Traveling alone is one of my goals this year. I also wanted to visit a country without knowing anything or doing research beforehand. I decided to try these out in Malaysia.
So why Malaysia? Well, for one, it has a lot of places to go to. There’s Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Penang, etc. Second, the transport system is pretty okay. As much as possible, I want easy access to public transport in case I get lost in my first trip alone. Lastly, I heard the food is good. Thanks to Cebu Pacific’s seat sales, I was able to book cheap flights to Malaysia.
Airport to Kuala Lumpur
From the airport, you have a choice whether to take a bus, cab, or train (KLIA Transit). It will cost you around RM10-15 (RM1=Php13.2) if you take a bus, RM75 for a cab, and RM35 if by train. The traveling time for each mode of transport is 90, 60, 30-45 minutes respectively. I chose to take the train since I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the road.
Cebu Pacific lands at the LCC Terminal so from there, if you decide to take the train, it will just cost you RM12.5 to reach Kuala Lumpur (KL Sentral station specifically). Look for the KLIA Transit booth in the airport then hop on a shuttle bus to Salak Tinggi, then from there take the transit train to KL Sentral. The RM12.5 fare already includes the fare of the shuttle bus from LCCT to Salak Tinggi. I suggest that you look for a place to stay near KL Sentral when you visit Kuala Lumpur since this is the hub for public transportation. I stayed near the KLCC area (where the Petronas is) so I had to spend more on transpo expenses.
Around Kuala Lumpur
Batu Caves was my first stop. From KL Sentral, you can take the train to Batu Caves for RM2. You can also take a cab which will cost you around RM25. Make sure to have the taxi driver turn on the meter and avoid having the driver dictate the price. Usually the drivers would want to charge you higher. One driver wanted to charge me RM40! Also, try to ride the newer taxis instead of the old ones. You can also dictate the price if you want. Since I’m coming from KLCC, my fare was cheaper (RM16 to Batu Caves and RM18 from Batu Caves to KLCC). I didn’t know that there’s a station beside the caves itself and it could have cost me just RM2.
Batu Caves is a limestone hill with temples inside. Outside the caves is a statue of Murungan, which costs around RM1.36 million. The caves depict the story of how Murungan defeated the demon Soorapadam.
Pilgrims climb up the 272-step stairs as part of their devotion. There’s no entrance fee so you can climb the stairs for free! Beware of the monkeys surrounding the area as they tend to grab food from you.
Apart from the main cave, there’s also a Dark Cave in the middle on your way up the stairs. You will need extra clothes if you wish to enter the cave since this entails some crawling from you. You’ll see different limestone sculptures as well as exotic animals inside. I was in a hurry and I didn’t really want to get adventurous that day so I decided to just enjoy the scenery above the steps.
A lot of devotees go here for their religious practices especially during the Thaipusam Festival in February. It has become a Pilgrimage site for Hindus around the world. A few years ago, 1.5 million people gathered around the caves making it one of the largest gatherings in history.
There are a couple of vegetarian restaurant chains outside the caves if you wish to grab a bite. Since I’m more of a carnivore, I looked around for a restaurant which offered meat. Luckily, there’s this canteen that serves Indian cuisine (Curry, Roti, Dosa, etc). Just go out of the Batu Caves area, head left (Batu Caves behind you), and walk for maybe 5 minutes. You’ll see a small hotel with an Indian canteen beside it.
If you’re visiting Kuala Lumpur, you must visit the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. Take the Putra Train Line (Pink Line) and head to Masjid Jamek station (2 stations away from KL Sentral)
The highlight of this tourist attraction is how ARCH, a brand which promotes the culture and heritage of Malaysia through souvenirs, shows the visitors how they make their products.
Would you believe that the sculpture in the above picture is handcrafted? Pretty awesome huh. I was amazed with how the souvenirs were made. The center has a room where they show their visitors the people behind the products.
Richard, the guy in the picture above, has 22 years experience in making wood carvings. He specializes on special orders like different tourist attractions around the world (the Coliseum, Eiffel Tower, etc). Look how delicate the carvings are…
Surprisingly, the magnets and bookmarks are not very expensive. They’re reasonably priced at around RM8-10. If you like souvenirs, then this is the place for you.
By train, head to KLCC station which is just a few stops away from Masjid Jamek. You can shop and dine at the Suria KLCC Mall and once it’s dark already, head out and have a picture of the twin towers. There’s also an underwater aquarium and science center in Suria KLCC where you can bring the children to enjoy.