Day 1 Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur is one of our usual destinations for a short break. Sometimes, we would cover Putra Jaya as well on the way back to Singapore. Driving to Kuala Lumpur is relatively easy which takes around 4 over hours. With the children now working and hard to get away, visiting Kuala Lumpur has been put on the backburner.
When Accor Hotel Chain took over the former Prince Hotel in Kuala Lumpur just across the road from Pavilion Mall at Bukit Bintang area, we decided to try out this hotel, Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel, and have a short weekend break. We also booked coach transfers between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur from KKKL Coach. This break was scheduled during the December school holidays over a weekend from Saturday and returning on Monday.
So the weekend came quickly and we made it to the agent’s office at Katong Village before 7 am. There were a few passengers waiting but the office remained closed. The office was only opened at 7.10 am when a male staff hurriedly opened the office when he arrived. He was obviously late for work. We settled our coach tickets and went out to the carpark outside of Katong V Hotel.
The coach was already there waiting and so we boarded the bus where other passengers also came up. The seats configuration was two by one so there were plenty of leg rooms. Soon we moved off around 7.25 am. The driver was driving to another pick up point at the carpark outside Tanjong Katong Complex. The bus was full after this stop and we travelled along the expressway towards Tuas Check Point.
By around 8.20 am, we arrived at the long queues of buses waiting to enter Tuas Check Point. It was 8.50 am when we finally were able to alight and head into the immigration complex to clear immigration. Clearing immigration was pretty fast though and we got unto the coach again and left slightly after 9 am towards the Malaysian Check Point.
It was just a ten minutes ride and there was no traffic jams over at the Malaysian side of the Check Point. Clearing immigration was pretty quick as well and so by 9.30 am the coach left and headed north towards our destination Kuala Lumpur.
Unfortunately, there were traffic jams which could be due to accidents along the highway and the driver took a detour to travel along the federal roads. After some time, he hit the north south highway again. After a short while, he exited the highway again and drove to the coach rest area at Yong Peng and we alighted to visit the toilets and have a meal. It was already 11.40 am when we settled down for a meal and took a break. We still had quite a good distance to go for Kuala Lumpur. We were hoping to reach our hotel by 2 pm but it seemed it would not be possible.
We left after a twenty minutes break and hit the highway again. It was the same boring journey so we slept in between and listened to music. It was already near 3 pm when we got stuck at a traffic jam at the Sungei Besi exit to Kuala Lumpur. It started raining as well. Finally, we got through and we entered Kuala Lumpur and the coach stopped at Times Square where many of us alighted. The coach would continue its journey towards Chinatown area.
It was still raining and we went up to the Imbi Monorail Station to queue to pay for a token for a ride to Bukit Bintang Station one station away. Soon we boarded the train and very quickly, we arrived Bukit Bintang Station. We then descended to Lot 10 Mall. We went straight down to the food court to have another meal. We loved the local food here in Kuala Lumpur. It was a quick satisfying meal.
By the time we left Lot 10 Mall, the rain had stopped. We then proceeded towards Pavilion Mall and it was already 3.50 pm, much later then we expected to arrive here in Kuala Lumpur. Pavilion Mall was busy on this Saturday afternoon. We went into the mall and exited at the other entrance where we could see Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel just across the road.
Unfortunately, crossing this road would require a lot of guts as the road was very busy and with another two lanes jammed with vehicles trying to enter the carpark of Pavilion Mall. Traffic police was on the road as well. Having visited Vietnam a number of times and having to brave the roads there was good training for us. We managed to cross this very wide and busy road and soon entered Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel.
Front desk staff was professional and proficient. Very quickly our check in was processed and we were given a non-smoking room facing the twin towers as requested via email earlier. The room was spacious and clean. King bed was comfy.
A plate of fruits was given. TV has sufficient channels, some international. Wifi worked well too. Bottled water was provided together with tea and coffee facility.
Bathroom was good and came with a bathtub and a separate shower stall. Full range of toiletries was provided. All was well and as it was still early at 4.30 pm, we settled down to rest and watched TV. After that tiring bus ride of over seven hours to Kuala Lumpur that we least expected, this rest was necessary.
After an hour, we left Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel, turned right and walked towards Novotel Hotel, another hotel under the Accor Group, three minutes walk away. This is our usual hotel to stay when we take a break to visit Kuala Lumpur. The hotel was still the same but we didn’t like the smell at certain area. It seemed some maintenance work might be needed for this hotel. It looks like Pullman Hotel is going to give Novotel Hotel a run for its money.
