Entering Pekanbaru, all INTRA Bus passengers were unloaded in a non-permanent restaurant building which is made from green colour wood. Entering in back of restaurant, long row of simple bathrooms made me easy to washing my face and preparing myself to explore “Madani City“.
Entering city’s roads for the first time on an online motorcycle taxi seat, I began to save my curiosity about destinations which I could visit in the city. Until I finally arrived at Sri Indrayani Hotel lobby before check-in schedule. After charging my camera and smartphone to several cell bars in the hotel restaurant, I immediately swung my steps to nearest spots.
Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park
Not far away, half a kilometer to northwest of hotel, there is a fairly well-known park in Pekanbaru. It is Tunjuk Ajar Integritas Park which has became a favorite play ground for city residents whice its development is dedicated to corruption resistance program in local government.
Not yet midday, hot air began to feel. Forcing me to took a shelter on park edge. Visitors was still quiet, considering I didn’t visit on weekend.
2. Siak River
Continuing my steps, I went down to Wakaf Street before finally being led by a traffic policeman to turn right and passing Jembatan Siak I street then reached edge of Siak River.
Visiting Siak River and imagining the glory and prosperity of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate who once stood on this river edge was a thing that was interested me to made it as one of my destinations this time.
3. Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House
Still wandering along the river, now I headed to Siak II Bridge. People call it as Bridge of Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul Jalil Muazzam Syah, taken from name of the 5th Sultan of Siak Sultanate.
Stunned to stare at a building under the bridge, an original house since golden era of Siak Sultanate. This tourism site is known in the name Tuan Kadi’s Halfway House. Kadi or Qadhi itself is a famous title during the sultanate. The first owner of this house is Qadhi Haji Zakaria bin Haji Abdul Muthalib who had served as Chairperson of Siak Sultanate’s Shariah Deliberative Board.
4. Nur Alam Grand Mosque
The sun began to slip from its highest position, meaning that I was able to entering Sri Indrayani Hotel’s room. Taking southeast direction, I intended to stop by and praying Dzuhur at Nur Alam Grand Mosque before arriving at hotel.
The relic mosque of Siak Sri Indrapura Sultanate still firmly stands with its yellow dome as a symbol of Malay greatness. It feels, Pekanbaru residents worth give a thank to Sultan Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah, the fourth Sultan who had built this magnificent mosque.
5. An-Nur Great Mosque
The heat of city began to subside, especially after I finished to bathing in hotel. Finishing lunch then I continued my exploration. After visiting the oldest mosque, now I headed to the grandest mosque in Riau Province.
Exhausted after walking almost 4 km, I chose to use an online motorcycle taxi towards An-Nur Great Mosque, two kilometers to southeast.
An-Nur Great Mosque itself has been a religious icon of Riau Province since the first year it was built, in 1963. Make sure that you don’t miss to visiting it when you are in Pekanbaru.
6. Putri Kaca Mayang Park
Next, I hurried to downtown. My next choice was Putri Kaca Mayang Park. Located on a side of Pekanbaru’s protocol street, this park looked more presentable than the first park which I visited.
Time that had slipped towards afternoon, one by one residents were seen coming to the park to just releasing fatigue or bringing their children to spending time by playing around the park.
7. Jenderal Sudirman Street
Like the same street name in Jakarta, Jenderal Sudirman Street in Pekanbaru also plays a role as a protocol road in the city.
As a main road, of course there are many things which can be enjoyed along the way. Road width with busy passing of vehicles is decorated by classy buildings architecture on both sides made Jenderal Sudirman street as a photography spot which worth to visiting.
The Soeman HS Library, Lancang Kuning Tower, Riau Governor’s Office and Dang Merdu Tower are architectures which look striking and different from other buildings along Jenderal Sudirman Street.
Aku ditempatkan di kamar lantai pertama dibalik sebelah kanan meja resepsionis Shangrila Boutiqe Hotel. Menaruh backpack 45 liter dan melepas ikat sepatu boots maka selang beberapa waktu, kubiarkan air hangat lama menyiram tubuh lelahku pasca hampir setengah hari berjibaku pada perjalanan darat meninggalkan Pokhara.
Tak ingin terjebak kejenuhan di dalam kamar, aku mulai menaiki tangga berkarpet merah menuju atap hotel. Di atas, seorang pemuda berdiri di meja kasir menyapa ringan dan menawarkan menu spesial restoran. Tak ada menu spesial yang kupesan, aku hanya akan menghabiskan senja dengan secangkir teh hangat dan menikmati pesona Thamel dari atas.
Hingga kemudian hasrat petualanganku menggoda. Rasanya akan merugi jika tak merapat ke jalan dan menikmati suasana secara langsung. Thamel sungguh istimewa. Betapa tidak, jalanannya tiap malam dipersembahkan khusus untuk para tamu negara itu. Setiap ujung jalan dijaga oleh polisi yang tak akan membiarkan satu pun kendaraan bermotor lolos melintas masuk. Thamel selalu ramai ditumpahi para pelancong untuk menghabiskan malam Kathmandu.
Tetap berdebu….Aku menelusuri jalanan yang dibatasi dengan kios-kios pashmina, souvenir, restoran, money changer, hotel ataupun kantor agen pariwisata di kiri-kanannya. Tips buat kamu…Jika tak berminat membeli pashmina, maka jangan berusaha menawarnya, penjual akan mengajakmu bertransaksi di dalam kios dan mereka adalah para negosiator ulung dan kupastikan kamu akan keluar dengan menenteng salah satu dari dagangan mereka.
Sedikit kesulitan mencarinya karena sengaja menghindari menu restoran. Aku berjibaku mencari sebuah kedai untuk bersantap malam. Keluar masuk gang hingga akhirnya menemukannya, benar-benar jauh masuk ke dalam gang. Beruntung kedai kecil itu menyediakan momo. Menyempurnakannya, aku memesan segelas kecil honey lemon tercampur potongan memanjang ginger yang membuatku terasa hangat.
