Malaysia Truly Asia - Kuala Lumpur & Langkawi - Aug 2013

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September 22nd 2013
Published: September 22nd 2013EDIT THIS ENTRY

I have made up my mind to go on a global family holiday in year 2013. Sai is now 2 years plus and is growing up well.Since Nam's pregnancy our global travel together as come to a halt which i was keen to resume.What better oppourtunity than my 2 weeks mandatory leave.This time i planned it in August but for this holiday I was planning since June.Lot of research hours went in..multiple locations..It boiled down to Thailand or Malaysia and its Malaysia finally that we zeroed out on.Itineray was carefully selected after studying all that Malaysia as a country has to offer to a tourist. This time i was also happy for the fact that decisions were taken together by me & Nam i/o me taking it and later seeking her opinion.It worked wonderfully well.Itinerary includes 6 D 7 N stay in Malaysia covering Kuala Lumpur for 4 nights and then flight to Tropical Island of Langkawi for 2 nights.Monday to Sunday inclusive of air travel to & fro.Stay was booked in Concorde Hotel in KL and Bayview Hotel in Langkawi.Both selected mainly basis reviews on Tripadvisor.Both are 4 star properties and preferred considering needs for Sai being her 1st International travel.

Our main worry was how Sai will cope up with this at her age of 2.5 years.Her food/diet/adjustability to new place,weather etc.We took as much care as possible to thoughtfully pack food items of her taste so that we can keep her happy and to meet her daily milk needs, bought a Nova Travel cooker.It was a hit!! Previous evening on Sunday i booked Meru Cab for drop to airport at 8.45 am.Our flight was Malaysian Air MH 193 at 12.40 noon.Check in/Immigration was smooth.Morning time we have less air traffice at Mumbai airport which was good.Less rush and queues everywhere!!Sai was excited and its here that she developed liking for Escalators that continued thruout the week in Malaysia.Flight was on time.We have booked adjusent seats for 3 of us.Sai being a kid, if you pull the handrest up, set of 3 seats gives you good comfort even in economy class as you can strech yourself a bit more in the sitting area.Sai enjoyed the personal TV and the Kid shows on it, mainly Disney shows. Kept her engaged and us easy!!On arrival in KL...around 8.30 pm,we converted a few INR into MYR which was a good decision as later on we got best deal for CCY conversion in China town.0.3 pts better than what we got at airport.Thanks to our reasearch, we knew that fastest and cheaper mode of transport to Central KL is KLIA Express which takes you to KL Sentral in approx 45 mins which is central Railway station in KL.Tickets costs MYR 35 per head.At KL Sentral we bought some milk for Sai and dined at Mac on the station lobby.From there we hailed a cab to take us to Concorde Hotel.Costs us MYR 20.At Concorde Hotel, we arrived around 10.30 pm.Check in was like a breeze.Again here thanks to Tripadvisor, we manage to get a room with Twin Tower View on 5th Floor, next to elevator.Could not have asked for more.At Concorde, rooms are huge and service is prompt.Next day morning we also realised that breakfast which comes complimentary with our booking, had a very good spread.Getting a good breakfast is important Must have for any traval for us.and we were glad that here as well it was to our satisfaction!

