A March 2004 trip
to Kuala Lumpur by Asia Traveler
Quote: I spent five days in Malaysia with my roommate. In addition to spending time around Kuala Lumpur, we did a day trip down to Malaca.
It was also fun to meet up with a woman as we were getting off the bus in Malacca and spend the day with her. Of course, spending the day with a stranger made planning our day a little more complicated, but it was fun in the end - it gave us a little more variety and was a great learning experience!
There are a lot of fun day trips near Kuala Lumpur, so you can stay in one hotel the whole time you're there while still taking time to get outside the city. We really enjoyed our trips to Malacca and the Forestry Research Institute - Malaysia (FRIM). If you look at professional tour companies, be sure they offer what you really want to do and compare the prices with what it would cost to do it yourself. We ended up taking one tour simply because it would have been a lot of hassle to do it ourselves - that was worth the price tag.
From the airport to Kuala Lumpur, definitely take the train service - it's a little more expensive than the bus, but it's fast, convenient, and reliable. From the train terminal, you can take a taxi to your hotel. They offer pre-paid services there, based on the location of your hotel.
Attraction | "Visit to Malacca"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 11, 2004
Sightseeing in Malacca
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Attraction | "The Petronas Twin Towers"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 11, 2004
Petronas Twin Towers
Kuala Lumpur City Centre
Kuala Lumpur 50088
60 3 382 8000
One note: Don't take a taxi to Batu Caves -- they'll rip you off. The bus is much more affordable. Also, a trip to the Caves can be combined with a trip to the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM), where there is a rainforest canopy walk. Take a taxi from FRIM to the Caves (or vice versa) -- they're not that far apart.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on December 11, 2004
Batu Caves Sri Subramaniam Temple Selayang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 68100
+60 3 6089 6284
Attraction | "Rainforest Canopy Walk"
I believe you are supposed to call ahead to book the canopy walk, but we were able to show up that day and book it then. There is a fee for the canopy walk (RM5, I think), although entrance to the park is free.
In order to get to FRIM, many people take taxis from Kuala Lumpur, but that is an expensive option, as the taxi drivers will quote you outrageous fares to get there. A better option is to take the train to a nearby station and then take a taxi from there-it's much more reasonable. Also, a visit to FRIM can be combined with a trip to the Batu Caves- they are both in the same area north of Kuala Lumpur. Just take a taxi from FRIM to the Batu Caves (or vice versa). We also discovered (by asking the gate guard at FRIM) that there is a local mall where we could get lunch. Otherwise, there wasn't much available nearby (and the cafeteria at FRIM was closed).
Forestry Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) Museum
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 52109
+60 3 6034 2633
We chose to go from Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Selangor to see the fireflies via a tour that we booked through our hotel. It was pricey, but since going ourselves would mean buying bus tickets, then catching a taxi and chartering the boat, we felt it was worth it. And actually, it was, as we were picked up by car (for just the two of us), taken to a hilltop lighthouse where we could also see monkeys, taken to dinner and then on to see the fireflies. It was so much more relaxing than going through the hassle of booking everything ourselves. The only complaint I could have is that we got there so early that we were on the first boat out, before it was completely dark. We still had a good show, though, with the fireflies.
Bottom line: No matter how you get there, the fireflies in Kuala Selangor are definitely worth the trip!
Taxi drivers in Kuala Lumpur-what to do? We were warned (rightly) beforehand that some would try to charge outrageous fares or not use their meters. Yes, we got ripped off a time or two, but we found some helpful ways for getting better fares:
1. Walk away from whatever tourist place you are at. Whether it's a hotel, bus station, or scenic spot, there's a good chance that you can get a better fare simply by walking away from the area and hailing a cab off the street.
2. Make sure they use their meter. We got into a cab once, thinking that the meter was on, only to find out that he wasn't using the meter and was going to charge us RB15 for what should have been a RB5 ride. Which brings me to the next point . . .
3. If they're not going to use the meter, make sure to negotiate the fare in advance. Negotiated fares are usually more than the metered fare would be, but for longer trips or trips out of the city, that's often the only way you can take a taxi. You can bargain here-just don't appear too desperate or else they won't budge.
4. Take public transport. Yeah, it's not as convenient, but you can often get to a spot much closer to the place you're going and then take a taxi, saving you half the cost or more. We did this on our trip to the Forestry Research Institute Malaysia and the Batu Caves. And Kuala Lumpur has a good public transport system (as long as you don't get lost on the way to the station as we sometimes did).
5. Speak Chinese. My friend and I were both living in Taiwan at the time we visited Malaysia, so we both spoke some Mandarin. We had much better relationships with the Chinese taxi drivers who discovered that we could speak Mandarin!! (Okay, so this probably isn't a practical tip for most people.)
Overall, take it easy. You may have some bad experiences, but overall, we had a wonderful time in Kuala Lumpur in spite of some transportation glitches.