A Travellerspoint blog

Fountains and Farewells.

Last full day then home.

sunny

The Petronas Twin Towers at night.

The Petronas Twin Towers at night.

Next day I was still suffering the effects of my cold. Peter suggested I just took a restful day.

We headed to breakfast on the tenth floor of the hotel. There were quite a lot of choices, but it was very busy. After breakfast we gave ourselves a bit of time to digest, then went to the pool. Amazingly there was no-one there and we got it entirely to ourselves. We hadn't intended to spend long at the pool, but ended up being here for several hours.

Selfie at the pool.

Selfie at the pool.

Peter enjoying the pool.

Peter enjoying the pool.

Don't swim over the edge!

Don't swim over the edge!

And don't jump!

And don't jump!

The end of the world.

The end of the world.

The whole pool to ourselves.

The whole pool to ourselves.

The whole pool to ourselves.

The whole pool to ourselves.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

View.

After the swim, I said I would just go for a walk around the immediate area of the hotel. If I had been feeling better, I might have taken transport to the Lake Gardens.

Chinese New Year decorations in the hotel.

Chinese New Year decorations in the hotel.

Ibis sculpture outside the Ibis.

Ibis sculpture outside the Ibis.

Ibus sculpture outside the Ibis.

Ibus sculpture outside the Ibis.

I noticed a convenience store across the road from the hotel, so I went to buy Peter cheese roller coasters. He has developed a liking for these. This shop also sold beer. Not all convenience stores here do this. I put my goods on the counter and the lady rang them up. I then discovered I had no money. I had left my purse in the safe in the room. I went back to get it, which involved crossing that busy road again. That may not seem significant, but it can be difficult to cross the road here. There was a zebra crossing in front of the hotel which some drivers acknowledged and others did not. By the time I had got my purse and crossed again, I felt like an expert at crossing this road.

I went back out again and walked towards the twin towers. On the way I passed an interesting looking restaurant called 1919 which is located in an old house and has lovely paintings outside it. I jumped to the conclusion that 1919 must be a date, but later read that the name is more about numerology than history. One is the lowest single digit and nine is the highest, add them together and you make ten which symbolises perfection, so the name more or less equates to double perfection. They claim to strive towards perfection in their food.

1919 Restaurant.

1919 Restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

Artwork outside the 1919 restaurant.

I also passed some teddy bear sculptures, very similar to the gummy bear sculptures here, and the building that blocked out our views, then I arrived at the twin towers on the opposite side from the park.

Teddy bear.

Teddy bear.

The new building that blocked our view.

The new building that blocked our view.

The twin towers.

The twin towers.

Back in the hotel, I pointed out that Peter might find it quite difficult to walk to The Canopy later even though it was close, as the roads were uneven and in some places overgrown and there was a very busy road to cross. We decided it would be easier just to eat in the Skyview Bar and Lounge again, so we did. I had a vegetarian pizza and Peter had a Hawaiian pizza.

Me in the Skyview Restaurant.

Me in the Skyview Restaurant.

Peter in the restaurant.

Peter in the restaurant.

Peter's pizza.

Peter's pizza.

On the balcony at the restaurant.

On the balcony at the restaurant.

Peter on the balcony.

Peter on the balcony.

Peter on the balcony.

Peter on the balcony.

I spent the meal outlining all the reasons why I wouldn't walk to the fountain show that evening at the KLCC Park. Peter agreed it was best I didn't go.

We always get a free drink in an Ibis, usually wine and beer. This time we could only get a coffee in the cafe in the lobby. We decided we would go for it after dinner. There was an enormous queue to get into the lifts on the ground floor as several tour groups had just arrived. We had cappuccinos and pain au chocolate then had to queue up to get back to our room. Soooo many people.

Peter in the cafe.

Peter in the cafe.

In the cafe.

In the cafe.

Back in the room, I suddenly announced I was going to see the fountains. Peter said: "You've spent all evening telling me why that wouldn't be a good idea." This was true but I went anyway.

Even though it was dark when I went out, the heat was still intense. I walked to the KLCC Park which involved crossing quite a few busy roads. That had been one of the reasons why I had said I would not go. I passed several brightly lit buildings on the way.

The KL Tower.

The KL Tower.

Brightly lit buildings.

Brightly lit buildings.

The fountains were very colourful. They were constantly changing colours even before the show began. There were lots of people sitting around enjoying watching them. I took several photos.

Crowds at the fountains.

Crowds at the fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Colourful fountains.

Then I headed to the far side of the ponds to look back at the towers and the Chinese New Year dragon lit up at night. The music started and the water began to dance. It was very pretty. There were lots of people there and amazingly it didn't rain, thunder or lightning. I think it is great to provide a free show like this.

The Twin Towers and dragon and fountains.

The Twin Towers and dragon and fountains.

The Twin Towers and dragon.

The Twin Towers and dragon.

The dragon.

The dragon.

The Twin Towers.

The Twin Towers.

After the show I headed back home. For a moment I was confused about which of the busy roads our hotel was on, then fortunately I recognised something and was soon on my way back.

Peter hadn't been to the pool by night on this stay yet, so we went there for a swim. It was really busy. Most people were not swimming, they were taking photos. Then this crazy guy arrived and started swimming up and down the crowded pool like he was in the finals of the Olympics and going for gold. Everyone had to keep getting out of his way. It was quite ridiculous. Then when we thought it couldn't get any worse, crazy guy decided to switch to doing the butterfly stroke. I'm amazed there was still any water in the pool. We both got out due to an innate desire to stay alive. I do know pools are for swimming not selfies, but in small, crowded pool, filled with kids and people taking pictures, suddenly starting to swim the butterfly at top speed, is not exactly sensible. Still it gave up a good laugh at what an idiot this guy was

Peter swimming by night.

