Greetings, Fellow Travelers!
NOTE: With no travel over the next few months, I’m digging into my archives to remember some travels from the past few years. This trip to Kuala Lumpur, our first, occurred in July 2018 combined with a second trip to Singapore.
BLUF: Over the 4th of July weekend, Joe and I headed to Malaysia for the first time. We spent four days exploring Kuala Lumpur. Our days in KL, as the locals call it, expanded our knowledge and love of all these Malaysia. Since then, we’ve returned to explore other parts of the country and expect to return many more times.
Today’s AAR takes us through my first trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In December 2017, while staying at the JW Marriott Hanoi, Cathay Pacific released news it would bring its Airbus A350-900 to the Brussels to Hong Kong route. CX is known for its excellent reverse herringbone, all-aisle access business class seats and its great catering. Plus, being the flag carrier of Hong Kong, transiting through HKG allows eligible passengers to visit some of the best lounges of any airline. CX lounges offer made-to-order noodle bars, dim sum, and great spots to rest during transit.
So, while Joe was off at a Vietnamese cooking class, I researched a summer 2018 Asia trip. After reading an online review of the amazing club lounge at Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur, I chose KL as the destination. I had also wanted to return to Singapore, so KL was a perfect companion stop.
My initial plans were to fly into KUL and out of SIN on CX. Sadly, the CX saver fare business class tickets were not available for this route, so I booked round-trip tickets for BRU-HKG-SIN. I opted for inexpensive AirAsia flights between SIN-KUL. As AirAsia also operates from Singapore’s new Changi Airport Terminal 4, the unprotected connection from Cathay to AirAsia would be easy. Southeast Asia is very well-connected by low-cost carriers, so plentiful and cheap flight options are easy.
As predicted, the connection at Changi Airport Terminal 4 was smooth. The approx. 45 mins AirAsia flight to KUL was uneventful and dropped us off at KLIA2 (the second terminal at KUL, used almost exclusively by low-cost carriers). After a short wait at immigration, we headed for the KLIA Ekspres train. This 30-min dedicated train line connects both KUL terminals to the KL Sentral station, a major hub for KL public transit.
Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur is connected to the KL Sentral station, so after a couple of days of travel, hotel arrival and check-in was fast and convenient. As reviewed, the Club Lounge was fantastic. They had all-day snacks and non-alcoholic drinks. Their evening hors d’oeuvres were very extensive, with chefs preparing noodles, multiple locally-inspired hot dishes, fresh fruit, desserts, and wine/beer/spirits. After touring the hot, humid city during the day, for all but one night, we had filling dinners at the Club Lounge. Access was granted due to my Marriott Platinum status.
Joe and I are big fans of observation desks, and KL is home to the famous Petronas Twin Towers. After a quick metro ride to the KLCC stop, we enjoyed the air conditioned Suria KLCC mall for some mid-morning coffee and then made our way to the twin towers. Standing over 1400 feet tall with 88 floors, the Petronas Twin Towers are the world’s tallest twin structure.
Our tour included the glass Sky Bridge which connects the two towers at floors 41 and 42. The observation deck is on floor 86. From here, you can see much of KL and the vast KLCC Park, with its dancing fountains, banyan trees, and many footpaths. Also in the vicinity of the Petronas Twin Towers is the Aquaria KLCC. We wandered through the facility seeing sharks, piranha, and sea life native to the waters around Malaysia.
The greater KLCC area is one of the most popular tourist spots in the city, and we enjoyed our time here with our fellow tourists. During our walking through the Suria KLCC mall, we spotted a Hokkaido Baked Cheese Tart store. We last had those during a 2017 trip to Melbourne. We grabbed a half-dozen for afternoon tea at the Club Lounge. They were as good as we remembered.
On our final night, we ventured into the city for a Malaysian dinner at Bijan located in central KL. We took the KL Monorail from KL Sentral station. Bijan was a great stop for dinner, and it placed us close to the Jalan Alor Night Market. The night market is full of Malay, Chinese, Thai, and other fusion food booths as well as freshly squeeze tropical juices. While night markets can be overwhelming with crowds and noise (this one was very busy), we still enjoyed our time wandering around.
Cost-wise, Malaysia, and more specifically KL, is not as affordable as Thailand, but it is still a bargain when compared to most western European destinations. For our hotel, Le Méridien Kuala Lumpur cost $140/night which included an upgrade to a corner room, access to the Club Lounge, and the full restaurant buffet breakfast, which was excellent!
In sum, Kuala Lumpur was high on our must-visit list. Thanks to a good airline route, an awesome hotel, some cool tourist sites, and (relative) affordability, KL remains one of our favorite destinations.
Albert Guerrero, USAF, Ret.
“Let’s Travel Farther, Together!”
Follow my travels on Instagram: @albert_traveler