KL in 38 hours-A A +A
Thursday, July 5, 2012
DESPITE an early day start on June 9, I compelled myself not to take cat naps during the three-hour trip to Malaysia's capital. I wanted to have a feel of the inaugural flight of Air Asia to Kuala Lumpur or "KL".
The Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) is a little more than an hour by bus to the city.
For a first time tourist in this culturally-diverse Philippine neighbor, KL is alluring with its gleaming mega structures, colonial buildings, and other places of interest.
The first thing that caught my eyes is how busy the city looks. The landscape is vast with skyscrapers and the highways leading to city is wide.
We arrived in KL at past 7 p.m. and immediately climb to the Menara (Tower) Kuala Lumpur, the city's highest point with an observation deck that is 100 meters higher than that of the Petronas Twin Towers. The entrance ticket gets a free audio tour to the cultural village tower lightning, shopping in the sky, animal zone and pony ride.
A sumptuous dinner at Felda d' Saji restaurant was hosted by the Malaysian Tourism Board while enjoying a breathtaking view of KL's skyline.
In KL, on a Saturday night, it seems as if everyone was going somewhere in quite a hurry.
Despite the heavy traffic, the city is good for pedestrians -- distances are manageable on foot and most junctions have traffic lights with a countdown display letting you know how much time you have to make it to the other side.
We endured a more than an hour heavy turtle-paced traffic on our way to Grand Millennium hotel on Jalan Bukit Bintang.
As we enter the hotel, the word that comes to mind is elegance. With its stylish decor with touches reminiscent of French art deco, guests can be assured of an enjoyable stay with elegant yet cozy setting.
Located within the city's best premier business and shopping district, our home for 24 hours is just within walking distance to glitzy department stores like Pavilion, Star Hill and Fahrenheit.
Even breakfast is a lavish affair with generous spread of Chinese and western delicacies. It was fortifying that we were all ready for sightseeing and a day trip.
Jalan Bukit Bintang is teeming with shoppers equivalent to Singapore's Orchard Road. The sheer quantity of mall fashion is overwhelming -- Cotton On, Forever 21, Uniqlo, Charles and Keith, and other high-end boutiques, and jewelry shops.
The roads adjacent to it are lined with open cafes. I don't know about the romance bit but there's definitely a fairy tale atmosphere to this place.
The pace picks as I head up to the Fahrenheit mall across the hotel. Visually vibrant, the place is filled with appetizing aromas.
I learned from Ian Garcia that the road at the back of the hotel is a neighborhood of food stalls with the sight and smell of freshly prepared food.
If you're looking for entertainment aside from eating, KL's nightlife is a boom.
From Bukit Bintang, walk up this street towards Jalan Sultan Ismail and here you will find the bargain shopping plaza Sungei, Wang, and electronics hub, Low Yat.
Street life isn't all about bargains though. There are other precious finds like the goodies of Beryl's Chocolate Kingdom located on Jalan Utara in KL. Beryls, which produces the best chocolates in Malaysia, uses only the highest quality cocoa beans from Ghana, globally recognized source of the very best cocoa beans. With its distinct taste, you could give up other imported popular brands for Beryl's chocolates. It was a feast as we picked from 100 varieties of chocolate featuring a range of tastes, flavors and packaging, for pasalubongs.
By midnight, on our 2nd night, that's enough strolling for me and I headed back to the hotel. Back in my room, which I shared with a media colleague Marianne Carandang, the iconic Petronas Twin Towers loom on the near horizon.
The Petronas Twin Towers is a major draw being one of the world's tallest buildings. With a total of 74 floors and a height of 451.9 meters, its viewing tower offers a mesmerizing view of the city and nearby buildings. Pretty impressive. I would say. It is the center piece of KL's city centre (KLCC), Suria KLCC shopping mall, star-rated hotels.
A highlight of the visit is standing at the Skybridge on the 41st floor for a breathtaking view of the city skyline.
KL is definitely much alive and it doesn't take much effort to uncover the real gems; there is always something interesting to see.
Air Asia flies to KL from Clark twice a day.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 05, 2012.