Beranjak dari teras McDonald’s, aku melangkah menuju barat. Aku memilih jalur pedestrian sisi dalam untuk mendapatkan perlindungan dari rimbunnya pepohonan.
Sempat terhenti si sebuah pertigaan, aku memperhatikan sekitar, mengamati setiap ujung dari ketiga jalan itu. Jalan ke arah kanan lebih menggoda sepertinya, ada pantai yang cukup indah di ujungnya.
Tapi sejenak aku mengindahkannya, menyimpannya untuk kunjungan berikutnya. Aku fokus untuk menyambangi Ton Sai Beach saja sebagai pantai pertama yang akan kukunjungi hari itu.
“Masih ada banyak waktu”, aku membatin.
Selanjutnya aku sampai pada jalanan tepat di depan Phi Phi Cabana Hotel yang masih tampak sunyi, mungkin para penginapnya masih menikmati pagi di kasurnya masing-masing pagi itu.
“Mungkin aku masih terlalu pagi untuk berkeliling pulau”, aku menertawakan diriku sendiri.
Beberapa waktu kemudian, aku berhenti sejenak memandangi Koh Phi Phi Hospital, tampak seorang turis sedang didorong di atas kursi roda menuju rumah sakit kecil itu. Juga tampak beberapa warga lokal sedang duduk di lobby rumah sakit yang sudah memasuki jam buka operasional hariannya.
Aku sudah dekat dengan Ton Sai Beach ketika melewati Koh Phi Phi Hospital, maka aku memutuskan untuk mengambil tempat duduk di bawah sebuah pohon besar tepat di tepian pantai yang memiliki pasir berwarna putih.
Akun tidak bisa melangkah lebih jauh, karena lahan di ujung pantai telah diakuisisi oleh Phi Phi Cliff Beach Resort. Resort raksasana berwarna orange nitu tampak luas nan megah. Beberapa turis yang menginap di resort tampak berenang ringan di pantai tepat di depan resort. Area berenangya bahkan dibatasi dengan garis berpelampung untuk menjaga keamanan para penginap yang sedang menikmati pantai.
Aku terduduk di sisi timur Ton Sai Beach lebih sibuk mengamati beberapa Anak Buah Kapal yang sedang menyiapkan pelayaran. Anak-anak muda itu tampak sibuk turun ke pantai untuk mencari sarapan, sedangkan ABK lain tampak sibuk membersihkan geladak kapal dan menyiapkan peralatan.
Aku duduk di pantai itu hampir setengah jam lamanya. Hingga akhirnya bertolak pergi demi mengunjungi pantai yang lain.
“Pantai di ujung pertigaan tadi bagus ga, ya?”. Aku menanyai diriku sendiri.
Aku menyusuri melalui rute semula berangkat, melewati Koh Phi Phi Hospital, Maya Restaurant, dan Phi Phi Cabana Hotel untuk akhirnya tiba di pertigaan yang sempat kuindahkan tadi. Berbelok ke utara, aku melewati jalanan sebuah plaza yang lebar dan rapi, jalan itu dipenuhi pertokoan di kanan kirinya. Sedangkan di tengah plaza tampak patung jangkar menjadi landmark plaza. Aku terus melangkah hingga ke ujung utara dan akhirnya kembali menemukan pantai. Loh Dalum Beach adalah nama pantai itu.
Banyak turis yang berbondong-bondong memenuhi Rom Mai Restaurant ketika aku tiba di pantai, restoran itu memang terletak persisi di tepi pantai. Sedangkan beberapa turis lain tampak mendatangi penyewaan kano untuk bersenang-senang pagi itu.
Aku hanya berdiri di pinggir pantai menikmati suasana yang masih cenderung sepi, tak ada satupun turis yang turum ke laut. Hingga akhirnya tiga turis pria mendekat ke bibir pantai untuk melakukan aktivitas canoeing.
Tak lebih dari satu jam aku berada di pantai itu, untuk kemudian kembali lagi menuju Dormsin Hostel untuk bersiap diri melakukan eksplorasi ke tempat yang lebih jauh lagi.
