Tourism Malaysia

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

By Lloyd Green



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.


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.



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: 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.


Tourism Malaysia

A budget guide to travelling Malaysia

By Lloyd Green

Okay, if you’re coming to Malaysia to spend two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, you’re probably not going to do it on the cheap. But there’s also plenty of people who pass through Malaysia on their way north from Singapore en route to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

For these people, every dime is important and in a city like KL where extravagance is flashed in your face on every corner, finding things suited to your budget can be difficult. This also applies to travelling across Malaysia, with knowledge of how and when to travel, important to your attempts at saving money.

So let’s start with your arrival.

If, like most people, you arrive in Malaysia by air at either KLIA or KLIA2 terminals and have booked accommodation in Kuala Lumpur, you will have a few options of varying cost and duration to reach your destination. Often backpackers fly blind during this process and can waste money without even knowing it. The KLIA Express train is the fastest way to and from the KLIA airports from KL Sentral, but it is not the cheapest.

shutterstock_209459323 (Picture by Sorbis /

The cheapest route to Kuala Lumpur is by bus with a one-way ticket for adults from KLIA or KLIA2 terminals to KL Sentral priced at 10 Ringgit. Peak hour traffic in Kuala Lumpur can cause lengthy delays, so if you are on a tight schedule and want to get to the city as soon as possible, KLIA Express train is the best option. It takes 28 minutes and is RM55. If you want to save five Ringgit make sure you pay with your credit card at the kiosk and not at the counter. It will be RM50.


(Picture by Sean Pavone /

In terms of accommodation, there are two main places to stay for backpackers; Changkat in Bukit Bintang and Chinatown not far from Pasar Seni LRT station. There’s a host of backpacker accommodation in both areas with single rooms as cheap as RM40-50 and dorms beds priced at around 20 Ringgit. Of course, the quality of your hostel will vary with price. Changkat is closer to KL’s nightlife, KLCC and the Petronas Twin Towers, but Chinatown is more conveniently located near the city’s main transportation hub — KL Sentral. Many coaches to Malacca, Johor Bahru, Penang and Ipoh now leave from TBS bus station, which is approximately 20 minutes from KL Sentral.


Jalan Alor off Changkat is foodie-central with Chinese seafood restaurants and hawker stalls selling an array of local delicacies and international cuisines until the wee hours of the morning. Petaling Street in Chinatown is also famous for food with its night market chock-full of shops and stalls selling goods and street food. Be aware, both of these areas are aimed at tourists and as such prices can be inflated.


(Picture by Calvin Chan /

Most of KL’s main attractions are aimed at families, couples and those who are dazzled by the bright lights, so if you prefer a bit of adventure but want to stay within in the perimeters of the city I suggest you check out Petaling Jaya and in particular areas such as Subang where an urban youth culture has evolved. If you are able to make friends with locals, that’s even better and ask them to take you out of KL City. The food in areas such as Klang, Petaling Jaya, Ampang and Cheras is just as good (and cheaper) and is where most of the locals eat. Also keep an eye out for local night markets known as Pasar Malam. They offer amazing delicacies and fresh produce and are more authentic than the ones in the city. If you want a quiet night at the cinema, Wednesday is the cheapest evening with tickets as cheap as 10 to 12 Ringgit.


Just a stones throw away from KL are a places such as Chilling Falls and Broga Hill. These are quite popular amongst locals and provide a nice respite from the concrete jungle of the city. They are free and relatively easy to get to by car. Check out the best places for hiking, camping and waterfalls in and around Kuala Lumpur here.

Budget guide 3(Picture by

The bus and train are the cheapest options for making your way around Peninsular Malaysia. For Ipoh, catch the rain as Ipoh Railway Station is located in the centre of town, whereas the coach terminal is some 15 minutes away. You will only save five Ringgit if you catch the bus. The bus from KL to Penang is the best option as it takes you directly to the island and within five minutes of George Town. If you want relax on Malaysia’s famed beaches like Langkawi and the Perhentian Islands, the bus and ferry is the way to go.

shutterstock_115589299For those interested in checking out Borneo’s wildlife, make sure you book your flights to Kuching and Kota Kinabalu in advance as flights to East Malaysia can be expensive.

Strangely, food prices also vary between Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia with Indian food slightly more pricier in Borneo. Popular music festivals such the Rainforest World Music Festival in Sarawak and the Penang Jazz Festival on the mainland are relatively cheap compared to other international events, but again book in advance to save yourself some cash.

A great, inexpensive way to see Malaysia is to volunteer. Malaysia offers volunteering opportunities for every taste and interest: from wildlife projects in the untamed jungle of Borneo to teaching English to children in urban and rural environments. Most places provide free accommodation and sometimes food and you’ll have access to remote communities you probably never knew existed. Read more here.

When exiting Malaysia, consider the bus trip north to Hat Yai in Thailand. It is less than 60 Ringgit and you can split the journey up by stopping over in Penang for the night. Cheap flights from KL to popular tourist destinations in Asia such as Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines can be found via Air Asia, but any additional items such as luggage over 20 kilograms can increase the price.

