This was it, our final day in Malaysia! Our plan for the day was going to revolve around eating and swimming. We planned to visit the famous Bukit Bintang, the popular eating and shopping area of KL. The area has long been Kuala Lumpur’s most prominent retail belt that is home to many landmark shopping centres, al-fresco cafés, swanky bars, night markets, as well as hawker-type eateries.
Despite it being our last day in a comfy hotel bed, before flying over night home, we didn’t really manage a sleep in past 7am, kids! It was down to the hotel restaurant for our last breakfast. After 12 days of amazing buffets, the kids were sick of unlimited options and end up eating all bran and cornflakes…. until they got stuck into the soft-boiled eggs (served with a jug of soy sauce) and donuts. Anto and I embraced our curry breakfast for the last time, you can never have too much breakfast curry…..
Since we missed our swim the previous day swim due to the torrential downpour and lightning, we planned a relaxing morning in the pool prior to check-out. It was already rather warm out but there weren’t many people yet in the pool so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Sadly the bar wasn’t open but we survived!
It seemed much more sensible to stay in the pool all day than wander around in the heat, but our hotel check-out was 12pm and our flight out a good eight hours later. This meant there was plenty of time that should really have been used with eating, drinking and shopping. We eventually got ourselves organised, checked-out and left our bags at the hotel before heading down to the monorail.
The monorail was reasonably efficient the previous day so we decided to stick with what worked and caught it down to Bukit Bintang for lunch, a wander, and a spot of shopping before our long night of travel. While there was no shortage of really good food in the Nu Sentral shopping mall attached to our hotel we hadn’t ventured to the famous Bukit Bintang area during our trip, so that was our afternoon plan. We had been hanging out for satay but most of the hawker places weren’t yet running (despite being almost 1pm). Apparently it’s much busier at dinner. No we didn’t have satay options but we did have plenty of other delicious food smells to go and check out. Soren was obviously tired as had already started napping in the ergo on the walk to lunch….
We weren’t all that hungry but it was our last meal in Malaysia and a long time before we hit dinner in Singapore so we decided to indulge. We picked a street stall that looked (and smelt) pretty good and were ushered to some seats. It was mid 30’s out but quite pleasant in the shade with the fans on. The kids loved watching the cooking and the motorbikes going up and down the street. Anto had black pepper crab, the kids had pork char siu, I found a chilli tofu dish and garlic lettuce that were actually vegetarian.
Soren still loves the free soups you get with your meal, he has become a soup fiend! All the food was delicious and we ate more than we needed. With full bellies, it was back out into the midday heat.
We decided to head over towards Berjaya Times Square but in our efforts to walk in airconditioning for as much time as possible meant we accidentally wandered into ‘Malaysia’s largest IT mall’. Anto insisted on a wander. The mall was huge and we didn’t really find anything we desperately needed and I was getting bored with looking at cables. Poor tired Soren was back asleep in the ergo so we departed after about 7 floors and continued to find ways to walk around in the cool.
We eventually found our way to Berjaya Times Square without too much outside walking. Berjaya Times Square is a 48-storey, 203 m twin tower, hotel, condominium, indoor amusement park and shopping centre complex in Bukit Bintang. The building was opened in 2003 and is the world’s 9th largest building. One of the quirkiest features of Berjaya Times Square is that it contains a theme park, with a full-sized roller-coaster.
The shopping mall actually seemed quite run-down, for what was supposed to be a high-end mall, not at all what we were expecting. It was enormous though and strangely had large nets strung between some of the floors. This did make us wonder what people were doing!
We had a quick wander past some of the shops but we mostly wanted to see the theme park. The kids were under the height limit for a lot of the rides. There were a few things they could have gone on but Soren was fast asleep and we only had an hour before having to head back to Sentral (and there was an entry fee to the park) so we just watched the indoor rollercoaster for awhile which was totally freaky, as were a few of the other large spinning rides. Indoor theme parks are a little odd but it was cool!
All done with Berjaya Times Square we caught the monorail back to Sentral for some coffee at our favourite coffee place (conveniently located 20 metres from our hotel). KL seemed to have a plethora of good coffee places, we’d found good coffee easy to come by. Poor old tired Soren napped the whole time, given the long night ahead we weren’t waking him up in a hurry.
After our coffee stop we grabbed our bags from the hotel and were straight down to the KLIA express. Staying in Sentral certainly was convenient for moving bags around! Unlike the regular trains, the KLIA express was actually express and we were out to the airport within half an hour.
Obviously tired, Anto and I had for some reason thought our flight was half an hour earlier than it was so we ended up arriving at the airport 3.5 hours before our evening flight to Singapore. Qantas doesn’t have a lounge at KLIA so an earlier arrival didn’t seem ideal. It turns out we needed the extra time.
We were on a Jetstar Asia flight to Singapore and once we got to check-in the counter still wasn’t open….and there was already a huge line…. 3.5 hours before our flight. To make matters worse the line was moving extremely slowly as it seemed everyone was arguing about luggage. Once we finally made it to the counter, we didn’t have the luggage issue as we had heaps of allowance we weren’t even using, but we did have an issue trying to all get seated together. It did eventually all get sorted, by us getting moved down the back of the plane.
