Showing posts with label Kuala Lumpur. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kuala Lumpur. Show all posts

Friday, May 04, 2012

Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur for the heritage junkie

Ivan Man Dy of Old Manila Walks goes on a walking tour of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in search of built heritage. Here's what to see and do if you've only got a day!

Twenty-four hours. This was all the time I had on my third trip to the Malaysian capital. Take out 10 hours of rest in between and what can you do in the city with fourteen hours? Quite a lot.

First , an overview of the cityscape. If you're not the type who'd wake up at 5:00 a.m. to queue up for the skybridge at the iconic Petronas Towers, then the next best thing is to head-off to Menara KL or KL Tower for an unobstructed 360 degree view of of the city. Spend an hour or so to admire KL's iconic buildings 421 meters above the street. Looking from above, I realized that Kuala Lumpur is (thankfully) not an oversized megalopolis but rather a small city which dreams big. The views are really inspiring.

Entrance to KL Tower  is RM55 (approximately P760.00) and includes a choice of simulated F1 ride or pony-back (ala Baguio) on the street. I chose the former.

Our bearings in order, we then revisited historic heart of the city in Merdeka Square. This area has been spruced up with most of KL's iconic colonial buildings all looking as stately as the last time we saw them.

Don't miss the area's latest attraction: the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. This small museum takes you through the history of KL from a state to national capital. You won't miss this as it is housed in a beautifully restored 114-year old buillding (just look for the I heart KL outside). This facility also has information booth with loads of brochures and maps. Be sure to get the Kuala Lumpur Walks and Tours Map (free). Across the street is the National Textile Museum (free admission) that is also housed in another heritage structure.

For more local color, we walked to the city's Chinatown along Jalan Petaling to visit the Sze Yah Temple (Taoist) and Sri Maha Mariaman Temple (Hindu).

And of course, I late lunch at the food court of the famous Central Market which was a welcome break from all the walking.

Here's a tip, if the heat and your legs start taking their toll on you, head for a Hindu temple to get some peace, quiet and maybe a quick nap. These shrines are really a place for religious contemplation as they are sanctuaries the weary body. Remember to take off your shoes!

Capping off, we headed to the Lake Garden district to visit the (25 min walk or a taxi ride) Mesjid Negara (National Mosque) and admire its very bold and modernist 1960s architecture. The compound is very refreshing with fountains around. Visitors are allowed to go in provided there are no services. Nearby, the Islamic Arts Museum is another worthy stop on our cultural circuit. This was actually the reason why we stayed a day in KL and we're glad that the facility was open on the day we visited.

Feet weary and stomach grumbling, we chowed down 10 sticks of satay, a mid-sized oyster omelette, a bowl of fish ball soup and a can of pop at the famous hawker street Jalan Alor.

A day well spent in KL!

P.S. We found out the KL has a similarity with Manila in the way that taxi drivers never use the meter. Take heed and bargain well!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Malaysia: Nasi Kandar, Zouk and more from Kuala Lumpur

Nasi kandar is a steamed rice meal that is originally from Penang. It can be plain or mildly flavored, and served with a variety of curries and side dishes which include fried chicken (ayam goreng), fried squid (sotong goreng), curried spleen, cubed beef, fish roe, or fried prawns. For our last dinner in Kuala Lumpur, we were brought to Nasi Kandar Pelita along Jalan Ampang, a famous and the largest nasi kandar restaurant chain in Malaysia.

But the menu of the restaurant went beyond nasi kandar since it included dishes one would find in a typical mamak stall. Among the dishes we ordered sotong goreng, kicap ayam (chicken in soy sauce), ketam goreng (fried crab), chicken tandoori (chicken marinated in yogurt and seasoned with tandoori masala) with garlic naan, murtabak ayam (chicken murtabak), murtabak kambing (mutton murtabak), and sup ekor (oxtail soup).

Of course, like in any mamak, I always order Horlicks ais for a drink. I wonder when they'll bring back Horlicks to the Philippines.

After dinner, we were brought to Zouk along Jalan Ampang for a preview of KL nightlife. But since it was a weekday, and still early for the party crowd, there wasn't much action. We would have wanted to stay a little longer and wait for the people to come, but unfortunately, we all had to wake up early the next day. So we'll have to save that for another day.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Malaysia: Bah kut teh, chicken rice and more food from Kuala Lumpur

I just can't stop raving about my food adventures in Malaysia. Every time I visit Kuala Lumpur, I look forward to trying out something new, or craving for something good I had eaten before.

