The HoHo City Tour

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Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur » Bukit Bintang
December 17th 2010
Published: December 17th 2010EDIT THIS ENTRY

“Eat like a prince, travel like a pauper!” Well, at least when you are in Malaysia. There is so much to eat, and so much to see in the KL. So, to get its full flavor (pun intended!) eat and travel like there is no tomorrow! Food is cheap. A lunch or dinner (for almost two people..I eat a lot) costs no more than RM15 and that is with the drinks. That is £3-£4. Now beat that. Anyways, I will blog on the food itself some other day. Travel like a pauper? Well take the public transport and walk as much as possible. This will give you more time to enjoy the view.

In the past couple of days I have been busy “Hopping on hopping off!” No not exercising silly, I went on a KL Hop-On-Hop-Off City Tour (how very touristy of me!). This is the first time I have ever taken one of these bus tours, in any country/city ever. I would seriously recommend getting on if you are in a new place (especially if it’s cheap!). It is a fantastic way of seeing the site in one helping (for a day tourist), or it will help one to plan their visit during a longer course. It will help you on your walks around a you will be (somewhat) more familiar. Next time I am going to any other place, getting on one of these is what I will be doing. Why? For one other reason, when I go up one of those stupid big ass tower and look upon the city, it will give me more of a sense of what I am looking at, which I believe will make me appreciate the view more.

I tried to start the day early, after the fiasco I had the other day by sleeping past noon. Well, I woke up at 9:30 (still late I know!) and after a quick breakie I was on the bus by 10:30. Most hotels and hostels should have these tickets. I was told you can not buy this on the bus. But I did see them selling them on the bus as well. The bus ticket itself is RM38 and is valid for 24 hours. The service itself runs only from 8:30-19:30. However, there was another benefit buying the tickets from the BnB. I wanted to go to the Bird Park as well. That would have set me back by RM42. But buy them together, and instead of paying RM80, one would pay only RM65. This was only a promotional offer…however I dunno how long this will run for. Some promotions seem to run for life.

Once on the bus, I got a brochure for the KL Hoho (Hop-on-Hop-off). This gave basic information of the route of the bus. The Malaysian Tourism Centre (MTC) seems to be the stop no 1 (starting point) and the journey ends at point 22, the mighty Petronas Twin Tower. The bus always starts at point 1 and ends in point 22. So the stop you get off at is also where you would catch your Hoho. There was a bus every 30 minutes. However, at one point I had to wait 45 odd minutes to get on one of the Hohos. I will name and shame the spot later!

I took my Hoho from stop 6, Bintang Walk.Disaster struck on the first bus itself! However, it was a running theme at the end. The tour promises a multi lingual commentary, wifi on board and sky view and open deck. I did not try the

The hilarious european mannequins.
wifi, and just one bus I got on had the open deck. But the worst was the head sets to the multilingual were broken…in all of the buses. However, the bus assistants were on hand to help. They acted as our commentary. It was funny how one of them announced, “The commentary will be in English only, I can not speak Spanish, German or Chinese!” I was fine with that. I don’t speak Spanish, German or Chinese either.

I was not going to get off in all of the stops, few things didn’t interest me at all...few I had been the day before. So, the first stop was going to be in illusive Little India (stop no 11A). I say illusive, as I thought I had been here the day before. But I had not!

The lady announced that the place was inaugurated by Dr Man Mohan Singh, the prime minister of India on the 27th October 2009. So, not that long ago then! She also correctly pointed out that the centre piece of the place was a lotus shaped water fountains with loads of elephant head. Unfortunately the fountain was not on full swing. Disappointment! I headed

More boring stuff
down the street. Again, it had a heavy South Indian influence. (I was talking to Suzi the other day, and she agreed that KL had a big South Indian presence. So, there’s one for the ego!).

The walk lasted, as the name suggested, not much. Little India was really little. It could very well be called ‘Very little South India!”. It had been advertised/commercialized well. Chinatown on the other hand is much larger. Maybe they wanted to keep the proportion equal! Lol. I was even planning I would eat my lunch there. I couldn’t find one single descent restaurant. However, as I called it ‘Illusive Little India’, had I seen all of it? Possibly not.