Mataku mengerjap-ngerjap, melawan kantuk yang masih menggelayuti muka, aku memaksakan diri untuk bangun. Kondisi kamar masih gelap ketika aku menyibak gorden capsule box tempatku tidur. Menuruni tempat tidur, dengan sedikit berjingkat, aku memanggul folding bag menuju shared bathroom. Hanya menggosok gigi, mencuci muka, memakai gel rambut dan mengoles roll-on untuk kemudian bersiap diri melakukan eksplorasi.
Pagi itu aku memilih mengenakan celana pendek warna merah dan memakai sepatu boots untuk menghabiskan hari keduaku di Phi Phi Islands. Usai siap, aku menuruni tangga penginapan menuju pintu keluar dan akhirnya kembali menyusuri Chaokoh Road menuju barat.
Aku sudah berencana untuk mencari sarapan di Phi Phi Market terlebih dahulu karena harga makanan di pasar itu sangatlah murah. Jarak pasar hanya berkisar tiga ratus meter dari penginapan, jadi aku hanya perlu melangkah selama lima menit saja.
Aku tiba di pasar, lalu berkeliling untuk mencari menu sarapan yang cocok dengan seleraku pagi itu. Akhirnya aku memutuskan untuk membeli rice with chicken breast yang kutebus dengan harga 60 Baht saja. Kemudian aku menyantapnya di bawah Marlin Statue, landmark Phi Phi Islands yang terletak tepat di tepian pantai. Maka apa yang terjadi berikutnya?….Setiap turis atau warga lokal yang melintas melewati patung itu, tampak selalu tersenyum melihat tingkah lakuku menyantap menu sarapan pagi itu.
Aku sendiri akhirnya tak mampu menghabiskan sarapan berporsi besar itu, dengan segala maaf kepada Tuhan, aku membuang sisa sarapan ke dalam tempat sampah….Maafkan aku, Tuhan.
Aku pun melanjutkan perjalanan menuju barat melalui jalanan utama di pantai selatan Phi Phi Islands. Beberapa menit kemudian aku tiba di Ao Ton Sai Pier, pelabuhan penumpang utama di Phi Phi Islands.
Sebetulnya pada sore di hari sebelumnya, aku berlabuh di pelabuhan itu setelah berlayar selama dua jam dari Rassada Pier di Distrik Mueang Phuket. Hanya karena terlalu sore berlabuh, aku tak bisa berlama-lama menikmati Ao Ton Sai Pier. Oleh karenanya pagi itu aku berhenti cukup lama di pelabuhan untuk menikmati suasana dan pemandangan di sekitarnya.
Aku harus melakukan itu karena di keesokan hari, aku harus pulang menuju Jakarta. Oleh karenanya, aku memperhatikan dengan seksama, alur penumpang yang akan menaiki ferry dan apa saja yang perlu dilakukan penumpang di pos penjagaan pelabuhan.
Pagi itu pelabuhan cukup ramai, selain hilir mudik turis, di bagian dermaga juga dipenuhi warga lokal yang menawari jasa pariwisata seperti snorkling, diving, ataupun canoeing di beberapa spot menarik Phi Phi Islands.
Sedangkan pemandangan Ao Ton Sai Pier menampilkan panorama yang memukau, padu padan deretan perahu gypsy milik penduduk lokal yang bersandar rapi di sepanjang pantai, dilengkapi dengan keberadaan dua kapal ferry yang bersandar di ujung dermaga demi bersiap mengantarkan para turis menuju dua kota utama, yaitu Phuket dan Krabi. Sedangkan di sisi barat pelabuhan, bentangan perbukitan yang menjulang dan berwarna hijau semakin memperindah suasana saja.
Hampir setengah jam lamanya aku menikmati suasana pelabuhan, untuk kemudian duduk melepas lelah di teras outlet McDonald’s yang terletak di dekat pelabuhan. Beberapa toko tampak sedang sibuk untuk membuka gerainya, bersiap diri untuk menyambut kehadiram para turis yang akan datang dari trip pertama ferry, yaitu sekitar pukul sepuluh pagi.
Ketika semua toko sudah terbuka dan keadaan mulai ramai, maka aku beranjak dari teras McDonald’s untuk melanjutkan eksplorasi.
Tujuanku berikutnya adalah Ton Sai Beach yang berada di sebelah barat pelabuhan.
The long wait to be present on the coast of Fort Kochi had paid off. In one jump down the orange KURTC Bus, I stood in the city built on mangroves. For a moment I stood motionless looking around, quickly adapting to the boisterous travelers at that famous destination in the State of Kerala.
