Sunday, 17 April 2011

Kuala Lumpur

I kind of consider myself lucky at times working and living in Jakarta and for the company I work for but like I said only sometimes. One could argue its bittersweet but that is all I should say before it is interpreted as negative criticism.
So courtesy of my employer I had the opportunity to visit Kuala Lumpur last week, well it was that or Singapore and I have been to Singapore many times and I have not been to KL since 2006.
I took my fiancee along as well so that was good. We flew air asia. Getting a ticket however was a quite a journey in itself, it took 3 days for a ticket to be confirmed, mainly because air asia launched a 20% sale on all seats, and therefore due to the demand flights would not confirm, I guess due to server loading. However I managed to get the tickets, then I had the option of paying with a BCA debit card or a credit card. Foolishly I choose debit card. Then I wandered off to an atm to pay. I had at this point no real clue about how to pay via BCA atm and to compound that fact, the ATM lanuage is in Indonesian and therefore even harder to understand. 20 minutes later and I was back at school and in front of my computer and could not pay by BCA debit so had to start again and this time pay with credit card.
Oh so simple..... This time it only took me 3 hours to book and pay and after that I did my job.

There were no problems with checking in at Seokarno Hatto airport on Wednesday despite the driver not arriving and having to rush along in a taxi. The quick check-in desk was very useful and immigration seemed kind of pleased to see us leave.
Starbucks coffee was nice and hot and the flight was on time.

For the air asia comments click this link

After landing at LCCT Kuala Lumpur airport you have to walk out side to a flight of stairs, go up them and then past a person with a camera scanning you for bird flu, chinese flu, spanish influenza or what ever virus is illness of the moment and then you queue in the immigration hall.

There were limited desks open and each one had a queue of about 10 people waiting. Each desk had an immigration person and their new toy; a finger and thumb print machine which each person had to use to get stickered and stamped in. I chose the queue with 2 families of 6 and a man waving lots of pieces of paper, so I moved queue and waited even longer, in fact I was the last man standing and the last to get stamped in. The immigration hall was empty except me.

Back in 2006 I spent a month in Malaysia and a few weeks in KL loving it and the area and so to go back there was just a good thing. I also travelled through KL on a rail journey from Singapore to Bangkok, in the April of the same year something which was also very exciting. So it felt all a little familiar to go back there and that made me happy.

Once we figured out the train and how to get into the city and then get to the city we had about 6 hours before we needed to fly out again. So we ate at the food court in KL sentral. Thats not the most sought after eatery but the food was definitely Malaysian and I am accustomed to eating in food courts and in strange places so it was just some where to eat.

From there we took the mono rail to KL tower. The mono rail cost 2 ringgits. A short walk up a hill in the rain to the entrance to KL tower and then a shuttle bus to the actual tower. I choose going to the tower as it was the quickest way to see the city and its size from above. Petronas was a no no and there was not really much else I wanted to do. I like towers and try to go up one if there is one in the city I am in.

The views were somewhat obscured by the haze and the rain but it was a great site regardless. It cost 38 ringgits to go up the tower and I consider that good value. After 30 minutes we were pretty much done.

After the tower, I got a taxi to take us to Pentaling street and the main China town area. We wandered around there looking at the same stuff you would see anywhere in a market and then headed to the nearest MRT back to KL Sentral as time was beating us. The taxi was a fixed rate 16 ringgits.

There are 2 trains to Kuala Lumpur Airport. One is the express which goes straight to the main airport. The other is the express which stops at 3 stations and then to the main airport. Both go from different platforms and levels of KL Sentral. 
Once on the train we got to the railway station and then onto a bus. A fierce rain storm hit the area as we got to airport. 
Back at LCCT we had time for coffee and food before checking in. This again took 2 minutes. I am impressed with that bit. Immigration was all fingers and thumbs quite literally as you have them rescanned but once through, time for a quick couple of beers, a nosy through duty free and then we left KL for Jakarta on time and with ease.

No issues getting through immigration which was nice and finally back on Indonesian soil 14 hours later, tired but happy from a having a good day out.

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