I stood on the edge of Bukit Bintang Street waiting for the Go KL City Bus-Green Line to arrive. That time I intended to revisit the Petronas Twin Tower. That would be the fifth visit to the famous twin towers.
“Do you bore, Donny?”, is a question that might arise.
“It’s not a matter of being bored or not, I have to fulfill a sponsor’s message at that famous spot”, maybe that would be my answer.
Go KL City Bus physically had the same color on each lane. Therefore I was always alert if the bus started to look slow in the distance. I had to quickly catch the path information printed on the LCD screen mounted right on the top of the windshield. The Go KL City Bus had come from other routes twice, it was understandable that the Pavilion bus stop was a stop where three Go KL City Bus lines passed, namely the Purple Line, Blue Line, and Green Line.
After ten minutes of waiting, it was clear at the end of the road, a Go KL City Bus unit was trying to approach the bus stop by breaking through the traffic jam. I just wished it was a green line bus. Getting closer, the writing on the LCD screen was visible, it was indeed Go KL City, Bus-Green Line. So get ready to get in it.
I got on it from the front door as soon as the bus finished dropping off some of the passengers. The number of passengers who entered made me not got a seat, and had to stand in the middle.
From the Bukit Bintang area, the bus moved towards the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) area. But before arriving at the destination, the bus would first turn from the south side and then turned towards the north side. I arrived right at the KLCC bus stop which was on the edge of Ampang Street.
I came down from the middle door….
The immediately visible sight was the existence of the giant legs of the Petronas Twin Tower which felt so close. Not lingering, I rushed to the courtyard of that giant twin buildings.
The heat of the sun had forced me to find a place sheltered by trees. I found that place on the pedestrian walkway on the right side of the tower. From that point of view, I also started completing sponsorship messages, namely sponsors who at least helped pay for my trip at that time.
Visiting the 88-floor twin buildings always invited admiration, how could it not be, for six years that twin buildings have claimed themselves as the tallest buildings in the world? At least that had made Malaysia proud in the world economic arena.
The twin towers owned by a giant property company, namely KLCC Property Holdings, appear green when observed closely. Another feature that was easy to remember was the existence of a sky bridge that connected the two towers on floors 41 and 42.
That time, my stop-by time at the twin towers took place quickly, no more than twenty minutes. Therefore I tried to enjoy it by paying attention to the scenery around the tower area. Let’s see, what were the spots around the Petronas Twin Towers. Here it was:
I wished my adventure at the Petronas Twin Towers had ended with the finishing of a sponsor’s message. I would not sit longer in the courtyard of the twin towers.
Then I stepped into the expanse of Green Open Space which was located right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of business activities taking place in Kuala Lumpur City Centre.
I decided to leave the courtyard of KL Tower. My feet stepped following the contours of the road winding down the hill. A quarter of an hour later I was at the south end of Puncak Street, right where it intersects with P. Ramlee Street.
Standing on a sidewalk, I was still thinking, “Should it be better to reach THE WELD bus stop to go to Bukit Bintang?”.
But as soon as my feet stepped, a Go KL City Bus Blue Line quickly passed in front of me and then stopped a hundred meters north to get on and off passengers. I quickly decided, “There’s nothing wrong with going around the city using the Go KL City Bus-Blue Line, that way I can explore the north side of the city before arriving at Bukit Bintang.”
Stepped my feet towards the bus stop and in five minutes I arrived. This was the Menara Hap Seng bus stop, one of the stops where the Go KL City Bus-Blue Line stops. Meanwhile, the Menara Hap Seng (Hap Seng Tower) is a 22-story office building right across from the bus stop.
Shortly thereafter, the bus arrived and I boarded it from the front door. I was getting ready to explore the north of the city using this free bus. Thanks to the bus services, I finally had the opportunity to explore the streets in the Bukit Nanas and Dang Wangi areas to then arrived at the Terminal Transit Antar Bandar (IUTT/Inter-city Transit Terminal) – Tun Razak Street.
This is the Hub Terminal for Go KL City Bus-Blue Line located in the Titiwangsa area. The bus I was on apparently had to stop for a while and the driver directed me to move to the front bus which was ready to depart along the Blue Line route.
I got off and changed to the Go KL City-Bus Blue Line at the forefront which was already on standby by starting the engine and filling every seat with passengers. Luckily there was still a seat available for me. Shortly after I got on, the bus slowly left IUTT Terminal – Tun Razak Street.
Now the bus was headed south along the streets in the Kampung Baru area and after that, the bus started to enter the area I was headed for, namely the Bukit Bintang area. I was familiar with the streets in this area because that was the fourth time I have been to that famous shopping and entertainment center in Kuala Lumpur.
As expected, the bus slowly started to stagnate in the traffic jam. While I began to shift to a bench near the door. I would get off at the Pavilion bus stop. The pavilion itself is a shopping center integrated with office buildings, apartments, and hotels. Consistent pushing through traffic jams, the Go KL City Bus finally arrived at the place I was going.
I descended from it and rushed across Bukit Bintang Street to arrive at the Pavilion’s courtyard.
