Category Archives: Malaysia

Room with a view

Here we are, last post from the trip to Malaysia.

Kuala Lumpur city view

[Click on the image to see a larger version]

This post contains a selection of photos taken from my hotel room looking out across Kuala Lumpur city centre. In my previous post, I pointed out the location of the hotel room where I was staying and asked readers to remember the location.

As a reminder, in the photo to the right (or possibly above if you are using a mobile device to view this), look for the two identical tall brown buildings in the middle distance. My hotel room was around three quarters the way up the right hand tower. Image taken from the 86th floor observation deck of the Petronas Twin Towers.

Now you know where I was, here’s some of what I could see.

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Petronas Twin Towers

Ok, I’m on a roll here, two posts within the one week.

A trip to Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Twin Towers is today’s subject.

One of the world’s most recognisable buildings, the Twin Towers are in central Kuala Lumpur and a tourist ‘must see’ attraction. At 452 metres tall (a smidge under 1500 feet), the Twin Towers held the record for the world’s tallest building from their completion in 1998 through to 2004. The Twin Towers featured extensively in the 1999 heist film Entrapment starting Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery which had some great stunt scenes involving the Skybridge joining the two towers.

Tours of the Towers are available, but numbers are strictly limited so it pays to book in advance on the Internet for a specific tour time. If you just turn up at the Towers, you may find the day’s tours are booked out.

If travelling to the Towers by the KL monorail, Bukit Nanas or Raja Chulan are the two nearest stations. I got off at Raja Chulan and about one street away from the station found the entrance to a mixture of covered walkways and basement tunnels that take you all the way to the Twin Towers. Bit of a maze but the signage is more or less reasonable. Drop breadcrumbs regularly on the way in and you should have some hope of finding your way back to where you started. The walkways and basements are air-conditioned which was a blessing with KL’s heat and humidity.

Enclosed Walkways, Kuala Lumpur

Ok, hands up, who can remember the 1960’s TV series “Time Tunnel”? One of the enclosed walkways between Raja Chulan monorail station and the Twin Towers.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Depending on where you exit the walkway and basement maze, you may end up in this corner of Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park (aka KLCC) and get your first close up view of the Towers. Alternately, continuing along the basement walkways will eventually take you straight into the lower ground floors of the towers.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

View of the Twin Towers main foyer entrance which is on the northern and opposite side from the KLCC Park.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia hosts a round of the Formula 1 racing series and Petronas, Malaysia’s state owned oil company, sponsors the Mercedes AMG team. Petronas is headquartered in the towers and holds the naming rights on the Towers. Here we have a little product placement in the foyer.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

First stop of the tour is the Skybridge linking the two towers at Level 41 and 42. The benefits of visitor numbers being restricted is apparent here – lots of room to move about to take in the views. The Skybridge sits on rollers at each to allow the towers to move independently of each other when swaying in strong winds.

KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

Looking down on the KLCC Park from the Skybridge. The park and the immediately surrounding buildings including the Twin Towers was once KL’s horse racing track until redeveloped in the 1990’s. We are 170 metres (558 feet) up at this stage.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

On the observation floor at Level 86, 360 metres (1170 feet) above the ground below.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

The view out to the north east of KL. Earlier in the day we had been to the Batu Caves and the rain that started there had just cleared in time for our Twin Towers visit. As a result the view was initially remarkably clear and free of haze and smog.

The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur

The Intermark development comprising two office towers, a hotel and a shopping centre. My day job is with a superannuation fund (pension plan) and the portfolio I manage has a financial interest in the Intermark development, hence my interest here.

Menara Public Bank, Kuala Lumpur

Headquarters of the Menara Public Bank. Looks a bit like the Lego space rockets I used to build (a long time ago).

Kuala Lumpur city view

Greater Kuala Lumpur is home to some 7 million people, and looking south Kuala Lumpur sprawls for miles down the Klang Valley. Kuala Lumpur translates from Malay as ‘muddy confluence’ referencing its location at the junction of two muddy rivers.

Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

The twin brown towers connected together is Berjaya Times Square. The right hand tower is a hotel and our room was about 3/4 of the way up in a corner room on the right. Remember this for the next post coming to Photo Morsels.

