Kuala Lumpur Attractions: Dirty Details

Read here for our account of our time in Kuala Lumpur.

Read our review on our hotel, Courtyard Boutique Hotel. 

 

Petronas Towers by Matt Ringuette

Petronas Towers by Matt Ringuette

Information on Kuala Lumpur Attractions Below

 

Malaysian Travel Visa – Canadians (and citizens of many other countries) do not require a tourist for Malaysia when visiting for less than 30 days.

If you are planning on going for longer you can apply for a 60-day visa at a Malaysian Consulate in advance.

When applying for a visa you’ll want to ensure you follow the exact steps to get your visa in time for your departure. It helps to write a list of the requirements in point form so you don’t make mistakes; sometimes there can be five or six things you need in order to have the application processed correctly, (money order addressed appropriately, # of photos etc).

Visas are typically only good for 90 days from the date of issue so it may not be a good option to get your visa before departure if you are travelling to several countries.

30-day extensions can be made once in the country but the process is sometimes labourious, including travel time to a city where extensions are processed. Often you may also need to leave the country to process the extension.

Be sure to carry extra passport photos with you when you travel but also keep in mind that you may need to take some when there due to different visa photo regulations in the country you’re travelling to.

 

PASSPORT PHOTOS – First, I always carry extra passport photos with me when I travel and have often needed them. When I went hang-gliding in Rio de Janeiro I needed one for my hang-gliding card (even for one ride). In Ethiopia I needed two photos for my SIM card. It’s always good to carry extra photos.

In Toronto I recommend Chinatown, on Spadina Ave where you can get two passport photos for $6.99

 

VACCINATIONS – Not required for Malaysia, however, there may be areas where you’d need or want malaria medication.

There is no one better in Toronto than Dr. Hii. He doesn’t give you anything that is not necessary. He sits you down and goes over each country your travelling to in detail and gives you tips you may not get elsewhere.

An added bonus is that he has a special way of doing Hep B so that he can create immunity to it and will send you in for blood tests as well to ensure you are not wasting money if you already have the antibodies. A class act and I have been going to him for years.

 

Dr. Hii – 372 Bay Street (Sterling Tower), Suite #401.

416.350.3555 or travjhh@bellnet.ca

 

Some of the costs we’ve incurred for previous trips were:

Yellow Fever – Good for 10 years – $130

Typhoid – $40

Hep A – $60

Hep B – $40/dose. Typically only two are needed to create immunity.

Admin fees range but are typically about $80 for filing and consultation

DukOral – For traveller’s diarrhea and it lasts two weeks. Definitely get it. $40/dose, 2 doses.

PRESCRIPTIONS –

Malarone – Malaria pills. I had a friend from NYC with me when I was in Kenya in 1994 who almost died from malaria after not taking her pills properly. Definitely bring them if needed.

Dr. Hii goes over your itinerary and tells you how many you need. For example, you’re going to the required area for 5 days. You will take pills two days prior to arriving, one each day you’re there and a pill/day for the following seven days. A total of 14 pills. Most benefit plans cover them. If not they are expensive, 12 tabs is $75 without a plan.

Levaquin or Cipro – If you get traveller’s diarrhea, even after taking DukOral you’ll want these pills to stop it.

Two pills a day for three days and we’ve used it several times in Egypt, Kenya and Indonesia. Food poisoning is everywhere and in many third world countries safe food handling is not often learned. Without a drug plan it cost us $22 for 3 pills.

** Altitude sickness can happen to anyone even the most fit. Also, or example, I have no issues equalizing down to depths of 150’ in the ocean but often get altitude sickness as I did in Macchu Pichu, Peru and in Argentina. For me, each occurrence happened when I took a vehicle to the height of where I was visiting which perhaps didn’t give my body enough time to acclimatize.

 

CASH VS. CREDIT CARDS VS. TRAVELLER’S CHEQUES

Credit Cards – Kuala Lumpur is a shopper’s dream so you’re your Visa, MasterCard and AMEX. However, in the rest of the country you’ll find much less acceptance and I find that MasterCard is the most readily accepted. Also, remember that often you are charged to use your cc, 2.5% of the purchase price. Same goes for cash withdrawals.

Traveller’s Cheques – Typically I use these when I travel to countries where I’m unsure about credit cards but sometimes you’ll run into issues. If you’re going outside of Kuala Lumpur you may want to take a few for emergencies, however, in Malaysian Borneo few banks changed them and outside of the city, impossible.

Cash is king. In many countries, you’ll require a lot of cash if you’re doing remote travel. However, Malaysia is pretty good for ATMS and banks. NOTE: Keep in mind that the daily limit imposed by the Malaysian banks may not come even close to the amount you can withdraw from home. We have been finding that 5-10 withdrawals are needed each month which results in multiply bank fees. We’ve decided to Western Union ourselves a large amount each month which will save money. Also, definitely travel with some USD for emergency situations where there isn’t an ATM. 

