Monday, June 20, 2011

Short break in Kuala Lumpur (Part I)

(Above)Us happy to be together on our short break to Kuala Lumpur

Over the past week, we decided to give ourselves a short break from the hustle and bustle of work here and take a short break in Kuala Lumpur ( to take advantage of the good currency rate of the Singapore dollar and look for good makan) which would be our first time there. We decided to take a leisurely route to KL by taking a luxury coach service instead of a flight as flights were fully booked at short notice, a coach will bring us right to the city centre as compared to the airport which is about 50km from the city. Plane tickets during promotional periods are definitely cheaper than a coach also but these good deals need to be spotted early and cater to travel only during a specified period which did not coincide with our free time. As Safety was on our mind, we chose Aeroline given that the company had won Bus driver competitions before and that their buses are fitted with safety braking systems and well trained drivers. Most luxury coaches offer more or less the same facilities like video panels, leg room, on board food and drinks, comfortable business class seats, on board toilet, lounge area etc so it really boils down to the smaller differenting aspects.

(Above)Ample leg space on the coach, something you don't get on economy seat flights unless you are willing to pay for business class.

(Above) Lounge area on the ground deck of the bus for you to stretch out your legs or have a chat as a group.

One aspect is accessibility of pickup point since Aeroline coach picks up passengers at Harbourfront which is easily accessible by MRT or taxi. 2 way coach ticket is SGD$100 per person or $SGD50 for single trip inclusive of a meal and drink and you can choose the seats. All seats are on the upper deck as the lounge and toilet is on the lower deck. If you can choose the front seats which appear to have a bit more space and privacy although it may more glaring and tall people have to watch their head as their seat will be situated near a LCD TV mounted above. If you want to save some money, you can purchase single trip to KL at $50SGD and then buy a ticket at the Aeroline counter at the Corus Hotel for $95 ringgit which after currency exchange at 2.4 is about SGD$39.50.

(Above)Gayle posing in front of our aeroline bus at the Harbourfront Terminal.

One thing to note though that the coach leaves exactly on the dot so do make sure that you are punctual or you may end up missing your coach! You can pop by their website at for more information.

(Above) Eugin filling in his immigration card. You can get one on the bus from the cabin steward.

After the usual immigration processing and stamping of passport at the Singapore and Malaysian immigration(Make sure that your passport is stamped at the Malaysian immigration before leaving or you may end up in a jail cell as an illegal immigrant as what happened to two ladies recently)and baggage x-ray check at the Malaysian side, the journey to KL is continued and there is only one toilet break along the way. The toilet on board the bus is for light use only.

(Above) Our bus at the toilet stop.

A light meal is served along the journey with choice of one hot drink and one bottle of mineral water. For our trip to KL, the meal comprising of tart,sandwiches was in our opinion just edible, the kind where you eat to survive. We had a better meal of fried noodles during our return journey so it depends on your luck.If you are fussy about food, do bring on board your own snacks like we did.

(Above) The light meal provided comprising of a swiss roll cake slice, sandwiches, curry puff and some tarts. Looks not too bad but in our opinion, wasn't very tasty or maybe we are just fussy : )

(Above)Our bus has reached Kuala Lumpur city centre

The journey was delayed by the jam at the Singapore and Malaysian immigration checkpoint (long queues of coaches) and we reached the drop off point at Corrus Hotel in Kuala Lumpur city centre after 5hr 30minutes.

(Above)Corus Hotel facade

Corus Hotel is located along Jalan Ampang which is about 10 minutes walk to KLCC where you can take the LRT(their version of our MRT) train to your destination. If you plan to base yourself near KLCC and the Petronas Towers, then you can consider Corus Hotel since the location is convenient especially if you are taking aeroline coach as the hotel is the drop off and pick up point.

(Above) Us taking a pose outside Corrus Hotel

After freshening up at the washroom at Corus Hotel, we headed by foot down Jalan Ampang to the Malaysian Tourism Centre which is located at the other end of Jalan Ampang. It took about 20 minutes walk. From Corus hotel, walk straight down Jalan Ampang road until you come to a junction where you should see a Public Bank branch.

(Above) Gayle at the junction along Jalan Ampang opposite Public Bank, waiting to cross to the left side of Jalan Ampang, on our way to the Malaysian Tourism Centre.

You should cross to the left side of Jalan Ampang and continue down the road, past Zouk and you will come across a colonial house which is the site of the KL Malaysian Tourism centre where you can get information, maps etc. However, the tourism staff there on our visit do need to go for a course in customer service though as they didn't seem happy to be working and gave very curt and limited answers to our queries.

(Above)Malaysian Tourism Centre in KL along Jalan Ampang

However that should not sway you from dropping in to take a look at a historical icon since the colonial house belonged to Chinese businessman - Eu Tong Sen who has a road in Singapore named after him. The main building in the complex houses the Malaysia tourist information office, while several annexes contain a tourist police office, restaurant, and a concert hall where regular cultural shows are performed. Traditional games, such as top-spinning, are also hosted here over the weekends.

After getting what we needed at the Tourist Information centre, we headed out and turn left from the centre's main entrance and proceeded down to the end of Jalan Ampang where the Bukit Nanas Monorail Station is located. From there, we paid $1.30 ringgit (SGD$0.54) each to take a single trip past one station(Raja Chulan Station) to reach Bukit Bintang monorail station where our hotel - Capitol Hotel is located nearby. More on that in the second part of this posting.

(Above) Map of KL city central ( courtesy of Corus Hotel )