Old Kuala Lumpur

The city centre area of Kuala Lumpur is still modernising. In among the modern concrete towers and shopping centres, pockets of the old Kuala Lumpur remain.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

You really need to be up close like this to appreciate the towers’ fabulous detailing. The design looks to integrate Malaysia’s Muslim religious identity with its long and rich tradition of pewterware manufacturing. Hence the minaret inspired spires and cladding in stainless steel panels. The tower in the background is the KL Tower, located about 1 kilometre away from the twin towers.

Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Back on the ground now and a quick look at the Suria KLCC shopping complex which is integrated into the base of the Twin Towers. Suria KLCC clearly looked to be KL’s best shopping centre and all the big international brands were there. If you want to indulge in some serious retail therapy within Malaysia, this is the place to go. In addition to lots and lots of shops, other attractions include a cinema complex and a Petronas sponsored art gallery.

Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur

Towards the end of the day, the steps out front of Suria KLCC are a pleasant place to stop, chill out for a bit, and watch the ever-changing fountain display in the lake.

Twin Towers and Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Camera Gear

Pentax K-3, mostly with the Tamron 17-50mm F2.8, but the Pentax 10-17mm fisheye zoom was popped on for the shopping centre interiors and some of the outdoor images.

To Learn More

The Twin Towers are in the area of central Kuala Lumpur known as the Golden Triangle. Most of the upmarket shopping centres and nightlife are in this general area.

Twin Towers tour information can be found at the Petronas Twin Towers website. This site is also were online bookings are made. You book for a specific time and them simply turn up 15-20 minutes before your tour.

Ticket cost (as at January 2015) is 80 Malaysian Ringgits for adults  and 30 Malaysian Ringgits for children. For a family of two adults and two children this works out to be around 75 Australian dollars, so not exactly a bargain. However the tours are very well managed and with limited numbers in any tour group you have plenty of room to move around the observation areas and never feel like you are jostling with others for a view. Very different to the Empire State Building in New York where a ‘cram the punters in and let them queue for hours’ approach is adopted. And the Twin Towers and the view from them are impressive. Overall, it’s worth the money.

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Batu Caves

Happy new year dear readers!

Where did the last few months go? After returning from my overseas business trip in mid-November I found myself needing a break from staring at computer screens during the evenings (probably related to the fact that I stare at them all day long at work as well). But with a bit of post-Christmas R&R, the push is on to get on and finish the Malaysia posts. After all, the trip there was last April!

This post covers a day trip from central Kuala Lumpur to Bata Caves, a limestone outcrop that holds a series of caves and cave temples 13 kilometres (8 miles) north of central Kuala Lumpur. It takes its name from the Batu River, which flows past the outcrop. ‘Batu’ in Malay translates to ‘stone’.

Batu Caves was/is also the name of a nearby village, but today the northern edge of greater Kuala Lumpur has reached the area, so it perhaps better to now describe Batu Caves as an outer suburb.

Batu Caves is a popular tourist destination and easily reached by the KTM Commuter train system.  From KL Sentral, take the Bata Caves train out to the far end of the line. KL Sentral station itself is located adjacent to the south western terminal of the mono rail that runs through the centre of Kuala Lumpur.

The largest caves within the limestone outcrop form a Hindu temple dedicated to the Lord Murugan, the Tamil God of War, and is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. Several hundred thousand worshipers may visit Batu Caves during the Tamil Thaipusam festival (around the full moon of January/February), so you have been warned if you are visiting KL at that time of year.

With that intro, onto the photos.

KL Monorail

The KL mono rail at the KL Sentral terminal. The mono rail station was undergoing construction works (April 2014), and although I believe there is an easy walking connection through to the KL Sentral train station, we failed to find it and sent a good few minutes aimlessly roaming about the streets below the mono rail station. Que sera sera.

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KL Bird Park

Recent posts have explored the island of Langkawi, located off the western coast of Malaysia near the Thai border.

After a week on Langkawi, the next stop was Kuala Lumpur.

While seascapes dominated the Langkawi posts, this post provides a complete change of genre and features birds – the birds of KL Bird Park to be precise.

The bird park is centrally located in Kuala Lumpur and is a roughly ten minute taxi ride from the city centre’s tourist hotels. Buses and the local commuter trains also get you close to the park. The park is very well set up and I would have to say is a ‘must-do’ for visitors to Kuala Lumpur.

