Feb 27, 2011

City Life: KL to Bangkok

Our travels have stepped up a notch.  Our time in Bali was consciously low-key, keeping mostly with Maddy and Yasmine’s regular eating and sleeping routine as at home. We weren’t overly ambitious with our day, enjoying a mellow eat/swim/eat/sleep/eat/swim sort of day.  But now we’ve exchanged the idyllic ‘vacation-pace’ of Bali for bustling city-life.  Needless to say, the transition has made it a busy week, made even more so by the fact that we’ve flown into 2 different countries as well.  In any case, we’ve clearly gotten more into the ‘real travelling’ side of this trip.

Together with Gung Gung (aka Grampy Lam), we flew into Kuala Lumpur for 3 days, seeing the sights and getting occasionally soaked by the near daily tropical thunderstorms!.  We stayed in the heart of Chinatown which gave us access to great and inexpensive Chinese food.  We actually found food in KL to be even cheaper than in Bali—you could get a bowl of noodles or a main dish with rice for around $1.50-2.50 USD (RM4.50-8), ice coffee for $0.60 (RM1.80) and fresh sliced fruit for $0.30 USD (RM1).  Unfortunately finding good economical accommodation in KL was a MAJOR challenge though—we ended up paying $36USD (RM107) for a 2-star double room although it included a good buffet breakfast, TV, hot water and free wi-wi-fi.
Jln Petaling, Chinatown

We got around easily using the public transportation system.  KL has a very efficient Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system and we were staying near a station (Sensi) which was very handy.  We spent a nice morning at the KLCC playground and water park, which is a really terrific place, and incredibly, it’s free!  There was heaps of playground equipment so the girls got their fix.  Maddy even mastered the monkey bars while there.  On Day 3, we took the local bus for a 35min ride to Batu Caves, which is a popular holy spot for Hindus located north of the city.  The main temple, located in Temple Cave is accessible by a set of 272 steps, and surprisingly we all made the climb successfully, even Gung Gung and the girls! (Yasmine sure had a good sleep that afternoon!) Aside from this, we also partook in some of the excellent street market shopping that KL has to offer.
Batu Caves: 272 Steps and 43m Statue

At the top!

We found the heat in KL, probably due to the smog and emissions from the very busy roads, to be very challenging.  We also found the hussle and bussle of a city to be also draining.  Although it was hot and humid in Bali, we could usually cool off with a nice refreshing swim either in the sea or in the hotel pool.  Not so in KL.  We drank LOTS of water and we enjoyed our AC in our room at the end of the day!

On Friday morning, bright and early at 6:30am, we bid a sad farewell to Gung Gung at the airport as we all went our separate ways:  Gung Gung back to Vancouver via Hong Kong, and we flew to Bangkok, Thailand.  We really enjoyed travelling with Gung Gung and look forward to hopefully visiting him at Christmas.

Friday turned out to be a really hectic travel day, the first of many most likely!  The morning’s flight turned out to be a longer one than planned due to an unexpected delay which saw us sitting in the plane on the tarmac for 1hr before we finally left.  We had gotten up at 5:20 am for our 8am flight, so as it was, we didn’t land in BKK until just after 11am.  By the time we took the new airport train into the city, then transferring to the LRT to our guesthouse, it was nearly 12:30pm.  After depositing our bags, we quickly got back on the LRT in search of The Thai Travel Clinic, where we were due to receive the remainder of our immunisations.  We ended up spending nearly 3hrs there, resulting with Jim and I each getting 3 needles and the girls each got 2.  (We have to go back two more times to receive one more injection each time to complete our rabies course.)  The clinic was very professional and we felt that the advice which we received there was very thorough, realistic and informed.  We also saved a lot of money getting our injections here as opposed to in Australia as most of the immunisations that we received are more ‘standard’ here as opposed to ‘specialised’ as at home.  As such, the base cost of the medications is lowered due to a higher demand.

The girls really surprised us on Friday with how well they managed with the demands of a busy travel day.  It was nearly 5pm by the time we got done with the clinic, then grabbing a dinner in the markets in front of busy Victory Square.  Up at the crack of dawn, 3hr flight, immigration formalities, new country, new language, busy city, public transport, new food, and 2 needles in their arms!!  When we finally got back to our room, it was 8pm and they still had energy for a bit of impromptu dancing before they were out like a light when their heads hit the pillow at 9pm.

We’ve now been in Bangkok for 4 days now, enjoying revisiting some of our old haunts like Khao San Road as well as discovering new ones like Victory Monument and Siam Square, where we are staying.  Bangkok is such a vibrant city despite being oh-so-busy.  There are people EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME.  But that’s what makes it so vibrant and interesting and why it’s still in our TOP 5 favourite destinations (cities)—more on that later.  We are about to head northwest to Kanchanaburi, which is about 2hrs away.   Plans are to stay there for 4 days and return to Bangkok on Friday to receive our second rabies shot.
Khao San Rd

Viewed from the River


  1. Hi dear!!Every article have it's own charictaristics. This is one of Short but informative article. You wanted to describe your things in a short manner . Probably you are the successful one.!I like travel stories and articles. Traveling related articles attartc me very much.Very interesting story. Liked it very much. Thanks for writing such a interesting story.Petter Joe