Bak kut teh is a Hokkien-style herbal pork broth which translates as pork bone tea, a very popular dish in Malaysia. It's a complex mixture of several herbs and spices boiled with pork ribs for hours! The dish which is served in a clay pot also has other ingredients such as mushrooms, tofu and lettuce.

It comes from Klang and that's where they serve the best! Here's a previous post on Klang's legendary bak kut teh. Anyway, since we were craving for bah kuh teh in KL, we went to Sun Fong Bak Kut Teh at Medan Imbi to satisfy our taste buds. We also ordered (1) stewed pork, (2) steamed fish, (3) lettuce with garlic or yau choi, and (4) egg pancake with shrimp to go with the dish. It was a feast!

For lunch the next day, shopping at Sungei Wang, we had Nam Heong's Hailam chicken rice which comes from Ipoh. It was really good especially with the ginger. I'm not a chili fan but this goes well with chili too.

We also ordered (1) pork sandwich with yam, (2) pork leg vinegar which was really good, (3) steamed bean curd with oyster sauce, and (4) tauge with garlic. They say Ipoh food is good because of the high calcium content in its water. Anyway, for more on Ipoh food, check out: Old town kopi tiam of Ipoh.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Malaysia: Sunway Lagoon, a premier Malaysian theme park

Sunway Lagoon is one of the premier theme parks of Malaysia. It's most known for its water parks. But it also has a lot of cool rides and activities which we got to try while we were there.

We were dropped off at Sunway Pyramid, the shopping mall right beside Sunway Lagoon, where we had lunch before proceeding to the theme park. A series of escalators took us to the park which was several levels down. We actually regret not bringing swimming gear since the water park was obviously fun, fun, fun! But with the limited time we had, plus the equipment we were bringing, we decided not to swim. So we were content with just walking around the park and towards the dry area where we got to try a ride and some attractions.

Sunway Lagoon is actually five theme parks. Each person is given a magnetic watch to get into the various parks which is used to enter the automatic gates. It also tells you which parks you paid for (adult/child), or which rides and attractions you could try out since there's a Single Park Pass (RM45/RM30), 2 Parks Pass (RM60/RM45), 3 Parks Pass (RM75/RM60), and 5 Park Pass (RM90/RM70).

Anyway, we got to try the Tomahawk which was one nasty ride which hurls riders up and down several times and 360 degrees twice! Pirate's Revenge looked even nastier from where we stood on the Pedestrian Suspension Bridge. The ride is a ship that slowly revolves 360 degrees as well. Speaking of the suspension bridge, it's said to be the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the world. And to add to the thrill is that a long stretch of it consists of metal grills so you could see the bottom while you scale the length of the bridge.

From the top, you could also see most of the park, particularly the Surf Beach which creates artificial waves for some fun body boardin and surfing. On the opposite end of the bridge is Extreme Park which offers paint ball, wall climbing, ATVs, and kayaking among other activities. We didn't stay too long since we were still tired from the late arrival the night before. So we decided to have an early dinner in KL before calling it a night.

Sunway is a perfect getaways for family and friends. And it's also great if you stay overnight at the nearby hotels for lesser hassle.

Sunway Lagoon
3, Jalan PJS 11/11, Bandar Sunway
46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia

Monday, August 31, 2009

Malaysia: Petronas Towers Skybridge, Aquaria KLCC, Istana Negara, and Tugu Negara

If there's one thing I have always wanted to do in Kuala Lumpur, it's going up the Petronas Twin Towers Skybridge on the 41st floor. But even if it's free, I never get the chance because you have to line-up really early for the limited tickets. So when I saw it in the itinerary, I was genuinely excited!

We were up early since we had to be in Petronas at about 9:30 a.m. for our 10 a.m. appointment, or else, we may lose our tickets. When we arrived, the line for the afternoon tickets was quite long. And by the time we exited the Skybridge just minutes later, there were no more tickets for the day!

As soon as you arrive, they let you in a mini-theater to watch a 3D film on the construction of the Petronas Towers. Later, we were divided into two groups based on the colors of our visitor IDs which they give to you upon arrival; and stuffed into a single lift that brought us all to the 41st floor at a speed of six meters per second.