We had planned to go duty-free shopping to use up the last of our local currency but kids were getting rapidly tired so we thought we’d leave the shopping until after immigration. Lucky we did as it took almost an hour to get through immigration. There were only 8 people in front of us but the line just wasn’t moving, nor was any other line. Immigration seemed to be having trouble with the fingerprint scans and our fingerprints weren’t on file as we’d come into Malaysia through Hong Kong (which meant we skipped the fingerprint scan). They did eventually decide we could leave the country and we got through customs and in the long walk to the gate and we couldn’t find much in the way of shopping, but the kids did say hello to a giant animatronic cow. In the end we had a whole 10 minutes at the gate before boarding, so much for all that time to kill.
Both kids were pretty much ready to sleep just before we boarded, and were wide awake by the time we actually made it to our seats. The flight from KL to Singapore was around an hour and was due in at around 9pm. We had hoped the kids would rest on the flight, as it was a very late flight out of Singapore. Instead they talked non-stop and devoured chicken sandwhiches. Astrid finally fell asleep on landing……
We are frequent visitors to Singapore airport and made the familiar (long) walk down to Qantas Club. We seem to visit the Singapore Qantas Club often enough that we have our own spot we always sit and favourite dishes. We all tucked into some good food (the Singapore club is always amazing for the food). The kids were happy to have their usual spot and toys and drove all the nearby Rugby-watching Aussies mad with their constant over-tired chatting.
Despite not flying out until midnight, did the kids rest in Qantas Club? Not a chance! They had almost given up when it was time head out for boarding. They were pretty much ready to collapse and all the adults left in the lounge looked shattered, but they kept going.
As we walked down to the gate Soren fell asleep immediately in the ergo. Unlike pretty much every other airport in the world they always seem to let me go through gate security with the kids still in a sling or ergo. With a now totally asleep 2-year-old this was a blessing. We got to board ahead of the now long line due to the kids. Soren thankfully stayed asleep even when transferred from the ergo to his seat. Astrid was somehow back to chatting non-stop but eventually fell asleep just before takeoff. We were delayed (on the plane) by almost 40 minutes and Anto and I had our eyes hanging out of our heads waiting for take-off so we could lay the kids seats back for them once the seatbelt sign went off.
Once finally in the air, we got the most amazing views of the city as we flew over. It’s been ages since we went out on that flight path on a clear night, and of course I’d stowed my camera in the overhead locker, with plans of sleeping. I was kicking myself but Anto and I agreed we’ll just have to go back to Singapore soon for a proper (non-airport based) visit.
A post-midnight departure is torturous until you get in the air, and then it flew. Soren did not stir until 40 minutes before the end of the flight. Astrid was awake for the last 2 hours but was otherwise very well-behaved. Anto and I only managed small amounts of sleep but the flight passed pretty quickly as we were exhausted. We always prefer flying overnight with the kids, and again it was a really easy flight. People around us commented on how well-behaved the kids were, most of them seemed surprised they’d had kids sitting next to them for a 8 hour flight as they hadn’t heard a peep out of them.
The easy bit of the flight ended 30 minutes before landing. We hit lots of turbulence coming into Sydney. Astrid, the rollercoaster queen, was even feeling sick. The huge plane was bouncing around and dipping sideways, followed by violently rotating from one side to another. It was one of the worst landings we’ve had in a long time and it turns out 1 runway was closed due to wind just after we landed.
Once on the ground it was an uneventful and quick transfer through customs and over to domestic transfer. We did have to briefly walk outside and all declared it to be freezing at 18 degrees celsius! Even in airconditioning we hadn’t been that cold in 2 weeks.
We made it to domestic Qantas Club with an hour for some brunch and much needed coffee. Again we spend a bit of time here and the kids quickly found their regular spot and commenced plane watching.
Almost home, things went a little pear-shaped when the flight before ours to Canberra was called at the same time as ours which we thought was weird. It wasn’t until we reached the gate we learnt about the runway closure. They still boarded us on time but that was about it. There was a very long queue for take-off with only 1 runway operating, so we sat on a fully loaded dash 8 on the tarmac for over an hour. Our hostie warned it going to be rough for the entire flight so proceeded to give us our meal service while sitting on the tarmac and handed out plenty of puke bags since we were possibly going to be needing them. This is the bit where we really wanted to be home already!
We did eventually take-off ,well after we should have landed. The flight was rather rough, and particularly unpleasant. Somehow the exhausted kids both fell asleep mid-flight and snoozed until landing. Given how tired they were and the extensive delays they had been pretty good, perhaps in an effort to convince us to take them on another holiday soon!
After a rather long transit leg from Malaysia we made it home by 2.30pm, all tired but in one piece. Our duty-free alcohol did not fair so well, the rather bouncy flight from Sydney to Canberra lead to some bottles being smashed, but best not cry over spilt duty-free alcohol. The rest of the trip had been pretty good.
Daily statistics for 2 September 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – the temperature range for the day was 24 to 33 degrees, with humidity of 100% and the heat index reaching 38 degrees. The total walking for the day was 11.7 km.
That’s a wrap for our Hong Kong and Malaysia trip. I hope you all enjoyed the posts and pictures of our latest adventure. The next trip is already in the works, more details on that to come soon…….