There was something very different, if usually this courtyard was enlivened by mall visitors passing by, now the crowd had turned into a lion dance stage. Apparently at that time “The World Dragon & Lion Dance Extravaganza” was taking place. Unmitigatedly, the event was attended by YB Tuan Haji Khalid Bin Abdul Samad, the Minister of Federal Territories of Malaysia….The show was a big event and I was thankful that I was accidentally able to enjoy the show.
That day, the courtyard of the Pavilion was red with the typical ethnic Chinese colors, which were also the typical colors of the lion dance. Many members of the performing troupe busied around the Pavilion preparing to take the stage.
Meanwhile, the rhythm of the drum beat being played by one of the groups made anyone’s adrenaline go up when they hear it. I, who had been curious, could never push forward to the front. The front area was already filled with spectators who must have arrived earlier.
I, who could not watch the show with my own eyes, could only raise my camera high and recorded the show so that later I could replay the show from the camera screen.
After half an hour I tried to enjoy the show. Time slowly crept towards twelve o’clock as the air raised its temperature.
Unable to stand under the scorching sun, I went back to the Pavilion bus stop.
All night my sleep was interrupted by the snoring of a guest who was fast asleep to the right of my bed. Not only myself, but I could also feel the protests of a guest who slept right under a snoring guest’s bunk bed. Over and over again I could feel him hitting the bottom of the bunk bed where a snoring guest was sleeping. Maybe he felt the same way. Upset….Because he couldn’t sleep well.
Feeling unwell, I decided to just wash my body under the hot shower in the shared bathroom. A splash of warm water could at least relax every inch of my body which wasn’t one hundred percent fresh that morning.
That morning, I had to pack all the equipment back into my backpack and then leave it at the reception desk. My stay ended at noon and at that time, I was still downtown.
After taking a shower and tidying up my backpack, I headed to the reception to check out, returned the locker key, and took the deposit. Luckily, the reception staff from Egypt was already at his desk making it easier for me to speed up the process because I had to catch the Go KL City Bus departure as early as possible.
My backpack had been neatly stored and I rushed down the stairs to get out of the inn. Once outside, I immediately looked for a seat on the terrace of shops that were still closed for breakfast. Breakfast this time was still the same as last night’s dinner menu….Yup, I could still rely on oat powder. To be honest, I already ran out of Ringgit that morning, I only had Ringgit left to take the airport bus this afternoon and have a modest dinner at KLIA2.
From this, it could be concluded that I would go around the city without spending even the slightest bit of money….Yes, I would never spend it.
Luckily, the streets were still quiet. This situation certainly reduced the burden of embarrassment when I had to sip spoon after spoonful of oat powder wet with a splash of mineral water.
Thank God breakfast was over….The adventure began.
I headed to the Pasar Seni Bus Hub to look for the Go KL City Bus Purple Line. The free purple line bus would take me to the KL Tower complex.
KL Tower is a telecommunication transmitter tower, broadcasting tower, altitude culinary tour, and city viewpoint from above.
From a distance, I saw clearly that the bus was already in position. So as soon as I arrived at the platform, I just got on it from the front door. Only a few passengers were already occupying the seats. This was what makes me have to wait about ten minutes….At least to fill the empty seats with passengers who were slowly arriving.
At eight in the morning, the Go KL City Bus Purple Line finally departed….
While sitting, I thought that KL Tower was a tall building, so I just relaxed. Of course, I only needed to stop at any bus stop near the KL Tower building which would be visible from a distance because it was so high.
The Go KL City Bus slowly ran in Sultan Street to leave the Pasar Seni area. As soon as I arrive along Raja Chulan Street, KL Tower was visible from the bus window. I just needed to make sure when to get off at the nearest bus stop. Several times the Go KL City Bus stopped at the bus stop, but I still couldn’t get off. I still hoped that the bus would stop at a shelter that was closer to KL Tower.
There was an exception, instead of getting closer, the Go KL City Bus was getting farther and farther away from KL Tower. “Ahhhh, damn….I’d gone too far and instead of slowing down the bus was getting faster and faster”, I leaned against the bus window. Due to that stupidity, I just gave up following where the Go KL City Bus went. I decided to return to the Pasar Seni and repeated the journey from scratch….Too bad.
After 40 minutes of travel, the Go KL City Bus finally arrived at Pasar Seni.
“Ridiculous….”, I cursed myself.
Now I got off the Go KL City Bus and moved to the bus in the front which was ready to depart. Luckily for me, the Go KL City Bus left immediately when a few seconds earlier I stepped inside.
Now I put on a wary attitude when sitting on one of its seats. I would decide to just get off when I saw that KL Tower could reach within walking distance.
That moment has arrived….
The bus stopped at a bus stop and I jumped down from the middle door.
“THE WELD….”, I read the signboard on a skyscraper that stood right behind the bus stop where I got off.
Now I was on Raja Chulan Street and THE WELD itself is a 26-story office complex located 800 meters east of KL Tower.