As I was waiting for my Hoho, a light shower hit KL. Things cooled off a bit. A 10 minutes wait later, I was on another Hoho. Next stop on the list was no 12, the National Museum. I was in two minds. I am not a museum person really. Especially if there is a lot of reading, and not much of physical stuff, they really bore me. When the bus assistant announced “…this museum holds artifacts of arts and crafts…”, my mind was made. I am staying put. But as it happens (and scarily quite a lot!) I stood up and headed for the door. “Terima Kashi” I greeted the bus staff and hopped off! I guess this is where I was following my heart, not my head! So romantic!

I walked around the museum. Hmm…Malaysian culture and crafts I thought to myself. There was one big poster of ‘Faces of Malaysia’ and then various marriage styles followed in this part of the world. These were accompanied by lots of type of clothing worn. What really caught my eyes were the mannequins. Firstly, they were almost one and half times a normal Malaysian person. Secondly, all the mannequins had European faces. “Come on,” I thought “surely they could have invested a bit more in more Malaysian looking mannequins!” The funniest was a very pretty looking European female mannequin that was making carpet wearing some traditional clothing. If the museum was a comic show, this would definitely be the punch line! I laughed, almost loud.

At one point I was thinking I shouldn’t have got off here. Compared to other boring museum I have been to, this was fine. But the only museum I have ever wanted to go (not by force) is the Madam Tussaud’s (I know living in the UK I should have already been there…but hey as we have a saying ‘the closet shrine is always forgotten!’) But then came the thing that really excited my in the museum…and this was not even a part of the museum. It was just one of the additional entertainments on the museum concourse - a chance to take pictures with a snake, a smallish python.

The python was only about 5-6ft long. Quite small as some can grow much larger. I once saw a wild python in Bardiya national park. It must have been around 13-15ft long. I asked the person how long it would take to develop the picture. 1 minute was the answer. I also requested if I could take some more pictures in my own camera. He agreed and for no extra cost. One other good things I like in Malaysia is that there are quite a lot of places to go for free. It is not always the case. Also, I have not been touted as much as I thought I would have been. This maybe because I look like as one of them? I like to think I have quite an international face (I have been said to look like Italian, Indian, Mexican, Columbian…Malaysian list continues) However my friend Leo begs to differ. He thinks I have a common face. I think he is just jealous. Lol.

I had the snake around me. It was an experience. I had to hold its tail really hard. I could feel its body twirl around. That thing was only little, but strong!! It was not as cold as I had expected it to be. But again Malaysia is quite warm, so its blood must have warmed up. I just hope it was not that hungry. After quite a few pictures with the snake, the cameraman finally told me “Okay, now kiss it!” Is he being serious? Especially with its hissing tongue. I had never held a snake before…let alone this close. “I am not going to take any more pictures if you don’t kiss it” he continued. Then I had to. After 2-3 minutes with the snake, I was actually getting quite comfortable with it. I felt like Lord Shiva, with one of his snakes. Btw I just realized, why does Lord Shiva wear a snake around his neck like an ornament? Well, I had to give up my newly acquired ornament. A queue was forming!

A little wait later, the Hoho arrived. I skipped the stop 13, The Lake Garden, and went to the Bird Park instead. This was my other great attraction of the day. The next one being the Petronas Tower, stop 22. At this point, it had been raining/drizzling for around an hour. Maybe I would see one of the male peacocks performing a dance in the rain. I had seen it once before in Chitwan National Park some good 20 years ago. I hope it happens again. That would be a treat.

I exchanged the ticket I had got in at the BnB for a paper wrist band. The rain had made things fresher. All the birds were out. The Bird Park itself is advertised as the ‘Largest Walk In Bird Park in the world – where the birds had freedom to roam, with ofcourse some kind of netting on the top. Firstly, I thought the netting were too low. Secondly, not all birds were strictly uncaged. But none the less, there are a lot of birds and one can get very close to them. At one point I was literally perched next to a peacock. However, it did not dance…nor did 10-15 of others in the park. Rain dance for peacock is a happy dance; maybe they were not quite happy in the bird park.

There were a variety of birds in the park. The peacocks, flamingoes, varieties of parrots including elegant Cockatoos of different kind, varieties of Pigeon, Ostrich, Emu and other stupid looking ones. In the last few days I have decided that any animal/birds with their eyes on the sides look stupid. Only rhinoceroses look thoughtful! However, the best looking bird must have been the Hornbill with a stupid box on top of its beak. It looked very exotic and beautiful. I wondered though what the use of the box might have been. There must have been some use to it. Afterall, thousands, if not millions years worth of evolution. I also luckily happened to catch the birdshow that is on every day at 12:30am and 3:30pm.