Day 1 on Tuesday, plan was to cover KL Bird Park near Lake Gardens and Acquarium in KLCC.Being first day and jet lag, we could not leave earlier than 12 noon.AFter taking some guidance at the hotel Conceirge, we started moving towards Dang Wangi metro station to go to Bird Park first up.Its close from KL Sentral.Cab would cost you around 10 ringets.But we got down at Pasar Seni,one stop ahead and took cab.Costs us slightly more but good learning.KL Bird Park boasts of largest open air aviatory in the world and very comprehensive variety of birds.We along with Sai had very good time enjoying the flying creatures around us..from parrots to Hornbill to Peacock to see it all here.We spent good 2-3 hrs roaming around in the park.By now we were hungry.There is a restaurant called "Hornbill"next to the park but we decided to go to KL Sentral simply b'use we have wider choice and its just 10 mins from cab.For cab, at the park, they have a taxi counter with whom you have to co ordinate first,pay them and they will arrange a taxi for you.We did that way and got down at KL Sentral for lunch.We had burger/coke & corns that day.By now Nam was feeling a bit dizzy, mostly due to jet lag.But we didnt wanted to miss the fun at the same time so we both took a Crocin pill and decided to carry on over going to hotel for rest.It was 4.30 pm by now.Next stop was acquarium at KLCC.We took KL Rapid from KL Sentral to KLCC and then walked thru the underground passage.Its a long one & takes around 15-20 mins to reach acquriaum from the KLCC station.We selected this place for Sai but sadly she was too tired and almost asleep by the time we reached there.We were tired too.So after getting inside, we took some rest on one of the seating area within the acquarium.KLCC acquarium like you find in most cities globally houses majority of fish varieties from sweet water to sea creatures.One interesting exhibit which i liked is of Pirhana's.Apparently they also have a Pirhana feeding show in afternoon but we could not make it.Must have been interesting to see the deadliest sweet water creatures feasting on flesh!!Another interesting thing is where they have made a underpass for visitors in one of the exhibits where you can crawl inside and come up thru a glas ceiling thru which you can see water mongooes playing in water flowing over the glas cube.The walking 360 degree cave of water like what you have in many other big cities is also here.Overall nice experience.Sai was awake by the time we entered the cave so she could enjoy at least some part of place that we came for her.On exit point, you have a multiple food joints of international repute.We packed some Coffie from Starbucks and some Indian egg curry/rice from another joint for dinner that night before heading back the same route to Concorde Hotel.Egg curry was good.We were extremly tired now.Slept the moment we jump onto bed.

On Day 2 we were now familer with breakfast menu so it was easy navigating and picking up the stuff that we want.We had good sleep and we didnt wanted to leave as late as we did the previous day so that day we consciously made effort to leave early and successfully stepped out by 11 am. Before that we secured ourselves a seat on halg day tour of Fireflies colonies in adjusent state of Selangor.From 11 am to 3 pm , we now had 4 hrs to explore Batu Caves.One thing which i must advice to fellow travellers about going to Batu Caves is to go on your own. Most tour operators charge you anything from 50-75 ringets for half day tour of Batu Caves and couple of nearby attractions.If you travel on your own, it will not cost you more than 15 ringets per head.Its easy navigating thru KL's transport system.Whereever your hotel is, get to KL Sentral station and from from there take a KL Kommuter to Batu Caves.Tickets are just 1 MYR.Its the last stop and journey takes around 30 mins from KL Sentral.Trains have good frequency of 20-30 mins.The train that we took looked as if it was commissioned just the other day.Very clean!!Just a few steps from station exit, you have the entry door for the Batu Caves area.At the outset you have a big Hanuman idol.From there you walk staright for 10 mins to reach the base of 250 odd steps that takes you to the Caves where Batu Temple is built.Hindu people across Malaysia have huge faith in this temple.I learned that on festival days, this place is overcrowed.This area is developed well as a nature park.Only flip side is you dont have much of a shade so you have a sunny day, its better to carry a umbrella.We didnt and should have!!next to the steps you have a huge statue of Batu made in golden colour.Must be one of the highest statue in the world!!If you have the stamina to walk up 250+steps, you can but it can drain you out.On top you witness coule of temples built in a cave and views of the city around from top is also very good.We did took the steps and has some really good pics thru sunlight spreading thru the narrow holes of the caves.At the base if you are from India or like Indian food then you have decent choice of few Indian restaurant that serve Idli/dosa & other popular Indian dishes.We ate at one of those before rushing back to hotel to make it in time for our next tour...Fireflies in Selangor.It was tight as we running little late and were not sure if we could make it in time but in spite of change over of trains at KL sentral and 10 mins walk from Dang Wangi, we just made it in time.Tour operator was already there.He kindly gave us 10 mins to get refreshed.We were first one to be picked up at Concorde.We paid 190 ringets per head to the driver at the outset.It took us next 1 hour to pick up all 10 tourist who have registered that day for Fireflies Tour.Nature of plenty of surprises to offer in Malaysia and fireflies will most likely top that list.Selangor river and marshy land around is to have to be home of some of the biggest fireflies colonies in the world.On this tour, they take you from KL to adjusent state of Selangor thru express highway, show you a few places like Selangor fort.Watching and feeding silver monkeys there can be good fun for people who dont mind monkeys jumping on to you to catch the food.We were not amongst those so we preferred to watch others with monkeys as we watchfully made our way to pick up point.You have to wait till sunset to see the fireflies in full glory so plan of the tour is structured in such a way that by the time you reach the park, you are done with your sundry siteseeing and dinner.We had folks from New Zealand/Italy/UK and some natives along with us. We all had dinner together at a riverfront restaurant, took some nice pics of setting sun before heading to fireflies park post sunset.Good thing about Malaysian tourism is most tourist attractions are developed well and fireflies colony is not an exception.A small boardwalk with seating on both sides leads you to a small jetty where our tour operator directed us to small manually driven boats which were taking tourist into the mangroves.It was pitch dark which was helpful.Immediately after getting into water, a few mins down the magic began.Thousands of fireflies hanging on to trees making the tree look like X mas tree/lightened house.Its not 1-2, almost every 2nd tree had them.Going from one tree to another trying to catch one of them in your hand lightly and then letting them go was absolutely amazing.we have not experienced anything like that before.We now knew why this your tops the list of siteseeing tour of KL.Mother Nature showcasing its beauty...dancing lights under dark sky where you are watching them from a boat in muddy was thrilling to witness that wonder for close to 30 mins with Sai & Nam.Just for your safety, a mosquito guard cream is recommended before you get onto the boat.It was a beautiful memory that we were carring from Malaysia which iam sure we will cherish for rest of our life!!