Kembali ke jalanan setelah hampir satu jam duduk di kedai itu. Menelusuri jalanan yang berbeda, aku terhenti seketika di sebuah perempatan dan menoleh ke kanan. Sebuah kerumunan dengan musik menghentak-hentak di bilangan Chaksibari Marg. Setelah mendekatinya , ternyata sekelompok dancer sedang berlatih tarian Bollywood. Asik juga melihat secara langsung tarian itu secara langsung. Untuk tak ada pohon, bisa-bisa aku ikut menari mengelilinginya.
Semakin dingin, aku meninggalkan kerumunan dan segera menuju ke hotel. Tapi yang namanya daerah wisata, para penggoda kembali menghentikan langkah. Kali ini seorang pemuda memanggil dan menawariku untuk menghabiskan malam dengan hangat di sebuah bar. “You can enjoy our band performance”, ungkapnya. Aku yang seumur hidup tak pernah memasuki bar kini mulai tergoda, “Oke lah, tak ada salahnya”, batinku.
Alhasil, aku mulai menaiki tangga Sisha Bar & Restaurant. Benar adanya, sebuah band lokal beranggota 4 pemuda millennial dengan 1 vokalis perempuan sedang melantunkan pop lokal yang membuatku bersemangat untuk segera duduk dan menikmati pertunjukan itu. Hingga aku menghabiskan dua porsi besar hot lemon with honey saking khusu’nya.
Aku tak pernah memberi kesempatan sedikitpun terhadap otak untuk berfikir panjang. Menunggang ojek online, aku mengucap sayonara pada Terminal Amplas yang sepertinya tak rela ditinggal pengunjung yang sudi meluangkan waktu untuk mengenalnya.
15 menit kemudian, aku sudah hinggap di destinasi utama kota Medan. Tak lain lagi dialah:
1. Istana Maimun
Istana yang namanya bermakna “Berkah” ini telah berjasa selama hampir 130 tahun merepresentasikan agungnya Kesultanan Deli. Dibangunnya istana ini sekaligus sebagai penanda berpindahnya ibukota kerajaan dari Labuhan ke Medan.
Menebus tiket masuk bernilai Rp. 5.000, aku menjelajah setiap sudut istana dan terus mengagumi setiap detail perpaduan arsitektur India, Timur Tengah dan Eropa. Lima hektar area istana membuat siapa saja leluasa menikmati keindahan istana dari berbagai sisi pandang.
Destinasi berikutnya hanya berjeda 2 menit dengan berjalan kaki, yaitu:
2. Masjid Raya Al Mashun
Terletak di barat istana, bangunan suci bersegi delapan ini berdiri megah tak bergeming melintas masa. Karya fenomelal milik Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam ini menyiratkan bahwa beliau lebih mengutamakan keagungan masjid dibanding istana tempat tinggalnya.
Tepat waktu Dzuhur, aku menyempatkan diri berbaur dengan masyarakat Medan untuk mencicipi sejuknya hawa masjid tua berusia 110 tahun tersebut. Kemegahan masjid merupakan penanda kemakmuran Kesultanan Deli di masanya.
Jangan beranjak dulu dari area sekitar istana dan masjid karena masih ada satu tempat lagi yang diyakini sebagai peninggalan Kesultanan Deli, yaitu:
3. Taman Sri Deli
Melangkah 100 meter ke utara masjid, aku telah hadir di pusat taman. Untuk meresapi nilai sejarahnya, aku mencoba membayangkan menjadi putra Sultan yang sedang bersantai di sore hari kemudian membasuh badan di kolam trapesium yang terletak di tengah taman.
Taman ini menjadi penutup eksplorasi mengenang kejayaan Melayu dibawah pimpinan Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (gelar Sultan Deli).
4. Menara Air Tirtanadi
Terus berjalan mengambil arah utara, dalam 800 meter aku menemukan tandon air raksasa milik PDAM Tirtanadi Provinsi Sumatera Utara. Penampung air raksasa ini telah lama menjadi wisata landmark kota.
Siapa sangka toren belang merah putih ini adalah buatan Belanda di permulaan abad 20. Sesuai makna nama Sansekertanya, Tirtanadi memiliki peranan vital dalam mensuplai kebutuhan air bersih warga kota sejak pertama kali dibangun hingga kini.
Tahu kan arti kata Tirtanadi?….Yups, Tirta berarti air dan Nadi bermakna kehidupan.
5. Museum Uang Sumatera
Ayo melangkah lagi !….Tanggung nih.
Sekitar 300 meter di barat Tirtanadi Tower, aku menemukan koleksi berbagai rupa uang dari berbagai zaman dalam sebuah museum yang pendiriannya diinisiasi oleh seorang kolektor uang bernama Saparudin Barus.
Museum ini tidak bertiket masuk. Hanya saja mereka akan memberikan souvenir berupa 2 uang koin dengan lubang ditengah dan dihargai Rp. 10.000.
6. Tjong A Fie Mansion
Kali ini, aku singgah di destinasi penting lain kota Medan. Ini adalah rumah saudagar kaya raya keturunan Tiongkok yang mempunyai peran besar dalam pembangunan kota. Sang dermawan ini bernama Tjong A Fie. Dan yang tersisa selain dari kebesaran namanya adalah rumah tempat tinggal beliau.
Aku rela membayar tiket masuk seharga Rp. 35.000. Tetapi nilai itu terbayar lunas begitu memahami cerita tempoe doeloe yang membahas setiap sisi rumah dan menapak tilas kiprah Tjong A Fie dalam membesarkan bisnis dan membangun Medan.
7. Kampung Madras
Tak ada alasan shahih yang bisa kujelaskan mengapa aku harus mengunjugi Kampung Madras. Satu alasan sederhana saja, itu adalah efek domino karena aku menginap di Dazhong Backpacker’s Hostel yang berada di pusat Kampung Madras.
Madras diambil dari nama sebuah daerah di India Selatan yang merupakan asal nenek moyang warga Medan keturunan India Tamil.
