If you read my previous posts where I shared itineraries in Singapore and Thailand, then you already know that this is the third country that we visited on our 16-day Asia trip that spanned 4 countries and 6 cities! As mentioned, we had started and ended our trip in Singapore because it was the cheapest way to travel to Asia from Canada (Toronto specifically). We had decided to spend 1 day in Malaysia since we were already in the area and didn’t want to miss this opportunity. To get to Kuala Lumpur, we flew from Bangkok, Thailand via Malaysia Airlines.
Here is some general information of our time in Kuala Lumpur:
Transportation from the Airport to our Hotel: We had arrived to Kuala Lumpur (KUL) at around 11PM. We ended up taking the subway to our hotel, which ended up taking the same amount of time as a grab would have taken. Since we had our international SIM that was compatible in all of the countries we visited (read below for more information), we decided to use it and book a Grab on our way back to the airport to save some of our energy. There was an option to book a shuttle taxi for about $25 CAD, which in hindsight would have been the cheaper option since the Grab ended up costing about $46 CAD.
Transportation in and around Kuala Lumpur: Since we had access to our WIFI device, we used it for Grab to get from our hotel to the Batu caves since we wanted to get there early. From the Batu Caves, we did take the train back into the city, and from there, continued to book Grab rides since it was quite affordable. Unfortunately, all of the sights we had planned to visit were not all in walking distance and since we were strapped for time, we decided to utilize Grab wherever we could.
WIFI Access: I will leave the same comments as my Singapore post as it is still relevant here. Connection was only available in our hotel room and some public establishments. To get around this, what I have done in the past, and also implemented on this trip, was to load our itinerary on Google maps and download the map for offline navigation. This method works most of the time, however sometimes the GPS gets confused and doesn’t know where you and ends up restarting. You end up having to use the map the old way (aka without a GPS and finding your own directions like a traditional map). However, I do recommend just purchasing an international SIM card that you can use and be connected to at all times (if you need to). Personally, for me, I preferred to be connected the entire time since the offline google maps kept restarting and was unable to locate us. It is also useful if you plan on using Grab while in the city. This was the first time travelling internationally where we had purchased an international SIM to be able to be connect to internet and I must say that now I am a converted. The international SIMs are very affordable and offer a lot of data (we would also turn it off if we were going to be in a given location for an extended amount of time to preserve data and batter power) and we were able to use the same SIM for the remainder of our entire trip in all of the other countries. We did end up using 3 different types of connection, but I recommend the last option so that you can be connected the entire time:
- International SIM (purchased at the airport) – Once we left Singapore and arrived to Phuket Airport, there were lots of boots that were selling international SIMs. We ended up purchasing one of these at a booth called Smile and they connected it for me – it was super easy to use however kind of confusing because I couldn’t understand how much data I had left so we used it sparingly during our visit in Phuket and Chiang Mai. Because we paid in cash, I unfortunately do not recall how much we spent, but it was definitely less than $10 CAD.
- Rented WIFI Device – I had actually rented a device when we were in Singapore for our visit in Bangkok since we were going to be here for 3 days without any excursions. We rented a pocket WIFI which we picked up at the BBK airport via Klook (https://www.klook.com/en-CA/activity/16446-4g-wifi-thailand/). In total it cost $26 for the 3 days (which at the time we thought was a bargain) – they do have to hold a deposit which is refundable once you return the device, so make sure you have enough cash to avoid the change in exchange rates on your credit card. It was also not clear how much data we had but I think it was unlimited. I didn’t mind the hand held device since we had used one when we visited Tokyo, however I definitely would recommend an international SIM when possible.
- International SIM (purchased online and picked up at airport) – After doing more research while in Bangkok and realizing that the convenience of being connected to data became a growing need, which was already 6 days into our trip, I did more research on Klook. I found SIMs available for 15 countries in South East Asia, which meant that for the remainder of our trip (still 7 days), we could be connected in all of the countries (Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore) and not have to worry about finding WIFI. We found a great deal with the SIM only costing $8.90 for 4GB of data from Klook. This option ended up being the best because not only is it a one-time purchase (no need to return anything like we had for the rented WIFI device), but you can actually download an app that came in English that tracked how much data you had. If you did go over the allotted data, you had to option of adding more data if necessary. I really liked the convenience and visibility of this option the best and felt in full control.