Set in 20+ acres of landscaped gardens, the park features large aviaries through which visitors can roam yet provide birds with a natural free flight environment. The majority of the park’s 3 000 or so birds live in these large aviaries. Many of the birds are native to Malaysia, although there are a few ring-ins like the park’s collection of flightless birds – African ostriches and Australian cassowaries and emus.

So, let’s get going…

Peacock, KL Bird Park

No bird park would be complete without a few peacocks strutting about, and KL Bird Park was no exception.

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Langkawi: Best of the Rest

Langkawi

A final post to finish up Photo Morsels’ exploration of Langkawi lsland.  It’s been a while since the last Langkawi post or any post for that matter – I initially took a bit of a rest after a busy patch at work, but then came down with an end-of-winter dose of the flu which is taking its own good time to completely pass.

Let’s kick off with some images from the Berjaya Langkawi resort, our accommodation on Langkawi. The Berjaya Langkawi is nestled at the base of the Gunung Machinchang mountain range around 20 minutes drive from the Langkawi airport.

While normally I leave the photo gear technical talk until the end, there’s such a diversity of gear being used through this post I’ll indicate what was being used as I go. I’ve also broken this post into three pages to assist with page loading times, so keep an eye out for the jump points to the next page.

Dawn was when the humidity was low and the temperature pleasant, and the first few images are the product of an early morning walk.

Berjaya Resort, Langkawi

Honeymooners’ seaside rooms at dawn, while the building on the end of the jetty is one of resort’s restaurants. Unfortunately we only ‘discovered’ it on the last night of our stay. Just that little bit cooler out over the water and fabulous ambiance as the sun set. Even had a four piece band roaming among the tables doing requests. My request was the Drifters’ Under the Boardwalk. Seemed appropriate for the location.  Should have gone there earlier in our stay and repeatedly.      [Pentax K-3 + DA 55-300mm zoom @55mm]

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Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest

Photo Morsels goes jet skiing to bring you this post featuring Langkawi’s Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest.

Prior posts have introduced Langkawi and visited the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest and Kilim Karst Geoforest Parks. These parks along with Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest make up the three three major geopark sites on Langkawi.

Dayang Bunting Marble Geoforest is a collection of islands on the southern side of Langkawi and a popular day-tripping location by long boat. For the more adventurous, the area can also visited by guided jet ski tours which is what my family elected to do. We shared two jet skis between the four of us and set off with four other riders (also sharing two jet skis) plus our guide, a young Thai lad who, we discovered, had spent several years living in Melbourne, Australia before returning to Asia.

First up, I’ll quickly recycle a photos from the Gunung Machinchang post which shows off the general Dayang Bunting area.

Gunung Machinchang, Langkawi

This view from Gunung Machinchang’s summit overlooks the island of Dayang Bunting together with surrounding smaller islands. Dayang Bunting is the largest of the islands on the horizon slightly to the right of centre.

Departure point for the jet ski tour is Langkawi’s most popular beach, Pantai Cenang. I wasn’t ready for my near new dSLR to disappear into the Andaman Sea, so for this trip, the Pentax gear was left back at the hotel and my smaller Samsung NX 1000 camera with its 30mm F2 prime lens was pressed into service.

Ready for action, Datang Bunting jet ski Tour

On Pantai Cenang, kitted out and ready for action. No need to run the gauntlet of a naval blockage to head out to sea as the ‘U-boat’ on the horizon is a low rocky island that delivers a surprisingly realistic impression of a lurking submarine.

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Kilim Karst Geoforest

Photo Morsels continues its exploration of Langkawi with a visit to the Kilim Karst Geoforest.

Prior posts have introduced Langkawi and noted its declaration as a UNESCO Geopark in recognition of the island’s relatively unspoilt environment and unique geological features.

Langkawi contains three major geopark areas and a number of smaller sites. The previous post visited the Machinchang Cambrian Geoforest Park. This post turns its attention to the Kilim Karst Geoforest at the opposite end of Langkawi Island to Machinchang.

To quickly summarise the Kilim Karst Geoforest, it is a network of mangrove waterways that takes its name from the Kilim River, one of three rivers in the area and from the geological term ‘karst’ which is used to describe landscapes formed from the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite or gypsum. It is this karst topography that makes the area quite special. Words can’t really do the beauty of this area justice, so let’s just get on with the photos.

Kilim River Cruise, Langkawi

Our boat trip started at Tanjung Rhu where there’s quite a flotilla of long boats waiting to service the tourist trade.

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