A Travellerspoint blog

My 2008 Travel to Singapore,KL and Thailand

Kuala Lumpur Leg, Part 1



A country’s historical past (referred to as kaagi in cebuano which according to modern-day historian Inquirer’s Ambet Ocampo is more appropriate word to use) plays a vital role in its development. Take the case of Singapore. As a former British colony, English language is widely used by the Singaporeans. Another legacy of the british colonial era of Singapore is its efficiency as a trading hub. Products from as far as the Malaysian peninsula (another former British colony) were brought to the harbor of Singapore using the railway system for shipment to Europe. The Railway System is a major monumental infrastructure established by the British colonizers and left behind after the colonial era.

The Singapore Railway Station constructed during the British colonial era is still standing and is currently being used by the present Malaysian railway company named Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad Antarabandar (KTM). When I arrived at this Station, I immediately took pictures of this historical landmark. This building is lucky it was constructed in Singapore which must have a good sense of history. Today, it is still in existence being surrounded by new high rise buildings. If it were constructed in the Philippines it has long been torn down to pave way to a new shopping mall or a new condominium!

Our train for Kuala Lumpur was scheduled to depart at 9:00 p.m. I made a fatal mistake of eating dinner in one of the eateries inside the Singapore Railway Station. I was spared from chewing a hot chili flavored food but was not lucky enough on my choice of a fried fish. I got LBM when I reached Kuala Lumpur! Muy advise, before going to the Railway Station, take out some food from either Mc Donald or KFC.

The train was delayed by 45 minutes. I took the Superior Class (CMB) which is an air-conditioned seat. As the locomotive train started to move, I experience the same old toot, toot sound coupled with the klacking noise as the locomotive wheels hit the railway. It took me almost an hour before my ears got used to the sounds of the moving train and eventually I was able to sleep.

My shallow sleep was abruptly interrupted when the train stopped at the border of Singapore and Malaysia for the immigration formalities. The border appeared to be very well-secured by the Singaporean government with all the heavily armed border guards with sniffing K9 dogs. The fence on the border are all topped with deadly modern bladed barbed wires.

After the we got the immigration stamp on our passports, the train ride continued with the toot-toot and matching klacking sounds which my ears had slowly been acquainted with as I went back to sleep.

The train made several stops on the stations along the way to Malaysia until it was 7:00 a.m. when we finally arrived at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral. It was still dark when I disembarked from the train and walked into Kuala Lumpur Sentral which is a huge complex transportation terminal. It provides link among several MRT lines, the Air Asia airline, KTM train lines to Singapore and Thailand, bus and taxi connections.

I immediately had my US dollars exchanged with Malaysian Dollar or Ringgit or RM. My 100 USD was changed to 321.00 RM. With my RM, I went to the ticket of the KTM train and paid my train ticket for Hat Yai, Thailand which I had reserved through the internet. I was scheduled to take the train to Hat Yai the next day at 9:00 p.m.

I then bought a taxi coupon for taxi ride to the Matahari Lodge where I had booked for our stay Kuala Lumpur. I asked the man at the taxi coupon counter if there is a train or bus line going to Matahari Lodge which is located in the China town. He said no train or bus line to that area. So I decided to buy from him a taxi coupon which was 9 RM from the KL Sentral to the address of Matahari Lodge. The taxi driver speaks good English and was very helpful. He went to look for the entrance of the Matahari Lodge when we arrived in the area.

However, Matahari Lodge is actually located in a very strategic area. The taxi coupon man was just more keen to sell taxi coupon than to help me spend less on transport. I could have taken the MRT train from KL Sentral to to the Central Market station which is just the next station for one 1.50 RM!. Matahari Lodge is just in front of the Central Market Station!. Also, there are buses plying a route that pass in front of it! Anyway, I just consoled myself that having took the taxi made it easier for me to locate Mahahari Lodge since I had never been to this area before. I was in Kuala Lumpur some 20 years ago and have not seen the Central Market or even the Chinatown during that trip!

to be continued….


Edgar Sandalo

Posted by E. Sandalo 08:01 Archived in Malaysia Tagged lodging

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