Asia- Budget Style: Kuala Lumpur (1.5 days)

Third stop on a 2-week trip to SE Asia, Hong Kong, and Taipei taken by four girls in their early twenties. Hopefully this trip report will provide some tips for budget conscious, young, and adventurous travelers.


Asia- Budget Style: Kuala Lumpur (1.5 days)

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by kylita on July 20, 2006

The highlight of KL was definitely the cheap shopping! Since it poured (and I mean really poured) for about five hours straight on our one full day in the city, we ended up stuck at the huge Berjaya Times Square Mall. It has plenty of shops, restaurants, and even an indoor amusement park!! Also a highlight was the Petaling Night Market which had the best knock-off deals in town.

Trip Overview:
May 25: Traveled on the Transtar bus to Kuala Lumpur. It was a 4.5 hr trip in complete comfort. You have a reclining, massaging chair and get a meal, a personal entertainment system, blankets, and pillows. However, the Pasarakyat Bus Terminal where we got dropped off at was quite deserted and rundown. It was definitely not in a good part of town. There were two taxis there and we had to haggle with the driver to take us to our hostel, the Rainforest Bed and Breakfast. It turned out, that he had no idea where the hostel was and I had to use the maps I had printed off online to try and guide him through the Kuala Lumpur streets. However, with a bit of good luck, we managed to our hostel safely. The Rainforest B&B is run by a family and is a great, inexpensive place to stay.

May 26: Took a 10 min walk from our hostel to the Menara KL Tower to get a view of the city and the Petronas Twin Towers. The view was quite nice even though it was a bit smoggy. Afterwards, we took a cab to the Central Market, which is an air-conditioned touristy place with a bunch of permanent stands and stores. We then headed to Berjaya Times Square, a huge mega-mall to do a bit more shopping! We actually got stuck at the mall for 4+ hrs as it began to pour and it was impossible to get a taxi. Then began our quest to get to the Petaling Night Market. After being misdirected and getting lost in the KL suburbs, we finally made it there around 9pm where we participated in yet more shopping.

May 27: Sampled some roti canai before hopping in a cab to KL Sentral. From there we caught the Skybus that goes directly to the LCC terminal of the KL airport to catch our Air Asia flight to Phuket. ${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay} We didn’t have a good experience with transportation in KL. You have to haggle for a taxi and sometimes, they just refuse to pick you up. Since it was pouring a lot of the time, the cab drivers knew they had the upper hand and were charging a huge amount for a 5-minute cab ride. The monorail was easy to use but doesn’t go to all of the main places. All of that said, I guess the best way to get around is a taxi, unless you are by the monorail and it stops by a place of interest. Always ask for them to turn on the meter first (we actually got one driver to do this) and also remember that you are probably haggling over a few dollars.

If you are taking Air Asia out of KL, it leaves out of the new Low Cost Carrier (LCC) terminal and not the main KL terminal. Cheapest way to get there is to take the Skybus from that goes directly from KL Sentral to the terminal. It costs only RM9 and is clean and air-conditioned. It took about an hour to get from downtown KL to the airport.


Rainforest Bed and Breakfast

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kylita on August 17, 2006

Really liked this hostel located in The Golden Triangle by the Istana Hotel. For two twin rooms with attached bathrooms, we paid about $14/pp/night. This was well worth it as the cost also included a free simple breakfast in the morning, made up of tea, coffee, toast and fresh fruit. The hostel is run by a family and is very unique as it has plants/trees growing on the roof. The front desk is run by a mother and her sons and they are very keen to help you out. They even brought our luggage up 3 flights of stairs when we first arrived! The location of the hostel is also very good, located in walking distance of the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Menara Tower. The hostel does not have an official website so we booked through hostels.com after reading good reviews about the place. The rooms were quite spacious, clean, and nicely air-conditioned. Would definitely not hesitate to stay there again as it was well worth the money! Helpful hint: the hostel did not seem to be well known by cab drivers. So if taking a taxi, just the driver to drop you off at the Istana Hotel and then walk a few blocks from there.
Rainforest Bed and Breakfast
27 Jalan Mesui- Bukit Bintang
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Menara K L Tower

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kylita on July 24, 2006

We wanted to go to a viewpoint where we could get a good panoramic of the city, and especially the Petronas Twin Towers. I had read that the KL Tower was a good place to see the city skyline. We walked from our hostel in the Golden Triangle to the bottom of the hill where the KL Tower stood. There is a free van that takes tourists from the bottom of the hill and up to the top. I would not suggest walking as the hill was quite steep and it seemed like a long walk up (especially in hot, humid weather). The van deposits you right at the main entrance where you can easily buy tickets. After passing through security, you are herded into an elevator and are brought up to the viewing platform. There, you are given a headset that explains in great detail what you are looking at. All the windows are numbered and the headset takes a few minutes at each window explaining what you can see. It is a good place to get your bearings and the view would be great on a bright, sunny day. The day we went was a little smoggy/cloudy so our pictures did not turn out as we hoped. But this is a great place to go is you want an unobstructed view of the Petronas Twin Towers. Also located at the Menara KL Tower are a bunch of quick foodstands, a few gift shops, restrooms, and an AJ Hackett bungy ride.
Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara Kuala Lumpur)
2 Jalan Puncak
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50250
+60 3 2020 5448

Central Market

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kylita on July 24, 2006

We took a taxi from the Menara KL Tower to the Central Market. This ride was the only one where we actually got the taxi driver to use the meter. The Central Market is an indoor air-conditioned marketplace with permanent shops and stands. What made it worth a visit is that it had higher-class souvenirs along with cheaper items. There were all sorts of knick-knacks that you could browse through all in air-conditioned comfort. It was a good respite from the heat outside. It is also located only a few blocks away from Chinatown and the Petaling Street Market. We decided to have lunch at the food court, which also seemed to be popular with the locals. There were a lot of choices offered—including noodle, rice, and sizzling dishes. In the middle, there is a juice stand that offers great, fresh, and inexpensive refreshment. On a side note- I would not recommend that you use the restrooms because even though you have to pay use them, they are not very clean.
Central Market Chinatown
Jalan Hang Kasturi
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50050
+60 3 2274 6542

Berjaya Times Square

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by kylita on August 7, 2006

A huge mega-mall with over 1,000 stores on about 8 levels. All of the name-brand stores were located on the bottom three levels, and included Esprit and Debenhams to name a few. The upper levels had more of small, boutique kind of shops geared toward younger people. It is also home to an indoor theme park, Cosmo’s World. There are also numerous restaurants located inside. We actually ate at the hot-pot restaurant for dinner. Overall, we spent about 5 hours there as it started to pour and it was impossible to get a cab. Definitely a worth-while place to visit (an hr or two would be plenty). The monorail runs right outside.
Berjaya Times Square
1 Jalan Imbi
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 55100
(+603) 2144 9821

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