Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, has gleaming skyscrapers, great colonial architectures and good food options. For Philippine passport holder like me, a visa is not even required since we’re given the privilege to stay for up to 30 days provided that your passport is still valid for a least 90 days from your departure date to Malaysia. With just 3.5 hours travel time from Manila, it is indeed one of those cities that we can easily fly to for a quick weekend getaway.
My Kuala Lumpur trip was one of those flights that I have impulsively booked. I spontaneously booked this trip to distress and I even booked a ticket for my friend who has no idea I did just so she wouldn’t have any option but to come with me. And yes, I am that friend. Haha!
HOW TO GO TO THE CITY FROM THE AIRPORT
KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) is about 30-40mins away from the city. You have 2 options on how you could go about heading downtown, it’s either you take an Uber or ride the KLIA express. Uber is ideal if you are traveling as a group, but if you are solo then KLIA express is for you.
KLIA express to KL sentral – 55 ringgit
WHERE WE STAYED
We stayed in Regalla Residences which we have booked through AirBnB. I was really surprised with how big our room is for only $24 good for 2 persons. It has a living room where we can watch TV after a whole day of walking and a kitchen which is nice if you want to cook your own food. But what I actually like about it is it has an infinity pool with a view of the whole city, the light of Kuala Lumpur at night was just so stunning.
The location of the condo is also what we considered as it is near the LRT, it made commuting easier for us. Their train system is good and not confusing, plus it is not pricey. There’s also a mall near the condo which means we can buy anything we might with just a 5-minute walk.
**note that the pool is only open from 7AM to 12MN.
Where to book for accommodation?
If you are looking for a budget-friendly rooms. I highly suggest booking with ZEN rooms. They are no different from booking or agoda but a lot cheaper.
You may use my promo code “JANICEINWANDERLAND” valid until December 2018 and get a 10% discount.
PLACES TO VISIT IN KUALA LUMPUR
I bet Petronas Twin Towers is on the list, but what else can you actually see and do in Kuala Lumpur aside from it? This city has hidden gems and here are some of the things that you can see while in Kuala Lumpur.
Just a quick tip, if you have a limited time in a place, you might as well plan or get a list of the places that you want to visit. Don’t be like us who only researched for places where we can get good coffee. LOL. Good thing we enjoyed wandering around.
DAY 1 — GETTING AROUND THE CITY
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur early in the morning and since we can’t function without a coffee, we stayed at the airport until some of the food stalls opened. Yup! Their food hall and other stores are close during non-business hours. If my memory serves me right, they started opening at around 6 AM.
We had breakfast at Kopitiam which I had also tried in Singapore. Their kopi (coffee) is one of the best that I had tried. We ordered their typical breakfast; poached egg with toasted bread. I never really liked poached egg but for some reason, it goes well with their coffee.
*I lost the photo of the food and coffee 🙁
After checking-in and settling our things, we immediately headed out cos “TIME IS GOLD“.
— PLACES WE VISITED IN KL —
Jalan Petaling is a local place for authentic Chinese foods and Malaysian street foods. There are also a lot of stalls where you can shop for clothes and souvenirs. It is the little Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur which is also one of the oldest parts of the city. The place is pretty much like a hawker.
The place is well-known for Chinese foods, if you would look for it on the internet, you will get tons of food suggestions. Although, you can also find stuff for a “pasalubong” here like the usual keychains and shirts. Jalan Petaling can be crowded here with locals and tourists especially on weekends so plan out which day would you like to visit.
Jamek Mosque also known as the “Friday Mosque”, is a famous historical mosque in the city which was built in the 1900s. It was for a long time the biggest mosque and a venue for the Muslim population of the city, though it was not the first mosque to be built in Kuala Lumpur.
If you wanna go inside and take photos, you would need to cover up. The mosque provides a HIJAB that you may borrow if you want to enter and see what is inside. They will show you how the right way to worship and would give you some key insights into the tenets of Islam. It’s a good knowledge and nice experience especially for those who have a different religion.
MERDEKA SQUARE / Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Merdeka Square is the core of KL’s history. It is the place where UK flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag was raised in 1957. It is just about 2-3 minutes walk from Jamek Mosque. Merdeka Square is also the popular venue for various other events – open-air concerts, carnivals, starting/finishing point for marathons etc. Occasionally it will be turned into a battle ground for a cricket match, just like it used to be during the colonial days.