Starting from a corner of KB Jacob Road, I was aligned with the Kochi Corporation Zonal Office, a government office tasked with managing the city of Fort Kochi, which had a population of seven hundred thousand people.
It was still Thursday….I didn’t know why?…. In the middle of the day, the two-story government office with cream-colored walls had its front gate tightly closed. It managed to make me look away and stared straight at the stretch of KB Jacob Road which was perpendicular to the shoreline.
That afternoon I wouldn’t follow a structured agenda. Without an itinerary, I would let my feet go as to enjoy the charm of Fort Kochi.
Just stepped out….It didn’t feel like a beach area, that was because the streets of Fort Kochi presented a shady situation with old tree decorations shading all along. Even paving blocks were chosen as the base for the streets, which were arranged very neatly.
Coupled with the crowds of local and foreign tourists, it made me feel less lonely even though I was far from home. After all, many European tourists seemed to be walking alone as solo travelers like me.
Just setting foot a few steps on the streets of Fort Kochi, my heart was amazed because I was transported to the past when I saw models of local buses chasing passengers along the side of the road. The buses seemed to have come from the past….Old, but they make the atmosphere of the city more classic.
Toward the first destination, I decided to pull over to the beach. From the tourist photos of Fort Kochi that I often find on search engine pages, Chinese fishing nets were always the ones that appear most often on that page. Then, I wanted to find its whereabouts, if I was lucky I would look closely at the activities of the Indian fishermen in the vicinity.
The shoreline wasn’t longer far, only thirty meters parallel to the River Road that I was currently crossing. I immediately got out of the flow of the street and decided to move closer to it. Within a few steps I arrived at the edge of the beach and as far as the eye could see the blue expanse of Malabar Beach was quite pleasing to the eye.
The beautiful scenery was added to the routine of the fishermen along the coast. A group of fishermen seemed to be relaxing enjoying coffee in a food stall, another group seemed to be just taking shelter from the hot sun and several others were seen busy anchoring their boats and unloading their load from the sea to then transfer the load to cold barrels.
Another sight on the shore was the activity of several small groups of fishermen catching fish using Chinese fishing nets…Fishermen in Indonesia (my country) called it “anco” or “tangkul”. Because it was installed on the shoreline, the catch from the operation of that fishing gear was mostly small fish.
Fresh and large fish from the sea were immediately transported using pick-up vehicles to be taken out of the beach area. Meanwhile, several medium and small-sized fish were immediately sold at fish stalls along the coast.
Mingling with the local community had indeed become a favorite activity. Sometimes even a little smile that was thrown on their faces made me feel like I was still close to home. That was what made me feel at home sitting with them for a long time and reluctant to move from the beach.
Fort Kochi indeed depicts a high economic movement, in any place, tourists could be seen thronging.
In the waters, tourist boats went back and forth along the coast carrying various multi-national tourists. Of course, the tourist ships offered sea cruise services along the coast to enjoy the exotic Fort Kochi.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, there weren’t a few tourist buses parked along the streets of Fort Kochi. As if Fort Kochi had been sovereign as a tourist city in the State of Kerala.
Even so, for one hour I put myself on the beach and was satisfied to enjoy the activities of the local fishermen.
I have to leave soon….
Let’s follow in my footsteps again….The next place wasn’t far from the beach.
Going to India always has a thrill in a side of my heart. The provocation of irresponsible information sometimes succeeds in making the guts tremble.
Gusts of news ranging from security factors, culinary hygiene, scam variations, and other gripping things began to cloud my mind that afternoon.
Therefore, before leaving for India, for five days I warmed my guts in Kuala Terengganu and Kuala Lumpur, hoping that by leaving them I would be able to carry courage. But that afternoon it seemed as if I was still building up the courage from zero again.
In the continuation of my adventure, India would be the prelude to my main destination, i.e. the Middle East. Why was that?…. The only reason was that India was always giving many chances to get cheap tickets to the main tourist city in the Arabian Peninsula, i.e. Dubai. In addition to tickets, India also provided a variety of starting points to jump into that city.
As for my adventure history, after New Delhi and Agra two years earlier, this time I chose another point of departure, i.e. Kochi, an exotic tourist destination in southwest India.