Hotel in Kuala Lumpur:
We stayed at the Melia Kuala Lumpur. Being a large chain hotel, it was conveniently located next to the subway station. We arrived late but there was someone at the reception who had greeted us. The room was very large and had a resort like feel. This would definitely be a very comfortable hotel to stay in for longer term stays. There was a separate area for sitting and lots of outlets, which was great because we had a lot of things to charge for our 1-night stay. We didn’t get a chance to check out the pool but based on the photos on the website, it looked lovely and would have been great for photos and relaxation. The room we booked also included breakfast which a large selection of hot, cold and continental food. It was probably one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had. I recommend this hotel and look forward to staying here when we visit again.
Budget: We had budgeted $115 CAD cash for the day, which was meant to be used for food, transportation and shopping. We knew credit card would be readily available in most establishments but since we were only here for a day, we wanted to use more cash than credit. Again, I also used Budget your Trip to gauge how much expenses to expect per day. See below for the breakdown of our actual expenses (keep in mind this is for 2 people):
- Airfare from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur for 2 people: $284
- Hotel: $85 (for 1 night)
- Cash (mostly for meals): $115 CAD
- Transportation (credit card): $60 (Grab)
- Total cost of trip for 2 days: $544
Excluding airfare, we actually spent $160 for the day, or $80 a person. This is pretty close to the $69 per day approximation found on Budget your Trip, however we did splurge on the Grabs, so I still highly recommend this website as a great resource in budget planning.
See below for the full details. Don’t forget to also check out some highlights from our trip (video above).
Now set forth and be savvy!
This was our only day in Kuala Lumpur and it wasn’t a full day as our flight to Bali was leaving at 10:50PM, and since it was an international flight we had to be at the airport before 8PM. The original plan was to visit lots of sites, but Sean ended up having stomach issues so we had to take it slower which meant that we didn’t get to experience the city to the fullest as much as I would have liked to. However, it gave us a small taste of the city which brought up excitement to visit again in the future.
Our original plan was to start at Batu Caves early in the morning to beat the crowds then take the train over to Chinatown to explore and have lunch. Then after Chinatown, the plan was to visit Sri Mahamariamman, Central Market and finally Petronas Twin Towers. It also ended up raining shortly after we left the Batu caves which slowed us down further as we were taking shelter. You can access the original walking tour in the link below, and I do think all of it can be visited in 1 day, so we will definitely try again in the future.
Batu Caves – Right after breakfast, we took a Grab to visit the Batu Caves. It is recommended to go as early as possible, and we arrived around 9:30 and it was quite busy already. There were lots of pigeons and monkeys roaming the premises but the place is so large you can easily take photos without them. To visit the actual caves, you do have to walk up the stairs towards the temple. Make sure to bring sneakers to make the journey easier and more comfortable. Once we entered the caves, there were temples inside where you could visit as well. You definitely want to make sure to visit the caves as the photos do not do it justice. If you need a washroom, there are the shops at the base where you can pay to use the facilities. We visited here for about 2 hours – be sure to walk around since there are lots of other temples on the premises where you can take photos and visit. After we were done our visit, we took the Kmuter towards Kuala Lumpur Station and got off at NU Sentral.
Since it was raining, we decided to hang out by the mall for a bit. We stumbled upon Anjappar Restaurant which was right outside of the mall. What caught our attention was that there were locations across the world, including in the GTA, so we wanted to check it out. We ordered a Thali and Palak Paneer to share and it was delicious, costing about $31 RM (about $10 CAD). After lunch, we explored the mall attached to NU Sentral since it was still raining out. Around mid afternoon, we decided to take a Grab to visit Chinatown.
Chinatown – We arrived quite late into the afternoon, which was good because a lot of the shops seemed to only open around 5. It was still raining so we did take our time, and luckily for us, the Petaling Street Market in Chinatown has an enclosure to protect us from most of the rain. There are lots of shops for souvenirs and electronics, but because it was towards the end our trip, I didn’t have any spare room in my luggage to bring back anything. I was even tempted to purchase an extra luggage but opted instead to promise to revisit again in the future.
After this short visit to Kuala Lumpur, we headed back to our hotel to collect our luggage and head over to the airport for our flight to Bali.
Access our original walking tour map here: