Mobile phones
Getting around

Part 2: Kuala Lumpur

08.06: Dubai -> Kuala Lumpur
09.06: Kuala Lumpur
10.06: Kuala Lumpur
11.06: Kuala Lumpur -> Bali
21.06: Surabaya -> Johor Bahru -> Mersing
22.06: Seribuat archipelago
23.06: Mersing -> Johor Bahru -> Kuching
24.06: Kuching -> Sematan

25.06: Gunung Gading NP
26.06: Tanjung Datu NP
27.06: Sematan -> Teluk Intan
28.06: Teluk Intan
29.06: Teluk Intan -> LCCT
30.06: LCCT -> Similajau NP
01.07: Similajau NP -> KL
02.07: KL
03.07-04.07: KL -> Munich

08.06: Dubai -> Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur.
Weather: foggy in the early morning in Dubai, poor visibility, hot. Tropical temperatures at night when we arrive in KL.

After breakfast we leave the hotel at 8:15am by taxi. At 8:55am we are at the airport. Free wireless internet access at the terminal 3 (the new one of Emirates Airlines).

At 9:45a we board the EK342 plane to KL. There we are in the plane. Nothing happens until about 11:30am (flight is supposed to take off at 10:30am. At 11:30am they disembark all passengers - broken aircraft, needs to be fixed. We are all sent to the gate 208 where another plane is waiting, new planned take off time is 1:30pm. We have some lunch, then proceed to the gate.

The plane will finally take off after 2pm and land in KLIA at 1am local time. Three and a half hours of delay, thank you very much Emirates. Shortly before 2am we are in taxis to the hotel (two taxis costing 87 RM, less than one family van which costs 233 RM - these are night prices, daytime the taxis cost less).

09.06: Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur. RM 245 for the room. The breakfast today is a disappointment: poor choice of food.
Weather: mostly cloudy with some sunshine in the morning, overcast in the afternoon. Some rain in the later afternoon, not too hot.

With some effort we manage to get up at 9:30am and are down in the breakfast place on the 9th floor at 10am, in time to get breakfast before they close at 10:30am.

After breakfast we do some shopping. We get Maxis prepaid GSM cards for our phones (RM 10 which includes RM 4 of calls + a recharge). This time it is possible to use the prepaid cards to access the Internet (APN: net, username: maxis, password: wap, dial-in number: *99#). It's expensive however, at 1 cent/KB (RM 10/MB).

We don't do much. Shirley has a haircut, in the afternoon I take a taxi to KLCC and visit the KL acquarium. The ticket costs RM 38 and the highlight is a walk in a glass tunnel through the acquarium, surrounded by large fish and sharks floating around.

When I try to get back to the hotel after 6pm, I can't manage to find a taxi driver willing to use the meter. They ask for RM 25, and I just paid RM 7 to come here earlier in the afternoon. I even try to walk away from KLCC, which probably is a tourist trap, and get a taxi somewhere else, but still can't find a taxi willing to use the meter. The drivers complain about the traffic jams. I could take a train to KL Sentral, but it is a bit complicated and likely to take one hour until I'm back. In the end I settle with a taxi driver on RM 20. When we drive back, surprise, surprise, there is no traffic jam at all. Seems that the taxi drivers have all been bullshitting.

In the evening we have a dinner with Sara, Shirley's sister.

10.06:  Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Boulevard, Kuala Lumpur.
Weather: mostly sunny in the morning, overcast in the late afternoon. Hot, no rain. According to local newpapers Malaysia is experiencing hot weather with no rain (el nino). Hazy conditions, not too great visibility.

We get up at 9am and have breakfast. At 10:30am I leave the hotel. No taxi driver knows how to get to the Tian Hou Chinese temple. I get back to the hotel and finally with the help of the staff we locate the temple and find a taxi driver who knows how to get there.

At 11am I'm at the temple (it is actually in walking distance of the Midvalley shopping complex). Very nice Chinese temple, on top of a hill, not as big as the Pinang Kek Lok Si temple. When I arrive a film crew is making a movie: lots of Chinese actors in ancient warrior dress, some Chinese actresses in ancient dress.