From THE WELD, I cut off P. Ramlee street to then took fifty steps into a smaller street, Puncak Street. This was the main road to get to the KL Tower which was built on higher ground.
Panting for a quarter of an hour, finally I arrived at the courtyard of KL Tower. Back in 2014, I had the opportunity to cross this tower when I tried the KL Hop On Hop Off to get around the city. Only, at that time I went down for less than five minutes to see it. This was all because KL Hop On Hop Off rushed to explore the city.
That time I would be a little longer in enjoying the charm of this communication tower that wasn’t less than a quarter of a century old. How could I not be happy, when I finally had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a tower whose height was included in the ranks of the ten tallest towers in the world?
The uniqueness that could be seen for the first time was the roof of the basic building which used a series of tapering patterns. My mind then referred to the roof of the Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, at the upper end between the mast and the antenna, there was a round building that was the center of broadcasting, telecommunication, restaurant, observation deck, and sky deck activities.
As far as I knew, to enjoy the observation deck, visitors must pay 49 Ringgit….While the sky deck tour price reached 99 Ringgit….Woouuooww.
I stepped towards the KL Tower entrance gate to see the activity there up close. Of course, I won’t go up to the top for a tour, it’s too expensive for a visitor like me who just stopped by in Kuala Lumpur.
It wasn’t that crowded, so far only a few European tourists decided to buy tickets and went up to the top of the tower, while I just watched the remnants of the programming competition that was held the day before yesterday. The competition was titled HR Hackathon.
Shifting to the right of the tower, there was another attraction. On that side stood a ticket sales counter for visiting the KL Tower Mini Zoo (KLTMZ). Existing information boards said that KLTMZ contains no less than fifty native and exotic species. And to see these unique species, visitors needed to spend up to 30 Ringgit.
Move again towards the front of the tower. There was a KL Tower F1 Zone which provided a Formula One simulator for the public. Visitors could feel the sensation of driving the land jet by paying 20 Ringgit for six minutes of driving in the simulator. The walls of the KL Tower F1 Zone were bright red, in harmony with the colors of one of the leading racing teams in Formula One’s premier racing event. It’s just that, when I visited KL Tower, the KL Tower F1 Zone was still closed. Maybe I arrived too early.
Oh yes, the KL Tower F1 Zone was also equipped with a Formula One Cafe & Mart…
But just looking at the cafe & mini market from outside for a moment, I saw the arrival of the white KL Hop On Hop Off with the upper deck partly open. Suddenly I ran towards it, it’s been six years since I’ve ever met up close with that tour bus. It turned out that in the courtyard of the tower, there was a KL Hop On Hop Off shelter. No wonder the tour bus stopped to drop off the tourists.
It didn’t take long to stop, dropping only 5 tourists, the bus stepped on its gas pedal again. But not long after, there was a familiar accent when the five female tourists were talking to each other after getting off the bus. “That’s the Surabaya accent….”, I concluded. I decided to say hello and spoke for a while. I hadn’t met Indonesians for four days, so there was nothing wrong with speaking for a moment. Because of that incident, I knew that the five were female workers who were traveling to Kuala Lumpur. From our conversation too, I knew that they were working in Penang.s
As usual, Indonesians always have their characteristics. They finally asked me to take a photo with the KL Tower as a background.
I? ….Yes, of course, I also asked to be photographed….I was originally from Indonesia….The Republic of Indonesia exactly…Hahaha
I was at the end of a visit to KL Tower. To close this short visit, I entered the front half area of KL Jungle Eco Park. Formerly known as the Hutan Simpan Bukit Nanas, it was one of Malaysia’s oldest permanent forest reserves. To enter this forest reserve visitors must be willing to spend 40 Ringgit.
On the first step out of the Central Market area, there was a betrayal of intentions. My steps still didn’t accept heading to the inn.
It was almost nine o’clock in the evening….
“Central Market may begin to lose its charisma, swallowed up by darkness, but not Petaling Street. The crowds have just started there”, I began to force my intention to change direction, even though my body was already shattered due to the nearly nine-hour journey from Kuala Terengganu that morning to the afternoon.
I stepped north to completely devour Hang Kasturi Street until I cut off Jalan Leboh Pasar Besar Street at a t-junction. The T-junction was marked by the existence of the UOB building and the Pacific Express Hotel. The situation was still crowded along the road. So that I was even more engrossed and felt safe when I stepped east until I met an intersection marked by the Maybank Building. The intersection brought together four roads, namely Yap Ah Loy Street from the east, Tun H S Lee Street from the north, Leboh Pasar Besar Street from the west, and Petaling Street from the south.
Yap Ah Loy Street….Who is Yap Ah Loy?
Yes, Yap Ah Loy is the Chinese figure who first prospered in the Pasar Seni area by building a tapioca factory. The prosperity brought about by his business activities has helped a lot in developing Chinatown in the Pasar Seni area.
OK, let’s continue my short journey….
Because I wanted to visit Petaling Street, I had to head south from the intersection earlier. The road I took was part of the Petaling Street section. This is a popular street in the Chinatown area that runs from north to south for nearly 800 meters. But Petaling Street I mean in the title of this article is part of its section that provides 300 meters long protective roofed commerce stalls.
