We have been back in Sweden for one year, 4 months and 6 days… but who’s counting?!? I miss Malaysia every single day. The food, the sun, the food, the people, the food, the warm rain, the food. Did I mention the food? Don’t get me wrong, it is great to be back home, to hang out with my friends, the children are playing with their friends, see my mother, the big family we have here and so on but I miss Malaysia a lot. That is why we are going on a vacation this winter, we will leave the dreary winter cold Sweden for some weeks in Asia. We will arrive in Singapore on the 13th of December and fly back home from KL on the 19th of January. During that time we will visit Singapore, Johor Bahru, Kluang, T6, Muar, Melaka, Ipoh, KL and also Lombok (Indonesia). Some of those places are revisited; others are brand new locations for us.
This time, my mother is coming with us and for her everything will be a first as she has never been outside of Europe. The children are already looking forward to guiding her around at their favourite spots and eating dinner at Musa’s in T6. His satay is missed, and also the ayam soup which is to die for. They are also planning a trip to Legoland in JB and apparently there is a new water park in JB called Austin Heights something. My husband and I are mostly excited about not having to put on heavy winter clothes for at least part of that horrid season called winter. And the food, always the food.
So if there are any readers left, you can look forward to a new escape from winter and some ideas about where to travel in Malaysia- and Indonesia!
When we arrived in Malaysia in October 2014 we stayed a week in Kuala Lumpur before we left for Taman Sri Lambak. We did this to adjust to the climate and also to do some sightseeing. Our visit to Aquaria KLCC was such a success that I had to promise my oldest daughter that we would return one more time before going home to Sweden.
So six months later I took both the children to Aquaria while my husband went on a photowalk through the city. It is easy to get to, either you walk in the airconditioned walkways or take a taxi or bus. As we were staying at the Royale Chulan it only took us about 15 minutes to walk there and if you choose the walkways there are no crossing the roads or anything that might feel scary if you walk with young children. Even in such a big city as KL people still managed to find time to help me lift the buggy down a short staircase. I never stop being surprised at Malaysian society and how different it is from back home.
The entrance fee to Aquaria KLCC is RM 53 for adults and RM 42 for children, I think it is free up to 3 years of age. It might sound expensive but it is a really nice and well kept aquarium. They have a petting pool area with a lot of fish for the children to touch and look at. The people working in that area are full of smiles and know a lot about the animals in the pool. Overall I found the staff to be very helpful and knowledgeable at both our visits. When we went through the long tunnel (the fish and sharks swim in a huge aquarium over your head and on the sides) a young man working there stopped us and told my children some interesting facts about the stingrays and other fish. If you have children that are interested in the ocean and all its creatures you can easily spend two hours or more at this place. The gift shop, named Atlantis, is actually pretty good and you can find educational things and cool t-shirts as well as a lot of other stuff. We ended up bying a few gifts and my youngest chose a t-shirt with dancing fish on it.
There is a small food court as you leave the Aquaria but there are nicer food and more to choose from if you keep on walking and go to two food courts at the towers. They are only five minutes away. My daughter did however find an ice cream stall at the smaller food court and she said it was really good ice cream. I myself had a smoothie that was pretty good but slightly overpriced at RM 9.90. The place is called New Zealand Natural, they have lots of flavours to choose from and frozen youghurt as well. I think you can find them all over Malaysia as they are a chain of restaurants.
Leaving Penang on the 28th of December we headed towards Kuala Lumpur (KL). There we would make a pit stop for two nights before heading to Singapore over New Years. So the gps said it would take about four hours to drive, but of course it was way off. The thing is the gps doesn’t know about the weather, road works or traffic jams. And we ended up getting caught in the mother of all traffic jams. About 170 km from KL the traffic slowed down to 20-40 km/hour. I immediately thought there had been an accident but we saw no sign of any such thing. It was just slow driving for a very, very long time. The children were fast asleep in the backseat but I was wide awake and complaining the whole time. Or so my husband claims.
After going really slow for over two hours it suddenly changed and we could drive faster again. Then it started to rain. At around 7.30 pm we drove into KL, after nearly 8 hours on the road. We had booked a room at the Swiss Garden Hotel, again we chose the hotel based on parking and price. You can make really great bargains on hotel rooms if you spend some time on the internet looking around on Agoda, Booking.com and other such sites. Then you go to the hotel’s own site and look at the prices there. Surprisingly often you will find the best price at the hotel’s own site as they have things like early bird special or other great deals. This means that you can end up staying at pretty decent hotels for a hostel price.
The Swiss Garden Hotel has four stars but I was not impressed. The room we got smelled like wet dog and something worse, so I went down to the reception to ask for a different room. The receptionist looked scared when I talked to her and quickly handed me a new keycard. Turned out we got a suite with two bedrooms and both a shower and bath. Not too bad. But the next morning we came down to one of the worst hotel breakfasts I have ever had. There wasn’t enough food, the fruit was gone in two seconds and a lot of things tasted, if not off, at least not fresh. My husband had a chicken sausage that was spoilt and that kind of made us feel that the Swiss Garden Hotel wasn’t worth a second stay.
The first night we had dinner on Jalan Alor, the touristy street with lots of restaurants. The food is decent and not too pricey, if you can stand all the people trying to sell you stuff it is a nice enough place to have dinner in KL.
On our second evening in KL we went to Berjaya Times Square which is a huge shopping mall. It is so big that they even have a rollercoaster in there. Yeah, a roller coaster. Sadly the place isn’t being well maintained and it has gone downhill a lot since we were there in 2010. You can easily spend a couple of hours there if you like shopping and browsing around but the place has seen better days. We had dinner there, in the Teppanyaki restaurant. Good food but not excellent, but the staff really made it worth the money. A young waitress spent our whole meal playing peekaboo with our youngest which was really sweet. And it meant that we could focus on eating instead of making sure our daughter didn’t escape from the babychair and disappeared into the crowd. She is a high energy, curious and happy child which means we as her parents have to be on top of things ALL the time. If she sees something interesting she just wanders off, no worries in the world. My hair has greyed a lot since she started to walk at the tender age of 10 months…
After checking out at noon the 30th we left KL and drove towards Singapore. On the road again…