I enjoyed the soft texture of white rice at Quizinn by RASA after 24 hours of not tasting this idol’s food. The white rice at that time also represented the last Ringgit I had, starting the next day I was using Rupees.
Five minutes before the Air Asia Ak 39 check-in desk opened, I finished eating white rice with the last piece of fried egg.
As I stated above, instead of getting excited, my chest was beating fast…” Oh India, please make peace with my adventure this time”, I calmed my heart.
Rising from my seat in a corner of the food court on the 2M floor, I carried my favorite blue backpack. Stepping up to the Departure Hall on the 3rd floor.
“It turned out that the queue was long….”, my confidence to become the first queue fell.
The contortions of the queue, which was dominated by Indians, kept me in the bloated queue. After all, I remained calm, there was still a long way to the flight, still four hours away. I started taking out the zipper bag to prepare documents, i.e. passports, hotel booking confirmations in India, tickets to and from India, and free Indian e-Visa sheets.
“Do you have a Visa?”, the check-in desk staff firmly asked me.
“This is Miss”, I handed over all the documents I had prepared.
“Was Indonesia to India enough with e-Visa, Sir?” That female officer asked her senior colleague.
That senior staff confirmed and that female officer finally printed the boarding pass for me.
The first stage was over, I rushed to the International Departure Gate which was heavily guarded by several Aviation Security. In the front queue, there weren’t a few prospective passengers who were being held back due to carrying too much cabin baggage. In addition to Aviation Security, several Air Asia airline ground staff closely monitored passengers who cheated by carrying excess cabin baggage.
For me?….. It was easy, I pass through the gate without checking. Even with the inspection, I would still pass, because I had weighed the entire load of my backpack before heading to the check-in desk….Easy, only 6.5 kilograms.
“Where is the direction to gate L14?”, I asked myself.
I continued along the long corridors until I descended an escalator which at the bottom was already blocking several columns of the screening gate.
As usual, I always took off my shoes when I pass through the screening gate, it was all because I would feel lazy if I had to repeat the screening process when my shoes rang the screening door.
I easily pass it….
Now I only needed to continue through the remaining corridors to reach gate L14.
A little after seven in the evening, I arrived at the gate in question.
“Hhmmmhhhh….An hour and a half to boarding”, I sat on a chair outside the waiting room which was still tightly closed.
I decided to perform the prayer and filled up drink bottles at the free water station. And in the remaining time, I just sit waiting until the waiting room door opens an hour before the flight.
Luckily while waiting, my boredom was dampened by the cute behavior of a little Indian toddler whose behavior was so adorable.
Waiting in the waiting room, I was again stunned by a large group of Hindu congregation. From the all-black uniform worn, I could identify the congregation as coming from the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, located in the State of Kerala, India.
The peculiarity of the Indian Hindu congregation was that they do not use footwear. Some Hindus in India believed that not using footwear was a form of respect for the Gods.
Dressed in black and Lungi*1) was also the religious appearance of the group. I had to sit mingled in the waiting room with their group.
While the view in the glass window was a perfectly parked Airbus A320 Twin Jet aircraft, dominantly white with a blue-red color combination and bearing the tourism promotion jargon “Sarawak More to Discover”.
Waiting patiently for it to end…
Boarding calls for Air Asia flight AK 39 filled the airport ceiling.
I immediately got up and prepared my passport and boarding pass to pass the final inspection of prospective passengers before entering the cabin. Ahhh….I couldn’t wait.
At half past nine I started boarding…..
Entering the cabin of the small-body aircraft, I looked for seat number 11E. On the next 3 hours and 40 minutes of flight, I would sit in the middle column, making it difficult for me to capture beautiful portraits of the earth.
When the boarding process was over, in my row there was only me and one of the Hindu congregation. Therefore, I decided to move to an aisle seat to get relief from the 3,000 km flight.
To my surprise, when I opened the Travel 360 inflight magazine, I found a self-portrait of a travel influencer that seemed familiar to me. I was very familiar with his surname….Groves.
I made sure it was a beautiful traveler from Aussie whom I had known a year earlier in Samosir, Eloise Groves. He once told a story under the Naisogop waterfall that he had a brother named Jackson Groves who was a travel influencer. Seeing the similarity in the facial expressions of the figure in the inflight magazine I was reading with the figure that often appears on Eloise’s Facebook page, I’m 100% sure it was her big brother.