However, apart from taking advantage of Petaling Street, this street bazaar also widens to the east and west to take advantage of the side of Hang Lekir Street which does not have a protective roof.
Exactly nine in the evening…..
I arrived at the gate of Petaling Street. I crossed the wide intersection paved with neat paving blocks to enter the initial area of Petaling Street. As soon as I passed through the gate, the easiest thing to remember was the rows of lanterns hanging from the ceiling. In addition, the concrete-paved streets with paving block motifs and pillars and roof trusses made of steel perfectly straddling the road were things that could be quickly captured in memory when passing by.
The fundamental difference from the lanes in this commercial area is….The route along Petaling Street is dominated by stalls selling souvenirs, various clothes, bags, shoes, wallets, accessories, and other knick-knacks with Malaysian smells. Meanwhile, along Hang Lekir Street, we can easily find food stalls that are dominated by Chinese food and various other street foods such as roasted walnuts, fruits, drinks, and others. As an illustration, for various types of drinks, from soy milk to fruit juice, the price is only 1.8 – 6 Ringgit….Cheap, right?
However, the very cheap and negotiable price of souvenirs certainly indicated that these products would be easy to buy by tourists. Therefore, we need to be observant to bid before deciding to buy.
Petaling Street is indeed an idol trading place in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from that, Petaling Street also describes an existence for efforts to preserve Chinese culture in Kuala Lumpur.
On my fifth visit to Petaling Street, I only explored it in less than half an hour.
Exactly half past ten….
I decided to back to the inn because my eyes were getting sleepy and my body was feeling worn out.
After sipping the oat powder, I walked away from the edge of Tun Sambanthan Street. Crossing it to reach the Central Market courtyard.
In the courtyard, I stood still, looking at all the market buildings which were sparkling with lamps. This was one of the landmarks in Kuala Lumpur which is more than 130 years old.
“Hhmmhhh….Central Market, what should we do on my fourth visitation this time?”, I thought.
“Ohh…Better to dissect every corner of it tonight”, I decided.
From the front yard of the Central Market, I shifted to the east side of the building. This was the Kasturi Walk, a 75-meter-long path filled with shops selling clothes, fruits, local food (one of them is Ipoh white bean), children’s toys, handicrafts, and other souvenirs.
Kasturi Walk is a part of the Central Market which is unique because along the way it is covered with a roof where at the base of the roof a typical Malaysian kite design is pinned. Kasturi Walk itself only takes a small part of Hang Kasturi Street which stretches for nearly half a kilometer.
Please note, if the Central Market was the king of wet markets in the past then Hang Kasturi Street was famous as the dry market.
I was amazed enjoying the crowd along that path even though none of the items were purchased. Nothing else, because my intention was only to complete the exploration of the Central Market.
After exploring each end of Kasturi Walk, I immediately entered the Central Market building. I also entered it in 2014 when I was shopping for t-shirts and key chains for some colleagues in Jakarta. But now, I would just walk through its corner by corner, floor by floor then found out more about its contents.
Entering through the east door, I was faced with a row of stalls divided by a long corridor. Rows of stalls offered souvenir knick-knacks, sparkling gemstones, dry fruits, various kinds of aromatherapy, batik, communication tools, and other merchandise.
Located in the center of the room, a welcome sign in various languages hangs from the market ceiling to welcome all visitors. Meanwhile, the favorite place for visitors on the first floor is the well-known outlet….Old Town White Coffee.
I climbed the stairs to the second floor after finishing my exploration on the first floor. Seen on the second floor, there were corners for the promotion of tourism and the culture of Malaysia. This was an important advantage of the Central Market, besides being a shopping center, it also functioned as the face of tourism and Malaysian culture.
After visiting the cultural corner, at least I understood that the Central Market regularly holds Cultural Dances which were held on the outdoor stage (Central Market courtyard). From that cultural point of view, I also received information that in the Sarawak area, Malaysia had a part of the Dayak ethnic group called the Laki Iban. In that corner, they also introduced their typical clothes, nicknamed Kelambi and Sirat.
The rest of the second floor looked crowded with the existence of the Central Market Food Court. The food court was inhabited by all kinds of stalls. Apart from various typical Malaysian soups and special dishes from Penang or Ipoh didn’t miss the typical Thai taste. Meanwhile, Kopitiam would facilitate the enjoyment of coffee in other ways.
As an illustration, food prices at the Central Market Food Court also vary and could accommodate visitors with various wallet thicknesses. Starting from 1.9 Ringgit for the price of a piece of Sunny Side Up to 24.9 Ringgit to make up for a portion of Grilled Lamb Chop.
Apart from being a food court, part of the second floor is also enlivened by rows of clothing shops, with batik being an idol on this floor. I continued my steps by enjoying the typical patterns of Malaysian batik.
Finally, even one hour I went around and observed the activities of visitors at the Central Market until the shopping center began to quiet because it was late at night. I slowly started to go down the stairs to arrive downstairs and got ready to go back to the inn.
