After two wonderful days in beautiful Langkawi, it was now time for the last leg of our journey. We reached Langkawi airport for our morning flight to Kuala Lumpur. After having our breakfast at Kenny Rogers Roasters (not a whole lot of options at the airport), we checked in and waited for our 11:45am flight.
We all sat together but Ramesh chose the window seat. The following are his photographs.
We landed at Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Terminal nearing 1pm and was out in 30 minutes. There were plenty of buses from KL LCCT to KL Sentral, which is the main transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur city.
After reaching KL Sentral, we then hired a taxi to where were staying.
After a 15 minute journey, we reached Berjaya Times Square. There is a metro service from KL Sentral to Berjaya Times Square, but with our luggage, we decided to just take a cab.
We chose Irsia after much deliberation and researching on the location. We made our booking for a triple room.
Berjaya Times Square is relatively old but still remains one of Malaysia’s biggest and popular shopping destinations. It’s pretty huge, with 7 floors of shopping — high ends brands in the lower floors and more affordable stuff in the higher up floors. There’s also a 5-star hotel, Berjaya Hotel — among other things.
We headed all the way up to the 10th floor to the food court. We chose our meals from a place selling ‘mock non-veg’ food.
By that I mean, stuff that looks like chicken and fish but are actually vegetarian because they are essentially soya-filled made to look like non-veg items.
When I mentioned “among other things” earlier…
We chose to stay at Irsia because it was close to a lot of places we wanted to go. One among them being Low Yat Plaza, Kuala Lumpur’s famous IT mall.
After crossing the road, it was a short walk to Low Yat
I couldn’t get to spend much time in Singapore’s IT malls to pick up the things I wanted, so I consoled myself assuming I could get them at Low Yat.
Sadly, the selection of camera tripods weren’t very exhaustive and I couldn’t really find everything I wanted. Also, more importantly, the prices we found for some items were far more than what we saw in Singapore. There isn’t an incentive for tourists either via a tax refund scheme like Singapore has with its GST refund and Thailand has with its VAT refund scheme.
After lingering around for nearly 30 minutes, we left.
We were soon on Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur’s popular shopping district.
A short walk from here is Jalan Alor, also nicknamed ‘Food Street’.
We walked into Suria but there was a sign saying at certain sections of the mall, photography is prohibited. So we just kept our cameras in and walked through the mall and out the main entrance of Petronas Towers.
Petronas is the Malaysia’s national oil company — and one of Asia’s largest companies. Petronas Towers is the company’s headquarters, thought I’m not sure if all 88 floors are Petronas’ offices.
The reason why we we didn’t want to go up to the skybridge is because, one, we were already late as the skybridge closes at 5pm and two, there is a particular method to which you need to get the tickets to visit the observation deck — which I’ll get to in a later post.
We attempted a portrait shot of all three of us in front of the Petronas Towes, but because we didn’t have a tripod with us, Ramesh fit the tripod on his camera and used his Kata bag to stand the camera.
The Malaysian MotoGP was happening the following week, and they had some competing superbikes on display.
After nearly an hour just staring at this beautiful building, we finally left the base of Petronas Towers.
The Petronas Towers are a symbol of modern day Malaysia. Just like Burj-Al-Arab signifies Dubai, and now Burj Khalifa, the Petronas Towers are an architectural icon. Inaugurated in 1998, even to this day, the Petronas Towers design stands as ‘modern’ – and yet, truly Asian in its influence as it can be. No visit to Malaysia is complete without having seen what was once the tallest building(s) in the world.
Even though Taipei 101 took over the throne of “Tallest building in the world” in 2004 (until Burj Khalifa did the same in 2010), the Petronas Towers are still one of the best looking skyscrapers in the world in my opinion. It shows how important good architecture is in creating a true global landmark. You can play the game of attempting to build the tallest structure in the world, but unless it looks good, the investment is futile.
If you disagree, just go around and ask people if they are aware of ‘Taipei 101’.
We walked back and through some of the malls in Bukit Bintang district.
While myself and Loiyumba found enough options for dinner, as was the norm on this trip, Ramesh didn’t. So I ordered what I wanted to eat, so that we could head to some place Ramesh could get his dinner.
It maybe a bustling place by night, but if you feel like staying amidst all the food, here are some hotels on Jalan Alor:
Once I got my takeaway, we headed back to our rooms only to stop at the 24-hour Subway store on Bukit Bintang where Ramesh picked up his dinner. (There’s also a 24-hour KFC on the same road)
We also pick up a few drinks from a convenience store on the way and had our dinner outside our hotel, where Irsia had put up a few tables for its guests.
Dinner over, we hit the bed early. Our plans were to go see the famous Batu Caves tomorrow, which we knew were on the outskirts of KL… which meant getting up a bit early.
So what was our first impression of KL? Not so good, to be honest. In fact, after a whirlwind 3 days in Singapore during a buzzing F1 weekend, it’s understandable we were a bit disappointed with Kuala Lumpur. But the fact is, things are a lot cheaper in KL, so it’s no surprise Malaysia’s capital city isn’t as glamourous as glitzy Singapore. Unfair comparison I’d say.