And it was true, later I would get confirmation from Eloise that it was her sibling after sending a short message through the Facebook messenger application when I arrived in India.
Trying to close my eyes after flipping through Travel 360, I tried to sleep. But I didn’t sleep. That was how I was, never completely fell asleep every time I sat on the plane.
Finally, the awaited time has arrived….
At one o’clock in the morning, Air Asia AK 39 landed at Cochin International Airport, a magnificent airport in the State of Kerala in southwest India.
It would take a little longer to take a free service to the inn than riding the LRT “Laluan Kelana Jaya”. But in order to get around for the lack of Ringgit, I still decided to just take the free service of Go KL City Bus.
Hurrying to leave KLCC Park, I headed towards the KLCC bus stop which is located right in front of Suria KLCC. Arriving under the bus stop auspices, the green line of the “Free Bus Service” had been waiting for its passengers.
I rode it to reach the interchange point between lines, namely the Pavilion bus stop. From there I would catch the Go KL City Bus purple line to reach the Pasar Seni Bus Hub, the closest bus stop to my accommodation, namely The Bed Station.
Cheating underhandedly, I stepped up The Bed Station stairs, hoping not to be spotted by the receptionist when I crossed the inn’s front door. It was because I had checked out that morning, but that time, I forced myself to take a shower in the inn’s shared bathroom on the 3rd floor.
I made it through the reception room on the 2nd floor, at a glance I saw the reception staff were busy serving the inn’s guests who seemed to only just be arriving, indeed I arrived when the check-in period had opened.
Quickly moving, I immediately took a shower to clean all the sweat after walking around town that morning.
As soon as I finished bathing, I immediately went down to the reception desk to pick up the backpack I had left since morning.
The long queue at the reception desk made me invisible when I just came down from the top floor which wasn’t my right to enter it again, let alone to do any activity on that floor….Damn, Donny.
Succeeding to get a backpack, I rushed to Pasar Seni LRT Station which is only 200 meters from the inn.
When I arrived, I rushed to the automatic vending machine to exchange 1.3 Ringgit for a round blue token. That token would guarantee me to move toward KL Sentral.
The LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya with four wagons arrived to pick me up on the second-floor platform, and then I was following its spinning wheels heading to KL Sentral, which wasn’t even one station apart.
Within 15 minutes, I arrived at KL Sentral….
Down the escalator, I arrived at the first floor, and without long thinking, I immediately rushed to the basement level. I had an advantage in that I memorized the whole layout of KL Sentral, at least I had visited that famous transportation hub seven times. That was what made that so easy for me to reach the Aerobus ticket sales counter.
Aerobus is transportation from KL Sentral to Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2) which offers cheap travel when compared to using taxis, the KLIA Transit train, or the KLIA Ekspres.
I handed over 12 Ringgit to get a ticket to the airport.
A quarter of an hour past four in the afternoon….
After traveling for 45 minutes, I arrived at the 1st floor of Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2. I was dropped off at one of the platforms at the transportation hub at Gateway@klia2.
Even though my flight would take place at nine in the evening, that didn’t stop me from going straight to the 3rd floor to see more detailed flight information. As usual, I was always detailed and strict about flight schedules, at least that afternoon I had to find out the number of the check-in desk I would exchange my e-ticket for a boarding pass and at what gate my plane would take off.
I couldn’t hide a slight smile from my lips when I managed to get that information on the giant LCD on the 3rd floor.
“17:20, it turns out….”, I thought when I found out when the check-in desk would open.
I decided to do the last congregational prayer in the mosque on the 2nd floor and of course, planned to have dinner afterwards.
Not as usual when I was looking for food at KLIA2. That afternoon the regular restaurant serving cheap Indian food was closing. Was NZ Curry House whose location was covered by renovation boards.
But I don’t bother….
In 2015, I ate at a food court located on the 2M floor. I slightly forgot the position of the food court. But I intended to look for it until I found it. There was a padang-typical restaurant that offers cheap food in the food court.
“That’s it….”, I cheered inside when I saw the food court from a distance.
“Quizinn by RASA….”, I recited the name of that food court.
“Restoran Padang Kota Group….”, yupzzz I saw the restaurant I was looking for.
Presumably not able to linger, I headed for the Padang-typical restaurant and then looked for a menu according to the condition of my wallet. That was when my Ringgit would run out.
