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Petronas Twin Towers

CYCLING IN THE CITY

Question – what do Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam now have in common? Answer – MikeBikes.

Yes, following in the tracks of the cycling city of Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur now has a new attraction – a cycling tour of Kuala Lumpur’s heritage areas utilising the original Dutch bicycle, no less, in the famous “oranje” colour! Nothing short of exciting and thrilling, the MikeBikes Tour offers a unique insight into some of the city’s oldest and historic quarters, and the best way to go off the beaten track in an otherwise modern and cosmopolitan city!

Before we ‘cycle’ any further, let me tell you that the local council of the capital has recently introduced a dedicated blue lane especially for cyclists. The 11-kilometer long cycling-track along selected major roads in Kuala Lumpur will ensure safety for all road-users and is a thumbs up towards reducing one’s carbon footprint in the city. Cycling in the city is still a new concept in Kuala Lumpur, but it looks like we’re headed in the right direction!

To register for a MikeBikes Tour, it’s best to call ahead and book (better than walking in) the tour package of your choice. At the meeting point, you will be given the Oranje Bicycle and a security vest. Two experienced guides will be at your service throughout the cycling tour.

The meeting point is well-placed certainly. MikeBikes is located at the Malaysia Tourism Centre (MATIC) in Jalan Ampang, a stone’s throw away from KLCC. It is centrally-located and easily accessible to many places of interest in the capital.

With a group of enthusiasts, I managed to join the tour recently. MikeBikes offers two basic, highly experiential tours namely The Best of KL Classic and The KL Sunset Night Tour.

According to MikeBikes, the first tour takes you along some striking and iconic spots in the city — the Petronas Twin Towers, the fruit and vegetable market in Chow Kit and the Sin Sze Ya temple. This one starts at 8 am and ends at 12 pm.

The latter tour is about discovering the city while it is getting ready for the evening. The guys at MikeBikes painted this picture for us: The locals gather on squares and they set up their food stalls. You will be amazed at the colors and aromas of the city after sunset. Of course, the original Nasi Lemak should not be missed. The beautiful architectural buildings look different at nightfall. The KLCC Tower, Kampung Baru and the Sultan Abdul Samad Building are just a small selection of the places you will visit.

We wisely chose the evening tour (to escape the scorching sun) that would allow us to see the best of of both modern and traditional Kuala Lumpur, a kind of 2-in1 adventure. Plus, I thought it would be interesting to see the changes as the city transitioned from a bustling business centre to whatever goes on at night.

We were all geared up by 5 pm, ready and waiting eagerly at MATIC for a four-hour journey that would cover more than 14 kilometres.

We first cycled to a very special area – the untouched yet famous kampung or village in the city, Kampung Baru. Against the backdrop of KLCC, the only-surviving Malay village of wooden houses looked strangely juxtaposed against its modern surroundings. As we pedalled through back alleys and age-old heritage houses, I realised then that the village wasn’t at all backward but was a symbol of cultural identity that stood proudly against the encroaching modernisation. What makes Kampung Baru near and dear to many is its charm as a street-food institution with more than 200 stalls selling a gobsmacking array of food at affordable prices.

We later passed the Loke Mansion building and then made a brief stop in front of Masjid India at Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman, an area famous for local shopping and a melting pot of cultures. From time to time we digested morsels of interesting information and facts about the city dished out by our experienced guides.

As the sun started to disappear beneath the skyline, we reached the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It was quite something to admire the Moorish architecture of this iconic national building in the fading light. Special arrangements were made for us to have dinner at the historic Royal Selangor Club, once a British-only place of gathering where membership was reserved to only those in selected social circles…and here we were, quite tired, hungry and sticky, yet able to enjoy a once elitist view of the city. How ironic, yet delightful!

After dinner, we had a chance to view Masjid Jamek by night. As we were photographing this centennial place of worship sandwiched by colonial buildings, I briefly felt like I was stepping back in time to what was once the beginnings of a small riverine settlement that later turned into a modern city of wonder.

In no time, we were weaving our way through the heart of Petaling Street, where small-time vendors did thriving business. We cicyled past the Mahamariamman temple from which aromatic incense wafted and fragranced the air, and later passed by KL Forest Eco Park (formerly known as the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve), the last remaining tropical rainforest in the city.

When I glimpsed KLCC later, I knew that our journey was about to end. Towards the end, I thought that any tourist would enjoy and be happy with this authentic experience of getting up close and personal with Kuala Lumpur through the MikeBikes’ tour programme. Driving by these same places in a car would only leave a fleeting impression, if one were any observant. But cycling through the alleyways, weaving through foot traffic, passing by age-oild buildings within touching distance, really put a sense of perspective in me. Though my legs were tired, I felt a sense of pride to witness how my Kuala Lumpur had progressed well in its beauty and harmony. What a ride!