Peter swimming by night.

The pool at night.

The pool at night.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool

Peter in the pool

Me in the pool.

Me in the pool.

Next day was our last day. We had breakfast and a final swim in a very crowded pool.

Last swim.

Last swim.

In quite a busy pool.

In quite a busy pool.

We had to check out at twelve, but our flight wasn't till 5.50pm. We didn't try asking for a free late check out. Maybe we should have. The airport is a long way and we decided to get there by grab. It was much cheaper than going back by train and it took around an hour. The car passed through a few toll roads on the way, so that gets added to the basic fare. We ended up being charged 84 ringgit, which is very good.

Scenery on the journey. Lots of tree plantations.

Scenery on the journey. Lots of tree plantations.

Scenery on the journey. An area near the airport with many hotels.

Scenery on the journey. An area near the airport with many hotels.

Arrival at the airport.

Arrival at the airport.

There were some decorations outside the airport to take photos with.
Me at the airport.

Me at the airport.

Peter at the airport.

Peter at the airport.

Also known as KLIA.

Also known as KLIA.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Decorations.

Both of us.

Both of us.

We should probably have gone for something to eat at this point, but we weren't very hungry. It was too early to check in, so we just found somewhere to sit and I had a wander around photographing all the Chinese New Year displays inside the airport building.

The Year of the Dragon.

The Year of the Dragon.

The Year of the Dragon.

The Year of the Dragon.

Imperial throne.

Imperial throne.

Lanterns and blossom.

Lanterns and blossom.

A statue waving goodbye to the departing multitude.

A statue waving goodbye to the departing multitude.

When we could eventually check in, we got Peter a wheelchair, but were told we'd have to wait for over an hour for a member of staff to take him through immigration. I took him around in the chair for a while. After an hour, I took him back to check-in. There was still no available member of staff to take him through. We had to wait another half an hour. I was starting to panic. The queues for check-in had disappeared. Everyone was well on their way to the gate and we still hadn't even made it to immigration.

Eventually someone came to take us through. It was nearly departure time by then and we still had to get through immigration and security. I was starting to get angry. We had been there forever and it now looked like we were going to miss the plane.

In the end we reached the plane as it was boarding. It was a little too close for comfort for me. I should probably just have said I would take Peter through by myself, though I'm not sure if that would have been allowed. I did it in Brussels once and it seemed to be acceptable.

We were in a two seat configuration on the plane way. I watched 'Golda' about the life of Golda Meir. Considering how things are in that part of the world nowadays, it was all very depressing. We had sweet and sour chicken for our meal. It was quite good.

At the Hong Kong side we got a wheelchair and the lady, another Irene, took us all the way to the DB bus which was great. We made the second last one. If we had missed it we'd have had to wait for another hour and if we had missed that around six hours!!!

We were both really tired. It was nearly midnight when we got back. It had been a lovely holiday, but we were ready for bed.

Posted by irenevt 03:44 Archived in Malaysia Comments (6)

From Here To Infinity.

Days six and seven.

sunny

View over Kuala Lumpur from the Ibis Swimming Pool.

View over Kuala Lumpur from the Ibis Swimming Pool.

We had been in The Renaissance for four nights. Our room was lovely and the dinners and breakfasts in the lounge were excellent. We were even getting used to the pool, but it was time to move on. We were going to The Ibis City Centre for our last two nights in Kuala Lumpur. The Ibis has an infinity pool and you can swim thirty-one floors up on the edge of a hill with a view of the twin towers. (More on that later.)

We had to check out of The Renaissance at 12 and check-in at The Ibis was at 3pm, so we tried using our gold card trick again. We contacted The Ibis and requested an early check-in. We got a totally unhelpful reply saying 'Early check-ins are subject to availability.' I think we kind of knew that without contacting them.

Anyway we were sitting in the Renaissance lounge eating our breakfast when the hotel manager decided to make an appearance and wander around the tables asking how people were enjoying their stay. When he came to us, we told him that all the staff were very helpful and pleasant and the club lounge was excellent value, but that we remembered the pool from before and were disappointed about what had happened to it. He explained that with the lack of tourists during COVID the hotel was faced with closure and they had to reinvent it in some way to try to save it, so they had redesigned it for the domestic market as a family friendly place for staycations. We had to agree that it made sense and that they probably didn't have many other choices. He then asked how long we were staying and I told him that we were checking out that day and going to The Ibis. I asked if there was a cafe in The Renaissance we could use up until 3pm when we could get in to our next hotel. He said we could stay in the club lounge and help ourselves to snacks and drinks until then, or we were welcome to use the pool until three, or he could give us a complimentary late check-out. I said if we could have a late check-out that would be perfect, so he immediately went to his desk staff and got us one. Our opinion of the hotel immediately shot up, enough that I would come back here again.

With the late check-out we had plenty of time to get packed and to relax. We headed down to the pool. I wasn't feeling great. I had caught a really bad cold. Peter, on the other hand, went in the pool and swam continuously for two hours. He was really enjoying it.

Me by the pool.

Me by the pool.

Pool bar and restaurant.

Pool bar and restaurant.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

The pool slide.