The view from the Skybridge is nice. But it's not a 360-degree view of Kuala Lumpur. So you couldn't see KL Tower from where we stood. You just have a few minutes to take your photos and the guide will usher the entire group down to allow the next group to enjoy the view.

From Petronas, we walked into Suria KLCC, and further on to the Aquaria KLCC which is just a five-minute walk from the Petronas Twin Towers. A world-class next generation commercial aquarium, Aquaria KLCC is located at the Concourse level of the KL Convention Centre.

The highly-interactive exhibits focus on conservation and feature animal life not just underwater but also species in the areas beside the rivers and seas where these animals can be found. If you come at the right time, you might catch the caretakers feeding the animals. A favorite are the twice daily feeding sessions in the piranha tank and the thrice a week feeding sessions for the arapaimas. I actually got to watch the piranha feeding and they devoured everything in just 30 seconds!

After the Aquaria KLCC, we passed by the Istana Negara or the National Palace, official residence of His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) of Malaysia. It's a popular stop if you have your own vehicle. But you can only take photos in front of the gate where members of the Mounted Royal Guard and Royal Guard stand guard. If you're lucky to pass by at 12 noon, you might be able to catch the changing of the guard.

We made one last stop at Tugu Negara or the National Moument before proceeding to Sunway Lagoon for lunch. The monument is a sculpture that commemorates those who died in Malaysia's struggle against the Japanese occupation during World War II and the Malayan Emergency. There is actually an older monument beside it called the Cenotaph constructed by the British to commemorate the wars and honor the heroes of World War I, World War II and the Malayan Emergency.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Malaysia: Back in Kuala Lumpur!

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is no doubt becoming my most-visited city outside the Philippines. I was here just last month and will be scheduled to return next month. So it was a pleasant surprise that Tourism Malaysia contacted me on short notice to fly back to Kuala Lumpur for even more adventure. Together with me on this trip are Ferdz Decena and Nina Fuentes.

We took a Malaysia Airlines flight from Manila. The only sad part is the traffic congestion at NAIA is so bad, our plane was delayed for 30 minutes just waiting to be given the go signal to take off. But the flight was really pleasant, economy seats very comfortable, and each with its own entertainment system. But what surprised me was that you could use your mobile phone on the plane, and call your friends or send them text messages. Partnering with AeroMobile, Malaysia Airlines is the first airline in Asia to host an inflight mobile phone service!

Since we arrived late, we missed the dinner buffet at Impiana Hotel KLCC where we are to stay for the next five nights. But the a la carte menu is equally impressive. And I got to savor their Char Kway Teow, Tom Yam and Curry Laksa Mee. The Char Kway Teow was really spicey but I loved it!

The rooms are wonderful and it's great we got the side with a view of the Petronas Towers and the hotel's infinity pool down below. I wonder if I'll get the chance to take a dip with our tight schedule. The breakfast spread is also impressive. And my favorite in the buffet was the unlimited supply of roti canai and curry. I'm so easy to please!

Anyway, our schedule is packed tight with activities and places to visit. And I'm happy that despite my many visits to Malaysia, these are attractions I haven't been to. Which is why I remind myself that "been there, done that" is impossible with so many things to do in the world!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Malaysia: Hawker food in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Hawker food in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is an adventure worth embarking on. Don't we just all love street food? Last month, I was in transit in KL on the way to Bali. So I decided to spend the few hours I had on a street food adventure.

Hawker food is actually an important part of life in these parts of the world. I noticed my Malaysian and Singaporean friends can drive kilometers to a single hawker stall, sometimes in dingy locations, simply because the food is excellent. And I can't blame them! So walking around Chinatown, I decided to chow on some of the food available. My stomach couldn't handle everything, so I took photos of the rest instead.

All around the Jalan Petaling area, hawker stalls sell almost everything from claypot chicken rice, roasted duck, beef noodles, bah kut teh, popiah, beef and chicken satay and other Malay dishes, and roti chanai and other Indian dishes.

For my afternoon snack, I decided to have some chicken and beef satay with a rich peanut sauce which reminded me so much of the one I had in Jakarta. Since I also was craving for roti canai and roti telur, I went to a nearby Indian restaurant for a serving, of course with my favorite Horlicks ais drink!