I had to wash and rest because tomorrow I would explore several tourist spots in Kuala Lumpur until noon.
I rushed down the escalator after escalator to go to the 3rd floor of Bersepadu Selatan Terminal and immediately decided to get out via the connecting bridge to Bandar Tasik Selatan Station.
Arriving in front of the row of ticketing vending machines, I immediately looked for a ticket to Pasar Seni Station, which I would take using two integrated train routes, namely the Seremban LRT and Kelana Jaya LRT. I put 3.5 Ringgit into the machine to get a blue token to go to the Pasar Seni which was ten kilometers to the north.
It didn’t take long for the Seremban LRT to arrive and I entered the middle carriage. That afternoon the train was full, and I had to stand until the train arrived at KL Sentral.
You need to know that Pasar Seni is an area that is located just two kilometers north of KL Sentral. From KL Sentral, I rushed down and headed for the LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya platform to reach Pasar Seni Station.
At almost seven o’clock I arrived at the Pasar Seni…..
I momentarily pulled over in the corner of the station platform to observe the busy area of the Pasar Seni from above. It was been three times I’d explored the area since 2014, meaning this was the fourth time I’d arrived at the same place. Bored?…. Of course not, there were always new and interesting things that I could find even in the same place.
Towards dark, I started down the steps of Pasar Seni Station and started walking down Hang Kasturi Street to reach the inn, namely The Bed Station. The inn I chose was quite close to Pasar Seni Station, only needed to walk 200 meters.
Finding the inn’s location, I rushed in at an unguarded and unlocked door, only a stairway leading up, connecting several floors.
The reception desk I was looking for was located on the second floor. I entered the room where its situation was still empty and quiet. To then decided to take a seat in front of the reception desk to wait for the hotel staff to arrive.
Finally, fifteen minutes later, the male staff arrived.
“Hellooo….”, he friendly greeted.
“Hi….I want to check in”, I got up from my seat and approached the reception desk then handed over the online booking confirmation sheet and passport.
“Let me see!…. Your name is in our system. Ok, 22 Ringgit for room and 20 Ringgit for deposit”, he started to close the transaction.
“Why don’t several hotels in some cities in Malaysia require a deposit?”, I was feeling astonished
“I don’t know about that. I’m originally from Egypt, so I don’t know more…”, he explained still with a smile.
“Just take a bunk bed in your room….All the choices are up to you”, he handed me the locker key.
After completing the transaction, I headed to the 3rd floor via the stairs to enter the room. The room was full, with 20 bunk beds in the room leaving only a bunk bed near the door.
“Oh, this is my bed”, I smiled frowning.
The dorm room was empty, all guests were probably having an adventure in the city. Later that night, before going to bed, I found out that the guests were all a group from another city in Malaysia because they spoke Malay to each other. I guessed it was a group of students who were on a study tour because one of them was called a teacher.
I went around the 3rd floor looking for a shared kitchen but never found it. There was only a shared bathroom on a side of the stairs and a shared lobby in the form of a chair row with an elongated hanging table which was usually used by guests to work with their laptops. There was only a long sofa available in this shared lobby.
“Wow, that means I have to eat out”, I immediately decided to leave from the 3rd floor.
It was already eight in the evening….
That night I would only fully explore all sides of Central Market. Even though I’d visited it three times, I hadn’t even explored it in detail. So that night I will complete my intention.
I went back down Hang Kasturi Street heading north. Until arriving at a big T-junction.
“I have to have dinner soon, before going any further”, I decided to sit on one of the concrete benches on the edge of Tun Sambanthan Street.
I confidently opened the oat powder package, poured it into the foldable lunchbox, filled it down with mineral water, then started my very simple dinner. I deliberately sat on the side of the road because, on the upper side, the LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya went back and forth across the road beautifully.
Towards sunset, I arrived at Bersepadu Selatan Terminal after traveling eight and a half hours from Kuala Terengganu using the Arwana Bus service. Bersepadu Selatan Terminal is a giant terminal in the south of the city that replaces the role of Puduraya Bus Terminal which is located in the center of the city.
That night, I was going to stay at The Bed Station in the Pasar Seni area, but I didn’t need to be in a hurry because I’d reserved one bunk bed at that inn through a well-known inn e-commerce six days before I left my own home.
This wasn’t the first time I’d set my steps in Bersepadu Selatan Terminal (TBS). In March 2018, I stopped by for the first time when I was back from Melaka. Whereas my second visit occurred nine months later when I was back from Ipoh.
But on the last two visits, I’d been in a rush. So at that time too, I never had any intention of really exploring the biggest transportation hub in Peninsular Malaysia.
But in the late afternoon that night, instead of going to the inn.
My intention to explore TBS was growing at that time….
Finally, that evening, I decided to explore Bersepadu Selatan Terminal, which was an integrated hub covering an area of 2 hectares with a height of six floors, the pride of Malaysia.