The stunning building right across is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which is one of the magnificent buildings that I have seen in KL. The detail of the building is just spectacular! It looks like a fusion of British and Malay architecture. You must see this if you are interested in history and architecture. The atmosphere of the place was just lovely, you may walk by the lake or sit on the benches to relax.
This is one of the many must-visit in KL. If you are a foodie who wants to enjoy local Malay food, this is your haven. Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang is a long stretch of stalls which is now one of the most famous street food areas for foreigners and travelers who are looking for an authentic Malay cuisine. The foods here are fairly cheap, freshly cooked and delicious. You need to prepare your stomach for being bloated. LOL.
Jalan Alor was formerly known as the Red Light district of Kuala Lumpur. Its bustling nightlife is still alive which is perfect for party seekers. It is also a short walk to few of the shopping malls in Bukit Bintang. So, if you are hungry and tired from all the walking you did from shopping, this is a perfect spot to call your day.
And of course, we did not miss seeing the Petronas Towers. It was already 1 AM when we arrived, lights were already shut off and no one is around. Although it would have been nice if the twin towers were lit up, it was for me the perfect time to take pictures.
The dual skyscrapers, which were once the tallest buildings in the world, are one of the most popular and photographed tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur. Some would prefer seeing it during the day for a natural light, but at night, you can see its glam glowing wherever you are in the city. The tower’s architecture is inspired by the Malaysian and Islamic culture. Its shape was designed to be based on the five pillars of the Islamic religion. While the patterns are from the Malay’s songket cloth weaving, East Malaysian hardwood carving motifs and bertam palm wall matting, known for the special repetitive triangular shapes popular in Southeast Asian culture.
NOTE: You can get inside Petronas tower and go to the view deck. Tickets are limited, easily sold out, and are on a “FIRST COME FIRST SERVE” basis. However, it also means that it doesn’t get crowded. I heard some visitors wake up early just to purchase the ticket.
TIP: You may also want to try the hop-on hop-off bus in Kuala Lumpur. It is free and goes around the tourist spots in the city.
DAY 2 — MELAKA/MALACCA
From the urban jungle of Kuala Lumpur, we jumped off to the charming artsy town of Melaka. I personally like bright colors, street arts and old architectures, and Melaka is a place that defines it. I can’t stop saying how much I adore this town cos I love everything about it.The town is relatively small which can be covered in a span of a day. So without second thoughts, we decided to go see it even without a solid plan.
Melaka or Malacca is about 2-3 hours away from Kuala Lumpur by bus. The fare is only for 10 ringgit which is pretty cheap, so if big cities overwhelms you, this is a good escape.We never had any issues with the commute going there since there are buses that goes directly to Melaka from Kuala Lumpur. And the bus terminal is also accessibly by LRT which made it easier. I mean, we never had to spend a lot of money by taking cabs or uber to get around Malaysia which is what I also liked about the country.
Melaka’s Colonial past was well-preserved as seen on its town centre, this may be the reason why it was dubbed as “the Historic state” in Malaysia. It has more of Portuguese and Dutch influence evident in its architectures. I also have noticed that this area is most likely to have the Chinese culture. The fusion of cultures made this place more interesting and so diverse!
This place is simple yet so charming. You can chill by the river while sipping a cold drink, appreciate street art or eat all that you can. Antique shops is also a thing here, if you are a person who’s love old unique pieces this is your haven.
We went to Jalan Alor when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur cos FOOD IS LIFE. Since uber is really cheap and safe in Malaysia, we did not bother using it even at wee hours. Fortunately, Jalan Alor is still alive even during midnight.
DAY 3 — BATU CAVES (and going home ☹️)
On our last day, we agreed to visit places that we were not able to cover on our first and second day. I and my friend were contemplating on whether 1. we visit one spot first then go back to the condo, check-out, and pick-up our stuff. OR… 2. We do an early check-out and carry everything we have while roaming around. Number 2 seems more efficient, so we did it that way. Though, it can be much of a hassle bringing things with you while walking under the sun and jumping on and off the train. We felt like we were on an amazing challenge for a moment. Haha!
TIP: You have an option to rent a locker at some of the train/metro stations. As for us, the nearest locker that we could rent is at the mall next to the condo where we stayed, it’s like we also left our things in the condo, so why not just bring it?
One of the most iconic tourist attractions in Kuala Lumpur aside from Petronas towers. Batu caves is a limestone hill, which has a series of caves and cave temples. The stunning features of this place both incorporates Malaysia’s limestone mountains and the religious sculptures of Hindu. This place became a pilgrimage site not only for Malaysian Hindus, but all the Hindus worldwide which makes Batu caves the most important Hindu temple outside India.