Changing Money – Shop around currency exchanges for the best rate. We were changing Canadian dollars into Indonesia rupiah for our next destination and stopped at five close together. The fifth had the best rate.

If you’re changing USD then make sure you’re bringing new bills and you’ll get a better rate for $50 and $100 bills.

Since the Canadian dollar is readily accepted and is at par with the USD it didn’t make sense to change it. I was told at the Indonesian Consulate in Toronto that unlike US bills, Canadian bills do not need to be crisp or new.

Note: We only took Canadian cash because after Kuala Lumpur we were flying directly to a small city in Indonesia (Banda Aceh, en route to the island of Pulau Weh) and we were fairly sure we’d have a very hard time exchanging Canadian money, especially for the amount we needed for my partner’s dive certification and a two-week stay.

We took $20 bills although we wanted $50 or $100 bills and they happened to be crisp and new.

We shopped around and got a very good rate. $1000 CAD turned into Rp 9,310,000 (Indonesian Rupiah).

PHONE/INTERNET – We used our GPS often in Kuala Lumpur and purchased SIM cards in the city from Tune Talk, 4G with Internet etc.

Many hostels and hotels offer free wireless Internet in my room but some luxury hotels do not and the cost is exorbitant. You might want to purchase a SIM at little cost, top up and tether to your iPad or laptop.

A SIM card in Kuala Lumpur with Tune Talk was RM 25 ($8 CAD) and came with enough credit for us to use our GPS often, for one week. We didn’t use it much for other purposes, however, “top ups” are very cheap as well.

SKYPE – Free, download it, use it for calls (normal or video), texts and in fact, use it when at home, it’s cheaper than cell phones once you’re over your minutes.

If you download it on your Blackberry/iPhone/Android and put a credit into your account you can make any call on your phone via Skype. If you’re connected to wireless you’re making a free call home.

To get your phone unlocked in Toronto go to:

Ming Wireless – mingwireless.com

250 Dundas St. West

It’s $20 to unlock a Blackberry or Android versus $50 at the Eaton Centre. If you’re contract has ended with Rogers, for example, it will only cost you $50 to unlock your iPhone. If not, there are places around Toronto that will do it for you, (it takes a few days) at a cost of $120-$150.

 

AIRPORT TRANSFERS TO KUALA LUMPUR CITY CENTRE (2013)

Taxi: RM 80-90. Taxis are fast and easy. The cost depends on the area you’re going to and prepaid vouchers are used, purchased at the designated counter in the arrival’s area. Ask for a budget taxi if you’re alone or with another person. The cost increases with the more people you have and also for more luggage. Taxis run 24 hours/day.

Train: RM 35. KLIA Express (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) leaves from the main terminal and soon KLIA2. The train takes 23 minutes to central KL and then you’ll need a taxi or you can take the LRT to your final destination.

KLIA – LCCT Terminal Transfers: If you’re short on time you’ll need to take a taxi. If you have time then the bus is a relatively cheap and easy option. If you’re arriving at the main KLIA terminal follow signs for the LCCT (downstairs).

KLIA – LCCT: RM 2.50 – Take the bus to the LCCT and upon arrival you’ll see bright yellow and red buses ahead of you on the left. They travel to the main bus station in KL, Sentral.

Skybus (red) is RM 9 ($3 CAD) and Aerobus (yellow) is RM 8. The trip takes about an hour.

The monorail station closest to the bus station is Tun Sambanthan (due to construction in 2013), about a 5-10 minute walk from the bus station, depending on luggage. From there it took about 7 minutes to travel to Bukit Bintang station (RM 1.60 each).

Jalan Alor, the street closest to our hotel, Courtyard Boutique Hotel, was a 5-minute walk from the station.

 

MAIN ATTRACTIONS – Most attractions are very easy to get to if you’re staying centrally, especially with the FREE Pink Bus. Choose either the Purple or Green line and you’re good to go.

1) Petronas Towers – Limited tickets. First come, first serve. We read that the view was better from the KL Tower.  bWe also read tht there’s a great view from the Sky Bar at the Sheraton so we saved or time and money and went there. You need not stay at the Sheraton to visit and the ambiance is cool with a happening bar and a pool overlooking the city. It is directly across from the towers and the view is gorgeous.

Entrance Fee: Adult RM 80, Child RM30

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday (closed every Monday). Visiting Hours 9am – 9pm (closed from 1pm – 2.30pm on Fridays)

Ticketing Counter Concourse level, PETRONAS Twin Towers

Note: Issuing of tickets begins at 8.30am (tickets are limited and issued on a first come, first served basis). Advance purchase is available.