That afternoon, the Arwana bus dropped off each passenger at the arrival hall on the 2nd floor, to be precise, on the west side of the terminal. As soon as I got off the bus, I was faced with five escalators in a row which would take each passenger up to the 3rd floor. Why was that?…. Because on the 3rd floor, was where the TBS’ connectivity point with other public transportation routes was located.
While passengers chose to continue their journey to their respective homes using private vehicles, of course, their vehicles were nicely parked on floors 4 to 6.
Entering TBS’ main lobby door on the 3rd floor, I was immediately faced with an arrival lobby on the right side of the door which was filled with rows of chairs. While in front of the arrival lobby, there was also the TBS executive lounge for passengers.
While several banking promotion booths appeared to have acquired several corners of the lobby, one of the bank’s brands was PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Nasional). The Guidance & Information LED also displayed a directory about floors 1-6.
The remaining part was travel-related stalls such as telecommunications equipment shops (DiGi was one of them) and minimarkets (POINT and 7-Eleven could be seen in the corridor) completing the hustle and bustle of the 3rd-floor corridor.
Before heading to the center of the hall, there was a departure hall gate that was divided into two departure gates. It was the two gates that would lead passengers to two parts of departure hall l, namely the departure hall with platforms 1-13 and platform 14-16. Meanwhile, right on the south side of the departure lobby, there was an exit to the connecting bridge which would take passengers to the commuter train line, Seremban LRT, and airport train (KLIA Transit). Apart from trains, of course, passengers would also be directed to be able to use city buses and airport buses.
Walk until you were right in the middle of the 3rd-floor room !, there were two giant LED boards to display departure and arrival schedules. Meanwhile, under the two LEDs, eighteen sales counters were visible in a row, acquiring almost half of the hall. And right at the very beginning of the ticket sales counter, six machines were part of the self-service ticketing system corner. And finally right at the very end of the hall, enhanced by the existence of an information center to facilitate the information needs of passengers.
From the elevator at the east end of the hall, I started to go up to the 4th floor. The 4th-floor corridor was dominated by a food court, and shopping center, and there was also hotel transit, as well as access to parking locations. From the 4th floor, I followed the stairs to the 5th floor. There was no longer a hallway on the 5th floor, but all floors of the building were dominated by car areas (parking areas). Likewise, the 6th floor was also used for the same function.
After half an hour, I was satisfied exploring the whole of Bersepadu Selatan Terminal. Now it was time for me to head to The Bed Station. I had to get closer to downtown before it was too late.
Finally, I rushed down using the escalator to the 3rd floor to reach the connecting bridge to the Seremban LRT.
“I think someone at far away named Fiona misses your English’s article, Donny…..😊😊😊“
Like fictional scenes which occur in departure terminals, that time I was touched when I witnessed a young girl with a backpack tightly hugging her mother while carrying a large travel bag. The most likely guess was that that girl would go far from her parent in Kuantan and would study in the capital city.
That young girl’s ascent through the front door of Arwana Bus was a sign that the long journey must begin again soon. Fifteen minutes stopped, and time had succeeded in presenting a variety of uniquely local activities along the Kuantan Central Terminal platform.
Buses slowly leave the largest terminal along the east coast of Malaysia, dividing Kuantan Street which was the city’s main street. Various public facilities easily caught my eye’s attention I never wanted to fall asleep to enjoy the scenery along the way.
The bus took half an hour to explore every corner of the city until it finally arrived at the gate of Gambang District which was to the west of Kuantan City. This district was famous for its natural assets, i.e Lipur Pandan Forest which was a large nature reserve that was jointly owned by two areas, i.e Kuantan City and Gambang District.
Pantai Timur Road which I passed divided the south side of the nature reserve. The green landscape dominated the left and right sides, able to make my eyes cool while enjoying the long journey to Kuala Lumpur.
Sometime later, the landscape of the nature reserve changed to the appearance of several oil palm plantations which were easy to find in the Maran District. Maran is indeed known as a producer of palm oil in Malaysia, therefore, my eyes could easily find stretches of palm oil plantations along the road.
Another surprise was, since the last time I crossed the Kuantan River at the beginning of my journey from Kuantan Central Terminal, then I was confronted again with beautiful scenery in the window, i.e the expanse of the Pahang River which was said to be more than 500 meters wide in some parts. Then I arrived in Temerloh District, whose city was developed on the outskirts of the Pahang River. What you only need to know is that Temerloh City has been projected by the government to become the future capital of Pahang State to replace Kuantan City.
For two hours, the natural charm was an asset exhibited by Pantai Timur Street, so now residential areas began to appear when the bus crosses a new road, namely Kuala Lumpur-Karak Street. The city which I passed at that time was part of the Bentong District, a district that was well-known as a rest area for the Kuantan-Kuala Lumpur long route and vice versa. Therefore, apart from villages, there were many rest areas in this district.
Three hours have passed….
Now the feel of a city began to emerge. Starting by exploring the Genting Sempah Tunnel. That was a legendary tunnel because that tunnel was the first toll road tunnel in Malaysia. You could say that that tunnel was a major landmark as well as a barrier between the two states, i.e the State of Pahang and the State of Selangor….Yeaaaay, I had now entered Gombak District in Selangor.
