Stop over at Kuala Lumpur
No matter how much you may plan a trip in advance, the day of departure is always fraught with stress levels that one would normally experiences in the penultimate hours before a school examination. Nov 4, 2016 was no different for me, in terms of the last minute packing for my (almost!) solo trip to South East Asia.
What was different with this trip though, was the very little time I had spent on planning my itinerary. This was remarkable – as I’m an insufferable researcher and spend way too much time reading about places that I intend on visiting. “Let this trip be different, let the place open up to you and surprise you”, Kanna, my wise little wife, said. Emerging from a wanderlust October (including travel to Agra, Siliguri, Sikkim, Amritsar), I had barely had any time to book my flights for the 6 cities I was going to visit in SE Asia.
The low cost overnight Air Asia flight from Delhi to KL was pretty decent, although I could not manage to get any sleep. I envy co-passengers who happily doze off as soon as the plane took off. I had a 12 hour lay over in KL on my way to Phuket, which I was happy with as it gave me the chance to visit my friends Ishita, Gijs and Momo, their dog. Ishita has been staying here for the past 6 months and thanks to her, I had a great time and managed to finish some sight seeing in the 7 hours that I had.
KL International airport is quite average, compared to the newer airports including our very own IGI Airport in Delhi. It is extremely far from the main city.
My first impressions of KL: Remember the “Malaysia Truly Asia” marketing campaign which Malaysia unveiled some 10-15 years ago? Well, it seems KL was at the forefront of development and tourism in the ’00s but KL now is lagging behind today’s ultra modern cities such as Singapore and Dubai. Nevertheless, I saw the historic European style buildings at Dataran Merdeka, walked around the Petronas towers KLCC area and heard stories of the Malay people. Had my first yummy lunch in Chinatown with some lip smacking Malaysian & Chinese food (chicken rendang and pork pongteh).
In the evening I took the connecting flight to Phuket from KL. The visa on arrival in Phuket took longer than expected and I checked into Nook-Dee Kata resort, completely exhausted.
- Never leave packing for the last day.
- Exploring a new city with a local friend has its advantages.