In summary, Malaysia is a wonderful place to explore and the more adventurous you are, the better your experience will be. Doing it on the cheap is possible but having a friend to show you around or give you advice definitely helps with your budget.

Tourism Malaysia

Encapsulated in Kuala Lumpur

Encapsulated in Kuala Lumpur

By: Elmira A.

Know anyone coming to our side of town who is looking for affordable, fuss-free accommodation for a short stay? You should tell them about capsule hotels, a hotel trend that is beginning to make waves in Malaysia. The concept is not new – first introduced in Osaka, Japan in 1979, it was developed to provide a basic place to stay for guests and travellers who don’t need the services usually offered by conventional hotels. The target market were initially office workers who couldn’t catch the last train home, or locals on an overnight business trip, who only needed a bed to sleep on comfortably. But, like most things Japanese, its popularity spreads like wildfire, and although the idea behind it stays the same, capsule hotels grew significantly and became the talk of the town. Other countries have now begun to have their own, such as Russia and China and some European airports like the one in Amsterdam.



Each of the guest rooms in a capsule hotel are usually designed with fiberglass block, and though the sizes may differ, it is usually about 2 by 1 by 1.25 meters in dimension. Guests can sit comfortably in the capsule, and can enjoy some basic facilities such as a television and wireless internet, although this depends on the hotels as well. The capsules are stacked side by side, two units high, and guests needs to use the steps provided if they are allocated with a room in one of the top units. Bathrooms are communal, but guests will usually be provided with a towel and a yukata. Because of the open concept, some hotels offers separate sections for male and female guests as to ensure privacy.


However, I imagine that staying in a room big enough only to sleep in may not be ideal for some people, such as those with anxiety or claustrophobes. So before making that reservation, please ensure that you or the people you’re travelling with do not have any issues that may tamper your capsule hotel experience. If you are positive that small confined spaces won’t be a problem, then capsule hotels is an experience that you wouldn’t want to miss.


The trend is somewhat new in Malaysia, and so far, we are home to two popular capsule hotels:


  • Capsule by Container Hotel

Transportation Hub at Gateway@KLIA2, Sepang



Brought by the same people who gave us Container Hotel, Capsule is designed for transit travellers, backpackers and frequent fliers who needs to crash overnight, or recharge before catching their flight. The hotel has a very artistic ambience, and as a testament to this, the corridor has been transformed into a creative space for local artists to display and share their works of art.

capsulebycontainer2   capsulebycontainer3

Capsule aims to make your stay as relaxed as possible, allowing you to fully rejuvenate before leaving its doors. Among the amenities provided are a towel, toiletries, indoor slippers and a shoe cabinet to safely keep your shoes in. They also have a locker for your luggage, and if yours is a big one, all you have is inform the front desk staff and they will be able to assist you. You can wind down and relax at the Capsule Bar, or if love to read, head to the library where you can even participate in their book exchange system. They also have a common area for you to chill, and if you have some pressing work to do, fret not – their WiFi is available for you to use. And one great thing about Capsule? They also have capsules that can fit 2 people comfortably, and so it’s perfect for couples.


Contact details

Address: Lot L1-2 3, Gateway, Terminal KLIA2, KL International Airport, Jalan KLIA 2/1, 64000 KLIA, Sepang, Selangor


Phone: 03-76102020




  • UFO Capsule Hotel

Off Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur



UFO caters to travellers who does not want to spend a small fortune on hotels with amenities they don’t necessarily need. It’s located strategically near some of KL’s most popular attractions, such as Berjaya Times Square and Bintang Walk which are located within a walking distance from the hotel. Other attractions are also just a short drive away, including Istana Negara, KLCC, and Dataran Merdeka. Public transportation is easily accessible, too, with the Imbi Monorail Station just a 5-minute walk away from the hotel.

ufocapsule2  ufocapsule3


UFO Capsule Hotel insist on providing a comfortable stay to all of their guests, while remaining simple and hassle-free. There are shops within the vicinity if you need to get something urgently, and WiFi is also available if you need to catch up with work, or stay connected to family and friends. Each capsule comes equipped with a mirror, a universal power point and a mini desk. A locker is also provided to store your bags and valuables.


Contact details

Address: No. 30, Jalan 1/77A, Kampung Dollah, Off Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur


Phone: 03-21480661


Do you know any other capsule hotels in KL or Malaysia that’s worth checking out?

Travel to Melaka

KLIA Transit to KLIA2

Massive jams everywhere in Kuala Lumpur City Centre even in Klang Valley, how you want to get to your flight by reached Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) or Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA 2) or known as Low Cost Carrier Terminal on schedule? There’s an option, take the KLIA Electric Rail Link (ERL) or known as KLIA Ekspress.

The KLIA Ekspress is the fastest ways to reached KLIA or KLIA2 by 35 minutes from KL Sentral for only RM35 per trip. Is that expansive? You may an option to take KLIA Transit if you are in Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya or Salak Tinggi, that may cost lower than KLIA Ekspress, but you need longer time because KLIA Transit will stop for few destinations.