After briefly enjoying the scenery of the Gombak District, now I arrived in Kuala Lumpur. The good news was, I have visited Kuala Lumpur several times, that time I was very free to enjoy the streets in the north of the city. The northern outskirts showed prosperity with the government’s busyness in building public facilities. I enjoyed the bustle, traffic jams, and bustle of the city so that I didn’t realize that half an hour had passed to make me arrive at Bersepadu Selatan Terminal in the south of the city.
Tepat pukul setengah dua belas, aku tiba kembali di halte bus Budaiya Market. Kawasan Budaiya Market tampak sepi daripada suasana beberapa jam sebelumnya, yaitu saat aku transit ketika melakukan perjalanan menuju Royal Camel Farm.
Lantas aku menyapukan pandangan ke beberapa titik. Setelah sekian menit memperhatikan sekitar, akhirnya aku menemukan sekumpulan pria dewasa yang sedang bergegas menuju ke suatu tempat.
“Mereka sudah pasti sedang menuju masjid untuk melakukan shalat Jum’at”, aku menyimpulkan sendiri.
Tanpa pikir panjang, aku mengikuti langkah sekelompok pria muda itu. Dan benar adanya, aku tiba juga di sebuah masjid, Mohammed bin Khalifa Mosque nama tempat ibadah tersebut.
Hatiku sangat lega karena aku tak terlambat. Aku segera bersuci dan kemudian mengambil tempat duduk di dalam ruangan masjid. Untuk sejenak aku khusyu’ melaksanakan ibadah shalat jum’at di Bahrain.
Aku melompat ke dalam bus kota bernomor X2. Tujuanku berikutnya berada di pantai utara Bahrain, Distrik Al Qalah tepatnya. Ada sebuah venue bersejarah di tempat itu.
Kebetulan bus yang kunaiki hanya ditempati segelintir penumpang, salah satunya adalah seorang gadis muda asal Jepang yang duduk tepat di depan bangku tempat aku duduk. Gadis itu tampak memperhatikan sebuah aplikasi berbasis peta dan aku yakin dia sedang menuju ke tempat yang sama seperti tempat yang akan aku tuju. Hal itu membuatku tenang, karena masih ada turis menuju tempat di utara kota yang tampaknya akan sepi pengunjung.
Menyerahkan diri pada laju bus, akhirnya aku tiba di tujuan dalam waktu lima puluh menit setelah menempuh jarak sejauh sepuluh kilometer. Dihadapanku telah berdiri dengan kokoh sebuah bangunan benteng masa lalu.
“Aku telah tiba di Qal’at Al Bahrain”, aku tersenyum menang.
Akan tetapi aku mengindahkan bangunan modern yang berada di dekat gerbang masuk, bangunan itu adalah museum tempat menyimpan beberapa barang kuno yang ditemukan di Qal’at Al Bahrain.
Aku lebih tertarik untuk langsung saja menuju bagian utama. Bagian itu bernama Hormuzi-Portuguese Fortress, sebuah benteng berdinding kokoh di tepian pantai.
Tetapi sebelum benar-benar tiba di bangunan benteng, sebuah informasi menghadangku di salah satu titik jalan menujunya.
Dari papan informasi itu aku berusaha memahami hikayat tentang Qal’at Al Bahrain.
Diceritakan bahwa pada masa lalu Qal’at Al Bahrain ini adalah ibukota dari Negara Dilmun dan berfungsi sebagai pelabuhan. Dilmun sendiri adalah leluhur bangsa Sumeria yang berasal dari Iraq bagian selatan. Kompleks bersejarah tersebut didirikan pada 2.300 SM dan digunakan hingga Abad ke-16. Menurut informasi, banyak sekali ditemukan barang berbahan tembaga, yang menurut penelitian barang tersebut diperdagangkan hingga ke Sumer (Iraq Selatan), Oman, China, Mesopotamia, Indus Valley (Pakistan) dan negara-negara di kawasan Mediterania.
Secara umum, Qal’at Al Bahrain di masa lalu memiliki empat bagian utama, yaitu:
Bukit buatan yang terbangun karena beberapa kali suksesi penaklukan Dilmun
Sea Tower untuk menjaga jalur masuk ke area benteng
Sea Channel yang digunakan penduduk Dilmun sebagai jalur perdagangan
Area luas di sekitar benteng yang didominasi oleh kebun kurma dan lahan pertanian lokal
Qal’at Al Bahrain telah bertahan selama 4.500 tahun dengan perannya sebagai pelabuhan kota, tempat berakulturasinya berbagai budaya bangsa, memegan peran sebagai bangunan pertahanan dan menerapkan arsitektur yang melegenda. Kini Qal’at Al Bahrain talah menjadi UNESCO World Heritge Site.
Secara keseluruhan, Qal’at Al Bahrain memiliki luas 17,5 hektar, berdasarkan lapisan dasar dari bukit buatan ini ditemukan bukti bahwa masyarakat awal di sekitar Qal’at Bahrain menggarap pertanian oasis, berburu dan menangkap ikan.