AddressMikeBikes’ at Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTIC), 109 Jalan Ampang, 50450 Kuala Lumpur
Web: www.mikebikes.my
Operation     Open daily. Closes 10 pm
Phone:          +6017-673 7322

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What You May Or May Not Know About KL’s Petronas Twin Towers

Without stating the obvious, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers is the most photographed object in Malaysia. Soaring to a height of 451.9 metres, the 88-storey twin structure is Kuala Lumpur’s crown jewel.

Inspired by former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad’s vision for Malaysia to be a global economic hub, the project came to life in March 1993 under the watchful eye of master architect Cesar Pelli.

Construction of the superstructure started in April 1994 with the jacking of the spires of Tower 1 and Tower 2 completed in March 1996.

After some six years, 160,000 cubic metres of concrete, 83,500 square metres of steel cladding and 36,910 tonnes of steel used, on August 31, 1999, Dato Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, officially opened the Towers.

Pelli, upon its completion, called the Twin Towers “a monument that is not specifically Malaysian, but will forever be identified with Kuala Lumpur”.

It is the world’s tallest twin towers and was the world’s tallest building from 1998 to 2004. It is now ranked 8th in the world.

The Towers are connected on the 42nd and 43rd floors by a double-decker sky bridge that stands 170 metres above street level, the highest two-storey bridge in the world.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.56.27 AMPavol Kmeto / Shutterstock.com

According to Dr. Mahathir, the building symbolises the courage, culture and advancement of the people of Malaysia, with the twin towers and sky bridge resembling the ‘M’ of Malaysia.

There are 32,000 windows, 29 double-decker high-speed passenger lifts, six heavy-duty service lifts and four executive lifts.

The executive lifts are the longest rise in any office building in Malaysia. It serves every floor from the basement car park to the top of the Towers in 90 seconds.

Apart from being an iconic tourist attraction, the tower is also a commercial hub, housing some of the world’s top companies such as Petronas, Al-Jazeera, Microsoft, Boeing and Bloomberg to name a few.

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 11.59.05 AMKjersti Joergensen / Shutterstock.com

The Petronas Twin Towers gained immediate exposure with its appearance in the 1999 Hollywood action flick Entrapment, starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The film follows the thieves as they engage in a game of cat-and-mouse taking in iconic locations in Scotland, England and Malaysia.

In one scene, the duo sail down a murky river on the banks of slums with the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers seen in the background.

But the images of the river were filmed in Malacca, not Kuala Lumpur, and spliced with shots of the 1,482ft-high skyscrapers — displeasing then Prime Minister Mahathir and most Malaysians.

The iconic structure has also been scene to many daredevil attempts and stunts. On April 15 1999, Felix Baumgartner of the Red Bull Stratos project-fame, set the then Base jumping world record by jumping off a window cleaning crane on the Petronas Towers.

French urban climber Alain ‘Spiderman’ Robert has made many attempts to scale the Towers; stopped and arrested on his first two attempts on the 60th floor in 1997 and 2007, before succeeding on his third attempt on September 1, 2009.

If you wish to visit the Towers in a more conventional manner, entrance is free but has a daily tourist limit of 800 people. The Twin Towers remain closed on Mondays and during prayer times on Friday.

To experience the Petronas Twin Towers first-hand or for more information, click here: http://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/

 

 

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LEGOLAND MALAYSIA: There’s a big kid in all of us

By Lloyd Green

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THE GATEWAY TO YOUR CHILDHOOD

OKAY, so you’re a parent and your kids want to go to LEGOLAND Malaysia. They’ve been dreaming about this day since….well forever actually. The only ones that need real convincing are you and your wife. Sure, there’s the rides, displays and themed hotel room but what’s in it for you — other than the large hole in your wallet? I mean, you guys are the ones reading all the blogs and reviews and all of them say how much fun your kids are going to have. Yes, I agree that is the main kick for you; to see little Jack and Emily running around having the time of their lives. But you must be asking yourself….’how much fun am I going to have’?

Well, if your childhood days were spent playing pirates, kingdoms and all kinds of LEGO fantasies — yes guys, I’m talking to you; the Gen Y nerds now aged 25 to 35 with a few kids in tow — then this is the theme park for you. In the same way Toy Story 3 was levelled at Gen Y adults that fell in love with the original Woody and Buzz flicks, LEGOLAND Malaysia passes all the tests in sending you down memory lane and on an adult journey where it is still cool to get get excited about a life-size LEGO statue of Chewbacca.

Those moments of nostalgia begin as soon as you step foot in LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort. Whether you are with your kids or a childhood mate, that sensation of being young again is real. There is LEGO everywhere and everything you see is coloured, shaped or moulded to match the all-out LEGO explosion. There are swarms of kids building LEGO in the many ‘brick-pits’ located in the lobby and you can’t help but wander over there and join the fun.

The hotel room is the real surprise. Themed bedrooms may be a thing of the past but not when you’ve got an entire ‘adventure’ or ‘pirate’ mural to stare at each morning. And for the kids, there’s a box of Lego for them to play with and a safe to crack with some take home gifts inside. This is a lot harder than it seems and best left to the imagination of the kids to solve. How hard can it be to count the number of lizards, bugs and spiders on the floor? All in all, the room creates a sense of happiness for everyone and is the perfect base to explore LEGOLAND the following day.

Picture2 WHERE DREAMS ARE MADE! LEGOLAND MALAYSIA RESORT (PIC BY LLOYD GREEN)

The theme park itself is a lot of fun. If you go there expecting massive roller coasters and cutting edge rides, you will be sorely disappointed. But face it, the park is aimed and children, young kids and their families and it caters perfectly to them. That doesn’t mean you still can’t have some fun. Like in Toy Story 3, the humour of many of the displays and movies (LEGO Ninjago, LEGO 4D and Star Wars) is aimed directly at to you. There are plenty of lame dad jokes and while not crude the dialogue is definitely of the adult nature giving you plenty laugh about. Even the park guide has a hint of sarcasm to it. Instead of ‘Lost Child’ it has ‘Lost Parent’, presuming you have ventured off into another world.

LEGOLAND Miniland is a winner too. It’s essentially the reason why everyone falls in love with LEGO in the first place; building cool stuff. The attention to detail is crazy: It took three years to create and was completed by a team of 100 builders from around the world. In all, 30 million LEGO bricks were used — 500,000 alone on the Petronas Twin Towers replica. Other famous landmarks include KLIA airport, the Taj Mahal plus an interactive naval re-enactment. If that’s not enough, they’ve also gone all out on the Star Wars Miniland display with interactive models from the first six Star Wars episodes.

I guess the only criticism of LEGOLAND Malaysia is the lack of atmosphere. There’s no doubting you and your children will have a great time (your poor wife will have two kids to look after) but when you gaze around and see only a handful of people on the rides, it’s hard not to question why this adventure-haven isn’t more popular. The harsh exposure to the Malaysian sun is one factor, possibly the price too, but there’s definitely no qualms over the staff and up-keeping. The grounds are immaculate and every volunteer, shop assistant and ride operator has a winning attitude. Generally these are the aspects that suffer when a theme park loses its appeal. Perhaps it was more to do with the fact I went on a Wednesday and during school; in that case I suggest you go then as there’s no waiting, no hassles and total freedom to do whatever you want.

LEGOLAND MINILAND TOOK THREE YEARS TO COMPLETE

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And do check out the LEGOLAND Water Park. Like its big brother across the road, the rides are suited to children and families so don’t get your hopes up of a Wet N Wild styled one kilometre sea odyssey. But it does do its job of cooling you off after a long day in the sun and there’s plenty of attractions to keep you entertained for a few hours.

Overall, LEGOLAND Malaysia gets a thumbs up. Particularly if you love LEGO and you want share the father-son, mother-daughter moment of reliving your LEGO-playing youth with them. Whether it is value for money is another question? (Prices can be seen here: http://www.legoland.com.my/). But if you treasure fantasy, imagination, memories and good old fashion fun, you’ll be willing to fork out any amount of cash to experience the magic of LEGO once again.

 

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My Malaysia

By Lloyd Green

I sit here on the plane leaving Malaysia after eight months. An experience quite unlike any I have ever encountered. Malaysia is a country where the more you invest, the more you get out of it. You could be forgiven for thinking Malaysia is embodied by KL’s global reputation — its bright lights, shopping malls, bustling nightlife and iconic Petronas Twin Towers showcasing an opulence craved by many tourists — as well as pristine island getaways such as Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands.

But if you have ever had the chance to peer beyond its veneer, you will find a land of great beauty and a population eager to share it with you. This is where the real Malaysia lies and a world in which I’ve had the privilege to step into. You’ll enter one world and exit another taking with you snippets of many cultures that will not only shape your memories but also your relationships.