From Putrajaya Sentral took the KLIA Transit, it just takes me 20 minutes to reached KLIA2, while from KLIA to KLIA it just takes two to three minutes, its the great options if you want to avoid the massive jams and more safer journey from Kuala Lumpur or from Klang Valley to KLIA and KLIA2.

Tourism Malaysia

24 hours in Chinatown

24 hours in Chinatown

I visit Kuala Lumpur so often each year I’ve started to feel like a local. That is a local of Chinatown where I invariably spend all my time.

It’s probably a little sad but if I’m only in KL overnight — frequently I am there longer also — I go directly to Chinatown to the same shops, hairdressers and hotel I always go to.

The night time action in Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane.

The night time action in Chinatown. Pic: Joanne Lane.

I’ve kind of developed a bit of a routine that doesn’t change much from visit to visit. This is because it’s really nice to wander a familiar neighbourhood when you’re so used to being out of your home territory and do the same things and not feel like a tourist, despite it being a touristy area of course.

I don’t promise these experiences are for everyone, but here’s my schedule and the things I like to do.


I more often than not arrive at LCCT airport where there are regular buses to KL Sentral for as little as RM 8 one way or RM 14 return. These pretty much run 24 hours a day so you never have to wait too long. They also have buses for other destinations including KLIA, Genting and other areas. If you arrive at KLIA there are similar bus services and trains.

Once I’m off my flight and have my luggage I head for the bus – leave the departures area and head outside and walk around to the right of the arrivals area where you’ll see lots of buses.

I’m usually pretty tired after a flight so I try to get a bit of shut-eye on the ride as it’s incredibly smooth and long enough to sleep (about one hour duration).

From LCCT I then take the LRT to Pasar Seni where it’s a short walk to my guesthouse.


I always stay at Matahari Lodge (Jalan Hang Kasturi, tel. +603 2070 5570). I’ve been going there for years – ever since they opened and they’ve even changed hands once. It’s a budget establishment but you get a private room which is incredibly clean. The bathrooms are shared but also impeccably managed—they provide shower shoes–and they have free WiFi and breakfast in the morning. There’s also a lounge, a TV, plenty of books to read and you can keep food in the fridge if you like.


By this stage if I’m tired it’s bed time, if not I’ll pop into the night market in Chinatown to get something to eat. There’s so much to choose from – chicken cooked in clay pots, banana and chocolate roti, satay chicken, grilled fish, buffet style free for alls (usually at lunch time and a great one under one of the overpasses on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock) and more. You can eat from streetside stalls or sit down and watch life go by with a Tiger Beer or two. I love it. I also love to wander around and look at some of the odd things being brewed, cooked and eaten – durian unmentionables (not for me), cubes of rice, soya bean matter, prawn on sticks, coconuts and numerous unidentifiable objects.

Clay pot chicken. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Clay pot chicken. Pic: Joanne Lane.



I always schedule in a bit of pampering during my time in Chinatown. I know it’s touristy but there was excellent Chinese reflexology on the second floor of Central Market when I was there earlier in the year. The manager told me they have quite a high turnover of staff but the quality is much better than the options in Jalan Petaling – I’d concur with that. It was something like RM 60 for an hour.

I’ve also been to a hairdresser near the Reggae Bar (literally around the corner) a few times where they do fantastic hair cuts and massage. There was an Indonesian girl there last time I went who did the Indonesian style cream bath – ask for it!


As I’m usually heading home from KL I always pop into Central Market to do some souvenir shopping. My nieces love the little knicknacks I pick up there and I’ve got their Christmas presents there the last few years. There are little Malaysian dolls on pencils, cute Batik purses, little boxes to store things in, kitchenware, scarves you name it. It’s the perfect place to spend a few Ringgit and get the last things you need.

The other shopping item I’m guilty of is DVDs. These are sold throughout Chinatown and I always pick up a few movies to bring home – something to watch on my laptop on the next flight. It’s worth bargaining—I’ve paid various prices over the years—and you should always ALWAYS check the quality first – they have DVD players there and will give you a viewing.

A wander

If I still have time I’ll usually wander down Jalan Petaling to enjoy the activity. Because it’s a historic area with plenty of interesting Chinese shophouses and temples I’ll usually pop into one or two of the latter of these – most often than not the Guandi Temple that’s just around the corner in Jalan Tun H S Lee from the Matahari Lodge. This is a very local joint with people coming in and out and lighting incense, saying their prayers and making merit. I enjoy sitting in the corner and watching them passing in and out. It’s quite atmospheric.

Atmospheric sights at the Guandi Temple. Pic: Joanne Lane.

Atmospheric sights at the Guandi Temple. Pic: Joanne Lane.



As on arrival, getting back to LCCT or KLIA is a breeze. It’s worth checking the schedule for buses departing KL Sentral however just in case you find you have to wait there for a bit – not worth missing your flight.