Dan akhirnya pada pertengahan Abad ke-15, Qal’at Al Bahrain jatuh ke tangan Babilonia (sebuah bangsa yang berlokasi di sekitar Bagdad),
Menikmati sejarah di sekitar Hormuzi-Portuguese Fortress membuatku begitu khusyu’ hingga waktu tak terasa menginjak pukul empat sore.
Bertepatan dengan waktu itu pula, eksplorasiku di segenap Qal’at Al Bahrain telah usai.
Akhirnya aku pulang….
Petualanganku di Bahrain telah usai, esok hari aku akan terbang menuju Kuwait.
Mataku mengerjap bersamaan dengan kumandang adzan Subuh. Berlanjut melaksanakan shalat dan seusainya, aku bergegas mengguyur diri di bawah shower lalu bersarapan dengan dua potong roti tawar dengan selipan lembar keju ditengahnya.
Menunggu sejenak hingga hari mulai terang, maka usai bersiap diri, aku segera turun ke lobby hotel dan bermaksud untuk memulai eksplorasi.
Setelah memeriksa ulang saldo GO Card, ternyata aku masih memiliki nominal untuk melakukan satu kali perjalanan menggunakan bus kota. Maka aku melangkah menuju sebuah halte bus di bilangan Palace Avenue, hanya berjarak seratus meter saja. Aku berencana menuju Manama Terminal 3 menggunakan bus kota bernomor 45.
Menaiki bus itu maka dalam seperempat jam aku tiba,
Langkah pertama yang kulakukan di terminal itu adalah mengisi ulang saldo GO Card. Sayangnya, aku tak menemukan menu daily pass di layar mesin tiket otomatis. Maka aku memutuskan untuk mengirim pesan ke nomor operator yang tertera di dinding konter ticket vending machine. Membaca jawaban pesan dari operator, untuk kemudian aku paham bahwa dengan mentop-up GO Card senilai 600 Fils berarti secara otomatis aku akan mendapatkan daily pass di dalam kartu.
Masalah saldo GO Card usai, maka aku melanjutkan perjalanan menuju Distrik Budaiya di barat kota Manama dengan menaiki bus kota bernomor X3. Perjalanan tahap kedua ini cukup jauh, menempuh jarak lima belas kilometer dengan waktu tempuh setengah jam. Sesampainya di distrik itu maka diturunkanlah diriku di halte bus Budaiya Market.
Hanya transit sejenak, aku tak membuang waktu dengan menaiki bus bernomor U4. Tujuan akhirku berada di Distrik Janabiyah. Terdapat sebidang peternakan Unta milik Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa di distrik tersebut. Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa sendiri adalah paman dari Raja Bahrain. Dari informasi yang kudapatkan, peternakan ini nyatanya bukan berorientasi pada penyediaan daging unta melainkan hanya untuk sekedar menyalurkan hobby sang pemilik saja.
Aku menaiki bus bernomor U4 menuju ke selatan sejauh lima belas menit dan menempuh jarak sejauh lima kilometer. Aku tiba dengan diturunkan di halte bus Janabiya Highway-14.
Aku yang awalnya ragu untuk memasuki peternakan karena membaca signboard berbunyi “Private Property, No Entry”, tetapi akhirnya tanpa pikir panjang, justru aku memberanikan diri untuk memasuki gerbang peternakan yang terletak di sisi barat Janabiyah Highway tersebut. Aku menuju ke salah seorang penjaga peternakan yang wajahnya khas kazahkstan, tapi entah apakah memang dia berasal dari sana.
Dengan penuh senyum, penjaga peternakan itu mengarahkan jari telunjuknya ke arah pintu masuk peternakan. Mengucapkan terimakasih, akhirnya aku melenggang masuk ke dalam area peternakan.
Satu kesan utama yang kudapat ketika memasuki kawasan peternakan adalah rasa takjub. Inilah untuk pertama kali aku melihat unta dan momen itu terjadi di daerah asal unta itu sendiri, Jazirah Arab.
Tampak beberapa unta yang berada di luar kandang, keempat kakinya dikaitkan dengan rantai besi yang diatur panjang rantainya sehingga tak mengganggu gerak si unta. Sedangkan unta yang berada di dalam kandang dibiarkan bebas.
Beberapa tumpukan rumput disediakan pengelola peternakan supaya para pengunjung mendapatkan sensasi memberi makanan ke sekawanan unta tersebut.
Aku yang awalnya hanya berada sendirian di dalam peternakan, dalam satu jam kemudian mulai banyak para pengunjung berdatangan, kebanyakan dari mereka adalah turis asing sehingga peternakan itu menjadi ramai dengan pengunjung.
Selama satu setengah jam lamanya, aku berada di Royal Camel Farm dan karena aku harus mengejar pelaksanaan ibadah shalat jum’at, maka padapukul sebelas lebih seperempat aku memutuskan untuk kembali ke Distrik Budaiya dan memutuskan untuk mencari masjid di distrik itu saja.