BB.com Goes To Malaysia: An Impromptu Excursion to Kuala Lumpur
While having a great al fresco dining experience at Makansutra Gluttons Bay, itineraries for my cousins who just arrived in Singapore were being discussed. Tons of options came up but everyone agreed on a day trip to Kuala Lumpur. Without further discussions, everyone went home to grab their packs and head on to a 5 hour impromptu excursion to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city.
Bus from Singapore to Malaysia, and vice versa.
Comfortable seating inside the bus.
The island of Singapore is connected to Malaysia through connecting bridges which means Malaysia could be reached conveniently by land through express bus services. Leaving Singapore from the Golden Mile Complex on Beach Road at 11:30 P.M. took us a 5 hours to reach Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur – just like traveling from Cubao to Baler , Aurora via Joy Bus. We got off the bus at 4:30AM and for a sudden, everything went blank – no plans, no itineraries.
Early morning in Petronas Twin Towers.
Tourism Police at Malaysia Tourism Centre.
KL, the “Garden City of Lights”, was still deep in in its sleep when we arrived. Nothing but empty streets, closed shops, and overpricing taxi drivers welcomed our arrival in the city. My cousins, sister, and I had no idea where to go and what to do until the sun came up. We knew nothing of Kuala Lumpur except for one place, the Petronas Twin Towers. From the world-renown tourist destination, we could figure out how to start the trip from there.
Malaysia Tourism Centre’s garden.
While waiting for MaT1c to open.
A few strides from Petronas Twin Towers was Malaysia Tourism Centre or MaT1c, a hub dedicated to the prosperous tourism industry of Malaysia and significantly the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur. The city alone caters to 8.9 million visitors person making KL the 6th most visited city in the world.
Malaysia Tourism Centre and KL Tower.
Tourism Police Motorcycle at Malaysia Tourism Centre.
Tourist spots are scattered all over Kuala Lumpur. To reach target destinations, travelers need the best tour guide in town and we found it at MaT1c, the tourist-friendly KL Hop-On Hop Off City Tour Bus. It is a double-decked bus with an open section designated to conveniently link travelers between the city’s major attractions. The bus runs on a single circuit connecting all the city’s highlights wherein travelers could choose what destination to visit or pass by. The following are the places we visited during our day trip in KL.
Inside the KL Hop-On Hop-Off Tour Bus.
Pick up points could be at any bus stop along the circuit. We took the bus from Bus Stop #1 which was Malaysia Tourism Centre and started our city tour with Bus Stop #2, the Kuala Lumpur Tower. Measuring 421 meters from the tower’s base to the tip of the antenna, it is the highest viewpoint in Kuala Lumpur open to the public, and the 7th tallest communication tower in the world. KL Tower also features a revolving restaurant and boasts of a wonderful vantage point to see the entire city.
Cousin Pau at KL Tower.
Like Singapore and many countries around the world, Malaysia has its own Chinatown located at Petaling Street (Bus Stop #8). The Malaysian Chinatown is infamously a trade center for “class A” imitations of clothes and accessories sold from local shops and stalls under a giant green roof called the “Green Dragon”. Locals and tourist alike flock in Chinatown to purchase trendy items on a bargain.
Dim sum and dumplings in Chinatown.
Petaling Street also highlights numerous restaurants, food stalls, and dining center which offer local Chinatown favorites like Hainanese Chicken Rice. Food options however are not limited to Chinese cuisine but also offers Indian, Malay, and Singaporean, as well. We had an early lunch on one of the budget food centers within the district before we went on with our excursion.
A local scene in Malaysia’s Chinatown, Petaling Street .
Man selling local treats on his mobile food stall.
Meat for sale.
One of the most important destinations in KL was Bus Stop #10, Istana Negara, the residence of Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which means Malaysia’s supreme head of state. The National Palace stands on an vast 11.34-hectare compound complete with a 6-hole golf course, tennis courts, and a lake. Tourist are not allowed within the premises, however, visitors could view the palace from a grand archway entrance where 2 cavalry dressed in traditional Malaysian uniforms are stationed under a guard post at the arch’s ends.
Istana Negara or the National Palace
The main arch entrance of Istana Negara.
Istana Negara cavalry dressed in traditional Malaysian attire.
From the Malaysia’s National Palace, we head on to the country’s National Mosque called Masjid Negara at Bus Stop #15. Three architects designed a modern approach on the bold mosque with a notable 73-metre high minaret which adds another element in Kuala Lumpur’s amazing cityscape. Since established in 1965, Masjid Negara stood high as a symbol of bloodless independence from the British government.
Masjid Negara’s minaret.
Group photo at National Mosque.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building on Bus Stop #16 houses Malaysia’s government office of Ministry of Information, Communication, and Culture. The building’s distinct shiny copper dome and clock tower remarkably stood out across Merdeka Square, where events like the National Parade is held – a commemoration of Malaysia’s independence.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building in front of Merdeka Square.
Last stop of KL’s Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour is the Kuala Lumpur’s most iconic edifice, and one of the famous skyscrapers in the entire planet, the Petronas Twin Towers at Bus Stop #22. This architectural wonder once reigned as the tallest in the world but not until Taiwan’s Taipei 101 was built. The double-storey skybridge connects the towers’ together, but unattached to the main building to prevent it from breaking. Instead, the bridge was designed to slide in and out in case of earth movement – one of the key features of the building. The Petronas Twin Towers prove to be an engineering platform, but for a regular tourist like me, it was simply a sight to be seen right in front of your eyes.
Petronas Twin Towers at dawn.
KL Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Bus covers more than 40 major tourist destinations in 23 strategically-designed bus stops. Transferring from one landmark to another was made easier instead of taking several transfers to reach tourist spots in the city especially if time was not by your side just like our impulsive decision for a day trip in KL. For me, Malaysia’s Tourism Department created a solution to the question, “How could I maximize my visit in Kuala Lumpur?” Convenient, affordable, and hassle-free – those are the 3 adjectives I chose to describe my KL experience via the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus.
Mandatory Petronas Tower Group Shot.
Here are some fast facts that may help you on your trip:
1. Tickets for KL Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Bus
RM 38.00 (P500.00) – 24-hour validity
RM 65.00 (P850.00) – 48-hour validity
2. Tickets could be bought on the bus.
3. Tour bus runs from 8:30 AM to 8:30 PM everyday. Buses pick up and drop off passengers every 30 minutes in all Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Stops.
4. You may wish to get off or skip bus stops. Brochures will be given to passengers to guide them through the destinations, aside from the kind personnel of the Hop-On Hop-Off City Tour Bus.
5. StarMart Express Bus from Golden Mile Complex in Singapore to Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur cost around SGD 20.00 to SGD 30.00. They have daily trips from 8:00 AM to 11:30 PM.
6. Travel time from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur is approximately 4-5 hours.
7. Tourist destinations featured in this post are FREE. Others destinations require entrance fees.
8. More Singapore destinations in Biyaheng Singapore.
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10. Follow @BiyaherongBarat on Twitter
11. Happy travels everyone.