Next Day Thursday was our last day in KL before travel to Langkawi.This we have kept relatively free for some local shopping,cultural feel and to cover KL Icons - KL Tower and Petronas Tower in breakfast that day, we went to Central Market of KL.Its near Pasar Seni station which is also known as China Town area.Its almost a 75 years + old market which used to be a wet market in the past selling fish which over a period time has not become a center of Malaysian Culture and art.They have small shops inside market buidling, selling all sort of malaysian souveniers and art work.It can be a good walking tour for art lovers.One more useful thing here, you possibly will get best forex rate to convert your currency in MYR or vice versa.We got 30 basis points better deal for INR here.Did some petty shopping and dined at a Semi Indian restaurant before going back to hotel for some rest.This was a wise decision as we had lot of walking in the evening that day.After taking some rest, we left hotel for KLCC Park by 4 pm.KLCC is just 2 station away from Dang Wangi.From KLCC underpass, take a Petronas Tower exit to come out in front of KLCC park.Its at the base of Twin towers and offers you one of best views of tower and is a good place for evening walk with the family.Dancing fountains/kids play area/jogging tracks, no wonder why this place was crowded in evening.We used our camera tripod most extensively at this place.Photography at leisure and enjoying the fountains & the views is what we did as we spent good couple of hours here.It was around 6 pm now and we were conscious of making it in time for our last stop in KL and that was KL Tower. Attempt was to catch the sunset & KL city view from the 275 meter high telecom tower observatory.It was around 30-45 mins walk but to save time we hailed a cab outside Petronas.But our judgement was wrong.Peak hours in heart of city can be bad and we experienced it first hand.It took us close to 35 mins what should have taken not more than 10 mins.KL tower is built on a small hill so to help visitors they have a free van to take them from Entry point to the KL Tower base.Takes hardly 5 mins.But our taxi dropped us to the base directly.They have quiet a few small attractions there like acquarium etc.But we book only the observatory.Escort guided us to the elevator which takes you to the height of 275 meters in 50 seconds.KL tower is apparently 4 highests telecom tower in the world and highest in southeast Asia.We couldnt catch the sunset but we did got beautiful views of Twin Tower illuminated in white & yellow lights.Honestly there isnt much to watch apart from city spread like NY or Dubai but still its exciting to be on top of that tower and enjoy the feeling of being there!We took some of our best snaps there.Spent close to an hour going thru the 360 degree view and then left.Our hotel is 10 mins walk from there.So we decided to walk down the hill to our hotel.It was wonderful 3 days of fun.Sai was enjoying and b'use of her we were too.

