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Getting around

Part 9: Kuala Lumpur, Dubai

25-26.6: Munich -> Dubai -> KL
27.6: KL
28.6: KL
29.6: KL -> Miri
30.6: Miri -> Mulu
1.7: Mulu -> Camp 5
2.7: Pinnacles
3.7: Camp 5 -> Miri -> Kuching
4.7: Kuching -> Singapore
5.7: Singapore
6.7: Singapore
7.7: Singapore -> KL
8.7: KL -> Merang
9.7: Merang -> Lang Tengah
10.7: Lang Tengah
11.7: Lang Tengah -> Kuala Terengganu -> Pulau Kapas
12.7: Pulau Kapas -> KL -> Teluk Intan

13.7: Teluk Intan
14.7: Teluk Intan, Ipoh, Kuala Kangsar, Taiping
15.7: Teluk Intan -> KL -> Kuching
16.7: Kuching, Kubah NP, Matang wildlife reserve
17.7: Semenggoh, Kuching wetlands NP, Kota Kinabalu
18.7: Kota Kinabalu -> Labuan
19.7: Labuan -> Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei)
20.7: Ulu Temburong NP -> BSB
21.7: BSB -> Seria -> Tasek Merimbun -> KL
22.7: KL
23.7: KL
24.7: KL -> Dubai
25.7: Dubai -> Munich

22.7: KL
Hotel Boulevard, KL. RM 326 for the room. The rate includes the breakfast for two and Internet in the room (RM 15/day).

Weather: mostly overcast the whole day. Some rain in the early afternoon.

Day spent not doing much. At 2pm we move to the Boulevard hotel.

23.7: KL
Hotel Boulevard, KL

Weather: mostly sunny the whole day with a thin clouds layer. Nice sunset.

We sleep long. At 11am I take a taxi into town (RM 10) to the Islamic museum. I'm in town until 1:30pm, walking around and shopping a bit. Taxi back to the hotel (RM 15), then lunch in the Midvalley mall. Then I babysit Natasha while Shirley goes shopping. At 5pm I have a haircut, then I meet Shirley who is taking care of Alissia and her niece from Shanghai.

At 6pm I walk out again. This time there is a long queue of people at the taxi stand and not enough taxis. After some waiting I decide to take the train, but walk to the wrong mall entrance, where I happen to catch a taxi, one or the expensive ones.

Lots of traffic jam and in fact I only reach KLCC at almost 7pm (RM 30 for the taxi, quite expensive). Nice sunset, until 8pm I take photos of the KLCC complex. Then I have some snack for dinner and start looking to a way to get back. A taxi driver offers to bring me back for RM 35. I decline and walk to the taxi stand. Again a queue of people and no taxis. So I walk into the MRT station and take the next train to KL Sentral.

At 8:50pm I'm in KL Sentral and am wondering whether to take a taxi or the next train to Midvalley. The board shows the next train at 8:52pm, so I queue up and buy a ticket. It's 8:54pm and I rush to the trains platform.

Judging from the huge number of people the train must not have come yet and must be delayed. So I wait.

The train only arrives at 9:15pm. By now there are even more people and I doubt that they can all fit into the train. Big rush when the train opens the doors. I manage to secure a spot in a wanita coach (later I realise I'm in a waggon reserved for women, although I'm not the only man here).

The waggon becomes unbelievably full and does not leave the station. It stands there for 10 minutes and finally only leaves at 9:25pm. Had I known this would happen I would have taken a taxi in KL Sentral. The situation is unbelievable. They need to do something to improve the public transportation system, perhaps add more trains in peak hours. Like this they are at the level of a fourth world country.

24.7: KL -> Dubai
Splendid hotel apartments, Dubai. 418 AED for a big room with A/C which in reality is a small apartment, complete with kitchen, washing machine, cooking  place etc. Lots of furniture, TV, phone etc. Bathroom with bathtub and shower. Only drawback is the smallish queen size bed (we usually take a king size bed and Alissia sleeps in the middle, and Natasha in baby cot). Friendly staff. Free wireless Internet in the lobby. Very good buffet breakfast included in the room rate.
No cold water available in the shower. Apparently the water in the tanks on the roof heats up a lot during the day. To have cold water the hotel would have to artificially refrigerate the water.

Weather: overcast the whole day in KL. No rain. Still very hot and humid in the late evening in Dubai (38C at 11pm).

We get up at 9am and have breakfast. After some shopping we pack our stuff and check out. At 1:30pm, while Shirley brings Alissia to a dance class, I take a taxi (RM 10) to Bukit Bintang street and shop around a bit.

Then I take the monorail to KL Sentral, where I check if it would be an option to get to KLIA with the KLIA Express. It's feasible to arrive by taxi with luggage and bring it to the KLIA Express, but the total cost for a family of four is RM 100 (2 adults pay RM 35 each, kids aged 2-12 pay RM 15 each). Add to that the cost of the taxi ride to KL Sentral, and not so much money is saved compared to a taxi ride for RM 150 in a large taxi.