The pool slide.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

We checked out at three and called a grab to get to our next hotel. It claimed it was on the way, but ended up cancelling. Not sure if it got stuck in traffic or if it just got a better offer. The distance we were going wasn't really very far. In the past we would have walked it, but this is hard for Peter nowadays.

Anyway we requested another grab and this one turned up so we got there after all for the princely total of five ringgit - which is very cheap.

We checked in and were given a room on the twenty-eighth floor. I would say it was nicer than the average Ibis room. It didn't look quite as basic. I'm not sure if we had been given an upgrade or if all the rooms here are like this.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

Peter in our room.

There's a restaurant near The Ibis that we like. It's called The Canopy. We intended to eat there, but the daily thunderstorm started early, so we decided to eat in The Ibis Skyview Bar and Lounge instead. I remember they used to have very little food, but they have improved a lot and now offer a choice of several main courses and snacks. They also do draft tiger beer.

Service in the bar was very friendly. I ordered chicken in black pepper sauce. Peter had fish and chips. The chicken was a bit underdone for my taste. This is very common in Asia where they like chicken to still be a bit on the pink side. I would never cook it like this. However, apart from that, the food was tasty and filling enough.

Skyview Bar and Lounge.

Skyview Bar and Lounge.

Sign outside the Skyview.

Sign outside the Skyview.

Peter in The Skyview.

Peter in The Skyview.

Us in the Skyview.

Us in the Skyview.

Us in the Skyview.

Us in the Skyview.

Peter in The Skyview.

Peter in The Skyview.

At one point I went out on the balcony at the bar to look at the view through the rain.

I returned to Peter and said: "That's funny, I thought you could see the twin towers from the bar as well as the pool, but you can't."

View from the bar.

View from the bar.

He said:" Yes I thought so, too."

Stranger and stranger.

I went up to check the pool which is just above the bar. There's a spa on this level, too. The pool was closed due to the weather. I asked one of the barmen if the pool was likely to open again that night. He told me it would reopen as soon as the thunder and lightning stopped and that it would stay open until 10pm.

The Asia Spa.

The Asia Spa.

We returned to our room. Later the storm stopped. I decided to go swimming. Peter said he didn't want to since he had swum for two hours earlier, so I went by myself.

It was just starting to get dark when I got there, so I got to see it in the light and the dark. I swam to the side with the great view of the twin towers and was confronted with a half finished skyscraper which completely blocked out all view of the famous towers. What a shock! As Peter always says: "Never go back." I mean there were still wonderful views, but not of the most famous buildings in Kuala Lumpur.

Next day I took Peter's photo in the same place where we used to take photos with the towers, just to illustrate the difference. Only Peter's hat has stayed the same.

Peter in the pool in 2018.

Peter in the pool in 2018.

Peter in the pool in 2019.

Peter in the pool in 2019.

The same view nowadays.

The same view nowadays.

The old view at night.

The old view at night.

Anyway, if you arrived here without knowing how the view used to be, you would still find it really good. When you swim towards the far end of the pool, you feel like you are going to fall off the edge of the world.

From here to infinity.

From here to infinity.

The infinity pool.

The infinity pool.

The infinity pool.

The infinity pool.

The infinity pool.

The infinity pool.

As you swim towards the side, you can see only the tops of tall buildings above water. It creates the illusion that the world is flooded and you are making your way across a deluge.

View over the edge.

View over the edge.

View over the edge.

View over the edge.

View over the edge.

View over the edge.

Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.

Starting to get dark.

The pool at night.

The pool at night.

In the pool at night.

In the pool at night.

Selfie in the pool at night.

Selfie in the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

View from the pool at night.

Looking at the views from the pool at night.

Looking at the views from the pool at night.

Looking at the views from the pool at night.

Looking at the views from the pool at night.

Looking at the views from the pool at night.</p><p>My cold was getting worse and worse so I headed down to the room to go to bed

Looking at the views from the pool at night.

My cold was getting worse and worse so I headed down to the room to go to bed

Posted by irenevt 05:59 Archived in Malaysia Comments (8)

Chilling in Chinatown.

Fifth Full Day in Kuala Lumpur.

sunny

Art in Little Ghost Alley.

Art in Little Ghost Alley.

On our fifth full day we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast then headed down to the pool. It was back to being very busy again. It seems like lunchtime is the best time to go there. We had a swim and relaxed on the lounger for a while. Peter fell asleep and was happily snoring away. After a while I was starting to feel too hot, so we came back to our room.

I wanted to see Chinatown. Peter didn't really fancy traipsing around. We thought about putting him in a bar while I looked around, but decided it would probably make more sense for me to go on my own.

This time I travelled there on the monorail, rather than the LRT. Bukit Nanas monorail station is right next to our hotel. I suppose the monorail has the advantage that it's possible to see where you are going whereas the LRT is underground. I took a couple of pictures from the train. One was of a large mosque called the Masjid Al-Bukhari.

Masjid Al-Bukhari.

Masjid Al-Bukhari.

View from the monorail.

View from the monorail.

I got off at Maharajalela Station which is very close to Chinatown. The station and the area around it are a bit of a mess due to construction work. It's important to come out the correct side, (which is the opposite side if you are travelling from Bukit Nanas) but it is signposted. Otherwise you will end up on the wrong side of a major road. When you exit the station, go right. It actually looks like a dead end from certain angles, but it isn't.

