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 it, we did hiking. Not to a mountain miles away from a city, but we hiked just around a metropolitan city. In fact, there are some places in KL and around for hiking. The most popular one I think is Batu Caves.

There are 272 stairs to hike in Batu Caves to reach the main temple. We did not join the others to go uphill though. Saving energy for the rest of the day as later there would be an inevitable hiking activity. Going up to the main temple is actually nothing compared to what people do in Thaipusam Festival. They walk from Sri Mahamariamman Temple in downtown KL to Batu Caves (about 11 km north of KL) while torturing themselves. We started from the same 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. However, 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 our lunch with Malay food there. And despite so many many changers there, for me the area looks more for locals than tourists.
Five female participants in front of Sri Mahamariamman Temple
Saving energy by staying downhill

KTM Komuter brought us to Batu Caves from the old railway station

Inside the commuter train
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 an advertisement which brought us here. It said the new mall sells clothes with cheapest price. But the fact was different and all of us were disappointed. Should have not come here for shopping. It was a waste of time. More time would be wasted if we regret it. At least we had avoided the sun heat outside. Now 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.

A Moment in Bantimurung

An artificial giant butterfly at the outer gate of Bantimurung National Park
All was wet along the riverside due to the heavy rain that just passed by. My head came out of the window, immersing itself into the fresh air outside. "We've been arrived!" I shout spontaneously as I saw a giant butterfly. Yeah, after a quite long trip by pete-pete (minivan) from Maros town center, we finally entered the iconic Bantimurung National Park.

After visiting Berua Village in the hot afternoon, we returned to Maros city and treat ourselves with ice cream and cold drinks. Ironically then the sky turned cloudy. We rushed to a T-junction where we thought a pete-pete to Bantimurung would pass. But we actually went to a wrong one. So we rode a becak to get to the right one.

OUR TRIPS (Based on Places)