Oh well, we still had two more days in the city to change our minds about the place.
We were picked up by the tour operator at 8am and dropped off at a pier where other tourists were gathered as well.
Our first stop on the tour was to get a glimpse of the Pregnant Maiden Island, called so because it looks like a lady lying down with a pregnant tummy.
We were at the Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest Park, which is located inside the Island of the Pregnant Maiden.
The stop was for us to check out a lake inside.
They also have one of those “fish spas” here with small catfish ever ready to nibble away at your feet’s germs.
45 minutes in, we made our way back to the pier
You have to be a bit careful though. Yes, they are more afraid of you than your are of the monkeys. But if they see anything enticing in your hands — like juice bottles or food packets — sometimes they will come at you and just grab it. Also, I saw some idiots throw things at them. Please don’t do that.
Our next stop was a short trip away.
The thing was, you had to pay to feed the fishes. This isn’t exactly included in the package.
We didn’t opt to feed the fishes because, 1) all 3 of us weren’t interested 2) the concept of paying to feed fishes, fatten them up and who then (possibly) end up on the restaurant menu didn’t sound right to me.
We rode up to what looked like a mangrove forest, where we would witness an eagle feeding session.
The eagle feeding session works as such. The boats all float apart from each other and the drivers/guides throw some eagle feed (bread bits or some meat) into the waters, and the birds of prey come sweeping in with their beaks ready to eat.
Problem was, I didn’t have the right lens for this part of the tour. The most zoom I had was with my Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, which as a macro lens is great, but isn’t much when it comes to photographing fast moving birds.
Here are a few shots Ramesh got using his Canon 55-250mm telephoto lens.
After the eagle feeding session, we moved on to our next and final stop on this tour.
The rain was mostly a drizzle once we got back. They were selling memorabilia plates of everybody who went for these boat trips and since they were only RM10, we all picked up our respective plates.
This was a half-day island hopping tour and it only cost us RM30 (Rs. 450 approx.) per person. I’ve done a similar tour like this last year in South Thailand. Of course, that trip didn’t start of well, with my camera getting wet and all, but I doubt I’ll ever get sick of seeing clear blue water and less crowded beaches far away from civilization.
As we were walking to our vans, Ramesh and I were talking about visiting the Langkawi Underwater World, just when one of the Sri Lankans who was on our boat overheard us. He turned back and advised us against it, saying that the Aquaria KLCC in Kuala Lumpur is “much better”. So we decided to take his word for it and dropped the idea of going to Langkawi Underwater World.
Unfortunately, looking at the menu, it offered very little in terms of vegetarian for Ramesh. So after beer, we sought some other restaurant.
Post lunch, we checked out some Duty Free stores. Langkawi is a Duty Free shopping destination, so one would assume you would find some great bargains. But as we hopped from one shop to another, that wasn’t the case. Especially with electronics. We walked into the Canon store at a mall adjacent to Underwater World and found the prices to be far higher than that of Singapore. We were aware Malaysia isn’t as cheap as Singapore when it comes to electronics, but still, the prices we came across were a bit exorbitant. Some even higher than prices back in India.
I feel Langkawi businesses were taking advantage of the “Duty Free” label and jacking up the prices because you never know, some less-informed tourist would buy into the whole gimmick and assume they got a good deal here.
At this point, Ramesh and Loiyumba wanted to head back to the hotel for some rest. This being our last day on Langkawi, I didn’t feel like resting, so I told them I wanted to roam around a bit more.
I was contemplating heading to Kuah, Langkawi’s main town, just to see what that side of the island had to offer. But since we had already walked quite a bit, I decided to head further on and visit Pantai Tengah beach. In the process, also share some more beachfront hotel options on Pantai Cenang in case you wanted to know where to stay (I highlighted some places in the previous post).
I went back to the room to drop off my laundry, and to see what the other two were up to. Ramesh and Loi were taking a nap and so, I decided to step out again.
After spending some time at the market, I knew I was coming back here for dinner. Great street food at very low prices — who am I to complain? I headed back to let the other two know about my ‘discovery’.
Once I got back to the room at around 6pm, Loi was still napping. So we forced him to get out of bed and get ready. We set out by 7:30pm.
Unfortunately, everybody except Ramesh got what we wanted. There was very little in terms of pure vegetarian on offer at the night market. So we headed back to the main road so that Ramesh could pick up his dinner from a proper restaurant.
Since this was our last night in Langkawi, we hit the beach to the feel wet sand on our feet one last time.
After checking out a few restaurants, Ramesh ended up picking up a vegetarian pizza from Italian coffee chain illy Cafe, which cost as much as all the food myself and Loi picked up from the night market .
And just when you thought we had seen enough cats for one day…
Dinner and drinks done, I ended the night satisfied with all that I saw today. Actually, I did want to head to Kuah town after we came back from our island hopping tour. But given that it ended up raining in the afternoon, it’s a good thing I stayed put in Pantai Cenang.