Later in the evening, my Malaysian friend Kenneth brought me to Jalan Alor to savor the famous Ngau Kee beef noodles. It's most famous for the minced beef which they top on the noodles of your choice since they have several types of noodles. If only too much food was good for us, then I wouldn't stop eating.

Exploring the hawker stalls and street food in Malaysia is an adventure in itself. And did I say we had mango loh for dessert at K.T.Z. Food in Petaling Jaya? Yummy!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Malaysia: Mamak food rocks!

As the rest of the group left for Klang, we motored back to KL for even more food. The night wasn’t over since we were meeting up with Rostam, another SSEAYP batchmate. It was my last night in Malaysia and there was no way I was going to miss the mamak food!

Mamak stalls have become an important part of Malaysian culture just like the kopi tiam. The term has refers to eateries operated by Indian Muslims that have become popular hang-outs for Malaysian youths because of the affordable food and beverages plus the fact that they are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

A typical mamak would serve roti canai (flour pancakes which is served with curry sauce for dipping), roti telur (roti canai with egg), teh tarik (milk tea), murtabak (minced-meat flour pancakes also served with curry sauce dip), nasi lemak (Malaysia’s unofficial national dish which is rice soaked in coconut milk usually served with chicken and sambal sauce), mee goreng (fried noodles), and tandoori chicken (marinated in spices and yogurt) among many others.

I got myself an order roti canai as always and a tandoori chicken with had mint. It had a funny green color that looked so artificial, it didn’t look like chicken anymore. But it was definitely tasty especially with the chutney dip that accompanied it. I had fresh sugarcane juice to go with my food. And with that settled, my Malaysian food adventure was complete. If only I had some more days in KL, the choices at the mamak stalls were endless!

Part 1: Klang's legendary bak kut teh
Part 2: Old town kopi tiam of Ipoh
Part 4: Seremban stopover

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Malaysia: Chocolate overload in KL

I'm in KL for a business trip. So the only place I got to visit today, aside from KLCC of course, was Beryl’s Chocolate Kingdom where I had a chocolate overload! The factory churns out over a hundred varieties of high quality chocolate candies at prices cheaper than those in the same quality range. They use beans from Ghana, a recognized source of high quality cocoa beans. And since there are just so many kinds of chocolate candies from durian to tongkat ali, coconut and tiramisu, they give visitors samples to help you pick!

After resting a bit, I went around nearby KLCC to kill time. I wasn't in the mood to buy anything so I just enjoyed taking photos of the Petronas twin towers.

After strolling around KLCC, I met up with the rest of the group for dinner at the Pacifica Bar and Grill of the Mandarin Oriental. For my meal, I could not resist the temptation to order Wagyu beef! So I did! Yummy!

Ciento Comico

The night before we arrived in KL, I watched the hilarious Ciento Comico, a comedy show produced by the UPAA for the UP Centennial. I had complimentary tickets since many of my brods were major sponsors.

It was a great show! Willie Nepomuceno spoofed Erap and did it so well, you couldn't tell the difference. And little did I know that I would meet the real President Estrada later in the evening at a party of a brod. Yes people, that's really him!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Malaysia: Transit in Kuala Lumpur

I was able to get those "free" AirAsia tickets a few months back so I'm on the backpack trail again. As always, I have to transit in Kuala Lumpur. So from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport Low Cost Carrier Terminal (KLIA-LCCT), I took the SkyBus to KL Sentral for RM9. The airport is about an hour away from town and it's good they have these shuttle buses since taking a taxi will make a dent in your budget big time!

From KL Sentral, I took an LRT to the Pasar Seni Station in Chinatown and after finding a place to stay for the night, I walked around. I had some Indian food (roti canai and Horlicks ais) for early dinner and then went back to the hotel to take a nap while waiting for my SSEAYP friends. I met up with Mariam from Singapore at about 11:30 p.m. Then we met up with the Malaysian PYs (Paktam, Az and Dayang) for some late night drinks.

The next day, I passed by KLCC to take photos of Petronas Towers. Then I was off to the airport again for my flight to Jakarta, Indonesia. I had my favorite nasi lemak at the airport as well as on the plane. Check out more photos in Multiply.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Malaysia: More Straits Settlements history in Malacca

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Penang late in the evening. Of course, the first thing we did was go for a late dinner. If I remember it right, it was at a mamak which served roti canai, beef murtabak and teh tarik.

