Truly Asia - (hmmmm …. Still thinking if this is an apt description )
01.04.2012 - 10.04.2012 28 °C
TOUCHDOWN KualaLampur - Watched the most beautiful sunrise from the plane The pilot for the day informed over the intercom , “Ladies and Gentlemen, its sunrise over beautiful Malaysia. If you are visiting us then we welcome you to our country and if you are Malaysian - THEN WELCOME HOME !!!! “(I had tears in my eyes when I heard that). I cannot imagine the times when I have returned back to my homeland and nobody has bothered telling us anything that sounded remotely as wonderful.
We caught our transportation and were swiftly driven towards KL. The airport is 60 kilometres away from the city.
Now for everyone who pictures Malaysia in their head - Kuala Lumpur in particular, the first thing that pops into the mind are the Patronas Towers and yes, the towers dominate the city skyline, but does not mean you get to see it from every place in KL. We were lucky to get a room with one of the most beautiful views of the Patronas Towers and the Minara!!!
Now the fun part of my trip lasted 4 days ,so I will only concentrate on the fun part
We had to pay a visit to CHINATOWN to kick-start the adventure. We did something very local, we hopped onto a bus, bought tickets for 1 Malaysian Ringgit (RM) and got dropped off at Chinatown. Our stomach’s were collectively shouting their displeasure, so we decided to pay heed and put their complaints to rest…. AND HOW!!!
Note to self - ALWAYS CHOOSE FOOD ON STICKS. Now they come at varying prices, the duck was 2.5RM, Chicken 2RM, OCTOPUS - 5RM. It is served two ways - Barbecued or Steamed. We chose to get them barbequed. We loved it and went back for another round of "food on toothpicks" (as I conveniently chose to call it ) ….Tried Claypot Rice and proclaimed that I could have died and gone to heaven that instant - Love love loved it!
Now that the stomach was put to rest , we kicked of the next important to-do-item on the itenary - SHOP. Now I’ve seen imitation wallets, bags, satchels in Thailand, but the quality of the imitation stuff in Malaysia is far superior.
Found the coolest hoard of T-shirts ever, including a store that sells vintage T-shirts. Cash is the only accepted mode of payment and as I discovered to my enormous surprise - I loved haggling. Imitation designer shoes, watches, bags, jewellery, belts and trendy clothes - Oh so much to buy!
Destination : GENTING HIGHLANDS ….
About an hour and a half drive from Kuala Lumpur amidst the drastic change in terrain, climate and skyline I first laid eyes on the highlands. You can reach the place by either of 2 ways - Cable Cars or by Winding Roads. We decided to get to the Genting Highlands by Cable cars. I am scared of heights so it goes without saying that I was freaking out quite a bit when 6 of us piled into the cable car, but then I saw that the view that immediately put all my fears to rest. The sight of the natural valleys and high hills shrouded in mist and as you go higher up and the rain forest beneath your feet, is truly BREATHTAKING.
We stayed at the World’s Largest Hotel - First World with 6118 rooms. The waiting area has more than 50 counters to help you check in, but be warned, this is a tedious part and it takes anywhere between 2 to 4 hours to get you checked in. The hotel management is quite intelligent and has arranged for live entertainment at the waiting area Clowns, Street dancers etc.
The rooms are not impressive and in the effort to pack as many rooms as possible ended up in making them minuscule. They do not even offer complimentary WATER !!! The 8th floor of the hotel connects to the mall and what a mall it is. Toy Trains, shopping mall , karaoke Bars , Ripleys Believe it or not museum , haunted houses - everything packed into the mall :D
and before I forget - CASINOS TOO. The guys wanted to hit the slots immediately, but we girls went shopping
We went back, left our loot in the room and went to the Ripley's Museum and it qualifies as one of the more interesting hours I have ever spent in my lifetime.
Next stop : CASINOS.
It was the first time I ever entered a casino and I think I finally understand the draw that gambling holds. We decided to try the casinos at the other hotel too … We had to take a shuttle to that hotel that runs every half hour between the hotels.
The food in Genting is terrible to say the least. (Trivia : Alcohol is extremely expensive in Malaysia .. A 650ml bottle of Carlsberg costs 20RM.. almost 3 times its original price, so we bought alcohol at duty free stores at the airport and kept it with us through the duration of the trip) If you wake up early enough to watch the sunrise (or in our case, you could stay up late enough to see the sun rise) - The sight is unbelievable.
Theme Park in the facility
I've been to Disney so I will not attempt a comparison. But it is if viewed independently and without bias - quite nice.
We drove back to KL almost feeling like we were KL natives who had gone to Genting on vacation. Looked like KL was growing on us.
We got back to KL and had the most lovely Indian dinner at the Grand Seasons. I've usually hated Indian food served outside India, but theThere’s a lovely Indian restaurant at the hotel.
We knew we had to pay a visit to the Patronas Towers atleast once before we leave Malaysia. But a girl somehow looses track when she goes shopping. Anna our lovely Malaysian friend took us to the Central Mall and we girls shopped to our hearts content, brooches, clips, Chinese fans and a gorgeous painting of koi fishes by an artist who had her baby sitting in a high-chair playing with water colours . Interesting fact - This market has been in existence since 1888 - WOW!
Chinatown closes by 3PM on Sundays and we didn't have a clue about that. Our transport arrived and we went to the Minara Tower which has an observation deck built to see the Patronas towers . The observation deck is at a height of 286 meters and has a 360 degree views of Kuala Lampur and the sight is amazing. This is truly a beautiful city.
In the midst of all this, we never did one thing that we all had wanted to do all along - visit the Patronas Towers … With only 5 hours left to take-off, we had no choice but to scrap the plan and leave for the airport.
I’ve been a life long fan of graffiti, so when Abhay saw a wall full of graffiti at an open car park, we had to stop the van and jump out to make pictures ….. and guess what we saw to our left as we were sprinting towards the graffiti filled wall
THE PATRONAS TOWERS!!! It was a coincidence like no other and so we did get to take pictures with the towers after all.
Ofcourse we took pictures with the the backdrop of those graffiti filled walls. What fun, everyone was captured in various stages of flight.
We were toooo excited even after we boarded …. The girls watched rom-com movies …..while the boys downed 5 whiskeys each …. We spent the remaining flight walking to each others seats and having an unusually mad time. Will never forget A reminding J to check if the parachute was where it was supposed to be and repeating the oxygen mask wearing instructions to him :D
We landed in India and I held my breath as the captain started announcing the descent AND NO …….. Our pilot never said anything remotely sounding like “Welcome Home”
Till I get another stamping on my passport … C ya