With 208 photos and over 2000 words, this is the largest post I’ve worked on. There were still some more photos I felt like using because they looked good, but in the end decided not to.
It was good day today, but tomorrow onwards, it’s four days in Malaysia’s capital — Kuala Lumpur.
After a rather disappointing day in Penang yesterday, we woke up early today to set off on our next island destination: Langkawi.
After a rushed breakfast, we hired a taxi and headed to the terminal to board our ferry to Langkawi. We bought our tickets yesterday itself, and its advisable to do so; our boat was full.
We hired a taxi to get to our hotel, which was on Pantai Cenang beach. (Cost us RM24)
By the way, if you wondering where the iconic symbol of Langkawi (the eagle statue) is, you can find it near a park very close to the ferry terminal. We passed it while driving out of the terminal but didn’t bother stopping to take photos… as there isn’t much to it.
We could see a sign on the main road pointing to Sweet Inn Motel, the place where we had reservations. Problem is, the sign was pointing to the left side, into the mainland and not to the right, where the beach was.
When we made the booking via Agoda.com in August, the description read “on Pantai Cenang beach,” and though it is only a 2 minute walk away from the beach, it’s not a sea facing hotel. Oh well, at least it was cheap. Our triple room cost us Rs. 2360 ($52/€37) for two nights — that’s under Rs. 800 per person for 2 nights!
The rooms were also quite decent. The triple room was one double bed and a single bed, a TV with mostly local channels, wardrobe and a clean enough toilet with hot shower.
We couldn’t check in yet because our rooms weren’t cleaned and kept ready. So instead, we dumped our bags in the office room and hit the beach.
We couldn’t hand around for too long at the beach. We needed to convert currency as we were running short of Malaysian Ringgits. Loi wanted to sit at the bar, so myself & Ramesh headed back to the main road in search of a money exchange.
When we first came across a money exchange center, they were closed for lunch. We had to walk quite a bit before we came across one that was open. There really weren’t that many money exchange centers on Pantai Cenang road. Not as ubiquitous as I noticed in Thailand. My advice is to convert money either prior to landing in Langkawi or outside the ferry terminal if you come by boat.
Money in hand, we headed back to the beach.
After having a beer to cool ourselves, we went back to Sweet Inn to check in to our rooms.
After we checked in, we freshened up and then stepped out again for lunch.
Considered to be the national dish of Malaysia, Nasi Lemak consists of some rice, roasted peanuts, papadam bits, small dried anchovies, boiled egg and and sambal, a spicy sauce (in the above photo, it’s the red one with calamari in it). The meal is filling and is usually very reasonably priced.
After lunch, instead of taking a nap, we decided to rent bikes and head to the Langkawi Sky Bridge while the sun was still up.
We rented 2 scooters at RM22 (Rs. 325/$7/€5) each for 24hrs.
The rental shop made a note of all the pre-existing scratches and damages before handing it over to us.
It’s best you inspect the bike as carefully as possible, so that they cannot point at any scratch or damage on the bike claiming you did that when you return it.
Helmets on, we set off. Ramesh rode solo while I rode with Loi sitting behind me.
We stopped here on the bridge to take a few photos.
We moved on.
Then, up ahead is a signal. From the signal, you have to take a left turn.
After setting off at 2pm, by 4pm we were at the Langkawi Geopark. It’s not that the journey takes that long, we just stopped on the way quite a bit.
We got into the cable car and continued up.
Apparently the final scene of the Hindi film Don (starring Shah Rukh Khan) was filmed on the sky bridge. I didn’t see the film, but that’s what Ramesh & Loi said.
If you want a video of the sky bridge, watch this HD capture by Ramesh:
The sun was setting, so we decided to head back down.
Ramesh took video of our journey back down:
(You can view it in HD for better clarity)
Once down, we checked out the Oriental Village.
The Oriental Village mostly comprises of shops, restaurants and other services like massage spas. We were a bit hungry so we sat in a cafe to have something to eat.
It was was past 6pm, which is also closing time for the cable car ride. We wanted to make the most of whatever sunlight was available while heading back. So we set off…
As darkness fell, we still managed to get back to Pantai Cenang beach road in around 45 minutes. Instead of heading back to our rooms, we decided to make the most of the bikes while we had them. We drove straight, on to Pantai Tengah beach and past it as well, until we hit a dead end which looked like another docking bay for boats.
So we made our way back and decided to return the bikes tonight itself.
The reason why we returned them is because the next morning we had booked ourselves for an island-hopping tour which would last until afternoon. So by the time we would have gotten back to our rooms, it would have been past the 24-hour limit.
(I kinda wanted to try it though)
We had a large plate of fries, some beers, and some pasta; all of which came to around RM44 (Rs. 650).
With that, day one in Langkawi came to a close! We had woken up early in Penang today morning and tomorrow, we had to wake up early again for our pick up for the island-hopping tour.