Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hopping On and Off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Kuala Lumpur or Malaysia's capital is affectionately known as KL to local and foreigners alike. It is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with numerous attractions and tourist spots. In order to explore this exciting destination and experience the magic of KL, my friends and I took the KL Hop-On Hop - Off City Tour last September 29, 2009.

As aptly suggested by my friend -host Itte Espiritu, I found KL Hop-On Hop-Off the most comprehensive way to tour and explore “the diverse, contrasting and colorful scene of KL” for only RM 38 (Php 600) aboard Malaysia’s only semi glass roof double deck bus. The tour is coupled with insightful on-board commentary about the major attractions. It has 22 stops with over 42 major sights and attractions and you can hop on and hop off the bus whenever and wherever desired. The tour gives you the freedom to view and roam the City at your own time and leisure. Too bad, KL didn’t have this tour when I first set foot in Malaysia in 2001.

KL Sentral - Stop 11

True to its concept, we started off from KL Sentral which is Stop 11 and got our ticket from the agent there. In less than 30 minutes, we were on our way to an exciting adventure.

National Museum - Stop 12

The National Museum is located on the fringe of the Lake Gardens of Malaysia and a repository for Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage and history. We immediately got lost in the galleries on history, metal work, sports and natural history. Since we missed the first bus after the 30-minute interval, we went to see the musical instruments exhibition being staged at the museum.

Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens - Stop 13

We literally got lost inside this premier park sprawling over 200 acres – we just couldn’t find the two lakes. Well the tropical garden is a pleasant oasis providing a cool and soothing ambiance amidst vistas of exotic blooms, luxuriant foliage, imposing sculptures, majestic raintrees and creative theme parks.

On this same Stop is the National Monument and the Parliament Building.

Dataran Merdeka - Stop 16

Merdeka or Independence Square is one of the most visited sites in KL. At this historic location, ended the British era and gave birth to a nation. The field was the focal point of KL in the old days, serving as a police parade ground and venue for sporting activities.

Palace of Culture

Titiwangsa – Stop 20

Missing the two lakes at the Lake Garden, we were determined to see one at this stop. It was somewhat far, however, and with our tired feet and hungry stomach we decided to give it up. We took picture of the Palace of Culture instead.

KLCC - Stop 22

The Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) Park is an aesthetically pleasing landscaped area featuring indigenous trees and palms, sculptures and murals, and fountain displays. Nearby is the Petronas Twin Towers which is Malaysia’s world- renowned icon. (For a related article read my blog entry about this world’s tallest free standing tower.)

Malaysia Tourism Center - Stop 1

MTC is a one-stop centre that offers a host of facilities for tourists like internet service (for free for 30-minutes to give way to other tourist and printing services!), which is perfect for us because we were able to print our ticket for Sunway Lagoon for the next day itinerary. Aside from its historical significance for being used as a war office of the British Army and headquarters of the Japanese Army during World War II, this KL’s landmark has an auditorium that serves as venue for cultural performances. We were so lucky to watch the different dances of Malaysia. It was a superb treat for us and a relaxing time for our tired feet!

KL Tower - Stop 2

This communication tower is the world’s fourth tallest. Here you can view the world’s only forest reserve right in the middle of a bustling city for only RM 20. We decided not to actually go to the observation deck (for the sake of time and it was already dark and all our cameras are either full or empty battery! Sad..).But we stopped sulking since we can have a magnificent view of the sprawling city beneath atop the Petronas Sky Bridge the following day.

Bintang Walk - Stop 6

This seems to be our favorite as we literally lost each other in this stop! A chic and stylist area in the heart of the city, Bintang Walk offers excellent shopping and great entertainment. Shopping complexes offer leading international brands and top Malaysian labels. Jean, Joseph and Judith went to buy a digital camera for Judith while I was determined to get my nieces and nephews some dresses for pasalubong. Thinking that I took awhile on the maze of the shopping centre, I went ahead to the KL Stop and didn’t find them there. I do not know how to contact them since my phone is not on roaming. I took the courage to ask a favor from the KL Stop crew and found a great friend in her.

Because we were late for our appointment at KL Sentral, we decided to skip the other stops like Chinatown, Central Market and National Palace and have a separate visit to the same. The other stops we decided not to check out(no pictures, just passed by) but part of the Hop On Hop Off destinations are Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex, The Heritage Centre, Orchid and Hibiscus Garden, Petaling Street, and KL Bird Park.

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