Friday, May 24, 2013

Kuala Lumpur on a shoe-string budget: Part I

Fish School, School of Fish
The last time I visited KL, it was a week-long trip, stopping by Penang, reaching Langkawi and back. This time, I went to KL for a really short period of time: 3 days.... to be honest, it actually came down to 2 days since I  couldn't do anything but rush to the airport on the 3rd day.

Last time, I had traveled in semi-luxury... I had some time to save quite a bit of money; however, this time things were very "last-minute" and we decided to go the back-packers way. Well... excluding the tickets and my shopping, we spent a total of around 16k (INR) for the trip...that's 8k per person (inclusive of stay, transport and food). We are quite proud of this achievement. How did we do it? That's what I shall spill now:

Before I flew from Bangalore, Neel and I decided to meet at the Old Town White Coffee shop at the KLIA (airport). Neel was already there for the past five days for a meet. Why we decided a meeting point beforehand is simple... Airtel (my telecom carrier) charges Rs.100 for an incoming call while traveling abroad and I had no intention to spare such cash. In fact, I turned my data services off as soon as I landed in KL.

My flight landed at KLIA at 1am, and by 1:45am, we were comfortably seated in one of the many shuttle buses to KL Sentral. The cost: Rs. 180 per person (cheaper than Bengaluru Intl. Airport to Jayanagar).

Once at KL Sentral, we haggled with a couple of taxi drivers and soon found one who was willing to drop us at Jalan Angsoka for 25 MYR (Rs. 450). We still feel it was on the higher side, but night charges are double of day charges and we didn't want to haggle too much.

The Guesthouse we booked, Orange Pekoe, is located well within the Golden Triangle and it is one of the few reasonably prized places. A room there costs approx. Rs. 1800 per night. Complimentary breakfast, free wi-fi, free internet terminals, unlimited free tea/coffee. It suited our location and our budget and once we saw the guesthouse, we knew we made the right decision. Read more on our right decision here.

By the time we checked in, it was 3:30am and we slept as soon as we hit the pillow.

The next day, after filling our tummy to the hilt with the complimentary breakfast, we decided to take a walk to the Petronas. It's a 20 mins walk from our Guesthouse. The POA was to visit Aquaria, check the Petronas and have lunch at KLCC. Halfway through, we sorta got lost but it's not very difficult to find your way in KL... the place is quite well-marked... nonetheless, the 20 mins walk became a 35 mins walk. We digested our heavy breakfast and almost drowned in our own pool of sweat in that 35mins... KL is very, very humid!

Anyway, we reached Aquaria and was glad the walkway was air-conditioned!

And the Jaws theme plays in my head...
The Aquaria visit set us back by Rs.900 per person (MYR 50) and frankly, I didn't enjoy 70% of the creepy creatures there. But once you are in the tunnel with the sharks, sting-rays, turtles and colourful fishes around you, you sorta forgive yourself for being there! It was my first time in a walk-in aquarium and I totally loved it!.... Umm, but one time is more than enough.... not going there again...

Feeding the Fish

Adorable fishes@KLCC Aquaria
Petronas piercing the sky

The Aquaria is situated in KLCC which is behind KL Suria (the home of the Petronas). We walked through the perfectly manicured lawns of KLCC and to our luck, we found that the Symphony Fountains (on the Symphony Lake) was dancing! Yes, it was 2:30pm... the fountains start at 2pm and dances a while in the afternoon. We roamed around the gardens and clicked a view shots of the Twin Towers. Then we decided we had enough of the sun and went inside Suria to get some air-conditioned air! (All these for free, people!)

The Symphony Fountains

Set Meals@RM15

Now the Suria mall is H-U-G-E! You can spend hours there, gaping at all the stores. However, we had a plan! We were there to lunch at Little Penang Kafe... it is a Lonely Planet recommended place for Nyonya cuisine in KL. I am a sucker for Nyonya cuisine and I wanted Neel to try it too. Moreover, inside KLCC, this is one of the cheaper options. A meal for two came around Rs. 650. And the food?! Not as good as some places I tried at Langkawi but decent food and a cute ambiance.

On Lonely Planet's recommendation
Beyonce looking sizzling hot@Bukit Bintang
Pink is my favourite crayon
After lunch, we walked to Bukit Bintang, shopper's paradise! We were scheduling drinks in the evening at Sky bar, Traders Hotel, for a good night view of the Petronas and I was adamant to not go there wearing my crocs! So, we loitered around for a while, checking the streets and finally, I found a pair of heels at BB Plaza for a mere Rs. 360! KL is a dream for shoe-aholics!
We walked the 10-15 mins stretch from Bukit Bintang to our Guesthouse. It was still 6:30pm when we reached and we decided to rest a while before we go to Traders.

Pool Deck@ 33rd floor, SkyBar, Traders Hotel

At around 8:30 pm, we headed to Sky Bar, Traders Hotel. Earlier, I had tried to call for reservations but it was full... so we decided to try our luck. And luck was in our favour! We were asked to be seated in one of the tall tables at first, but after 10minutes, we were placed in one of those brilliant red divans facing the gleaming Petronas!

Gleaming Diamonds

Petronas looks gorgeous at night, and for a few drinks and a breathtaking view, there's no better place than Skybar. Earlier, we had planned to go to The View Rooftop but since Sky bar was closer to our guesthouse and I could vouch for the view (having been here before), we decided to scrap going to any other place.

We took a long while (2 hours actually) staring at the Petronas and watching the Symphony Fountains dance at a distance. When we had our fill, we generously gave our seats to the long queue waiting for seats. :P... An evening at Skybar costed us Rs. 1800.
The Symphony Fountains dancing at a distance

Satays, anyone?

After another change of clothes (from heels to flats!), we headed to the famed food street, Jalan Alor. We were to walk down the street and take a left. And as we walked down towards the junction, we figured that to our right was the hip pub-street, Changkat Bukit Bintang! Double Hit! We took a stroll around the pub-street, soaking up the lively night scene and then headed to Jalan Alor.

Bleh Brothers

Weird-tasting Dumpling

Jalan Alor was a totally different scene. Tables and chairs on the road and food everywhere.  The street is open till 4 AM in the morning. We entered the street at 1 AM and it was filled with people. Half of what was written was incomprehensible to non-Malay us! We randomly picked a place called Beh Brothers and ordered our dinner: Dumpling of chicken, mushroom and glutinous rice for me, Nasi Goreng for Neel, a raw mango salad and two beers. My dumpling was yuck! I frankly didn't know what I ordered... but the salad was a saviour and I combined the two and downed it with beer. Our dinner came to Rs. 700.

At 2:30AM, we were back in our room, happy, filled and lulled into sleep.... The next day...


  1. please plan my next trip...

  2. its pami by the way....:D

    1. You just gotta lemme know... the plan will be taken care of!

    2. nice read. . u gotta plan mine too. . bdw for more shopping details ll call u ;)

    3. Hahaha... yes yes... I shall guide you

  3. Please count me to on the itinerary for 3 days. And shopping place too..:)

    1. Yup... I shall give you all details :)


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