Getting Chummy with The Dazzling Petronas Towers
Dianne and I have been planning an Indochina adventure just before her Australian working holiday expires. It kicked off as a random idea and since we’re both budget travel junkies, we’re always up for anything and everything. Malaysia wasn’t part of the plan but Petronas would always find a way!
She will be staying in Manila for only 3 weeks after Sydney so our initial plan was to book a direct flight to Phuket via Cebu Pacific which would cost us about 3,700 Pesos (80USD) per person excluding baggage and food. It was a tad bit steep as we were booking less than 4 months prior our travel date (bummer, no cheap promo fare for us!). I suggested to book via Kuala Lumpur then catch another flight to Phuket. It doesn’t sound reasonable to her at first but I, Mr. Promo Fare Aficionado, was able to book these flights for the same price of the direct flight to Phuket. Dianne got thrilled knowing that she would be able to knock off another Asian destination of her list.
Our first stop was Kuala Lumpur. It was a busy Monday and we left Quezon City at around 9AM but our flight wasn’t until 2PM. Metro Manila has such a high profile of being notorious for congested roads so we’ve decided to be at the airport extra early than miss our flight. It doesn’t help that Cebu Pacific is located at Terminal 3 where a major airport expressway construction is in full swing causing heavy traffic in both directions.
We were lucky to arrive at the airport before 11AM, just in time for check-in. Everything was smooth sailing from check-in to immigration but not until we got to the boarding area and chose to have lunch at this Japanese restaurant, Kaishu Sushi-Noodle Express. The service was appalling causing too much inconvenience having our food served. It was a bit too much discontent for us but as soon as we heard our flight was boarding, our pure excitement has shrugged off all the bad vibes.
Given the usual Manila Airport congestion, we oddly boarded on time. But as soon as we hit the taxiway, surprise! Manila traffic doesn’t end on the road, there were also queues for take off resulting to extra 40 minutes before we actually hit the runway! But having used to this unfortunate situation, we’re armed with smartphones packed with movies and Kindle to keep us busy during this kind of ordeal. Technology saves the day!
Fortunately, we landed at the airport only 20 minutes behind schedule. We disembarked at KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2), which is the largest budget terminal in the world. Luckily, we didn’t have to walk far with our heavy backpacks going to the immigration and everything went smooth. Upon exiting the arrival area, we passed through a huge mall called Gateway @ KLIA2 that houses three floors of everything and anything (shops, restaurants/food court and even grocery store!) before we were able to get to the bus transit lobby at the ground floor.
Airport transportation tip: We booked our Skybus tickets online for 19 Ringgit (5USD) per person going to KL Sentral and back. It is highly advisable to book online if you wish to save some Ringgit as ticket in the counter costs 11 Ringgit (3USD) per way. In addition, you have to bear in mind that currency exchange at the airport is always lower so I would recommend having your money changed at KL Sentral for better value. If you wish to take an alternative transport, you could opt to ride KLIA Ekspres for 35 Ringgit (9USD), travel time is around 30 mins or take a taxi for about 75-100 Ringgit (18-25USD) depending on your destination, travel time is about an hour similar to Skybus.
We arrived at the ground floor of KL Sentral, which is the hub for several train lines. The station was busy and packed with people but fairly organized. As this was my third time in KL, we didn’t have a hard time boarding the LRT that stops at Pasar Seni where our hostel was a short walk away from the station. We chose Suzy’s Guesthouse in Chinatown as it was one of the cheapest yet decent hostels around the area.
Suzy’s Guesthouse tip: Since there’s two of us, I booked the bunk bed room which is a private room with a communal bathroom for about 15USD through Agoda. Definitely a good deal if you are two as a bunk bed in dorm room cost about 7USD. Going in the hostel requires taking a short but narrow stairs going to the 2nd floor. If you have a big luggage, you might need a hand but it shouldn’t be a big problem. We found the hostel small and a little old but it was kept clean & decent, props to the all-around cleaner whose very hard working.
After having our stomachs stuffed with appetizing food at this Indian hawker around Chinatown (oddly, we savored Indian food in Chinatown), we rushed to see the Petronas Twin Towers before its lights off at midnight. Upon exiting the KLCC station, Dianne’s initial glimpse of the Towers was priceless. Stunned by its captivating beauty at night, the spotlight emphasizing the Towers makes these structures mesmerizing. She couldn’t help but to blurt out “WOW!” with pure excitement.
We got there a little late at 11PM but as luck would have it, there were less people making the place perfect for taking “unphotobombed” pictures – like regular tourists, we decided to snap tons of it! The center of the pathway leading to the Towers was our sweet spot and perfect for symmetric view of the Towers. We got along pretty well with these Towers having several photos and all that fun but, as much as we love to stay there and be bestfriends with Petronas, our Cinderalla curfew was about to struck and sadly, we had to catch the last train going back to our hostel.
The first day of our first international travel together was filled with excitement and we couldn’t wait for another day to unfold. Thanks to our main man Petronas for giving us a remarkable night!