Friday, February 15, 2013

KL - The Great Bus Ticket Odyssey

My roommate Anthony and I had a morning flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's capital. We flew over the Mekong Delta, which looks pretty cool from the air. I spent three days in KL over Christmas in 2010, but i really enjoyed the city so I was happy to return. If you'd like to read about that trip, visit here, here and here.
KL's airport is way outside of the city, but efficient public transportation makes it rather easy to cover the distance. We took the fast train into KL Sentral, the main train station, and took one of the light rail lines to our hotel in Little India (the highly recommended Citin Masjid Jamek). We were paying $40, and this was the fantastic view that greeted us in our room.
Menara KL on the right, Petronas Towers near the middle
 Most of the pictures I took in KL are in black and white, as I have color shots from my 2010 trip to the city and I wanted to test out my new camera. The hotel was right next to Little India's mosque, and I immediately recognized the area.

We needed to book bus tickets to Melaka for the next day, and the receptionist said we had to go to some bus station a few stops away on the LRT. Food was the first priority though, so we ate at the first restaurant we laid eyes on after exiting the hotel. It ended up being a great Indian buffet that cost just a couple of dollars each. That is one of my favorite things about Asia: you can pick places at random and almost always expect the food to be great.

It was late afternoon, and crowds on the LRT were growing. We found the bus station, but there didn't seem to be a ticket station. We asked a security guard where to go, and she explained that we would actually have to go to a mysterious place called TBS to buy tickets. She pointed us to a bus down the street. We got on and the bus headed into traffic.

Thirty minutes later we were stuck in rush-hour gridlock on one of the city's highways, heading away from town towards an unknown destination. We began to wonder if the bus was just taking us to Melaka. Eventually we arrived at an enormous transit station where bus routes and rail lines converged - this was TBS. Within minutes we had two bus tickets in hand, after which we took a train back to our hotel. We had expected there to be travel agencies selling tickets all over the place, like in Saigon, but instead it took us over two hours and wasted precious time.

We then headed over to Kuala Lumpur City Centre, or KLCC, where the Petronas Towers are located. It was pouring so we sought refuge in the gigantic luxury mall located between the towers. Once the rain let up we headed outside. Even though I had seen the towers before, they are still an awfully impressive sight.
the park behind the towers



I had to deal with my thumb wrapped like that for the first few days of the trip.
After gawking at the towers for a while we walked over to Jalan Alor, a street that transforms into a huge food court every night. I had stayed in the neighborhood in 2010, and didn't want to miss this. We picked a place at random and had a great meal, followed by some Turkish ice cream.
Chinese noodles
bok choy
Bukit Bintang
We had stared at the towers for so long that we nearly missed the last train to the hotel, but we made it back just after 11. I had brought my tripod along, and snagged this long-exposure shot from the room.
We had a couple of hours to kill the following morning before our bus was scheduled to depart, so we walked a few blocks to the Colonial District. It was a startlingly hot morning.

Dataran Merdaka, or Independence Square
We ducked into an Indian restaurant near the Central Market for a breakfast of masala dosas and teh, a classic combination.
We returned to the hotel, got our things, checked out, and headed back to the TBS terminal on the LRT for our bus. It had been a whirlwind day and a half in KL. Next stop: Melaka.
Little India

the mosque

3 comments:

  1. Excellent shots, Mike! Hope your hand is feeling better.

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    1. Thanks! Thumb seems to be healing well, but I won't know for sure until the pin comes out.

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  2. Its a great shoot. Wonderful pictures here. I like it very much. Thanks for sharing with every one.

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