Next day we had flight for Langkawi at 2 pm on Malaysian.We checked out by 11 am.One thing we learned there is for a fly of 3+ taxi to airport is a cheaper option than KL express and more convenient too.They charge fixed 90 ringets & train would have cost us around 100 plus the trouble of carring out bags till station.Thanks to Hotel Concorde Conceirge desk.KL Intl airport is voted as top 3 in the world by Skytrax and you would know why once you have to wait for your connections.One of the good things is free 4G WiFi.It helped us kill the wait time easily.Flight was slightly delayed but it was ok.1 hr flight from KL to Langkawi reached there by 3.30 pm.We were hungry so after collecting out luggage, we did 2 things - one is to take help from KL Tourism office on itinerary for next 2 days and 2nd have lunch.There is chain called"Merry Brown" - equivalent of Mac in Southeast Asia.After having food and taking taxi i had a terrible moment when Sai disappeared in front of me while i was booking cab to the hotel.Nam was in convenience shop buying milk and Sai went so swiftly that i didnt realise she went there.Only when Nam confirmed she is with her, I tension eased out.Those 2-3 mins were terrible!!Back on road, Langkawi's taxi transport is highly regulated and its sensible to keep it that way considering tourism being there big draw.Its a island made up of 99 small islands and most end to end journeys dont take more than 45 mins.Its simple to understand.Cabs will charge 100 ringets for 4 hrs and 25 ringets for each extra hour.During these 4 hours you can ask them to take you anywhere on that island.Travel to Bayview Hotel in Kuah town costs us 6 ringets.Hotel is part of intl chain in sydney & Singapore.Decent one for fly stay.Sea side view rooms are very good.Seashore is hardly a few hundred meters away from the hotel.We intially wanted to go for Skycab that evening but by the time we got ready it was little late so we changed our plan and decided to go to Eagle Square which was 10 mins drive from our hotel.Again fare was fixed so no hassles.It was good 30-45 mins before sunset and the square as a place is well designed for people to spend some good time.There is a duty free shopping mall, few street shops, couple of small ponds.fountains and the star attraction ie 50-60 feet high Bald Eagle statue looking at the sun.Its a photo stop for all tourists.We missed our tripod but did spent good time enjoying the sea,views of island and the cool breeze.It was fun for Sai and for us.We even spotted a Comoddo Dragon in the nearby pond!Travel back to hotel, we took help from a local as cabs were difficult to get by.Little scary in beginnning but since the road was straight and distance short,we managed with some help from our luck!Bayview Hotel have a travel desk in the lobby.We visited them for planning the next day and it was helpful.Attendant there did guide us well on what to see and when.We booked our half day Mangroves tour for next morning, took a stroll around the street shops outside hotel before retiring to bed that night.

Next day, the only full day we had in Langkawi, the plan was set.Mangroves tour booked from morning till noon and then Sky cab in evening plus Cenang beach.POst breakfast, we were picked up at hotel lobby to take us to nearest jetty.There are 3 Unesco recognised Geoparks in Langkawi.We were taken to one close to Kuah town.Almost a 45 mins drive.The jetty is erected at river mouth where it meets the sea.Understandably so b'use thats where you have mangroves.After a waitin time of 15-20 mins we were handed over to our guide for the day who took us to the powr boat.Boat looks similar to Shikara that can carry 8-10 folks.We were a group of 10.If you want at some extra cost, you can also hire the boat for you only.High tide was about to start when we started our tour.The itinerary looks exciting.Bat Cave/Crocks Cave/Island Monkeys/Fish farm followed by lunch on floating restaurant.First stop was a place where in the past, locals used to produce coal using timber trees.Now that its officially banned, no one does it but there were ruins ofpast small factory.Next he took us to interiors of tghe mangroves in areas which are possible only during high tide as otherwise water levels are too low. We were lukcy.We also spotted a Viper snake resting on a tree.A monkey colony on the way.Guide assured us that there are no crocks in the water as the place is not suitable for their living but there is a legand that someone saw a crock at a cave few years back there.That cave is now famous as Crocks Cave.Next up was Bat Cave.Now this one was big area leading you into jungles on that island.Morning being rest time for the bats, we saw hundreds of bats resting upside down on thw roof of the cave.Nicely maintained place i must say with nice little board walk and information of flora & fauna of the place.Its learned that some trees there are million years old.We liked this place!Inbetween we also took a break, halted at another floating hotel and had some refreshments.Most of the floating hotels have a fish farm attached to it.where a guide will show you local fish breeding there.Some intersting variety of fish there including Sting Ray feeding show.Many rich folks come there in their yatches so there was some traffic on the waterways.Colourful crabs popping out of their mud holes was a good sight.Exploring & enjoying the oldest rainforest and mangroves we never realised that its almost time for lunch.Last place before getting off they alighted us to this floating restaurant where we had some nice local lunch of chiese rice,fresh fish and chicken.Best part of it was the views around as you eat floating in the water!!It was as good as it was promised...simply amazing!!

