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!

Masjid Jamek
KWC Fashion Mall
Taking monorail to Bukit Nanas makes the tour participant had taken three different rail-based transport modes in KL. I have discussed the difference of the three in another post. Well, now hiking within the metropolitan city began. This is actually an alternative route to KL Tower through Bukit Nanas Forest Park. "Please no stairs again," said one of the tour participant who had been through 272 steps in Batu Caves. Here is worse than in Batu Caves because we cannot see the top end. But if ones do this slowly it is not difficult at all. There area many nice spots to take a rest like one big open field with gazebos where we laid down for a while.

Thought the hiking stuff would end soon, we found out that the gate to go further was locked! There was an officer on the other side, she said it was always locked and did not have any intention to open it for us (and so did not tell us another way to reach the tower!). It sounds ridiculous to walk back down after hiking this far. So we tried to find another way by ourselves (fortunately maps of the area are common to be found) and we finally managed to reach KL Tower through a forest trail (of course with more stairs). Tired of hiking, no one of us had a desire to go to the tower observation deck. Besides, the price is very touristy -even more expensive than the first time we were there-. So we hiked this far for nothing? Not really. Sometimes the trip can be more valuable than the destination. And still there were several things to see for free at the tower ground.
KL Tower from near Jalan TAR

Ladies on the hiking track

Resting for a while

Still smiling (just before I knew about the locked door)

Canopy walk

Locked

Forest trail was considered a better option than going back down the same way

KL Tower

Things to see below the tower; Malaysian traditional houses.

A bridge to the tower ground floor

KL Tower was built on a hill so even we didn't go to the observation deck up there
we could still see many of the tall buildings in KL

Taking a picture together at the front gate downhill
KL Tower provides free shuttle to the outer gate so it did not require us to walk downhill. Going back to our guesthouse, we took another shuttle; also free of charge. The shuttle was GoKL bus, a free bus service around KL city center. While waiting for the bus I looked at the route map and realized that the service had now expanded. It had two new lines covering more places such as KL Sentral, Chow Kit and Titiwangsa. At the end of the day - when it was free time for all - I tried to take those two lines (and almost missed the last bus!) But before that, when the sky was getting dark I did not miss a chance for having good dinner in Chinatown area which was so romantic.
Crowds entering GoKL Bus
In rush hours, KL is jammed but still looks neat :D

Thanks for reading this post! @Chinatown

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