We tried to make this day drag as much as possible. The sticky wicket we had to contend with was that our check out time from The Royale Bintang in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, was 10am and they were reluctant to hold on to our luggage given their lack of security for it. Yet we could not check into our new hotel until 2pm. We had at best six hours to lug around two large travel bags full of our belongings. You may recall we had left Australia with one bag but now with the amount of shopping we had done we had to buy another suitcase to move about.
Where were we off to? You may be wondering this.
Size & Population: 97 km square and about 200 000 ish people
Location: Originally developed as a satellite town outside of Kuala Lumpur, it is now one of the major cities which makes up the greater KL region.
What is special about it? It is the host to the Sunway Bandar Trading Group, who have developed a medical centre, own and international universities, resort complex, Malaysia’s first and largest themed shopping mall and Asia’s largest and best awarded themed water park.
I made a special request at the concierge as we were leaving the hotel for the drive to take a detour through the SMART tunnel, for Gallowe’s sake. The Storm Management And Road Tunnel (SMART) is an incredible engineering feat that I am just amazed by. It was designed as a storm drainage system to solve the flash flooding problem that had been an ever-present concern in the city. It is 9.7k km long and is designed so that when there is a bought of heavy rain, the water in the city drains into it, where it can be directed into the many rivers and away from built up areas. It is also a major underground road linking the city centre to less built up outer areas, and so when there is rain, the road closes. I won’t go further into explaining it but I was pleased to take a ride through it.
We arrived early to our new hotel in Bandar Sunway, Subang Jaya, Petaling Jaya, as expected. The concierge allowed us to leave our luggage in a secure area and suggested we have lunch and take a wander until our room was ready.
Allow me to elaborate.
We were booked into the Sunway Resort and Day Spa, which is linked by a direct covered walkway to Sunway Pyramid Shopping Mall and Sunway Lagoon and Water Park, not to mention Soju nightclub and half a dozen restaurants. Finding something to eat and something to do for a few hours seemed easy. Especially with the bowling alley, ice rink and archery park in Sunway Pyramid. The mall was mind blowing and it took us no time to get lost, given that we were not paying any attention to where we were going and we had no time limit or agenda for the day. I suggest every visitor to this country take a day to check this place out, just for the complete contrast to the rest of the city, which I feel is due to the strong influence of China in the development of this area, given the way they spend money and invest in their developments.
We stopped in at a bookstore because I wanted to pick up some cookbooks, hoping for something ‘more authentic’ than what we can get in Australia, but in English. I was disappointed to find that I couldn’t flick through any before I bought them, but the few I got were good when I finally got into them. Yay!
By the time we returned to the Resort our room was ready. We booked a table for dinner at the Kuala Lumpur tower before taking our bags up and hitting the pool for a quick dip before the afternoon thunderstorm. To eat at Menara KL (Kuala Lumpur Tower) you must book in either the 6:30pm or the 9pm dining slots. It is a buffet and they have a dress code of Smart Casual, but we were unsurprised to find people in board shorts, thongs, scrappy torn denim and dirty t shirts. Our outfits were on the upper side of Smart Casual and we felt appropriately attired for the occasion.
Menara KL (Kuala Lumpur Tower)
Age: Opened 1996
Location: Central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Size: 421m above ground level
Use: Telecommunications tower, as well as tourist attraction.
What is special about it? It is incredibly tall, and is built on a hill so has the appearance of being taller than the Petronas Twin Towers. It is designed to withstand wind pressure of up to 90 mph. Up the top are a few levels including the Revolving Restaurant (Atmosphere 360), an observation deck, an open air viewing deck and a function centre, as well as the operations level and the kitchen.
Our dinner was wonderful and with our dinner ticket we also had access to the observation deck afterwards, but we chose to purchase tickets to the open air viewing deck before so we could properly see the city before sunset.
It was worth it.
In previous trips I had been to the Petronas Twin Towers, and I had also been up them to the linking sky bridge, and can say the views were not as satisfying on those occasions. The view of the towers was spectacular.