At 11:45am I'm done with the temple and want to get back. No taxi available at the temple. No problem, I walk down the hill to the main road, cross the road and walk to the bus stand. After one minute a taxi stops and I tell the driver to bring me to the old KL train station. Driver speaks almost no English, so I phone Shirley for support.

At 12:15pm I'm at the station, well, at the wrong side of it. I walk a bit until I find a way to get to the right place. KL's train station was moved to KL Sentral and the old train station will soon be converted to a museum. Old islamic style building, quite nice.

After taking some pictures at 12:30pm I walk to the nearby state mosque, which looks very nice from above (star shaped blue-green roof). The problem is that the mosque is closed right now for non-muslim tourists (reopens at 3pm) and there is no spot from which you have a nice view from above, unless you walk onto the fast elevated road.

Adjacent to the mosque is the Malaysian Islamic Arts Museum, which I might visit one day when I have nothing else to do. I continue walking towards the nearby Sultan Abdul Samad building. It's now 1pm and the sun is very strong in the sky. Thin clouds layer which reduces the intensity of the sun rays a bit.

Then I slowly continue walking towards the Puduraya bus station, and after a brief lunch break in a KFC restaurant, I continue walking to Bukit Bintang. My T-shirt and the camera bag by the way are wet with sweat. Very hot right now.

It's now 2:15pm, and I walk into an Internet cafe. I spend about half an hour browsing the web and checking my emails. Apparently there are lots of packages for Indonesia concerning Borodudur, Prambanan and Mt Bromo. These however are not easily bookable in here in KL, at least I can't find an agency offering such packages here.

Shortly after 3pm I'm in the BB Plaza shopping complex where I enquire about a suit with a taylor. The problem is that I can't find a fabric which is convincing enough. In the meantime Shirley calls and we discuss what to do. I suggest to meet at KLCC where we can visit the KL acquarium. We agree to meet there at 4:30pm.

At 4pm I start walking towards KLCC. There are now more buildings around KLCC, for instance they have completed the construction of the new KL convention centre.

At 4:40pm Shirley finally arrives with the kids. Looks like it took her some effort to find a taxi in Midvalley willing to use the meter. We proceed to the KL acquarium. Alissia is thrilled when we go through the tunnel in the big aquarium (the small one actually as well).

After the acquarium, at 6:30pm we head to the children playground, where the children spend about half an hour playing. Then we have dinner in KLCC and head back to the hotel. The taxi is RM 20 (initially the taxi drivers ask for RM 35, refuse to go for less than 25, then we walk to the other taxi stand).

11.06: Kuala Lumpur -> Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua. Room is nicely furnished and of good standard. Has everything except an ironing board (fridge, TV, phone, hairdryer, minibar, tea making equipment included). Wireless Internet available, costs 30000 rupiah 1hr, 120000 rupiah 5 hours - very fast connection. The hotel has its own beach. Only problem is the shower: the water temperature is difficult to set, changes from hot to cold and viceversa by itself. Security check for vehicles entering the hotel.
Weather: hazy in the morning in KL. Blue sky in Bali, tropically hot, no rain the whole day.

After breakfast we check out from the hotel and take a taxi to KL's LCCT airport (taxi is RM 80). There we check-in and proceed to the gate. Internet connection with very poor quality in the departure hall. The AirAsia plane leaves at 11:15am with half an hour of delay.

We arrive in Bali at 3:15pm, then proceed through the passport control. It takes one hour to finally make it to the baggage retrieval (slow passport control counter; visa for non-ASEAN people is USD 10, payable also in other currencies). Then we get some cash from an ATM, retrieve the suitcases and walk out. A taxi to the hotel costs 105000 rupiah (about 7.50 Euro). The taxi needs about 25 minutes to reach the hotel.

It's almost 5pm when we reach the hotel. After checking in we don't do much. In the evening we explore a bit the the area around the hotel and have dinner. The restaurant is in a nice setting, also the food is not bad (but not that impressive either). The price level is higher than in Malaysia, only slightly lower than in Germany.

We enquire about tours and are quoted between 450000 and 600000 rupiah for a car + driver for one day for a tour to the Batur lake.

Copyright 2009 Alfred Molon