After they dropped us back to hotel, we took some rest for half an hour and then booked a cab for next 4 hours with the help of hotel conceirge.Plan was to visit Skaycab and Cenang Beach and the waterfalls around.Skycab which is arguably number 1 attraction in Langkawi, is almost 1 hr drive from Kuah town.Good thing is roads are good and most of the taxis upto date and clean.Entrace to Skycab is from a place called Oriental Village.This is a mini shooping plus eating place designed as a small village which among other things also has entrance point for the cable car.You enter the village from a hanging bridge which adds a feeling of fun.Small lakes,rabbit farms ...its all there.We were about the board a fascinating experience taking us to 700 meters above sea level.Fortunately that time of the day there is no rush.Its a two stop journey with 2nd stop being the top.At each level you have a viewing gallry which offers spectaculer views of the sea and town around.On clear skies day someone told us that we can see as far as South of Thailand!!The spot is exotic especially on the 2nd level.There is also a sky bridge which sadly was closed for maintaince that time.On top you feel as if you are in heavan.South Andaman sea as long as you can see all around, small islands sticking their heads out of water,clouds brushing past you...its simply a memory for lifetime.Few movies including the hit Don was shot here for climax scene.It was exiting to be that place which we have seen a few times on TV.You never feel like leaving that place.Had it not been late we would stayed for long but it was time to close.They close by 7 pm.On the way you can also see the Seven Wells waterfall which is nearby.We wanted to go there but it was little dark so as suggested by our driver, we decided to go directly to Cenang beach.Cenang beach is the most famous in Langkawi and most crowded.Shops on both sides, malls, beach shacks..its all fun.We noticed a Indian joint on the way near the beach and since it was close to 8 pm we decided to have our dinner there.And it was great food we had on the tour!It was dark now so post dinner, we just took a quick stroll,some light shopping...beach was deserted but streets were was indeed very popular spot.By 930 we reached back..Best day of the tour i must say.

Next day on Sunday, we took the same route back home ie from Langkawi to Kl and from KL to Mumbai.Flight to KL was little delayed but we had long enough gap to absorb that delay.Killing time at KLIA was not a problem.We relived our memories of 2008 when we had a stop over here.KLIA jungle boardwalk was good..something unique at a place like Airport.Did some shopping,had food before onboarding our flight to Mumbai.

Best expeiences of KL & Langkawi tour for us were as below -
1) Fireflies Tour in KL
2) Skycab in Langkawi
3) Magroves tour in Langkawi
4) KL Bird Park
5) Eagle Square Langkawi
6) KL Tower Observatory
7) Batu Caves
8) Petronas Tower Park
9) KLCC Acquarium
10) Central Market in KL


15th October 2013

Trip budget
Hi, It was very informative to read your blog entry. Could you tell me the approx expenditure for a 2 week long trip (putting up at friend's place) to Kuala lampur nd langkawi including air fares?
26th November 2013

I travelled from India to Kl & Langkawi. Overall it costs approx USD 800 per person including hotel stay/airfare/siteseeing/food/shoopping. Hotel contribute USD 250 out of that 800. So if you are staying at F'end place, i think approx USD 500 for a week. Hope this helps. Book Air asia for cheap tickets in Asia

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