I've been to Chinatown several times and each experience has been different. Our first visit was the worst. We only wandered along Petaling Street and didn't really go anywhere else. The next visit was better. I had looked up things to see and as well as Petaling Street discovered a couple of temples. This visit was the best of all. I had no itinerary, nothing I really needed to find, so I just wandered.

Right next to Maharajalela Station on a small hill there is the temple of Kuan Yin, goddess of mercy. It dates back to 1880. Unusually for a Chinese temple, you have to take your shoes off to go in. There's an attractive entrance gate and there were a couple of displays for the Year of the Dragon. Inside there are several golden statues. It's quite peaceful here.

The Kuan Yin Temple.

The Kuan Yin Temple.

Entrance gate.

Entrance gate.

Year of the Dragon decoration.

Year of the Dragon decoration.

Lotus shaped lamps.

Lotus shaped lamps.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Next I walked to the nearby Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall. This was closed for renovation on our last visit, but was open this time. The Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall is a clan association for the Chan, Tan and Chen clans. It was built between 1899 and 1906. At one time this association would have helped new immigrants to settle down and find work in Kuala Lumpur.

Inside the clan association many people were working together to make lots of food. I'd imagine it would be for a Chinese New Year celebration.

Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

Preparing food.

Preparing food.

Lion guard.

Lion guard.

Inside Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

Inside Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

Inside Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

Inside Chan She Shu Yuen Ancestral Hall.

One of the interesting things about China Town is all the street art. There were some large paintings in the car park near the clan association.

Street art.

Street art.

I keep seeing a huge tower everywhere I go. At first I was finding it quite elegant. Now I just wish it would stop being in all my photos. I've just discovered it's called the Warisan Merdeka Tower. It has 118 stories, making it the second tallest building in the world.

Warisan Merdeka Tower.

Warisan Merdeka Tower.

Warisan Merdeka Tower looming over Chinatown.

Warisan Merdeka Tower looming over Chinatown.

I wandered towards Petaling Street, but diverted off to the left to look at some restaurants. There's one called the Old China Cafe which we often go to. It's very good, or at least it used to be.

The Old China Cafe.

The Old China Cafe.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Near these restaurants I noticed a street with beautiful colourful buildings. All the way along, it was lined with lanterns. I went to have a look and discovered this was the entrance to Kwai Chai Hong.

Lantern lined street.

Lantern lined street.

Colourful buildings on this street.

Colourful buildings on this street.

Colourful buildings on this street.

Colourful buildings on this street.

Kwai Chai Hong means Little Ghost Alley. This was once a run down and dangerous area filled with drunkards, drug addicts and street gangs. In recent times it has been covered in interactive artwork and has become a popular tourist attraction.

Statue at the entrance to Kwai Chai Hong.

Statue at the entrance to Kwai Chai Hong.

Statue at the entrance to Kwai Chai Hong.

Statue at the entrance to Kwai Chai Hong.

Lovers on a bridge mural Kwai Chai Hong.

Lovers on a bridge mural Kwai Chai Hong.

Girl looking out of a window.

Girl looking out of a window.

Children playing on the street.

Children playing on the street.

All three children together.

All three children together.

Man playing the ehru.

Man playing the ehru.

Sign writer.

Sign writer.

Sit down and interact with the art work.

Sit down and interact with the art work.

Artwork in Kwai Chai Hong, Kuala Lumpur.

Artwork in Kwai Chai Hong, Kuala Lumpur.

Woman waving a red scarf from a window.

Woman waving a red scarf from a window.

Tiger.

Tiger.

Wooden shutters.

Wooden shutters.

Lanterns.

Lanterns.

Dragon.

Dragon.

Upstairs in this building there's a barber's chair to sit on, children playing with a skipping rope and street scenes depicting receiving shopping in a basket and hanging out the laundry. I liked that parts of the artwork were real objects, for example the red scarf, the skipping rope and the barber's chair.

The barber, sit on the seat for an interactive photo.

The barber, sit on the seat for an interactive photo.

Children skipping.

Children skipping.

Hanging washing and having shopping sent up in a basket.

Hanging washing and having shopping sent up in a basket.

I exited from Kwai Chai Hong and continued along the colourful street until I ended up in a tiny alleyway covered in street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Ghost with mobile phone.

Ghost with mobile phone.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

I then doubled back to the street I had entered Chinatown on to photograph some of the traditional shop houses lining the roads there. These have overhanging upper stories which shelter the streets below from the rain and provide shade from the sun. People live upstairs and there are shops and businesses downstairs.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

A lot of the shops here were selling Chinese New Year decorations. They were extremely colourful with red lanterns and brightly coloured spring blossom.

Shop selling Chinese New Year decorations.

Shop selling Chinese New Year decorations.

Shop selling Chinese New Year decorations.

Shop selling Chinese New Year decorations.

Shop selling teddy bears.

Shop selling teddy bears.

Shop entrance.

Shop entrance.

Decorative panelling.

Decorative panelling.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

Covered walkway.

At the end of this street I headed right, attracted by more street art. I passed an interesting old building, a rather odorous durian shop, restaurants and shops

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Durian shop.

Durian shop.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Old building.

Old building.

Old building.

Old building.

Walkway.

Walkway.

Eventually, I wandered onto Petaling Street. This is the main market street in Chinatown. I used to find people were always trying to get you to buy stuff here, but today noone bothered me at all.

Entrance to Petaling Street.

Entrance to Petaling Street.

Inside the market.

Inside the market.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stalls.

Market stall.

Market stall.

Market stall.

Market stall.

Inside the market.

Inside the market.

Market stall.