8. Waroenk Nenek
Selesai bertemu teman dekat di Medan, gelapnya hari membujuk untuk kembali ke hotel. Tetapi badai lapar yang tak terbendung , membuatku terpaksa mencari makan malam sebelum aku benar-benar sampai di hotel.
Hinggaplah langkah di sebuah rumah makan bermoto “Semua Ada” di bilangan Jalan Patimura. Seporsi pecel lele yang disuguhkan oleh dara-dara cantik berhijab menjadi hadiah terindah malam itu.
9. Merdeka Walk
Segarnya badan setelah makan malam membuatku urung kembali ke hotel. Aku menambah kembali koleksi dengan mengunjungi pusat kuliner dan hiburan kota yang biasa dipanggil eMWe.
Dibuat pada 2005 dan mampu menampung 700 pengunjung dalam satu waktu menjadikan tempat ini sebagai destinasi favorit saat weekend tiba. Terutama buat anak-anak muda yang ingin melepas penat setelah berkerja padat sepanjang minggu
10. Pendopo Kota Medan
Masih satu area dengan Merdeka Walk yang menempati salah satu sisi Lapangan Merdeka. Pendopo ini akan menjadi pusat alun-alun kota Medan di masa depan pasca revitalisasi yang sedang dirancang oleh pemerintah kota.
Ketersediaan taman di sekitar pendopo menjadikan tempat ini ramai akan berbagai aktivitas dari sekedar berkumpul bersama keluarga, berolah raga ataupun aktivitas beberapa komunitas muda Medan.
Itulah kunjungan kilat di Medan yang membuatku rindu untuk kembali.
Blue Hop on Hop Off bus little bit squeak in braking when entering a bend that leads this tourist bus into a worship building which is full of charisma. “Nash(ә)n(ә)l mäsk”…. My mouth spelled a black marble with gold alphabet.
“Ladies and gentlemen, who want to visit the mosque, please get off here. Have a good visit”, beautiful tour guide smiled while holding her microphones.
Not listed in my itinerary, It didn’t make me turn and I chose it to be a bonus destination on my last day before returning to Jakarta.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj is a nobleman who played an important role in its construction until naming this mosque. The initiator of the construction of National Mosque as an expression of gratitude for Malaysia’s independence from British colonialism without spilling out Malaysian blood.
I slowly entered main building after performing ablution to fulfill Asr pray. A room under a great dome auspices and high-quality soft carpet. I almost didn’t want to move from its comfort which trapping me.
Eighteen ornaments which alternately pronunciation of Allah and Muhammad symbolize 13 states in Malaysia’s constitutional monarchy and 5 pillars of Islam as foundation of Islamic religion which is embraced by more than 60% of Malaysians.
The extent of building….Indeed, it can’t be doubted if some statements state that National Mosque can hold up to 15,000 worshipers at a time. Incredibly, that’s half capacity of Patriot Stadium in Bekasi (a stadium near my home).
At front door before main worship room, you will find a white tower which stands in one corner of a pool which makes this mosque more elegant.
Also pay attention when you enter this mosque. Then at far left, there is a building which is separated by a short corridor from mosque’s main building. Its white roof is in the shape of seven stars and below it, there are tombs of country’s great heroes. One of the famous heroes who buried here is Tun Abdul Razak. Bugis descendant who played an important role behind Malaysian independence.
National Mosque itself was inaugurated and opened to public about 8 years after Malaysia’s independence day. Do you know, when was Malaysia independent?…Yup, 1957.
Had become the largest mosque in Malaysia before this title was seized by Blue Mosque in Shah Alam area.
National Mosque is architecturally connected to Old Railway Station building through an underground passageway. The train station itself is located adjacent to Malayan Railway Administration Building which is currently used as headquarters of KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu).
Bahkan seminggu sebelum terbang, pilihan telah kutetapkan. Bukan “Si cepat dari Woojin”, apalagi “si burung biru”yang biasa berlalu lalang di Kualanamu. Pilihanku tetap pada transportasi ala rakyat yang bersahabat dengan kantong. Tak lain lagi, itu DAMRI.
Terduduk kantuk di ruang tunggu stasiun kereta bandara lalu mengamati para eksekutif menggeret kopernya, berkejaran dengan waktu keberangkatan kereta. Atau sebaliknya, langkah cepat para penumpang necis yang baru saja keluar dari kereta untuk mengejar waktu penerbangan mereka masing-masing. Aku menjadi manusia tersantai pagi itu di Kualanamu. Ya iya lah…Aku kan lagi ngelayap, bukan sedang dalam perjalanan dinas.
15 menit mengamati lalu lalang “Si Biru Langit”, Aku keluar stasiun dengan memanggul backpack biru cetakan Tiongkok yang kudapat lewat salah satu e-commerce ternama setahun lalu.
Senyum Sersan Kepala menyambut sembari membantu menyeberangkanku melewati jalur mobil untuk kemudian aku mengarahkan langkah menuju platform airport bus.
Berbelok ke ujung kanan pintu keluar bandara maka konter penjualan tiket DAMRI sangat mudah terlihat dan ditemukan. Terbaca dengan jelas “Amplas, Siantar atau Binjai”, sebagai beberapa tujuan transportasi umum keluar Kualanamu. Sudah kupelajari dengan baik dan tertuang jelas di itinerary, Amplas adalah tolakanku berikutnya.
Menebus selembar tiket seharga Rp. 15.000 saja, aku kini berakses untuk mencicipi transportasi milik pemerintah yang sudah terlanjur melegenda di hati masyarakat.
“Abang lihat papan petunjuk daerah tujuan aja ya, bang! Disana bang”, seloroh petugas tiket berseragam sembari telunjuk dan matanya menuju ke arah yang sama.
“Ok, bang”, aku menjawab singkat.
Memasuki pintu tunggalnya aku duduk tepat disebelah pintu, tak sampai semenit aku sudah di bangku belakang, bahkan sejurus kemudian sudah di bangku tengah. AC ventilator itu sudah tak berpenutup, kaca bagian belakang itu sudah sangat kusam sehingga kameraku pun kehilangan kejernihannya, di tengah pun sama reclining seat tak berfungsi selayaknya. Aku selalu memaklumi dengan kondisi ini, ini DAMRI kannnn.
