A Travellerspoint blog


My 2008 Travel to Singapore, KL and Thailand

Malaysia Leg, Part 2



Since it was only 8:00 a.m. when I arrived at the Matahari Lodge, Manny - the owner was very helpful to allow me to deposit first my luggage in their storage room until the occupants of my room would check out at 12:00 noon. Meanwhile, he allowed me to use the common toilet to freshen up and to relieve myself since I had an LBM!. After that, Manny offered me to have coffee and toasted bread with butter and jam at the pantry. It is free for all hostel occupants.

After my breakfast, Manny advised me to buy a ticket of the KL Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour Bus ride. For only 38 RM, the ticket will allow me to have unlimited bus rides on the Hop-On, Hop-ff buses for 24 hours. The buses have a fixed route around the major tourist areas of Kuala Lumpur. You can get off at any point on the route, do shopping or simply walk around for souvenir photos and ride again on next Hop-On, Hop-Off bus to go to the other points of the route. I decided to buy the KL Hop-On, Hop-Off City Tour Bus ride because KL does not have an EZ-LINK like Singapore. Although they have several MRT lines, just like in the Philippines, they have not interconnected yet and you have to buy ticket every time you ride the MRT.

I had a grand time sightseeing all the tourist spots that we passed. After completing one round of the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus, it was already past 1:00 p.m. so I returned to the Matahari Lodge. My room was already available. I was dead tired and decided to sleep the rest of the afternoon.

After waking up at about 5:00 p.m., I took another Hop-On, Hop Off bus and got down at the Petronas Tower. I did some window shopping at the Suria Kuala Lumpur Commercial Center (KLCC). When darkness came, I had all the time to take pictures of the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers. The stainless steel claddings that wrapped the entire towers being illuminated with high powered lights are visually awesome!

Again, I took the Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus in returning to Matahari Lodge. I had a good sleep in my room at the Matahari Lodge which was newly-constructed and was only opened last March this year.

I woke up early the next day, packed up my luggage, placed it the storage area and took the Hop-On, Hop Off bus to Petronas Tower. I joined the queue for the free ticket to gain entry to the bridge of the Petronas Tower. I was able to get a 1:30 p.m. schedule for the Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge Visit.

Killing time while waiting for my schedule of the Skybridge Visit, I went inside Suria Kuala Lumpur Commercial Center. I entered its supermarket and bought Cico fruit (Chico in the Philippines) and ate lots of it to help me solve my LBM! I had another round of window shopping where I bought some dried dates imported from Iran and Tunisia. At lunch time, I ate at the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet in the KLCC.

A few minutes earlier than my 1:30 p.m. schedule, I was already at the entrance of the Skybridge Visit. The staff led us to an audio visual room where there were presentations on the preparatory planning and construction of the Twin Towers.

The Skybridge Visit was exciting. The high speed elevators took us to the 45th floor in less than a minute. We were allowed to be on the Skybridge for 10 mimutes. The view of Kuala Lumpur from the Skybridge gave me an idea of how enormous the city is.
After the Skybridge Visit, I went to Matahari Lodge and opened my e-mails. Internet was fee was only a donation of 3 RM for an hour use.

At about 5:30 p.m., I left Matahari Lodge and walked towards the MRT Central Market station. At that time, the MRT was not yet crowded and I was able to be at the KL Sentral very early for my 8:45 pm. KTM train to Hat Yai, Thailand.

If my train in Singapore for Kuala Lumpur was delayed by 45 minutes, my train for Hat Yai was delayed by almost two hours. It was scheduled to leave at 8:45 p.m. but we were able to leave only at 10:45 p.m.

This time I decided to get the aircon sleeper bed instead of the aircon seat. It was more comfortable. I had a good sleep from the moment we left KL until 7:00 a.m. the next day.

I had coffee at the train canteen. I had a good view of the rubber and African palm oil plantations of Malaysia as the train passes by. To my mind, what we had envisioned in 1998 when I was still with the Department of Agriculture as the Director of the Planning Service with Secretary William Dar to promote the production of champion commercial crops in Special Agricultural and Fisheries Development Zones under the Agricultural and Fishery Modernization Act is to this date still valid.

When the train reached the southern portion of Thailand, I got a glimpse of the rice production areas of Thailand. It looked similar to our Bulacan or Iloilo rice fields. But why are we importing rice while the Thais and the Vietnamese are doing the other way around, exporting their rice? Oh, but I was suppose to learn and enjoy in this trip, and not be bothered if the marginalized families under the bridge in Fairview and the squatters in Payatas would be falling in line for NFA rice in Commonwealth Market. Oh my…

(to be continued…)

As always,

Edgar Sandalo

Posted by E. Sandalo 08:07 Archived in Malaysia Tagged transportation Comments (0)

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 Comments (0)

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