Market stall.

Bamboo, I think.

Bamboo, I think.

Street art in the market.

Street art in the market.

Street of yellow lanterns.

Street of yellow lanterns.

After looking around the market I crossed the road attracted by some colourful old buildings, including one that seemed to be a museum.

Colourful building.

Colourful building.

Shop houses.

Shop houses.

Old building that is now a museum.

Old building that is now a museum.

I recrossed the road and ended up at a flower market.

Flower shops.

Flower shops.

Flower shops.

Flower shops.

Plant shops.

Plant shops.

A bit further on I reached a colourful temple. This is the Guan Di Temple, a beautiful Taoist temple dedicated to the god of war. This temple dates back to 1888. Last time I visited here I could hardly breathe due to all the incense smoke. This time it wasn't as bad.

Doorway of the temple.

Doorway of the temple.

Dragons, lions and guards.

Dragons, lions and guards.

Dragons, lions and guards.

Dragons, lions and guards.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Inside the temple.

Only after I had walked all around the temple taking photos did I notice a sign saying no photo taking or videoing. Oops! This temple is normally open from 7am to 7pm, but it closed early on my visit. I would guess due to a Chinese New Year celebration.

On the other side of the road slightly further on is the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple. I tried to go in, but was told it didn't open until 4pm. I have been in before years ago. Outside this temple there are stalls selling garlands and flower offerings.

The Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple.

The Sri Mahamariamman Hindu Temple.

Street stalls.

Street stalls.

Further along on this street there were colourful party shops again filled with lanterns and colourful decorations. They really cheered the place up.

Colourful walkway.

Colourful walkway.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Party shop.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

I was getting too hot. The sun was beating down mercilessly. I was tempted to go straight to the station, but I was so close to Pasar Seni, the Central Market, that I decided to have a quick look there first. There are two floors in this market. Last time we sat and had a cold drink upstairs to recover from the heat. There were lots of cloth stalls up there. This time I just looked at the ground floor, because I was feeling tired. My favourite shop was one that specialised in kites. Their displays were beautiful.

Street art near Pasar Seni.

Street art near Pasar Seni.

Street art near Pasar Seni.

Street art near Pasar Seni.

One of the entrances to Pasar Seni.

One of the entrances to Pasar Seni.

Peacock outside Pasar Seni.

Peacock outside Pasar Seni.

Pasar Seni.

Pasar Seni.

Display at entrance to Pasar Seni.

Display at entrance to Pasar Seni.

Display at entrance to Pasar Seni.

Display at entrance to Pasar Seni.

Inside Pasar Seni.

Inside Pasar Seni.

Inside Pasar Seni.

Inside Pasar Seni.

Kite stall, Pasar Seni.

Kite stall, Pasar Seni.

Art Corner Pasar Seni.

Art Corner Pasar Seni.

Bazaar, Pasar Seni.

Bazaar, Pasar Seni.

There are more stalls, especially food stalls, on a colourful street outside Pasar Seni.

Street stalls next to Pasar Seni.

Street stalls next to Pasar Seni.

Colourful street near Pasar  Seni.

Colourful street near Pasar Seni.

I had had way too much sun, so I walked to the nearby Pasar Seni Station. It's on the Kelan Jaya LRT Line so would take me to my usual Dang Wangi Station. This was the first time I had some trouble getting a token for my journey home. There were a lot of people queuing at the machines and many of the machines wouldn't work. I eventually got one that would take my five ringgit note, then had to stand there for ages waiting for it to spit out my change.

View on the way to Pasar Seni Station.

View on the way to Pasar Seni Station.

When I got off at Dang Wangi Station, the sky had turned black and it started to rain. The weather changes so quickly here. I didn't mind, at least it was cooling me down a bit. I took a picture of a passing monorail.

Monorail.

Monorail.

Back in the hotel we got ready for dinner. The weather outside had turned appalling. There were huge flashes of lightning, massive roars of thunder, rain pounding against the windows. I was glad I had got home before that started. There was a time we did get caught outside in a storm like that here. It was really quite frightening.

It was pasta night in the lounge and I started off good just having a couple of beers and no wine. Then I spoiled it by ordering a margarita for Peter and sex on the beach for me. Well it is our last night of overindulgence.

Us with our cocktails.

Us with our cocktails.

Peter with his margarita.

Peter with his margarita.

Posted by irenevt 09:01 Archived in Malaysia Comments (7)

Lions, Villages and Pools.

Fourth Full Day.

storm

Smiling lion welcoming in the New Year..

Smiling lion welcoming in the New Year..

Another day another plate of nasi lemak. Bliss!

We were recovering from our rather large breakfast when we heard the pounding of drums, the banging of gongs and the crashing of cymbals. The unmistakable sound of lion dancing. Peter ordered me: "Go find it." It wasn't in the hotel. It was in a building across the street, but I got there in time to see most of it.

Lion dancing is wonderful. It's more of an acrobatic show than an actual dance. The loud noise from the instruments drives away evil. Meanwhile the lion twitches and turns and jumps from pole to pole. Every now and again it stops and spits out mandarin oranges at the crowd. If you catch one, it will bring you good luck in the new year. Businesses, schools, companies all pay for lion dancers at this time of year. They will chase away all the bad things from the year that is over and welcome in all the good things the new year will bring.