“Mana tiket Kau?”, sapa kondektur dengan kerasnya yang membuatku terperanjat. Kalau di Kampung Rambutan itu seperti hentakan preman.
“Ah, ini mah Medan ternyata”, batinku yang akhirnya membuatku bersikap wajar dan tak perlu kaget.
“Amplas, Bang”, kusodorkan tiket kepadanya. Ternyata dibalik wajah garang sang kondektur ada senyum tipis terlepas otomatis di bibirnya. Aku mulai jatuh cinta dengan Medan.
Aku sangat sibuk berpindah di bangku manapun demi menciptakan jepretan terbaik (walau akhirnya gagal….Hahaha), karena DAMRI ini hanya mengangkut 5 penumpang. Aku tahu pak sopir terus mengawasiku lewat kaca spion. Demi membuatnya wajar, aku mengacungkan jempol kepadanya dan uniknya dia juga mengacungkan jempolnya tinggi-tinggi. Semua penumpang tertawa melihatku….Kacau.
Tak berasa DAMRI pun sudah melaju di jalan tol Medan-Kualanamu-Tebing Tinggi dengan cepatnya.
Tiga puluh menit DAMRI merangsek ke barat hingga akhirnya tiba di Terminal Terpadu Amplas yang sangat tersohor di Medan itu. Terminal yang tak sesangar seperti yang kubayangkan. Tak seorangpun menggangguku ketika selama 20 menit mengekplore seisi terminal itu.
Bahkan aku sempatkan bercakap dengan petugas Dishub perihal cara menuju Toba dari terminal ini. Juga bercakap dengan seorang kondektur bus PO Sejahtera untuk menanyakan keberangkatan pertama armadanya menuju danau vulkanik terbesar di dunia itu.
Senang mendengar kabar bahwa Terminal Amplas akan direvitalisasi oleh Mister Menteri dan akan menjadi terminal yang terintegrasi dengan mall dan hotel. Keren yaaaa.
Yuk, jangan lama-lama di terminal. Mari kutunjukkan Medan seperti apa.
Inexperienced to sleep in a room with a Central AC made me didn’t really sleep because of cold. The advantage which I got was keeping myself from welcoming the dawn which was slowly present. At 5:30am, I started bathing in shared bathroom.
That were all because of me. Agosto Inn staff were stunned and rushed to prepare a breakfast menu which was actually quite simple at dining table. Forgive me if it made you nervous, miss….Hahaha.
Pouring tea pot, baking white bread, stirring oatmeal and slicing sunkist oranges in a relaxed manner before Srilankans sat at the same table.
Me: “Hai….Hello….Are you from India?”. My first question to them.
Srilankan: “No, We are from Colombo”.
Me: “Oh, Srilanka”.
Srilankan: “Yeaa….Great, you know that”. Broadly smiling and inviting to shaking hands.
Me: “I hope I can go to your exotic country”
Srilankan: “Yes….You must go there”
You know, how long did I need to realize that hope?….Yup, 5 years later I was present in Colombo. A derfect dream.
45 minutes later, I already rode LRT Kelana Jaya to KL Sentral. I would catch first departure of Go Genting Express Bus at 08:00 hours.
My failure to got a ticket on my first day in Kuala Lumpur wasn’t repeated after a ticket was held before first departure time.
Very happy when roar of “The Maroon Red” began to be heard at a corner towards KL Sentral Bus Station which is located on basement floor.
Bus seats which was full made the driver immediately work in his seat by stepping on gas pedal and then leave KL Sentral in a matter of minutes.
Damn….The first sight was a Chinese descent child who had to pee in front of my eyes. His urine entered perfectly into empty mineral water bottle which held by his mum which is pretty….Hhmmhh. She kept the bottle in a small trunk in front of her chair….I hope you weren’t wrong to take a bottle when you drink, Mam.
As far as 42 km, my eyes enjoyed Karak Expressway views together with Go Genting Express speed. An hour later, the bus slowly approached at Lower Genting Skyway Station precisely at Basement Level 4 (B4). I immediately moved to Genting Skyway Complex level T1 to boarding the cable car.
Actually, my expectations to visiting Genting Highlands were just curious, there wasn’t intention to staying there at all because of my limited time to explore. As a result, I only allocated 2 hours to explore First World Plaza.
Because I arrived at First World Plaza on 4th floor, I was doing reverse exploration. Starting from 4th floor and ending on 1st floor. You need to know that what I currently visited was a 4 storey modern mall building.
Nice….The first thing that I did was stop by at a local food and beverage retail store which is very famous in Malaysia, Heng Heng Local Delights on 4th floor. Even though I didn’t know how to bring it home later because of my small backpacks and I am a person who anti-buying baggage planes.
After shopping, I got around myself at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Adventureland and visiting Jurassic Research Center and taking time to play on PlayTime! Video Games Park which is part of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditorium
After visiting First World Indoor Theme Park on 4th floor, I returned to 2nd floor to visit Snow World.
I also took time to see Genting Casino which is really greedy because it occupies 2 floors at the same time at First World Plaza. It uses Level 1 and Level 2 for gambling business.
After exploring entire floor of First World Plaza, I decided to return to KL Sentral for exploring Bukit Bintang, which is also a retail and fashion center in Kuala Lumpur.
Massive development by 21st Century Fox has turned Genting Highlands into an Asian and even world tourist gem.
For those who haven’t visited yet, please go a few hours to go there.
Dulu, kalau memikirkan Medan (sebelum aku benar-benar mengunjunginya) maka tempat pertama yang kubayangkan adalah Danau Toba….Parah, padahal Danau Toba berada di Kabupaten Simalungun, sedangkan Kota Medan berada 190 km di utara Danau.
