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It was a hard time for all during the SARS period between Mar and May 2003. However, this crisis had made Singaporeans more resouceful and united. We overcame this crisis despite pain, loss and even deaths. Hopefully, it will not come back. That is wishful thinking!
I am taking this opportunity to say from deep of my heart, I salute YOU – the health-care workers of Singapore and all over the world. Thank you for your care and support.
Like good old days, we grabbed the opportunity during September one week school holidays to start visiting again. Three of us – wife Joy and daughter who asked to be called Peanut here, and yours truly,me. Where did we visit ? Yes, good old KL (Kuala Lumpur).
When my colleagues asked me where I was going – mention KL – food and shopping come to mind. They were right. Nevertheless, I called this trip KL4in1 because I had planned to visit four different places of interest while in KL. Sound interesting, read on.
As usual, I had booked the hotel through internet. At RM130 with 10% service, I found Hotel Federal through Asiatravel.com comparatively acceptable. We stayed there for five nights. Except the aircon was too strong during the night, we had no much complaint with Hotel Federal. It was very well located along Bukit Bintang area.
Something different about this trip was taking the transport from Singapore rather than Johor Bahru. If you have read my other Malaysian trips, normally I will take the coach from JB. This time around, I had decided to try taking the coach from Golden Mile Complex, Beach Road. At S$23 per head, it was a very comfortable and hassle-free 5 hours ride on the Korsortium super VIP 26 seater coach. Probably, you will pay half the price if you take in JB. From KL to Singapore, it was RM25 per head with Korsortium bus.
We were dropped at the Puduraya bus terminal at around 2.00pm. It was a never-ending activity at this crowded and chaotic place anytime of the day. The jam, the people, the fumed air populated by the buses and cars, it had not changed since my first visit number of years ago. Strangely, somehow I have taken a liking of this familiar site whenever I am in KL.
First place in 4in1 was Genting Highlands, a popular cool mountain resort 60km north of KL. We bought our bus tickets from counter 43 at Puduraya bus terminal. You can buy the return ticket here. However, you need to specify the time you are coming back. I found it quite difficult as I could not predict how long I would stay. This Genting public transport takes about one hour and will bring you to the Cable car terminal. From here, you need to take the cable car to the top. Unfortunately for us, it was strong wind and drizzling. The cable car service was stopped due to it. I had no choice but to take a taxi to take us up – about 15 minutes drive. I paid an exorbitant price of RM40 ! From Puduraya, RM45 a taxi will take you all way to the top.
It was very crowded especially at the First World Plaza. This is a place where you can shop and eat. There is also a theme park concept in this huge plaza. I found it to be quite a ideal fun place for the whole family. We did not have enough time to explore the whole place. We decided to come back again at some other time.
Do you like crabs ? If you do, then pay a visit to Pulau Ketam (Crab Island). As a matter of fact, I only saw two small crabs crawling on the beach and later – some on my dining table! What is unique about this island is every building there stands on stilts. It is a self-contained island with school, market, mosque, police station, hospital and many others. There is even a karaoke lounge. From what I saw, I can see fishing is the main occupation in the island.
The houses are very close to each other and all are joined by wooden or concrete bridges. As far as hygiene is concerned, it is quite a deplorable sight. When the tide is low, you can see ton of debris underneath the houses. In fact, I saw a girl throwing the plastic bag right into the sea after finishing her drink
To reach Crab Island, we took the KTM Komuter train from KL Sentral, a modern transit of KL. Remember you should alight at the last station called Pel. Klang. I almost made a mistake by alighting at Klang station if not for a kind Indian man who informed me Klang was not the place I was going. It was a pleasant slightly over an hour ride in a comfortable and air-conditioned train at RM4.30 per head.
When you reach Pel. Klang, about 5 minutes walk across the road is the ferry point where you can take the boat ride to Crab Island. This motorised long air-conditioned boat takes about 45 minutes. When the boat is leaving, the owner will come to you to collect the fare(RM5.50 per head).
Frankly speaking, it was a unique experience for us to behold this modern fishing village, an island abound with rubbish when low tide, yet has its beauty and simplicity.
On my previous trip to KL, I had said I wanted to visit the Fireflies Park in Kuala Selangor. Somehow, I did not make it. On this 4in1 trip, I was determined not to miss the opportunity.
After doing lot of searching in the net, I had gathered some tips on how to reach KS by public transport. Enquiring from local tour agency, a trip to Kampong Kuantan Fireflies Park is charged RM150 per head! Again from Puduraya bus terminal, take bus no 141 on platform 23. This is red and white bus that has the word ‘Selangor’ on both sides of the bus. You pay your fare(RM4.70) when you board the bus. Good to have some small notes and coins around.
The biggest mistake I made on this KS trip was to take 5.30pm bus. Unaware, this was the peak hour for office workers going home time. We had a very slow drive on the crawling traffic even on highways. What usually takes about 2 hours had taken 3 hours for the journey. I had no idea on how to reach Kampong Kuantan where the fireflies park is when we reached KS. Fortunately, the bus no 141 driver drove us to a nearby carpark where he informed someone there of our destination. That someone then called somebody. About 20 minutes later, a car came. We started negotiation. I told the driver that we wanted to visit firefly park and then back to KL. Price was RM120. I bargained to RM110 knowing it was matter of demand and supply. Hardly could I see any taxi around at that hour. With all done, we were on the way to Kampong Kuantan.
Every sampan(boat) is charged RM40 for 4 persons. Since there were three of us, I invited the driver, an affable big man who had seven children, to come along. The boatman will row the boat up stream to witness the magic. I was told they cannot use motorised boat as the smell of petrol will kill the fireflies. The setting at the firefly park was beautiful. The trees were full of twinkling lights emitted by the fireflies. How gorgeous is Nature !
For Peanut’s sake, I had included Sunway Lagoon in the itinerary. We had been to SL at our previous trips. To my disappointment, SL has remained the same. In fact, some of the rides were old and unexciting. Nevertheless, Metro bus no 10,11 and 13 will fetch you to SL at RM2 per head. You have to take the bus from the bus-stop opposite Kota Raya shopping centre, a short walk from Puduraya. I am not sure Metro bus is a public or private bus service. One thing I realised is the bus will stop at a place to pick up passengers until it is almost full, then it will move.
Afterthoughts – I would like to mention here was we had a very wonderful dinner at a place called Kingfisher Seafood, off Changkat Bukit Bintang. (23/12/2013 – Kingfisher was no more there. I wonder where they move to ? ) I knew this place from the Net. Opposite Park Inn hotel, a few shops away, you will able to find Kingfisher,a pub on the ground floor but a restaurant on the upper floor. It is a small dining area but the food is fantastic. My pan-fried halibut was simply delicious. Joy had grilled salmon (as always) and was enthralled with it. Peanut was pleasantly satisfied with her deep fried grouper. The total bill for three of us was about RM150. Price was high but you got value for it. Sub-consciously, I get the feeling that I will patronize the place again when I am in KL…..