Heaven help us if a lion should ever miss its pole and fall to the floor. That would bring terrible catastrophes and at one point this lion seemed to jump beyond its poles. The crowd went crazy, myself included, as we screamed and feared what kind of mangled state the fallen dancer would be in, but it turned out to all be part of the act. The back end caught hold of the overambitious front end and held him dangling in the air briefly before returning him to the poles. The crowd went mental. Cheering and screaming with relief. It was all great fun.

Standing up in the Lion dance.

Standing up in the Lion dance.

Moving from pole to pole.

Moving from pole to pole.

What's that up there?

What's that up there?

Looking cute.

Looking cute.

Looking fierce.

Looking fierce.

At the end of the poles.

At the end of the poles.

The lion displays a welcoming in the new year banner.

The lion displays a welcoming in the new year banner.

The performers revealed.

The performers revealed.

The performers revealed.

The performers revealed.

When I came back to our room, we got ourselves ready for the pool. We could still hear the lion dancers performing somewhere else in the distance. They will do several performances today.

This time there were not too many people at the pool and it was almost as good as it used to be. We swam for a long time then, sat and enjoyed the sun for a while. Maybe the fact it was so crowded on Sunday put us off more than anything.

After swimming, we headed back up to our room. Peter wanted a rest. He doesn't need to be on the go all the time. He had swum for around an hour. I wanted to have a look at Kampung Bahru. I have been here once before.

Kampung Bahru is a traditional Malaysian village which was founded in 1900 when the British resettled villagers who were living near the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers. The British wanted to mine for tin in that area.

Over the years, as Kuala Lumpur was transformed into a modern city, areas like Kampung Bahru were knocked down and high-rise buildings were built in their place, but the villagers in Kampung Bahru fought against this and managed to keep their traditional Malaysian village. Thus, Kampung Bahru is now an area of traditional wooden houses, many on stilts. There are chickens wandering around, patches of vegetables growing and colourful flowers.

Entrance to the village, though it wasn't the way I came in.

Entrance to the village, though it wasn't the way I came in.

Entrance to the village.

Entrance to the village.

Traditional wooden house.

Traditional wooden house.

Traditional house on stilts.

Traditional house on stilts.

Traditional house on stilts.

Traditional house on stilts.

Wooden house.

Wooden house.

House and flowers.

House and flowers.

House and flowers.

House and flowers.

Flowers.

Flowers.

However, all around this rural oasis there are gleaming skyscrapers and high-rise residential blocks. The contrast is quite startling.

Contrast between urban and rural.

Contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

The contrast between urban and rural.

Some buildings are low rise but modern.

Some buildings are low rise but modern.

There are even many places where if you look up the famous twin towers are just behind the stilt houses.

The twin towers lurking in the background.

The twin towers lurking in the background.

Flowers and towers.

Flowers and towers.

School and towers.

School and towers.

As I wandered around there were a few cars and lots of motorbikes whizzing past. Some seemed to be delivery drivers. Though I suppose compared to the rest of Kuala Lumpur the traffic isn't too bad.

Main street.

Main street.

Motorbikes whizzing past.

Motorbikes whizzing past.

Motorbikes whizzing past.

Motorbikes whizzing past.

There are lots and lots of restaurants here and I think many Malays like to come here to eat. There were lots of traditional Malaysian restaurants, but other restaurants as well. It's a good place to come if you want to eat outside. There were also a few shops and, to my surprise, quite a few laundromats. I noticed that because in the Novotel pool, a guy from the cruise ship asked me if I knew where they could get laundry done. If I'd only known, I'd have said in Kampung Bahru.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Food stall.

Food stall.

Shop.

Shop.

Laundromat.

Laundromat.

Kuala Lumpur is quite predictable, just like the day before. The sky began to darken in the afternoon. Then suddenly the heavens opened and it was pouring with rain. I put on my raincoat and kept going.

Kampung Bahru was just one station away from Dang Wangi near our hotel in the opposite direction from the way I travelled yesterday to get to Masjid Jamek.

As I was making my way home the thunder started. Again this is very typical of this part of the world. I remember being out years ago in a terrible lighting storm. Today was just thunder and heavy rain.

After a short rest when I got in, Peter and I went for dinner in the lounge. It seemed to be Indian night so there was butter chicken, rogan josh, vegetable curry, cauliflower pakora, vegetable samosa and lemon rice.

Indian food.

Indian food.

I had too much to drink yesterday, so today I tried to be good. Peter, on the other hand, was determined to be bad and started ordering cocktails. We had a margarita and a tequila sunrise. He'd have kept going, but I somehow managed to get him back under control.

Peter with his margarita.

Peter with his margarita.

Peter with his tequila sunrise.

Peter with his tequila sunrise.

Me with the tequila sunrise. I ended up having to drink it as he didn't like it.

Me with the tequila sunrise. I ended up having to drink it as he didn't like it.

Me with the margarita. I'm just holding it honestly.

Me with the margarita. I'm just holding it honestly.

Both of us.

Both of us.

Posted by irenevt 11:59 Archived in Malaysia Comments (6)

Same, Same, but Different.

Days three and four.

sunny

The Masjid Jamek on the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers.

The Masjid Jamek on the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers.

On the Sunday we had to check out of the Novotel and move to the Renaissance. We stayed in this Novotel years ago and, although I scarcely remember it, it was a largely indifferent experience. However, this time we loved it.

We use Accor a lot nowadays, because we have their loyalty card and because of that we get free stuff or better treatment. Now on this visit, we had been told nothing about checkout time. We weren't sure if it was 11am or 12pm.

Peter said: "Phone reception and see if we can get a complimentary late check out."