Fifteen minutes before checked-in, I was finally able to enjoy a portion of rice for 5.9 Ringgit. That was the rice I ate after I last ate it a day before.
Taking a seat, I enjoyed the dinner and then got ready to take my flight.
The sun was at the peak of its power when I decided to retreat from Petronas Twin Towers’ yard. I couldn’t hide the wry smile on the corner of my lips and felt like I was a traveler who didn’t understand priorities just because I visited the Twin Towers right in the middle of the day.
I tried to make peace with myself and intended to make up for that mistake by presenting a new destination in my adventure history. Not a prestigious place, but it could make up for my priority error before. On the other side, this place could be the right spot to drown out the sun’s arrogance.
I stepped towards the east. While trying with all my heart to resist the temptation of the magnificent Suria KLCC gate, the shopping paradise in downtown Kuala Lumpur. How could it not be, a long line of classy four-wheeled vehicles willingly queued in front of it while the visitor’s flow kept flowing in and out of this upscale shopping center?
Arriving at the two-section road on the east side of Suria KLCC, I continued heading south. I still tried to hide from the sun under the palm trees that line up neatly in the middle of the sidewalk….yupzz, a single sidewalk that perfectly divides the road into two lanes.
Slowly, at the end of the road, lush large trees began to appear, giving the city a contrasting atmosphere. It was as if I was heading to an oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle of the city.
Even from afar, I was able to feel the fresh air blowing from that green area. Automatically made me speed up my steps toward it. After passing over an underpass base, I found a green area’s gate.
This was Kuala Lumpur City Center Park….People knew it as KLCC Park.
I entered the park from its entrance which was on the left side of the KLCC Park Office building. Entering the park, I took a seat in the resting area which was in a gazebo form right on the east side of Symphony Lake. Wooden benches with concrete legs can be seen scattered all over the park, placed under the shade of large trees whose identities were displayed in barcodes on yellow paper and taped to each stem.
Perhaps this was where the most favorite part of the park was because visitors could intensely stare at the patterned fountain against the background of the Petronas Twin Towers which were supported by Suria KlCC’s low-extended buildings. As if I didn’t want to quickly leave my sitting position.
The city park with a Brazilian-style architectural touch began to be traced deeper when I started to get up from my seat. Stepping along its jogging track, I decided not to pass a bridge that connects Symphony Lake and the children’s pool.
I preferred to pass the jogging track on the north side to get closer to the KLCC Park Children’s Pool. The crowd and coolness that appeared at the children’s pool held back my power to look away. Instead of leaving, I was unconsciously leaning on one of the benches at the edge of the pool.
The main actor in the pool with a depth of just above the ankles was a sculpture of a jumping white whale which was dramatized with the help of a fountain in the tail. While the sculpture of two dolphins also jumped on its side. In addition, the walls of the pool decorated with artificial waterfalls were very inviting for children to get wet under them.
A perfect concept, when the Children’s Pool was juxtaposed with the Children’s Playground in the east. This allowed children to choose one of them or even play in both alternately. Like a Children’s Playground in general, this section was filled with swings, seesaws, and rides up-down stairs with the playground’s floor covered with Ethylene Prophylene Diene Konomer which created a soft and safe tile sensation for children.
My adventure in the park ended on a stretch of grass perfectly circled by a jogging track.
It was past noon…
I had to have lunch before returning to the inn and in the end I would stop at the airport to determine my next steps.
Since the afternoon before, my Ringgit had run out and was only enough for the budget to take the bus to the airport and had dinner in it later…..So I decided to eat from a potluck lunch, especially if it wasn’t the same menu as last night’s dinner and breakfast that morning….That was oat powder which only need to be watered with mineral water. A circle of jogging tracks with grass in the middle became the backdrop for my lunch that day.
KLCC Park, a one-hectare city park….
It was a simple place that I had wanted to visit since 2014, but I had visited it many times or just stopped by in Kuala Lumpur, and many times I had failed to visit it, of course, the big obstacle was the very difficult time available each time I visited Kuala Lumpur.
This is my best redemption with the success of stopping by that afternoon. I deliberately pushed my way through the traffic jam to Kuala Lumpur City Center but I didn’t put my intention on the Twin Towers but on my main goal that day….KLCC Park.
I left the park feeling happy…Time to go back to the inn, pack up, and went to the airport.
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.