1:30pm. We have some lunch, then proceed to the gate.
The plane will
finally take off after 2pm and land in KLIA at 1am local time. Three
and a half hours of delay, thank you very much Emirates. Shortly before
2am we are in taxis to the hotel (two taxis costing 87 RM, less than
one family van which costs 233 RM - these are night prices, daytime the
taxis cost less).
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur. RM 245
for the room. The breakfast today is a disappointment: poor choice
Weather: mostly cloudy with
some sunshine in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. Some rain in
the later afternoon, not too hot.
With some effort we manage to get up at 9:30am and are down in the
breakfast place on the 9th floor at 10am, in time to get breakfast
before they close at 10:30am.
After breakfast we do some shopping. We get Maxis prepaid GSM cards for
our phones (RM 10 which includes RM 4 of calls + a recharge). This time
it is possible to use the prepaid cards to access the Internet (APN:
net, username: maxis, password: wap, dial-in number: *99#). It's
expensive however, at 1 cent/KB (RM 10/MB).
We don't do much. Shirley has a haircut, in the afternoon I take a taxi
to KLCC and visit the KL acquarium. The ticket costs RM 38 and the
highlight is a walk in a glass tunnel through the acquarium, surrounded
by large fish and sharks floating around.
When I try to get back to the hotel after 6pm, I can't manage to find a
taxi driver willing to use the meter. They ask for RM 25, and I just
paid RM 7 to come here earlier in the afternoon. I even try to walk
away from KLCC, which probably is a tourist trap, and get a taxi
somewhere else, but still can't find a taxi willing to use the meter.
The drivers complain about the traffic jams. I could take a train to KL
Sentral, but it is a bit complicated and likely to take one hour until
I'm back. In the end I settle with a taxi driver on RM 20. When we
drive back, surprise, surprise, there is no traffic jam at all. Seems
that the taxi drivers have all been bullshitting.
In the evening we have a dinner with Sara, Shirley's sister.
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur.
Weather: mostly sunny in the
morning, overcast in the late afternoon. Hot, no rain. According to
local newpapers Malaysia is experiencing hot weather with no rain (el
nino). Hazy conditions, not too great visibility.
We get up at 9am and have breakfast. At 10:30am I leave the hotel. No
taxi driver knows how to get to the Tian Hou Chinese temple. I get back
to the hotel and finally with the help of the staff we locate the
temple and find a taxi driver who knows how to get there.
At 11am I'm at the temple (it is actually in walking distance of the
Midvalley shopping complex). Very nice Chinese temple, on top of a
hill, not as big as the Pinang Kek Lok Si temple. When I arrive a film
crew is making a movie: lots of Chinese actors in ancient warrior
dress, some Chinese actresses in ancient dress.
At 11:45am I'm done with the temple and want to get back. No taxi
available at the temple. No problem, I walk down the hill to the main
road, cross the road and walk to the bus stand. After one minute a taxi
stops and I tell the driver to bring me to the old KL train station.
Driver speaks almost no English, so I phone Shirley for support.
At 12:15pm I'm at the station, well, at the wrong side of it. I walk a
bit until I find a way to get to the right place. KL's train station
was moved to KL Sentral and the old train station will soon be
converted to a museum. Old islamic style building, quite nice.
After taking some pictures at 12:30pm I walk to the nearby state
mosque, which looks very nice from above (star shaped blue-green roof).
The problem is that the mosque is closed right now for non-muslim
tourists (reopens at 3pm) and there is no spot from which you have a
nice view from above, unless you walk onto the fast elevated road.
Adjacent to the mosque is the Malaysian Islamic Arts Museum, which I
might visit one day when I have nothing else to do. I continue walking
towards the nearby Sultan Abdul Samad building. It's now 1pm and the
sun is very strong in the sky. Thin clouds layer which
reduces the intensity of the sun rays a bit.
Then I slowly continue walking towards the Puduraya bus station, and
after a brief lunch break in a KFC restaurant, I continue walking to
Bukit Bintang. My T-shirt and the camera bag by the way are wet with
sweat. Very hot right now.
It's now 2:15pm, and I walk into an Internet cafe. I spend about half
an hour browsing the web and checking my emails. Apparently there are
lots of packages for Indonesia concerning Borodudur, Prambanan and Mt
Bromo. These however are not easily bookable in here in KL, at least I
can't find an agency offering such packages here.
Shortly after 3pm I'm in the BB Plaza shopping complex where I enquire
about a suit with a taylor. The problem is that I can't find a fabric
which is convincing enough. In the meantime Shirley calls and we
discuss what to do. I suggest to meet at KLCC where we can visit the KL
acquarium. We agree to meet there at 4:30pm.
At 4pm I start walking towards KLCC. There are now more buildings
around KLCC, for instance they have completed the construction of the
new KL convention centre.
At 4:40pm Shirley finally arrives with the kids. Looks like it took her
some effort to find a taxi in Midvalley willing to use the meter. We
proceed to the KL acquarium. Alissia is thrilled when we go through the
tunnel in the big aquarium (the small one actually as well).
After the acquarium, at 6:30pm we head to the children playground,
where the children spend about half an hour playing. Then we have
dinner in KLCC and head back to the hotel. The taxi is RM 20 (initially
the taxi drivers ask for RM 35, refuse to go for less than 25, then we
walk to the other taxi stand).
Lumpur -> Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa
Dua. Room is nicely furnished and of good standard. Has everything
except an ironing board (fridge, TV, phone, hairdryer, minibar, tea
making equipment included). Wireless Internet available, costs 30000
rupiah 1hr, 120000 rupiah 5 hours - very fast connection. The hotel has
its own beach. Only problem is the shower: the water temperature is
difficult to set, changes from hot to cold and viceversa by itself.
Security check for vehicles entering the hotel.
Weather: hazy in the morning
in KL. Blue sky in Bali, tropically hot, no rain the whole day.
After breakfast we check out from the hotel and take a taxi to KL's
LCCT airport (taxi is RM 80). There we check-in and proceed to the
gate. Internet connection with very poor quality in the departure
hall. The AirAsia plane leaves at 11:15am with half an hour of delay.
We arrive in Bali at 3:15pm, then proceed through the passport control.
It takes one hour to finally make it to the baggage retrieval (slow
passport control counter; visa for non-ASEAN people is USD 10, payable
also in other currencies). Then we get some cash from an ATM, retrieve
the suitcases and walk out. A taxi to the hotel costs 105000 rupiah
(about 7.50 Euro). The taxi needs about 25 minutes to reach the hotel.
It's almost 5pm when we reach the hotel. After checking in we don't do
much. In the evening we explore a bit the the area around the hotel and
have dinner. The restaurant is in a nice setting, also the food is not
bad (but not that impressive either). The price level is higher than in
Malaysia, only slightly lower than in Germany.
We enquire about tours and are quoted between 450000 and 600000 rupiah
for a car + driver for one day for a tour to the Batur lake.