I phoned and asked for a free late check out, the guy had just started to say: "I'm sorry Madam..."

When I cut in with: "My husband's gold."

"You mean Accor gold?" the receptionist asked.

"Yes, that's right," I said.

"What time would you like to leave, Madam?" was his reply.

What's not to love about that? I asked to leave at 2, expecting them to say no, but they gave us until 2.45.

The hotel we were moving to was not in the Accor group, but we wanted to stay in it because we have stayed there before and it has a huge swimming pool.

Anyway, we could enjoy the Novotel for one more morning and part of the afternoon. We went to breakfast and I got tucked in to the nasi lemak again.

Yes, the nasi lemak is good.

Yes, the nasi lemak is good.

What a breakfast.

What a breakfast.

After breakfast, I was sent out to find the way to the nearby Raja Chulan Monorail Station. It wasn't far, but when I tried to reactivate our dormant touch and go cards, the guy told me I couldn't. I asked to buy new ones. He said: "No only at KL Sentral Station." I don't know if that's right or not. It's certainly not what it says in the information and not what I have heard from other people. Anyway I headed back to the hotel and told Peter. He wasn't impressed.

Then we headed for the pool for our last swim here. As I mentioned before, the pool here is small, but there was almost noone there so it was great. We had a very pleasant swim then returned to the room and packed.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Peter in the pool.

Me in the pool.

Me in the pool.

Peter wasn't keen on travelling on the monorail, so he decided we were going to go to our next hotel by Grab. We have never used Grab or Uber or any of these car hire apps before. We didn't really know how it would work. However, once we managed to get Peter onto the app, it all went fairly smoothly and we were taken to our new hotel door to door for 9 Ringgit.

Now, as I mentioned above, the reason we were moving to a hotel that's not in the Accor group is because it has a huge swimming pool. We have stayed here about four times. We were a little concerned though, as the pool appeared to have been closed for a long time and we had seen reviews that mentioned renovation. We were worried it might actually be shut. At check in I enquired about the pool opening times and was told it was open from seven to seven. Phew! Everything was great. We went to our room which was very nice then headed down to the pool.

Our new room was very nice.

Our new room was very nice.

Out of a corner of our window we can see the twin towers.

Out of a corner of our window we can see the twin towers.

View from our window. I want to swim there with no other people in it.

View from our window. I want to swim there with no other people in it.

Horror of horrors!!!! Our beautiful, peaceful, lake sized pool had been revamped into something resembling a kids' waterpark. There were slides, playgrounds, hideous fake rocks. Everything was done in garish colours. The pool was still big, but about two thirds of its previous size and instead of being peaceful it was absolutely heaving. There were kids running, screaming, jumping, laughing everywhere. It was like being back at work!!!

I suspect this is all to do with COVID. This hotel used to be full of tourists. Then for around three years there were no tourists, so the hotel reinvented itself to attract local families. Most of the people at the pool were Malaysian. Of course, why shouldn't they be, it's Malaysia after all. I'm not trying to sound racist, but .... I think, I am normally fairly covered up and modest when I go swimming, but now everyone around me was in a burkini and I felt almost naked. As soon as I came out of the water, I put my hotel robe on to cover up.

We used to spend hours by this pool. This holiday both of us are swimming just for short lengths of time, trying to dodge all the people floating by on huge lilo type things. (Every now and again there was a traffic jam of these and it was impossible to swim.) We are finding that we can't get away from the pool fast enough. I doubt we will ever stay here again. I know we are both just totally spoilt, and if we hadn't known how wonderful this pool was before, we may not find it so bad now. It's great for families, but it's definitely no longer for us.

Our once upon a time beautiful pool just isn't any more.

Our once upon a time beautiful pool just isn't any more.

Ok it doesn't look that bad in my picture, but then you can't hear the screaming kids.

Ok it doesn't look that bad in my picture, but then you can't hear the screaming kids.

Peter seeking out a spot he can move in.

Peter seeking out a spot he can move in.

It wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't known what it was like before.

It wouldn't have been so bad if we hadn't known what it was like before.

In the evening we had access to the executive lounge with as much food and drink as we wanted. This was always brilliant before and was still very good on this stay. We sat next to an American guy called John, who very frequently stays in this hotel with his wife. He was really friendly. His work was connected to microbiology and his wife works with animals and they both travel all the time. We ended up swapping travel stories and it was great fun. We all had funny experiences to share and we laughed a lot. We didn't realise it at the time but we ended up staying way beyond closing time. The staff didn't seem to mind. They all seemed to love John. Just as an aside, John was also horrified by the changes that had taken place with the swimming pool, and said many regulars here have sworn never to come back, so it wasn't just us.

Next day we braved the pool again which was slightly less busy but still not a patch on how it used to be. Then I decided to go out exploring, but Peter didn't fancy coming with me. It would have involved too much walking for him.

I guess I am fairly boring and predictable, but I decided to make my way to the old colonial centre of Kuala Lumpur where I have been many times before. Well, in my defence, it's a good few years since I have been here.

I walked from the hotel to Dang Wangi LRT Station. I got a single journey token from the machine. I only wanted to travel one stop and it cost only one ringgit twenty. The machine only takes coins or one or five ringgit notes.

I got off the train at Masjid Jamek Station. I'm comfortable going here on my own as I know my way around. I headed first of all to Masjid Jamek Mosque, which is often referred to as the Friday Mosque. This was built in 1907 by British architect A.B Hubback, who designed many of Kuala Lumpur's famous landmarks. This mosque is located at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. Non-Muslims can only go in here at certain times. I didn't want to go in. I just wanted to take a photo. The man at the gate was fine about that and let me past to do that.