September 19: The next day, I think we went shopping since the only thing I could remember was that we passed by KL's Central Market. That evening too, Leon took a bus from Singapore to join us in KL.

September 20: We decided to go to Malacca (Melaka) and meet up with Shyamala, another SSEAYP batchmate who lived there. Aside from me, Kenneth and Leon, two Filipino friends of Kenneth joined us.

Since I had been to Malacca the previous year during the SSEAYP program, we didn't go around much. I hadn't realized it then but I had actually visited the three major towns of the Straits Settlements (Singapore, Penang and Malacca) during the trip.

Just like Penang, Malacca had its own heritage trail sponsored too by American Express. We started at the Town Center of Malacca Town. One of the major structures there is Stadthuys. which according to the Melaka website was built in 1650 as the official residence of Dutch Governors and Deputy Governors. It adds that "the edifice is a fine example of Dutch architecture, with solid doors and louvred windows. Believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East, the port-red theme extends to the other buildings around the Town Square and the old clock tower."

Also painted in port-red is Christ Church which was completed in 1753. Inside this Dutch church are 200-year old pews, an altar painting of the Last Supper on glazed tiles, as well as 15-meter beams each made from a single tree.

From the Town Center, we walked straight to Jonker Street (Jalan Hang Jebat) which is a cluster of art galleries, antique and souvenir shops, as well as traders of traditional items, "among them goldsmiths, watch repairers, clog makers and beaded shoemakers, blacksmiths, rattan and bamboo weavers, Chinese traditional medicine merchants and food outlets."

Also in the area were several mosques and temples, among them the Kampong Kling Mosque, one of the oldests mosques in Malaysia which has Sumatran architectural features; and the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple which was built in 1646 and is thus the oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia.

One of the must see sights which I got to visit the previous year is A'Famosa, the "hallmark of Melaka and perhaps the most photographed subject next to the Stadthuys. Built by the Portuguese in 1511 as a fortress it sustained severe structural damage during the Dutch Invasion. The British had set to destroy it but timely intervention by Sir Stamford Raffles in 1808 saved what remains of A' Famosa today."

Also visit the ruins of St. Paul's Church, where the remains of St. Francis Xavier were briefly enshrined in the open grave in 1553 before they were brought to Goa, India.

When it comes to food, don't miss the Baba-Nyonya cuisine which is unique to Malacca. The Baba-Nyonya are the Straits Chinese, descendants of very early Chinese immigrants who partially adopted Malay customs. Another collective term for these immigrants is Peranakan which refers to descendants of foreigners who had assimilated into the local community. There are Indian Peranakans called Chitty and Eurasian Peranakans known as Kristang. In the Philippines, we had the mestizos de Sangley, with Tsinoy as its modern day equivalent

After that long day in Malacca, Shyamala joined us back to KL where we met up with another batchmate Andrea. The five of us went up to Genting Highlands for the evening. It is a 2000-meter high peak which is occupied by a mountain resort called Genting - City of Entertainment. They call it the Las Vegas of Malaysia since it is the only legal land-based casino in Malaysia. Aside from the casinos complex and the world-class hotels, other facilities in this resort include a theme park, golf course, shopping malls, sky diving simulator, concert hall and many more

September 21: It was a Sunday and we didn't do much. Leon had to commute back to Singapore since he had work on Monday. All I remember was we just kept on eating, and eating, and eating since Kenneth was very eager to let me try as much Malaysian hawker food as possible.

September 22: The M/S Nippon Maru docked in Port Klang. I attended the welcome ceremonies in the afternoon as well as the reception on board the ship in the evening. I had to leave immediately after the reception since I had to rush back to KL which was about an hour away to catch the 11:50 p.m. bus back to Singapore.

Septermber 23: I arrived in Singapore early in the morning. I think I took a nap after breakfast. I was in Changi Airport by early afternoon for my Singapore Airlines flight back to Manila.

Related entries
Melaka, Malaysia is a historic city of the Straits of Malacca
Exploring the Penang heritage trail on foot
Bus trip from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Malaysia
Following the heritage trail in Penang
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