Persepsi kembali berubah saat digalakkannya era optimalisasi bandar udara di seluruh negeri. Ketika mendengar kata “Medan” maka yang terbayang secara otomatis adalah Kualanamu. Bagaimana tidak, Kualanamu telah mencatatkan rekor sebagai pelopor penggunaan kereta bandara menuju ke pusat kota.
1. Arrival Hall
Sriwijaya Air SJ 010 dengan tiket kelewat irit berjasa mendaratkanku di Kualanamu International Airport (KNIA). Seperti biasa, eksplorasi bandara menjadi keharusan bagiku. Kuputuskan menginvestasikan satu jam pertama di Sumatera Utara untuk menjelajah setiap sisi Kualanamu.
Suhu kota Medan baru beranjak di level 28o Celcius, jadi belum sepanas yang kubayangkan. Karenanya aku berasa santai ketika sedikit berlama-lama di parking lot pesawat sembari menunggu apron shuttle bus menjemputku tepat di kaki pesawat.
Memasuki bandara yang memiliki arti nama “Tempat Bertemu” tersebut, suasana menjadi riuh karena banyak penumpang berlarian bahkan rela mengantri untuk berfoto dengan Pak Jokowi yang sedang mengayuh sepeda atau untuk sekedar mengabadikan diri di spot signboard kuning KNO.
2. Departure Hall
Pasca menjelajah Arrrival Hall dan memahami selusin arah menuju beberapa fasilitas bandara, aku menyempatkan naik ke lantai 2 untuk melongok Departure Hall. Ini menjadi keharusan karena sadar bahwa aku akan pulang ke Jakarta dari Minangkabau International Airport di Padang Pariaman.
Hanya kondisi ruang tunggu pesawat yang tak tertangkap kamera karena aku tak bertiket untuk memasukinya. Eksplorasi di Departure Hall akhirnya harus diakhiri di sini.
3. Fasilitas Lain
Menuruni lantai 2 melalui escalator, aku kembali berada di Arrival Hall untuk melihat fasilitas lain yang tersedia.
Aku cukup lama bercakap dengan “Si Jilbab Cantik” yang bertugas di Tourist Information Center. Paras ayunya membuatku betah bertutur dan lancar mengeluarkan pertanyaan sebanyak mungkin hanya untuk bisa mengagumi beningnya lebih lama….Huuu, dasar kutu kupret kamu, Donny!…Hahaha.
Meninggalkan Arrival Hall dengan menggenggam banyak brosur sebagai buah percakapanku dengan si doi. Dipadu dengan itinerary yang kususun, fokus eksplorasi Provinsi Sumatera Utara kali ini ada di Medan, Danau Toba dan Pematang Siantar. Karena aku akan melewati ketiga tempat itu.
4. Akses Kereta Api Bandara
Yuhuii….Aku menjadi girang karena sekejap lagi akan melihat secara langsung “Si Biru Langit” yang sudah terlanjur tersohor ke seantero negeri sebagai kereta bandara pertama di Indonesia.
Kereta buatan Korea Selatan ini menjual tiketnya seharga Rp. 100.000 untuk sekali jalan dari stasiun bandara menuju pusat kota atau sebaliknya.
Tapi beribu sayang dan maaf ya, gaes….Aku tak bisa memperlihatkan interior kereta, karena aku tak jadi menaikinya. Harganya terlalu mahal untukku. Ada moda transportasi lain yang lebih terjangkau dengan dompet.
5. Akses Airport Bus
Yes, aku memilih menggunakan bus DAMRI menuju pusat kota. Harganya yang hanya Rp. 15.000 sungguh menjadikannya sebagai pilihan utama dan pertama yang sekonyong-konyong muncul dalam naluri. Lumayan toh, sisa Rp. 85.000 bias buat empat kali makan….Jadi pengiritan dimulai dari DAMRI bandara….Hahaha.
Puas rasanya setelah berhasil mengoleksi kembali satu bandara milik bangsa dan akan tersimpan dalam sejarah kelayapanku.
I don’t know how many times I’ve said KL Sentral as far as publishing this 221 traveling articles. I remember, I have five times traced this phenomenal building. Five years also, various sides and interesting moments which I stole from Kl Sentral languishing in external hard disk which neatly wrapped in a desk drawer in my bedroom….Room which continually give me many inspiration in conquering beauty of the earth.
It’s not fair, if its greatness isn’t shared with you. Because I’m sure that you will visit it someday….Or maybe, you have visited it but you don’t understand yet its details.
Operating 18 years ago, KL Sentral has played an important role in Malaysian tourism. KL Sentral meritorious in being the link between Malaysia’s first gate (i.e Kuala Lumpur International Airport) and important tourism spots in city center…. Fast, effective and efficient. Maybe that’s what will be pursued by Manggarai Central Station in 2021 (It’s a station central in Jakarta).
Gives you a basic view of KL Sentral. Here’s my best photo at KL Sentral level 1:
KL Sentral Bus Station
Before exploring level 1, I will invite you to look at KL Sentral basement level. Why?….Because 100% of my arrivals to KL Sentral use the cheapest transportation mode….Yups, Skybus, Aerobus and Airport Coach which its tickets are only worth USD 3.1.
After passing through Stesen Sentral Street, bus will enter basement level and stop at shelter which sells Aerobus/Skybus/Airport Coach/Resort World Genting Bus tickets. While, behind escalator (is used to go up to level 1), you will find Rapid KL Free Bus shelter which is used by tourists towards Batu Caves.
Twice, I went down to KL Sentral basement level and immediately left KL Sentral towards Westree Hotel (2018) and M&M Hotel (2019) through this corridor:
Nu Sentral Mall
If you want to continue your trip using KTM ETS (Kereta Tanah Melayu-Electric Train Service), Kelana Jaya Line LRT, Seremban Line commuter KTM, Monorail, airport train (KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit) you have to go up to level 1 KL Sentral using escalator near Skybus/Aerobus ticket counter.
Or….you can also go up to level 1 as access to go to Nu Sentral mall on level 2….Let’s look at Nu Sentral mall.
