Saturday, August 6, 2016

Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi

Time Period: 1st Week of June
Duration: 5 Days

A quick vacation thought got us landed in Malaysia. That’s pretty much how it got planned. I remember shortlisting the places and Malaysia met all our requirements. It’s a short travel, easy Visa process, great parties and secluded islands.

We flew with Air Asia, which was a comfortable 4hrs flight from Hyderabad, India. We landed in KLIA2 and hired a cab to our hotel in Bukit Bintang. First impression of Kuala lumpur being an amazing skyline and crowded roads with traffic moving by inches.

View from KL Tower

Crystal Fountain @Pavilion
The city's infrastructure is very impressive. One thing that I felt is in abundance is shopping malls. Pavilion situated in Bukit Bintang is a great shopping destination. The place is huge with a good number of retail outlets and food options.

Kuala lumpur nightlife is pretty amazing with some nice places to party. We had a real good time at Skybar which offers a great ambience complemented by lively music. Also, Changkat Bukit Bintang is a paradise for party goers with a good number of restobars and pubs.

Below are the highlights and all that we explored.

Day 1 - KL Tower, Aquaria KLCC and Petronas Twin Towers
The entry tickets can be booked online or bought at the respective places. Generally, hotel travel desks and nearby travel agencies ask you to buy the tickets from them (just to earn some commission)by saying all sorts of things, simply ignore them.

KL Tower (with Petronas Towers in the background)
You get a nice view of city’s skyline from KL Tower. However, I felt it’s not worth the price. KL Tower and Petronas Towers are visible from almost anywhere in the city. Aquaria KLCC however, is a must visit place. You actually get a chilling feeling with sharks swimming just above you.

Aquaria KLCC

Day 2 – Genting Highlands
Next morning, we took an Uber from our hotel to KL Sentral, and bought tickets for Go Genting (bus) and Genting Skyway. Go Genting buses departs every 1 hour and you should prefer booking it online.

Go Genting
There are a good number of food joints in KL Sentral, some of them serving mouth watering local delicacies. We had a nice brunch in KL Sentral, before boarding Go Genting. It was a 1-hour ride and then a 15-minute skyway to Genting Highlands. The place has some good casinos and a few other attractions. You can shop, dine and roam around. All in all, a day well spent.

Genting Skyway
Genting First World Hotel
Day 3 – Langkawi: Eagle Square
Langkawi as expected was a complete contrast to KL with very less vehicles on the road and all the solitude in the world. It was a quick 1-hour flight from KL to Langkawi and then a cab to our hotel, Bella Vista. We later rented a car in the evening. The public transport is next to nil and the cab fares are actually very high. It’s better to rent a car from airport (preferably online, as you can get some good deals) that you can drop at the airport on your return.

View from Bella Vista

Day 4 – Believe 5D Museum, Kilim Geoforest, Black Sand Beach, Night Market
There are two similar art museums in Langkawi. We went to the one in Kuah. If you are a selfie lover and someone who loves to get clicked, then this is a place for you.

Kilim Geoforest was definitely the highlight of our trip and it was a wonderful experience. A guided boat tour in Kilim river with mangrove forests on each side and some amazing views. The day ended with a beautiful sunset at the black sand beach close by.

Black Sand Beach, Langkawi
In the evening, we went to the night market. Night markets in Langkawi are held every day of the week at different fixed locations. It offered some good local sea food and we tried some yummy satays.

Day 5 – Lake of the Pregnant Maiden, China Town Kuala lumpur
We had an island hopping tour planned for the next day. However, due to less time and some technical issues with our boat we only visited Dayan Bunting island. Lake of the Pregnant Maiden on the island is a delightful and refreshing experience. You can take a swim in the lake and do boating.

Lake of Pregnant Maiden

After a 1-hour flight with Malindo Air, we were back in Kuala lumpur at KLIA1. Lack of time and group’s majority favored China Town over Batu Caves. We had a good amount of time for shopping but I would say, China town is only for folks who can bargain well. Haggling is a very common sight. We bought a few stuff at 1/5th of the initial quoted price, so that gives you an idea of how much can be bargained.

China Town, Kuala Lumpur

We had our return flight to Hyderabad, India from KLIA2.

What not to miss
  • KLCC Aquaria
  • Batu Caves
  • Kilim Geoforest Park
  • Lake of Pregnant Maiden

Some considerations
  • Currency exchange – Take a small amount with you. We got the best rates from Once in Malaysia, withdrawing from ATMs is a better choice than taking a large amount with you. Also, Money Exchange at KL Sentral 1st floor offers good rates.
  • Transport from airport (KLIA1 and KLIA2) – There are a good number of options to/from airports. For a group of 3-4 folks, budget cabs can be preferred.
  • Prefer online booking for city attractions (KL Tower, Petronas Towers, KLCC Aquaria). You can get some good deals there.
  • Cabs at odd hours can be really expensive, Uber is your best option there.
  • Considering the lack of public transport in Langkawi and a relatively easy drive with only a few vehicles on the road, you can prefer self-drive.

Happy Travelling!