We then crossed the overhead bridge and went over to Pavilion Mall. This was the time for us to spend shopping and dining and soak in the Christmas festive mood here. Pavilion Mall was all dressed up for Christmas. The mall was crowded and very busy with shoppers congregating at the main entrance and the lower ground level of the main atrium enjoying the beautiful Christmas decoration and taking pictures.
The cafes and restaurants were busy doing roaring business. Families with children were hanging out at the main atrium where a mini amusement park with rides was set up there. The Christmas decorations were very well done with dazzling effects that decked up the mall to look like a winter wonderland. It was a great atmosphere indeed.
We explored one floor at a time and we noticed some areas were less crowded. The section at the Tokyo Square was nevertheless quite busy mainly with young people hanging around shopping.
There are so many restaurants and eateries at Pavilion and diners would be spoilt for choice. We ended up dining at Din Tai Fung Restaurant. The restaurant was pretty crowded during dinner time. The food was good and the service was excellent. We had a great dinner and were very happy dining at Din Tai Fung Restaurant.
We continued exploring the mall and went into Parkson Department Store. We went to redeem vouchers from our Bonus Link Card and then had a quick survey of the store. We exited the store without buying anything and continued strolling the mall.
Musical performance started at the main atrium. We took a nice spot from a higher level to enjoy the Christmas performance. The main atrium was packed with crowds There was a drum performance followed by Christmas caroling. One of the singers who also played the guitar was visually handicapped. It was a nice show and we then went down to ground level and took pictures at the main entrance.
The crowd at the main entrance was huge. We could hardly get through to the outside. Some were even holding strollers with small kids loitering there. The Christmas decoration at the entrance was a crowd catcher.
We managed to get out of the mall but once outside, it was no less crowded. More people were continuously streaming in with little children. The whole place was jammed packed with people. Across the road, the whole area was beautifully lit up. Shoppers and tourists were everywhere. Bukit Bintang shopping district in Kuala Lumpur is no doubt a top tourist magnet.
It was a breath of fresh air outside Pavilion Mall. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining. The entrance at Pavilion Mall was packed with people and it was impossible to get in or get out. Everyone was waiting for snow to fall at 8 pm. Closer to 8 pm, everyone was straining their necks looking up for the show to begin. The air was pregnant with excitement!
At 8 pm sharp, bubbles began falling from the ceiling. There were screams of jubilations as some lifted up their hands hoping to be the first to touch this artificial snow. Then more and more bubbles came falling and the air was filled up white moist bubbles and by that time, those present had their hairs and faces stuck with bubble foam. Everyone was raveling in the spectacle having a great time.
Notwithstanding, those with little children in their midst might have their hands full. Some little kids on the ground were overwhelmed with so many adults around them and could hardly see much of the falling snow. They looked uncomfortable and even terrified. In fact, the situation was dangerous to small children and those in strollers. Near stampede nearly occurred a few times with crowds pushing to get closer and into the main entrance while those inside Pavilion Mall were pushing to come out.
After the snow event had stopped, it was still impossible for us to get back into the mall to head back to our hotel across the other side of the road. We had to head left to walk through a small passage around Pavilion Mall to get back into the mall. Even then, it took us quite sometime to get through the crowd of people around the mall. Once inside the mall, it was easier to walk again. We exited at Jalan Rajah Chulan, crossed the busy road and then went back to Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel.
Back in the hotel, we went up to second floor to enjoy our Accor Plus members welcome drinks. We were seated overlooking the hotel lobby and entrance from the second floor. The view was great. We selected ice coffee and we were given cookies and nuts as well. It was a good rest and a nice round of refreshments for the evening with piano musical accompaniment. The music was melodious and we chilled away our time at the lounge. The pianist played well and the evening was well spent.
After the nice time at the lounge, we went to the swimming pool for a look. The swimming pool ground was nicely lit up. No one was swimming at this time which wasn’t surprising. The view of the surrounding was great. The roads were congested around the hotel and Pavilion Mall was still as busy and crowded. The spa operating near the swimming pool had a nice ambience but was a little quiet.
We returned to our room to enjoy our nice and comfortable room. From our room, the twin towers view at night was excellent. We spent time chatting with our children and watched TV for the rest of the time. Finally, it was bedtime so we hit the sack to get ready for a full day of activities for the next day.
Continue to Day 2 …