Finished shopping at Nu Sentral mall, then look for pedestrian bridge to Tun Sambanthan Street. The pedestrian bridge is directly connected to Nu Sentral mall.
Before going back down to level 1, you should see where the monorail station is. The floor plan shows that KL Sentral monorail station is a separate building from KL Sentral itself. But not to worry because there is a connection bridge from KL Sentral to monorail station.
Come on!….We explore 1st floor. This floor is allocated as access to various modes of train transportation.
Starting from commuter train. There are two commuter train lines in KL Sentral namely KTM Laluan Seremban and KTM Laluan Pelabuhan Klang.
Besides KTM Commuter, the most popular transportation mode to city center in Kuala Lumpur is LRT (Light Rail Transit). LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya was the one which was lucky because it was the only chosen LRT which visited KL Sentral.
Besides Skybus/Aerobus and Airport Coach, Malaysia tourism also presents KLIA Transit and KLIA Express which are premium trains to Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Premium is certainly synonymous with expensive prices but certainly guarantees a comfort.
Regarding food….As the biggest transit hub in Malaysia, KL Sentral certainly provides many eateries.
At level, there are several food and beverage shops such as La Cucur Express, Panettone (vegetarian food), Meals Station, I Love Yoo !, Chatime, Swiss Oven, Secret Recipe, Starbucks, Burger King, Ayam Penyet Express and many more.
Outside KL Sentral (around Tun Sambanthan Street), there are also some reasonably-priced food stalls with topnotch taste. I visited it because I often stayed around KL Sentral.
Nearest Cheap Hotels
Tun Sambanthan Street is an important road in Brickfields area. This area provides restaurants, shops and residences. Brickfields also provides many hotels from five-star hotels to budget-friendly hotels.
So….Visit KL Sentral well and just enjoy its facilities.
Heading to 1st floor which is location of KLIA2 Transportation Hub, I rushed to Skybus sales counter. Rates of USD 2.6 was enough to move me from KLIA2 to KL Sentral which is located in center of Kuala Lumpur city. I spent 50 minutes traveling to see situation of Selangor state’s streets.
Step 02.KL Sentral-Batu Caves
Trip in year 2014
From KL Sentral, I headed to KTM Komuter Laluan Seremban ticket counter to reach Batu Caves. At that time, commuter tickets couldn’t be obtained at automatic fare machines like LRT tickets in Kuala Lumpur. So I had to go to ticket counter to manually buy it. Its price is quite cheap, only USD 0.5 for one way. Distance from KL Sentral to Batu Caves is 13 km with 45 minutes travel time.
Taking a light step through exit gate at Batu Caves Station and gathering curiosity which is increasingly rising when I moved in a roofed pedestrian corridor. The corridor which its end is right entrance of Batu Caves.
Entering from right side, the 15 meter high statue of Lord Hanuman welcomed. Its green body added sacredness of “Wanara” King. It was undeniable because indeed many long-tailed monkeys present around temple which is located next to statue.
Ramayana Cave Suyambu Lingam on left side of green temple solemnity presents Ramayana epic through several character statues which imply a storyline. Set aside USD 1.3 to just enjoy its majesty.
The sun sting didn’t deter my enthusiasm and spirit for being present in front of Venkatachalapathi Temple which was built above 19 stairs. This temple praises Lord Vishnu incarnation who is carrying out his duties as a “destroyer of sin”. Do you know Lord Vishnu who rides Garuda (the king of all birds) and armed with chakra?
To ensure tourists don’t miss any part of Batu Caves, they prepares a sign with 17 different directions.
Understanding Hindu history through beauty of art is what Cave Villa wants to show. USD 3.9 is a pretty expensive value to explore this cave.
Lord Shiva who be illustrated as Nataraja “the Lord of Tandavam” (the name of a religious dance in Hinduism) and Lord Murugan who were essentially born as 6 babies, were eventually transformed into a single powerful figure of Lord Murugan, are two stories which is explained in this cave.
Standing on Batu Caves main part i.e a large courtyard which is full of pigeons which always loves to beg for food from tourists.
Visiting statue of the highest Hindu God in the world, His mother is Parwati Lord and his father is Lord Shiva. Lord Murugan is his name …. Armed with a sacred scepter and his majesty is represented on his soaring as high as 43 meters.
Prepare your calves to steps on 272 stairs to main temple which hides on a 400 million-year-old limestone hill.
Humid air and cold temperature like a fridge make this cave as a special place in the middle of stinging area around hill.
Before leaving this site, you can visit Gheeta’s Souvenir Shop on left front of courtyard.
If you don’t want to buy souvenirs, you can buy indian foods and snacks which are sold in front right of courtyard.
Couldn’t buy souvenirs because I didn’t have plane luggage….Then I just enjoy lunch or drink coconut water in canteens around Batu Caves.
Of course, you know Batu Caves, because of its popularity … But try to explore about values which can be obtained from this site.
A flight to Kuala Lumpur, which was barely caught due to race with time along Jakarta-Serang toll road, was added with pale faces due to the bitter interrogation of Malaysian immigration staff because of my inconclusive appearance, then making my heart and spirit go high together with my success first steps to leave the KLIA2 immigration counter.
Guys …. My journey in Kuala Lumpur for first time began. Very happy at that time. My fridge magnet will add to be three. Yes like that, number of fridge magnets in my house shows how many countries I have visited….Later when I have visited 100 countries, I will buy a refrigerator as high as my house ceiling. So I can put all fridge magnets on it….Hahaha.
The trip that had been planned since 9 months before departure was finally realized. Still couldn’t believe when I really entered this neighbor country. The itinerary which I detailed in three sheets had taken me to the following 24 destinations:
KL Sentral is the first stopover which is often used by travelers before exploring Kuala Lumpur. Yes, most public transportations from KLIA will end here.
KL Sentral was indeed built by Malaysian government as a transit-oriented transportation building. No wonder, this transportation center is never empty of visitors.
For the first time, arriving here on the first day of my journey, at exactly 11:23 hours. I took time to explore Nu Sentral which is a shopping mall which is integrated with this modern building.