Masjid Jamek.

Masjid Jamek.

I then headed off behind the mosque and over a bridge. This bridge has good views towards some of the old colonial buildings which are very plentiful in this area such as the High Court. This was designed by A.C. Norman and was finished in 1909. Looking the other way I could see the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

The High Court building from the bridge.

The High Court building from the bridge.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building from the bridge.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building from the bridge.

I then decided to walk along behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which is the most famous of the old colonial buildings here. Firstly, I walked along the banks of the River Klang on which it is situated.

Kuala Lumpur means Muddy Confluence and this city originated at the junction of the Gombak and Klang Rivers. There are great views of the Masjid Jamek from here.

The Masjid Jamek.

The Masjid Jamek.

The confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers.

The confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers.

There are also lots of beautiful flowering trees and bushes.

Sweet smelling jasmine.

Sweet smelling jasmine.

Frangipani.

Frangipani.

Smith crepe ginger.

Smith crepe ginger.

Ixora.

Ixora.

Some of the buildings along the river are decorated with lovely, colourful paintings.

Painted building.

Painted building.

Detail.

Detail.

Detail.

Detail.

Painted building.

Painted building.

Detail.

Detail.

River walkway.

River walkway.

The back of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building is very pretty. It's probably more interesting than the front. It's got fountains, courtyards and art works to look at. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building dates back to 1897 and was designed by A.C. Norman and R.A.J. Bidwell in Mogul architectural style. It was named after the Sultan of Selangor. At one time it was a court and government offices. Now it is occupied by the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Detail.

Detail.

Selfie.

Selfie.

Painting and cat.

Painting and cat.

Fountain.

Fountain.

I decided to walk all the way to the old Kuala Lumpur Central Railway Station as it's one of my favourite buildings here. On the way the sky began to darken and it started pouring with rain. Parts of the pavement I was walking on became like ice rinks and at one point my foot suddenly slid from under me. I didn't fall, but my foot shot forward into a raised kerb and my big toe got badly cut. It bled a lot. I had to wrap it in tissue. I seem to be having a lot of bad luck this holiday.

The Old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station was designed by A.B.Hubback and dates from 1904. There's a lovely cafe here. Across the very busy road from the station is the elegant Railway Administration Building and an old colonial hotel. It's hard to photograph the railway station when you are right next to it.

The Railway Administration Building.

The Railway Administration Building.

The old railway building.

The old railway building.

The old railway building.

The old railway building.

The old railway building.

The old railway building.

Old colonial style Majestic Hotel.

Old colonial style Majestic Hotel.

I decided to head back towards the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Merdeka Square.The rain was beginning to ease off and my foot wasn't bleeding quite so badly.

I passed the beautiful Textile Museum, which I did not photograph as it was having some renovation done and wasn't looking its best

I crossed the road to the old padang area which was once Kuala Lumpur's cricket green. There are interesting buildings all around.

One used to be the Old Chartered Bank Building. This dates from 1919. Apparently in 1926 the basement here got flooded and when the waters receded millions of bank notes had to be spread out on the cricket field to dry.

The Old Chartered Bank Building.

The Old Chartered Bank Building.

Next door is the former Government Printing Office, a lovely Mogul style building built by A.C. Norman in 1899. It once served as a Memorial Library but is now the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. It's free to enter here and it houses old photos of Kuala Lumpur, a restaurant and a pretty courtyard.

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.

The courtyard.

The courtyard.

Restaurant.

Restaurant.

Outside there's an I love Kuala Lumpur statue that people like to pose for selfies with.

I love KL sculpture.

I love KL sculpture.

Next door is the Kuala Lumpur This is an attractive looking building. I didn't go inside.

Kuala Lumpur Library.

Kuala Lumpur Library.

Kuala Lumpur Library.

Kuala Lumpur Library.

I then wandered around Dataran Merdeka, which means Independence Square. It was here that the Union Flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag hoisted for the first time at midnight on the 31st of August 1957. There's a huge flagpole here.

Flagpole.

Flagpole.

I had a quick look at the nearby Victoria Fountain. This was originally intended to be placed outside the market, but was relocated here due to fears it would block traffic.

The Victoria Fountain.

The Victoria Fountain.

On the far side of the Padang is the Royal Selangor Club, which dates back to 1884. This started out as a tiny wooden building, but was later redesigned in Tudor style. I believe it is still a members only club.

Royal Selangor Club.

Royal Selangor Club.

Royal Selangor Club.

Royal Selangor Club.

Royal Selangor Club.

Royal Selangor Club.

I walked up the front side of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. There's a prominent clock tower in the middle of it.

Front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building viewed across the Padang.

Front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building viewed across the Padang.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

At the far end of the Padang there's a pretty garden seating area and nearby is the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin, which dates from 1894 and is a beautiful building. This is currently undergoing renovation, so I couldn't go in and didn't bother photographing it covered in scaffolding.

Garden at the end of the Padang.

Garden at the end of the Padang.

I took one last look at the colonial area and snapped a couple of examples of street art then I returned to the hotel. Neither of us really felt like swimming again so we just relaxed until it was time for dinner in the club lounge.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

Street art.

One last look.

One last look.

Posted by irenevt 02:59 Archived in Malaysia Comments (6)

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