My Msia 1

The view from one of the more secluded areas at Genting Highlands

Much of my adventure here is owed to the great local friends I have made. They have afforded me an authentic experience not often chronicled in your local tour guides: Guest at an Indian wedding in Klang; life as a local at Orang Asli kampungs in the jungle near Gua Musang and Raub; a road trip to Pangkor; KL’s burgeoning comedy scene; a guided tour of the famed Kacang Putih industry in Ipoh; hiking around the intriguing Genting Highlands; celebrating Deepavali with Indian families in Klang; KL’s underground punk rock scene; teaching English in remote and rural communities; celebrating Christmas in the Portuguese Settlement in Malacca; adventures to Peninsular Malaysia’s most stunning waterfalls and hikes including Chilling Falls and Gunang Tahan; picking rambutans and bananas at plantations in the jungle; witnessing Iban tribal ceremonies in Sarawak; staying on a boat house in the Royal Belum National Park as well as tasting local delicacies such as the best fish noodle soup in Petaling Jaya and homemade Indian curries in Brickfields and Klang.

My Msia 2

You can hire a boat house and enjoy the tranquil Royal Belum National Park
(Pic http://belum.com.my/tour/2d-1n-houseboat-lake-temenggor/)

That’s not to say Malaysia’s main attractions are unworthy of your presence — the tourist trail in Malaysia is reliable and growing stronger all the time. In the economic hub of Kuala Lumpur, flavours and colour of India, China and Malay locals float inconspicuously, adding great contrast and history to this modern megacity with landmarks such as Batu Caves, Bukit Bintang and KLCC ensuring thousands continue to flock there.

Venture north to George Town in Penang and Ipoh for a romantic cocktail of art, architecture and colonial influences with night markets, Chinese hawker stalls in Batu Ferringhi, the original Old Town White Coffee in Ipoh and the emergence of urban street art in both places giving reason for tourism to thrive.

The chance to live and look after Orangutans as well as the quest of climbing Malaysia’s highest peak — Mount Kinabalu — will always ensure people go to Sabah and the magic of the Rainforest World Music Festival is a beacon for Sarawak tourism each year. And of course if island hopping and diving is your thing, then you’ll fall in love with places such as Sipadan, Mabul, Kapalai, Layang Layang and Lankayan.

Malaysia has no doubt won a special place in my heart and I urge other travellers, tourists and expatriates to immerse yourself in the culture and let Malaysia sweep you off your feet. You will never regret it.

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GOKL giveaway city train service

Now we can ride for giveaway between Suria KLCC and Bukit Bintang, and between Bukit Bintang and Chinatown! There’s even giveaway on house Wi-Fi.

GOKL giveaway city train use is meant to offer a Kuala Lumpur Central Business District (CBD). It was launched to assistance urge open mobility in a areas KLCC, Bukit Bintang and Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Tourists will adore a new train service, as it provides an choice to a high cab prices in and around KLCC. Often cab drivers in this area of KL are demure to expostulate on a meter. Tourists compensate bound prices that infrequently are 10 times aloft than what it should have been when pushing on a meter.

The giveaway city train use has been in operation given Aug 31, 2012 and it serves dual categorical routes called a Green and Purple Line. Travelers can bound on and off during countless central GOKL City Bus stops, many of these located conveniently nearby attractions, selling malls, fb areas or joining modes of ride (like a monorail and LRT).

The Green Line commutes between KLCC and Bukit Bintang. Besides a newly non-stop walking sky tunnel, travelers now have a second choice to ride from one territory of a core of KL to a other. This train track has a stop in front of Suria KLCC (where we also have a iconic Petronas Twin Towers) and Starhill/Pavilion KL (along Bukit Bintang) and countless other engaging stops along a way. For example, stop nr.5 is in front of a entrance highway towards a KL Tower, a renouned captivate in KL. There is also a stop nearby Lot10 and Sungei Wang, right pound in a center of Bukit Bintang.

Map Green Line Free GOKL Bus

The Purple Line takes travelers from a Bukit Bintang area to Chinatown and back. You can get on a train in front of Pavilion KL, and we can get out during a Central Market, or directly in Chinatown. Travelers that arrive (or depart) by train during Pudu Sentral can use a Purple Line to ride giveaway of assign to a Bukit Bintang and KLCC area. There now are a sum of 15 buses on a GO-KL use and any can accommodate adult to 60 people per bus. Outside of rush hours there should be a train each 5 to fifteen minutes. Each train will yield easy accessibility for a disabled, such as wheelchair ramps. Free Wi-Fi is supposing for a preference of tech savvy travelers. The GOKL train use operates between 6am and 11pm daily.

Map Purple Line Free GOKL Bus

All in all this new use is a good growth for KL citizens, though also for unfamiliar tourists. The train routes are located within areas where there routinely weren’t that many choice ways to ride besides a – mostly costly – taxi. The stop during Bukit Bintang (Ain Arabia nearby Lot10 selling mall) functions as a heart where we can switch lines seamlessly. There are skeleton to launch even some-more giveaway GOKL train routes in a nearby future.

You can download a .pdf with a stream routes here.

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