2. Batu Caves
The time that was too late to begin my trip to Genting Highlands made me choose this Hindu temple as my next stop. Located in Gombak area which is 15 km north of KL Sentral with a distance of 40 minutes travel time making the yellow statue of “Dewa Murugan” as the favorite icon in Kuala Lumpur after Petronas Twin Tower.
90 minutes is more than enough time to dispel my curiosity about the cave which is located in a 400 million-year-old limestone hill.
After returning from Batu Caves and after hunting for hotels in Pasar Seni area which ended with staying at Agosto Inn, in a light drizzle I hurried to Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). KLCC is center of Kuala Lumpur which offers a modern shopping mall i.e Suria KLCC, a row of five-star hotels, iconic view of Petronas Twin Tower and a large urban park (KLCC Park).
Even though I don’t like shopping, I’m just curious to see this mall which has 350 tenants. The Suria KLCC architecture is in crescent shape when viewed from above….Cool, huh. And you need to know that Suria KLCC construction is an integrated project with Petronas Twin Tower.
Before leaving Suria KLCC, I made time to visit Petrosains in 4th floor. Petrosains is Petronas’s petroleum education site, a Malaysian oil giant. Simply set aside Rp. 35,000 to study in Petrosains.
5. Petronas Twin Tower
Right to the left of Suria KLCC exit, I finally found the phenomenal twin building. Soft drizzle which accompanied me to enjoy Petronas Twin Tower was unable to drive me out of front yard of the tallest twin building in the world.
Petronas Twin Tower is the last destination on the first day of journey. Rest faster at Agosto Inn to prepare myself for Genting Highland tomorrow.
On 6:30 hours, seeing my presence at dining table made hotel staff seem rushed to prepare breakfast which was only oatmeal, orange sunkist, toast and warm drinks which I could take as much as I could from tea and coffee pots.
A morning that was still very quiet I passed to KL Sentral to catch the first bus to Genting Highlands which will depart at 08:00. By paying for a round trip ticket from KL Sentral to Genting, USD 5.5 (price in 2014, in 2019 price have gone up to USD 6.3) I arrived at Genting Highlands 1 hour 15 minutes later.
That price includes Genting Skyway ride. While the one-way price for this transportation mode is USD 2. The gondola’s lower station is in Gohtong Jaya and its Upper Station is in Maxims Hotel, Genting Highlands.
7. Genting Highlands
Twenty minutes later, I arrived at Genting Highlands after hanging in the eight-persons seat gondola
The main purpose of second day journey, which had to give up my all time in second day was taken away. Deprivation which absurdly excites me . Hope, there was a repetition like this at another time.
Two hours I explored the resort at top of Mount Titiwangsa in northeast of Kuala Lumpur. If you have much money, you can spend the night in Genting. But passing every mall without shopping, restaurants without taking lunch and casino without gambling, surely that’s me who has never had enough money to do all that.
I just needed to reverse my departure way so I could go back to KL Sentral.
15: 30 hours….”Wow, I can still explore,” My thought cheering. Bus, done!….LRT, done!….Commuter, done!….MRT, not yet Donny!, they werw still seen dredging the ground next to Pasar Seni. So what will you ride next?
I decided to try the only monorail route in Kuala Lumpur. When else can I ride it if not now?. This is also my first time riding a monorail which three years later I rode the same mode for free at Sentosa Island, Singapore….Yup, that was Sentosa Express.
The famous destination on KL Monorail Route is Bukit Bintang. Bearing a title as the most famous shopping and entertainment venue in Kuala Lumpur makes Bukit Bintang as the most popular retail center which is always hunted by shopping enthusiasts, from housewives, office workers to young women and even tourists.
Aren’t you a tourist, Donny? … No, sir. I’m just a fortunate wanderer who was given a chance to travel around 25 countries….Plakkkk Plakkkk Plakkkk…I hit you, Donny!
9.Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (Titiwangsa Park)
Killing time in a city park at north of city center was my journey’s closing on second day. Founded in former of tin mining during British colonialism made it reasonable by existence of a large lake as former of mining activities.
At four o’clock in afternoon, I was present in the park in a crowd of extraordinary citizens’ activities. Until maghrib pray call reminded me that I wasn’t in “Bluntas Park” (the park name which is closest my home in Jakarta….Hahaha). The mean was, time began to expel me to immediately leave Taman Tasik Titiwangsa (Titiwangsa Park) and better spend my evening near hotel where I stay overnight.
10.Hop On Hop Off Bus
Time is indeed unfriendly when confronted with curiosity. Suddenly I was pushed into last day of journey. Long exploration time is successful in compromising with my tired calf veins in affecting my brain. Then my brain whispered, “Just relax in spending last day in Kuala Lumpur, Donny!“.
USD 11.6, I was forced to give it to double decker bus tour guide…. It’s called HOHO bus….Or, Hop On Hop Off bus.
HOHO Bus Stop No. 09, located in Central Market, made it easy for me to catch it….It took less than 5 minutes to reach it from Agosto Inn. Not accepting loss, I insisted on visiting several tourist destinations along HOHO bus line.
“Only 15 minutes. After that, every ladies and gentlemen can go back to bus or join to next bus“, her voice became clearer with presence of a mic under guide’s lips. Her face was beautiful within hijab (girl moslem wear ). She Made me melt.
I rushed away as fast as I could to approaching palace gate. Took a picture with palace guard who stands like a statue and a very tame palace horse even though dozens of different faces took turn taking pictures with it.
A large square adorned with an iconic Mughal-Moor building becomes my next stop. Sultan Abdul Samad is name of the building. Sultan Abdul Samad himself was the leader of Selangor state which was famous for moving capital city of Selangor from Klang to Kuala Lumpur.
The plain is known as Dataran Merdeka, the place where Malaysia independence from British colonial government was declared.
HOHO bus which didn’t stop for long time at that communication tower, didn’t make me give up. I nimbly jumped out of bus and a second later HOHO bus left me in KL Tower yard.
