KUALASINGA [Part 2]: KL Old and New

Petronas Twin Towers
You may misunderstand when reading the title. But this KL Old and New Tour does not mean to take place in a new year. Instead today we were to bring the tour attendants to the old and also the new part of the city. Unlike many other big cities in Southeast Asia, Kuala Lumpur is not a seaside city. But somehow it eventually became the capital and so many old buildings from the colonial era can be seen here. The best ones are in Dataran Merdeka. The area is a must-see thing when visiting KL. Not only admiring the building architectures but also learning history is what we can do, because here in Dataran Merdeka Malaysia declared its independence. Some big events today are still hold on this open field. As a tourist spot, this area is made up very clean and neat - very different from Chinatown area, only few meters away-. The thing I don't like from Dataran Merdeka - because it's an open field - is the sun heat. However, some places around are available to avoid this:

1. KL City Gallery.
This place is my favorite. Here we can get free maps, tour information, and stuff people may get in a tourist information center. It also has a gallery and a convenient shop. The best thing here is what so called 'The Spectacular City Model Show' where we can see a miniature of KL and its future planning of development. No flash allowed when the show is running.

KUALASINGA [Part 1]: Hiking the Capital of Malaysia

Having a very little sleep only from this early morning, today we gotta lead a group of 7 people - some were our teacher friends back in Ambon-. This was also a farewell trip with them coz after this trip we won't be back to Ambon anymore. Yeah, we had finished our three-year contract in Ambon as a teacher and here was the time to reward ourselves. The tour named after KUALASINGA a combined word from 'Kuala Lumpur' and 'Singapore'. At the beginning of the tour, we did hiking not to a mountain in a countryside but just around a metropolitan city. In fact, there are some places within KL and its satellites for hiking.

The most popular one I think is Batu Caves, an important site for Hindu people in Malaysia. There are 272 stairs to hike there to reach the main temple. We did not join the others to go uphill though, instead we saved our energy for the rest of the day as there would be an inevitable hiking activity later. Going up to the main temple is actually nothing compared to what people do in Thaipusam Festival. They start walking from Sri Mahamariamman Temple in downtown KL up to Batu Caves (about 11 km north of KL) while torturing themselves along the way. We began our tour from the same starting point for an introduction to Indian Tamil culture in Malaysia, but then we did not walk to Batu Caves neither torture ourselves (oh c-mon). We took a very pleasant commuter for return trip instead.

Five female participants in front of Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Saving energy by staying downhill while enjoying cold drinks

The commuter train we took for going to Batu Caves from the old railway station

Inside the train
When going back from Batu Caves, we did not alight at the same station as we departed. Getting off at Bank Negara Station, we walked all the way to Masjid Jamek through Jalan TAR & Jalan Melayu. Here is a good spot to feel the Malay atmosphere. We had Malay food for our lunch there. And despite so many money changers there, for me the area looks more for locals than tourists.

Masjid Jamek was once the main mosque in KL. We could not enter because not all of us wore proper clothing. It's no need to enter anyway if the reason is only to take pictures with this Mughal architecture building. One of the best spot to take its picture is actually from the LRT station. The station is an intersection of two LRT lines. From there, we took LRT to Hang Tuah and walked several blocks to KWC Fashion Mall. It was advertised as a new mall selling clothes with the cheapest price. But the fact was different and all of us were quite disappointed. Should have not come here for shopping. It was a waste of time. But more time would be wasted if we regret on it. At least we had avoided the sun heat outside. Forget it coz now is the time to go hiking again!

Makassar First Timers

Before the sunset view taken from Losari Beach, Makassar
I had a crush on Makassar even before visiting. Not because of its sunset view as the picture above descirbes, but Makassar offers direct access from airport to the main tourist attraction area. By spending only IDR 25,000 per person we may take DAMRI airport bus to RRI roundabout from which important places for tourists like Jalan Jampea (Chinatown), Fort Rotterdam, and Karebosi Square are easily reachable by walk.

However, our trip today was not started from the airport where the bus departed. The night before we stayed at the main road connecting Maros and Makassar. There are many minivans (which is called pete-pete here) passing there but it has to be two times work. One shall get down at Daya Terminal and change another minivan. For the fare, it is theoretically cheaper but it is actually a gray area as the driver sometimes overcharges passengers especially when he notices newcomers. So, we decided to go back to the airport using the free shuttle service from the hotel then take DAMRI bus right to the heart of Makassar.

OUR TRIPS (Based on Places)