The Bird Park probably with ignite the interest in kids. I, well…being a big kid (as most of my friends will agree) enjoyed it. I enjoyed being very close to the so many exotic birds. I just wish though the overhead nets were higher. O well!

I headed for the Hoho. 30 minutes of maximum wait right? Wrong. I waited for almost 45 minutes before the next one turned up. During the wait, a group of taxi drivers wanted to take a family of Chinese origin Australians to show around Malaysia. They were claiming the Hoho to be costly and pointless. Luckily the dad drove a hard bargain and his daughter (about 16-18 well supported him). They stood their ground! Good on them.

I escaped the hopped the next 7 points and alighted on stop 22, the Petronas Towers. These mofos were huge!! And as the day had been dull, the towers went into the sky. Such a lovely view! The height of development of the mankind…(and the women). However, there have been bigger twin towers now. I just looked up in marvel. Wow.

“Ouch”…now see, I like all this (progressive) development shit. Everything in Malaysia is huge. I have moaned about this before. One does not know whether to look up at the buildings/monuments or look where one is going. As I was looking up in awe at the Petronas, I hit my toes on one of the raised surface and bruised my big toe badly. I should watch where I walk, but if there is epitome of mankind to see and walking to be done in the same time, it is a catch 22 situation, surely!

I limped off to KLCC, the world famous shopping centre housing many of world famous brands. The items as one would imagine were quite costly. But I thought to myself, how these items could easily be undermined for items one gets at Chinatown for less than RM30. They are fake, but ‘original fake’ as a friend once put it. So who knows who is wearing the real shit here? Anyways, I did not have so much money to spend. The only thing on my mind was food. As Little India had offered nothing, it had been 3-4 hours since and I had not had lunch. My mom had a friend. After each lunch he would say ‘The most important thing in the world for the day is done!’ and smile. I understand the importance today. Lol. After Linner (lunch and dinner), I headed to the back side of the Petronas to a small man made pond and a little bit of greenery. I would have stayed there a lot longer had it not been raining. Although I had a choice to pay RM10 to go up to the bridge on the 41st floor, I decided to skip this for the time being. The view from 270 odd meter might overshadow this view as it is so fresh in mid at the moment.

The KL sky is dominated by the Petronas Twin Towers and the KL Tower. However, in the night skies I think the Petronas are more dominant as it is beautifully lit. No wonder it is the heart and soul of the city. Ask any one (slightly educated) person to think of Malaysia and then something it is famous for, Twin Towers will most definitely be the answer. Also, any memento one want to take back home will revolve around the Twin Towers, and to a lesser extent the KL Tower.
Apart from all these stops, this other stop I made was at the Central Market, which is also called the ‘Wet Market’
Gandhi's monkeys.Gandhi's monkeys.Gandhi's monkeys.

Just liked the pic
I guess. This is a renovated building, which is now mainly used for selling arts and crafts. There were a lot of arts and crafts stuff on sale – pashmina shawls, scarves, Indian, Malaysian and Chinese wears, jewelleries of various types, shapes and sizes and portraits and paintings.

I was walking around, and I saw this ‘Fish Foot Therapy.’ RM5 for 10 minutes was the offer. I hovered around for a bit to see what it entailed. Basically, the customers put their foot into this water tank. These little fish then swamped around to eat all the dirt and dead skin off the foot. It looked cool. People were making funny faces and laughing uncontrollably. I thought it must feel ticklish. I jumped in on the experience. My foot went down, the fish came along. Ticklish…sod that, it felt prickly. Those little bastards (maybe only 5 inches long) sucked hard. No wonder people were making funny faces. I would definitely suggest people to do it, if they ever get a chance. The fish get their reward, and you get yours. It relaxes and rejuvenates yours legs.

With this rejuvenated feeling, I headed back to the BnB. It had been a long day. KL had a lot to offer.

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


Freak StreetFreak Street
Freak Street

Now, these are the kind of street where I would not be surprised if some time travelling Ninjas appeared and started fighting...whooa!

18th December 2010

Hohoho! it's sure an appropriate time to do the HoHo tour.

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