Knowing that somebody will ask me whether or not I am bored of Kuala Lumpur after having visited it three times, I have prepared a simple answer: No, I am not. For me, traveling is not about paying a visit to new places or new countries, traveling is about something new that you can learn during the process. It doesn’t matter how close the place is from your backyard, or how many times you’ve visited it before. So, that’s my excuse for not being creative in choosing other destinations.
My first journey to KL happened in 2010 or 2011, the second was in 2014, and the third, but probably not the last, was in 2017. The capital has barely changed, even though I did notice that they have polished some places up a bit, such as the Merdeka Square and some areas close to the Jamek Mosque.
Despite its crowd, Kuala Lumpur is still a pleasant place to visit. Personally, I found it quite homey as it is almost the same as my Jakarta – not 100% of course, but at least 50%. The traffic in Jakarta is incomparable. So, I wouldn’t dare compare KL with Jakarta in this respect.
When to go to KL?
I like this question because I don’t need to exercise my brain to answer this. The weather in KL is quite predictable. The dry season is from April to August and the monsoon season is from September to March/February. During the dry season, you will get full scorching summer days, while during the monsoon season you can dance or sing in the rain.
To be honest, I was there in September and October. I didn’t experience as heavy a rainfall as I thought I would. Instead of that, we had a pleasant walk in a moderate temperature (for us), which was around 28-29 degrees celsius.
How to get there
KL is easily accessible by road, rail, and air.
If you come from Singapore or the cities around KL, buses are always available almost every day at a reasonable price. For further information, please check: www.easybook.com.
If you love to fly, almost all airlines have flights (non-stop or with layovers) to KL. If you’re on a budget, I recommend you use AirAsia (local company), Scoot (Singapore), Jetstar (Singapore) or Lion Air (Indonesia). But if you are one of the spoiled travelers like I am (sometimes), you can try a full-cost carrier such as Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, KLM, Garuda Indonesia and so forth.
Travel by rail is only available from Thailand (Hat Yai) and not from Singapore or even from Indonesia.
Where to stay
As a center of entertainment, Bukit Bintang offers not only a smattering of restaurants and a bunch of nightclubs, but also budget hotels/hostels. Yet, in my opinion, the price set by the owners due to its strategic location is good only for deep-pocketed travellers, not for real budget travelers who don’t want to pay around 30 or 40 dollars per night. If you find something cheap in this area, the hotels/hostels tend to be a bit dirty and the rooms are pretty small compared to other hostels in other areas.
Where to eat
Seafood lovers and people who eat pork should try this place.
Alor street opens from early morning (for some restaurants only), but the excitement really starts from evening (5 pm or so), when you can sample not only traditional food in various restaurants available along the street, but also chomp some snacks from the food stalls.
Lot 10 is actually a shopping center. But, you can find many choices for your lunch or dinner on the ground floor, from Peking duck through mee goreng seafood. For Muslims, don’t tear your hair out – finding a halal restaurant in KL is as easy as ABC. For example, I ate Kway Teow with seafood in one of the restaurants here – and it was halal. I checked it out and reassured myself many times by asking the waiters.
Tips before going to KL:
- Choose the right time because getting around under the heavy tropical rain in Malaysia is not pleasant at all.
- Bring your umbrella, sunglasses and mineral water. An umbrella is useful for both the rain and the hot sun.
- Don’t use too many taxis. It’s better to use the metro or other types of public transportation instead of spending your money on taxis.
- Only exchange your money in banks. The rates are higher and, of course, reliable. Normally, you will find them not far from Pasar Seni