Taxis in KL Sentral are available near the bus station. Coupon system, a taxi to Midvalley costs RM 14. It's probably less expensive if you walk to the main road where there is a taxi stand with metered taxis.

The taxi ride to Midvalley takes a lot of time, because there is a huge traffic jam on the way to Midvalley. Quite possible that lots of people are going to Midvalley for shopping because it is Saturday. In any case, I can't remember such huge traffic jams in KL in the past years. It seems that the situation got worse, i.e. more cars on the streets and that the public transportation system is inadequate. The only public transportation system I'm aware of which stops in Midvalley is this pathetic KTM commuter train.

It's a mystery why such a huge mall as Midvalley has no own subway station with frequent trains. It's also the case that a new higher end mall, adjacent to Midvalley has opened in the last 2-3 years.

Shortly before 5pm we leave by taxi to KLIA (RM 150), arriving there at 5:45pm.  Then we check in and proceed through immigration, security etc.

Some discussion at the Emirates check-in, because we have three suitcases and want to check two through until Munich and one and the stroller until Dubai (we'll need it in Dubai). Because we are one group everything can only either be checked through until Dubai or Munich. I propose to formally split us up into two groups and that seems to work.

The Emirates plane takes off on time and lands early around 10pm local time in Dubai. Things then proceed quite smoothly. We get quickly through immigration and do not have to wait long for our luggage. Then we get into a taxi (around AED 40) to the hotel.

Outside the airport the temperature is surprisingly high. 38C at 11pm. The taxi driver explains that during the day the temperatures climb up until 50C. Seems a bit hard to believe.

After some searching here and there (nobody knows where this Splendid hotel is) we arrive to the hotel and check in.

25.7: Dubai -> Munich
Home, sweet home
Weather: unbelievably hot and humid in Dubai. 38C in the morning, which climbs to 41C by noon. I'm told that it does not climb much beyond that because of all that humidity. Toughest climate I've experienced so far, "for the real men only". Wouldn't walk on the streets with my kids here. You can't spend more that half an hour or so under the sun. It feels like a Finnish sauna.
Fresh in Munich in the evening, with temperatures well below 20C.

I get up early at 7 something am and take a shower. Wow, the cold water is hot! Not too hot to take a shower, but quite at the upper end. Shirley and the kids are still sleeping. I take a taxi and head first to the creek, thinking of getting a good view of the Burj Khalifa, the world's highest building.

Well no, from the creek the Burj Khalifa is barely visible, because it is very far away and because there is so much humidity in the air which blocks the light. So I tell the driver to bring me directly to the Burj Khalifa.

There is a big pond around the Burj Khalifa and from here there are good views of the tower. What a spectacular building. Adjacent to it is the The Dubai Mall, a large and very upmarket shopping complex. Lots of outlets of very high end brands. No wonder, this is the tallest building in the world and being here gives you a lot of prestige. And with a height 828m it will likely also remain the tallest building in the world for a while.

I don't spend much time at the Burj Khalifa and by 8:40am I take a taxi (AED 23) back to the hotel. I'm there shortly after 9am and have breakfast with Shirley and the kids who woke up and are ready to have breakfast.

After breakfast, at 10:15am we take a taxi (hotel car for AED 23) to The Dubai Mall. There in the entrance hall is a huge aquarium with tons of large fish (schools of fish), even sharks and sting rays. The acqurium is probably 10-15m high and is really impressive. The glass window of the aquarium is probably 10m tall. Entry tickets for the aquarium are quite pricey (over 100 AED per person).

Inside the mall there is a huge rink, where people are skating on the ice. This must be open year round and entrance probably is not that inexpensive either.

We actually are looking for the Kidzenia place, where we would leave the kids for an hour. Takes quite some effort to find this place, because it is well hidden or perhaps because this mall is so huge. The whole mall must be consuming a lot of electricity due to all that air conditioning.

Finally we find the Kidzenia place. Too expensive (AED 125 per kid) and not suitable for our purposes since it seems to target older kids than ours.  The AED 125 allow you to leave the kid for the whole day there, although I'm not sure if you can leave it alone there.

We opt instead for a fun fair place, where I buy an AED 70 card which can be used for a number of games and machines (AED 2-5 for the simple games).

I leave Shirley and the kids there and go out again for some more photos of the Burj Dubai. It's almost noon and by now the temperature has climbed over 40C outside. I manage only to spend 20 minutes outside in the heat, then I get back inside the mall. I'm sweating like crazy.

At 12:15pm I meet Shirley and the kids. They haven't managed to finish the card value, so we do some games together until the card is empty. Luckily I didn't buy the AED 100 card.

We then have lunch in an Asian restaurant overlooking the ice rink. It's 1 something pm when we finish. We rush back to the hotel (taxi AED 20), take a shower, pack our bags, check out and take a  taxi (actually the hotel car, AED 50) to the airport.

The airport is quite empty at this time of the day (3pm). We check in the luggage and proceed to the gate. The plane takes off on time and is not that full.

The Emirates plane arrives in Munich at 9pm. We reach home before 11pm.

Copyright 2010 Alfred Molon