World`s tallest statue of Lord Murugan (43 meter high), a Hindu God.
Unfortunately, we did not make it inside the cave cos we have a flight to catch and we still have one cafe to visit. Although the outside of it is already stunning. Batu caves can also be very busy, especially on weekends. We were there pretty early and there’s already a crowd in the area.
REMINDER!!! Be careful with the monkeys, they don’t seem to be friendly. Several of them pose a biting hazard to children and they seem to look territorial. Do not pet them or even get close with them if possible.
OLD TOWN COFFEE
Since we did not have time to search and go far to eat, we decided to just dine at the Old Town Coffee near the KL sentral station before heading to the airport. Old Town is Malaysia’s largest halal-certified kopi tiam restaurant chain in the country. It is like the starbucks of Malaysia, although old town serves meals like noodles and rice too.
We ordered Asam Laksa, BBQ Chicken & Fried Wantan Dry Egg Noodles and the classic Old Town white coffee. Old town’s coffee is undeniably good. For a person who likes her coffee strong, old town is perfect! However, I am not a fan of their food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it is bad but it was not my cup of tea.
CHICKEN SATAY is a skewered and grilled meat served with a special sauce. This dish is not just popular in Malaysia but also in Indonesia and Thailand. I like the smokey flavour of chicken especially when dipped in the peanut sauce. They just go well together!
MIE GORENG a flavourful stir-fried noodles that is also well-known in SouthEast Asia especially in Indonesia. This dish is spicy but tolerable, has a lot of ingredients like meat and vegetables but main flavour comes from the kecap manis. If you like spicy and noodles, you cannot go wrong with this food.
ROTI CANAI is a fluffy and soft crispy edges that is Indian-influenced flatbread. They also call this the “flying bread” maybe because of how it was made. The cook/chef would let it fly in the air while making the dough. We were given 3 variety of curry as a dip. a I am not really into any curry, but this one is an exception cos it is really good.
MASALA THOSAI this is also an Indian food. A properly made flat crisp dosa that has a spicy mashed potato filling. It is not too spicy so for people who are not into spicy foods, this totally tolerable. You can have it as it is or dip it in the curry sauce.
CHICKEN RICE BALLS it was my first time to see rice that were shaped into small sphere and when I saw it I knew that I had to try it. The rice itself has its own flavour which is gingery. The chicken is no different with the Hainese chicken which I love. We had tried this in Melaka so, if you don’t know what to have for lunch there, this is a must!
COCONUT ICE CREAM what is better than an ice cream in a humid weather. I personally like coconut flavor and having this ice cream after a long day of walking had totally refreshed us. We were also given the option to choose whatever toppings we want. The ice cream itself is already good, but a little toppings won’t hurt.
ITINERARY AND BUDGET
PLANE TICKET – Php 2,793
TERMINAL FEE – Php 1,600
ACCOMMODATION: Php 2,000/2 nights for 2 pax
CONVERSION AS OF TRAVEL :
11 PHP = 1 MYR
- Kopitiam breakfast – 9 MYR
- KLIA express – 55 MYR
- KTM (KL sentral to Putra) – 1.90 MYR
- Lotus drink – 1 MYR
- LUNCH – 12.50 MYR
- LRT (Putra to Masjid Jamek) – 1.40 MYR
- BUS (to jalan ampang) – 1 MYR
- DINNER (Goreng and satay ) 11 MYR
- Coconut ice cream – 5.50 MYR
- Uber (jalan alor to regalla) – 7 MYR
TOTAL: 105.30 MYR
- KTM (Putra – BTS) – 2.60
- TBS (bus to Melaka) – 10 MYR
- BREAKFAST – 5 MYR
- BUS (terminal to Dutch street) – 2MYR
- LUNCH – 7 MYR
- Dragon fruit ice candy – 3 MYR
- Souvenirs – 4 MYR
- BUS (Melaka to KL) – 13.50 MYR
- DINNER – 10.20 MYR
- Uber (back to regalla) – 4.60 MYR
TOTAL: 61.90 MYR
- LRT (Putra to Batu caves) – 4.60 MYR
- BREAKFAST – 5.75
- LRT (Batu caves to KL Sentral) – 2.60 MYR
- LUNCH (Old town coffee) – 14.52 MYR
- KLIA express – 55 MYR
- FOOD (airport)- 14.55
DAY 1 – 3 EXPENSES TOTAL = 264.22 MYR (Php 2906.24)
OVERALL EXPENSES: Php 9299.42