Monorail/LRT Station: Take a train from any station within Klang Valley area and make your way to KLCC Station (KJ10).

Website: http://www.petronastwintowers.com.my

 

2) KL Tower – Considered a better view than the Petronas Towers and it’s also much higher. There are two levels to visit but I read there isn’t a safety barrier on the higher level so hang on to your children!

Entrance Fee: RM 

Opening Hours: 9am – 10pm

Monorail/LRT Station: Refer to the website for detailed directions.

Website: http://www.menarakl.com.my

 

3) Rumah Penghulu – A beautiful traditional Malay house transported from a village to downtown Kuala Lumpur! A cool inside look at how a village chief once lived. Located in Bukit Bintang.

Entrance Fee: RM 10

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri: 10am – 4pm. Closed weekends and public holidays

Monorail/LRT Station: 10-minute walk from Raja Chulan monorail station

Website: N/A

Traditional Malay House by Matt Ringuette

Traditional Malay House by Matt Ringuette

4) Sri Mahamariamman Temple – “The Sri Mahamariamman Temple is the oldest and richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur. From its inception, the temple provided an important place of worship for early Indian immigrants and is now an important cultural and national heritage.

Entrance Fee: Free but upon entry there is a RM 0.20 fee to store your shoes.

Opening Hours: 6am – 8.30pm (Friday until 9.30pm, Saturday until 9pm). During special festivals opening hours sometimes differ.

Monorail/LRT Station: Petaling. Refer to website for detailed directions.

Website: http://www.wonderfulmalaysia.com/attractions/sri-mahamariamman-temple-kuala-lumpur.htm

 

5) Central Market – This indoor market is located in Chinatown and has any type of tourist trinket you’re looking for along with beautiful more expensive pieces. It’s the perfect place to spend some time on a rainy day.

Entrance Fee: N/A

Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm

Monorail/LRT Station: To get to Central Market, the easiest way is to take the Putra LRT train and get off at the “Pasar Seni” station. As you exit the station, you will be able to see the market directly opposite the main road.

Website: http://www.centralmarket.com.my/

 

6) Batu Caves – This was the attraction we were most looking forward to. It was discovered by the Hindus who came to Kuala Lumpur and was designated as a holy spot. Several temples were built in the enormous main cave accessed by 272 steps.

Monkeys are everywhere are they’re quite forward. Hold on to your belongings because they’ll even grab the water bottle in your hand.

The area is littered with stalls selling Hindu tourist trinkets and Indian sweets/snacks. There are a few restaurants as well, all overpriced.

Unfortunately the attraction has been somewhat desecrated with graffiti and litter and so I was disappointed, however, the enormous gold statue of Lord Murugan grabs your attention and our photograph of Batu Caves is one of my favourites taken in KL.

Entrance Fee: N/A

Opening Hours: 7am – 9pm

Train: KTM Komuter

There is also the KTM Komuter train service from KL Sentral to Batu Caves. RM 2 each way.

Monorail and Bus:

From KL Sentral, take the monorail service to Titiwangsa station. Alight here and take the bus to Batu Caves.

Website:

http://www.malaysian-explorer.com/batuCaves.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves and

 

Batu Caves

Batu Caves

7) National Mosque – Shaped unlike any mosque I’ve seen it is unassuming and unattractive. I’d skip visiting the National Mosque if I had known more about it. The site however, filled with 15,000 praying Muslims on a Friday morning would be something to behold. I don’t believe non-praying tourists can visit during this time.

Entrance Fee: N/A

Opening Hours: 6:30am – 1pm, 2:30pm-4pm, 5:30pm-7pm. Open daily.

Monorail/LRTStation: The Mosque is only a 5-minute walk away from the Kuala Lumpur KTM Station and a 7-minute walk from the Pasar Seni LRT station.

Attire: If you don’t want to wait in line for a hijab (women only – head covering )and an abaya (body covering) then dress appropriately.

Men need their legs covered but t-shirts are acceptable. Women need both covered.

Website:

http://kuala-lumpur.attractionsinmalaysia.com/National-Mosque.php

 

8)  Masjid Jamek (Mosque) – Unfortunately we didn’t get to visit the Masjid Jamek because it has been closed for renovations for some time. However, it is the most beautiful mosque in KL so if you can visit definitely do so!

Entrance Fee: N/A

Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sat and Sun 8:30am – 12:30 pm and 2:30pm-4:00pm.

Fri 8:30am-11:00am and 2:30pm-4:00pm.

Monorail/LRT Station: Masjid Jamek LRT

Attire: If you don’t want to wait in line for a hijab (women only – head covering )and an abaya (body covering) then dress appropriately.

Men need their legs covered but t-shirts are acceptable. Women need both covered.

Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamek_Mosque

 

9) Petaling Street (Chinatown) – “Chinatown, based in Petaling Street, is also known as ‘Chee Cheong Kai’ (Starch Factory Street), a reference to its roots as a tapioca-producing district. Deeply immersed in Oriental culture, heritage and history, Chinatown is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist spots in Malaysia.

Chinatown is also a well-known bargain hunter’s paradise, a place where you can find all sorts of stuff from Chinese herbs to imitation goods. At night, its main market area, Petaling Street, transforms into a lively and vibrant night market, filled with hundreds of stalls offering all kinds of goods at dirt-cheap prices.”

Entrance Fee: N/A

Opening Hours: 10am – 9pm. Street vendors are open from 3pm – 10pm.

Monorail/LRT Station: Petaling

 

Food Recommendations: There are so many options to choose from in Kuala Lumpur. Food is fresh and you’ll find Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and “American” fare as they often call it, steaks, hamburgers etc. There are also a few chain restaurants, McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, Starbucks, TGIFs. Fried chicken is HUGE in Malaysia and so KFC is everywhere. Kenny Rogers Roasters and Nandos are also favourites.

Jalan Alor is KL’s famous food street but while it’s cheap in comparison to home (pork and rice for RM 7/$2.25 CAD) there are many other cheaper options in KL.

Food items found in street stalls/restaurants on wheels are the cheapest, plus they’re also delicious.

 

Accommodation Recommendations:

We tried out a few options for the purposes of our blog and enjoyed them all for different reasons.

CouchSurfing Essentially free to stay with a local host although it’s good manners to treat your host to a meal (homemade or restaurant) or bring a small gift. Read through the profiles carefully as well as the references.

Hostel: Reggae Mansion – The Reggae Mansion is an exquisite colonial mansion and includes fifteen (15) private rooms and fifty-eight (58) unique cubbyhole like dormitory beds, all with air-conditioning and privacy. Large lockers are provided under each bunk. Each floor has wash basins to wash your face and brush your teeth and there are many bathrooms located on each floor.

Reggae Mansion has a full service restaurant/bar where free breakfast is served for paying guests at the hostel. There is no kitchen for guests to use and while the food is fantastic it is pricier than food outside of the hostel.

There are some great extras like their movie cinema and their amazing rooftop bar.

Reggae Mansion is in an ideal neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur, Chinatown. It is very close in walking distance to the Masjid Jamek (mosque), Central Market, Petaling Street (Chinatown’s main street), and Sri Mahamariamman Temple.

Website: http://www.hostelz.com/hostel/+199888-Reggae-Mansion-Kuala-Lumpur

NOTE: If you book with the above link we receive a very small commission! :)

 

Reggae Mansion

Reggae Mansion

Budget (for KL purposes) Courtyard Boutique Hotel. The Courtyard Boutique Hotel is a charming and chic boutique hotel with eleven (11) simply appointed beautiful rooms settled in the midst of the Bukit Bintang district of Kuala Lumpur. We stayed here and enjoyed our time there.

Website: http://www.asiarooms.com/en/malaysia/kuala_lumpur/264278-the_courtyard_boutique_hotel.html

Courtyard Boutique Hotel

Courtyard Boutique Hotel

 

Mid-Range: Sheraton Kuala Lumpur – I love the Starwood brand and love their hospitality! “Located in the Golden Triangle, the Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur Hotel offers 5-star luxury with outdoor pool and full service spa. 5 dining options await guests.

Sheraton Imperial Kuala Lumpur is within 2 km from Central Market and Chinatown. Shopping options in Bukit Bintang area are 2.7 km away. Kuala Lumpur International Airport is an 80-minute drive from the hotel.

Modern rooms are fitted with a flat-screen cable TV, DVD player and ironing facilities. En suite bathrooms include a bathtub and free toiletries.”

Website: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=129

 

Luxury: Ritz Carlton – “The luxurious Ritz-Carlton offers elegant rooms and residences in Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle District, a 5-minute walk from Bukit Bintang and Pavilion Mall. A spa and outdoor pool are provided.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur is approximately 45 km from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Spacious and elegant, rooms at Kuala Lumpur Ritz-Carlton feature large floor-to-ceiling windows with spectacular views of the cityscape. Each room is equipped with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. The marble bathrooms come with separate rain shower and bathtub facilities.”

Website: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/KualaLumpur 

Read here for our account of our time in Kuala Lumpur.

Read our review on our hotel, Courtyard Boutique Hotel. 

Pulau Weh Booking Information – Dirty Details

Read here for our account of Pulau Weh diving Read here for our experience in Pulau Weh NOTE: The PDF guide to Pulau Weh (at the end of this document) is the most recent one we could find on the island, from 2008. Times and prices will have likely changed.   Indonesian Travel Visa – […]

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