I would explore KL Tower before heading to Muzium Negara (State Museum).
If you have more guts, go to Sky Box!, if you want to lunch in an elegant way then try revolving restaurant! ,then go to observation deck to catch beautiful view of Kuala Lumpur city closer to your eyelids!.
Me?….I missed the first two parts. My wallet was only able to put me in the last part….It was better than nothing.
14.National Museum of Malaysia
Want to quickly know about culture of a nation?….Come to its national museum!.
For this reason I was present at Muzium Negara (National Museum of Malaysia). The journey of Malaysians from time to time is clearly displayed in this museum. Starting from prehistoric life….Kingdom life….Even the story of Majapahit Kingdom (Biggest Kingdom in Indonesia) is here.
The nuances of Kuala Terengganu kingdom seem to strongly influence this museum architecture which looks so magnificent.
The Malaysian struggle session from British colonialism closed the history learning session at this building which is located on Jalan Damansara.
15.Taman Tasik Perdana(Perdana Botanical Garden)
Hop On Hop Off slowly entered into Kuala Lumpur green area….Amazing, this was the famous Taman Tasik Perdana (Perdana Botanical Garden).
Known as Lake Garden, this park was my best solution to stay away from hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur city which gradually made my ears noisy.
I saw how happy Kuala Lumpur people picnic as a family, swinging their feet along jogging track, rowing a boat on a beautiful lake and I was dissolved with my steps to enjoy green trees which cooling surrounding air.
16.Kuala Lumpur Orchid Park
The colors of flowers were like a magnet which pulled me closer. I was cheerful when a park signboard whispered information that I didn’t need to pay a cent to enter it.
A woman with wide hat greeted me with a happy smile. Her duty in arranging the park was finally visited by a thin-pocketed traveler. Without embarrassment, the traveler also posed in front of camera which held by the woman….Already entered, free of charge, also gave an order to catching a picture…. Beuh, plaaaaaakkkk#hitmyface.
17.Kuala Lumpur Deer Park
“Ma’am….Is there something where doesn’t require an entrance ticket in Perdana Botanical Garden?“, I asked without shame
“There, Sir….There is deers across. At the end of this road then turn right “, She said mixed with a smile.
Beuh, if it’s free, don’t ask….Donny is the best searcher and Donny will be the fastest to visiting. As fast as lightning, I was already inside Kuala Lumpur Deer Park.
All visitors who all quickly entered the park and also quickly left it. In contrast to me who really enjoy behavior of those deers whose its brothers like to steal cucumbers in Indonesia (Indonesia have famous story about a deer that love to steal farmer’s cucumber).
Beuh….Those deers dung beat my bad habit….Free attraction hunter.
18.Kuala LumpurBird Park
The biggest bird’s nest in the world. Home for three thousand birds. This time there was no mercy for my wallet. USD 10.2 flew just to see birds freely roam in the park.
If you go there, you will find a mandarin duck which for the first time I saw it. Don’t forget to also take part in feeding program for KL Bird Park “residents“!.
Exiting Perdana Botanical Garden, HOHO bus drove me to perform Asr prayer at National Mosque.
National Mosque, which is capable of accommodating 15,000 worshipers, was established to give thanks to God for country’s independence from colonial government without bloodshed.
Feel coolness of main room with soft carpet while worshiping in this mosque. Guaranteed peace and make sleepy.
20.Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
I slowly moved away from Perdana Botanical Garden area to return to city center. Apparently, I had circled the city 360 degrees, because I had arrived again at Dataran Merdeka. This time I was visiting Kuala Lumpur City Gallery.
Do you want to know about Kuala Lumpur city development plan?
Want to know also how much Malaysia’s income from tourism?….Fantastic.
Want to know too, what building which they want to build to defeat Petronas Twin Tower which actually has also become the tallest one in entire world?
Just pay USD 1.2 and enter into it….It’s great, I guarantee.
21.National Textile Museum
Yup, there was still a little more time…..
Crossing road in Dataran Merdeka, I was shocked by existence of National Textile Museum. No need to spend money to visit it.
The museum, which is placed inside a building which is more than a decade old, offers historical and cultural journeys through a series of typical Malay fabrics which are displayed therein. Also some of relics of Kuala Terengganu’s artistic objects which must have been luxury items in its era
Goodbye Hop On Hop Off bus, thank you for taking me to know Kuala Lumpur.
I immediately headed to hotel to pick up a backpack which I had left in receptionist since morning because my stay finished at 12:00 hours.
But yes, back to the habit….Not wanting to lose against time which kept rolling, I pushed toward Petaling Street which is close to hotel.
Petaling Street is center of Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. Quite crowded when I enter it and explore each stalls which offer a variety of souvenirs and food.
You have to eat roasted chestnuts….It’s delicious, oath!
23.Pasar Seni (Central Market)
It was getting darker….No need to worry, my flight was still tomorrow. A thing which limited me was LRT’s last operating hour, which was 23:00 hours.
I only needed a few minutes to move from Petaling Street to Central Market. Sitting and enjoying culinary time in Petaling didn’t make me realize that the dark had begun to acquire the day. Maybe it was also because of my tiredness which had conspired with the dark to make me forget
“Ma’am, what can i get with this amount of money?….Just packing as avail as possible, ma’am. Just a souvenir, Ma’am….Don’t pack foods. I want to go back to Jakarta” words which indicate that I was tired and couldn’t think anymore to choose souvenirs.
24.Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2 (KLIA2)
Only a few minutes before 21:00 hours, I closed curtain of my journey in Kuala lumpur. It was time to head to airport which will be my bed on the last night. Combination of traveling using LRT Kelana Jaya and Skybus made me arrive at KLIA2 at a little over 22:00 hours.
Hi, man….Airport is not a tourist destination….Yakss, for you maybe not….For me is yes, because I often invest time in exploring airport which for the first time I visited.
For me, KLIA2 is an exotic place like a seven star hotel which has contributed to taking me around the world.
Already finish….Need three days to write this article. The longest article which I’ve ever written. This article have 2,679 words, Wow.