Waktu satu setengah jam aku manfaatkan dengan cara duduk bersantai di salah satu bangku di waiting hall sembari menikmati secangkir cold latte sehaga 89 Baht yang aku beli dari salah satu tenant kopi, Phuket International Airport. Tenant itu bernama Siam Express dengan tagline utamaya Fresh & Go dan terletak persis di depan Gate 9, tempat pelepasan pesawat yang akan kutumpangi.
Gerbang itu berebelahan dengan Gate 10 yang akan digunakan VietJet Air untuk boarding menuju Vietnam.
Kursi di waiting hall tampak penuh malam itu, susah sekali untuk mendapatkan bangku kosong. Tetapi beruntung, aku mendapatkan satu bangku kosong di sebuah koridor tersembunyi, tepat di belakang sebuah tenant souvenir.
Setelah menunggu satu setengah jam lamanya, akhirnya panggilan boarding menggema di langit-langit bangunan terminal. Aku mengambil antrian di belakang seorang pasangan muda Malaysia yang tampak mesra, bak perangko dengan amplopnya, aku sendiri akhirnya menebak bahwa mereka usai berbulan madu di Phuket.
Aku melewati bagian pemeriksaan boarding pass dengan mudah, kemudian menuruni tangga demi menuju ke sebuah koridor dimana deretan gate pelepasan di tempatkan.
Memasuki aerobridge, aku terus merangsek menuju kabin dan segera mencari keberadaan window seat bernomor 32A, aku menemukannya di bangku paling belakang tepat di depan toilet kabin.
Begitu duduk dan memasang sabuk pengaman, aku baru menyadari setelah melongok sejenak dari kaca jendela bahwa kondisi di luar bandara sedang hujan deras, setelah melongok sejenak dari kaca jendela.
Setengah jam lamanya proses boarding, hingga akhirnya pesawat telah bersiap untuk lepas landas. Pesawat memulai proses taxiing menuju runway ketika para awak kabin sedang memperagakan prosedur keselamatan penerbangan.
Berhenti di atas runway, sejenak pilot berkoordinasi dengan petugas ATC untuk meminta izin lepas landas. Setelah petugas ATC menyetakan siap dan aman, maka pesawat mulai menyalkan mesin jetnya, meluncur cepat di sepanjang runway untuk akhirnya berhasil airborne dengan sempurna.
Aku mulai terbang meninggalkan Phuket…..
Sejenak usai lepas landas, pelita bumi di atas Phuket tampak cantik walau tak semeriah pelita di kota-kota besar, aku menangkap sejenak beberapa gambar malam dari kota Phuket.
Perjalanan menuju Kuala Lumpur sendiri ditempuh dalam jangka waktu satu setengah jam dengan menempuh jarak sejauh 1.200 kilometer.
Duduk di sebelah pria Malaysia yang kuduga dari dandanannya sebagai seorang pebisnis, aku memaksakan diri untuk tidur, mengingat pada malam sebelumnya aku kurang istirahat di Dormsin Hostel. Memang demikian jika aku hendak melakukan penerbangan, aku akan mengalami kesulitan tidur nyenyak karena takut tertinggal penerbangan.
Mataku sendiri akhirnya terbuka ketika pilot memberitahu kepada awak kabin bahwa pesawat bersiap untuk mendarat. Aku melongok ke jendela dan melihat pelita bumi di Kuala Lumpur tampak sangat indah dan dominan dilihat dari atas.
“Sebentar lagi aku akan menginjakkan kaki di Kuala Lumpur kembali”, aku membatin sumringah.
Pesawat perlahan menurunkan ketinggian dan akhirnya roda raksasanya berhasil menyentuh landas pacu dengan mulus. Aku telah tiba di Kuala Lumpur untuk sekedar transit sebelum terbang kembali menuju Jakarta di keesokan paginya.
Usai taxiing, pesawat merapat ke bangunan terminak Kuala Lumpur International Airport Terminal 2. Setelah pramugari membuka pintu pesawat, aku merangsek melalui aerobridge menuju sisi dalam arrival hall demi mencari keberadaan transfer hall. Aku yang sudah hafal jalurnya, menemukan transferr hall itu dengan sangat mudah.
Malam itu, transfer hall dijaga oleh aviation security wanita. Dia hanya bertanya kepadaku hendak pergi kemana. Aku hanya menunjukkan boarding pass terusan yang kudapatkan dari Phuket International Airport beserta passport hingga dia menunjukkan pintu menuju transferr hall.
Memang malam itu aku terkesan malas untuk keluar dari konter imigrasi ketika tiba, melainkan lebih memilih untuk beristirahat saja di transfer hall mengingat di keesokan harinya aku ada agenda meeting dengan manajemen di perusahaan tempatku bekerja.
Mencari barisan Gate Q, akhirnya aku tiba di transit hall luas dan berkapet tebal. Aku yang merasa sangat haus, membeli jus apel kemasan di sebuah beverage tenant.
Aku pun segera mencari tempat tidur yang tepat untuk memejamkan mata. Aku menemukan tempat yang nyaman di bawah escalator dan aku dengan percaya diri tidur di bawah escalator tersebut hingga pagi menjelang.
Terimakasih KLIA2….Izinkan diriku untuk tidur sejenak…..
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.
All night my sleep was interrupted by the snoring of a guest who was fast asleep to the right of my bed. Not only myself, but I could also feel the protests of a guest who slept right under a snoring guest’s bunk bed. Over and over again I could feel him hitting the bottom of the bunk bed where a snoring guest was sleeping. Maybe he felt the same way. Upset….Because he couldn’t sleep well.
Feeling unwell, I decided to just wash my body under the hot shower in the shared bathroom. A splash of warm water could at least relax every inch of my body which wasn’t one hundred percent fresh that morning.
That morning, I had to pack all the equipment back into my backpack and then leave it at the reception desk. My stay ended at noon and at that time, I was still downtown.
After taking a shower and tidying up my backpack, I headed to the reception to check out, returned the locker key, and took the deposit. Luckily, the reception staff from Egypt was already at his desk making it easier for me to speed up the process because I had to catch the Go KL City Bus departure as early as possible.
My backpack had been neatly stored and I rushed down the stairs to get out of the inn. Once outside, I immediately looked for a seat on the terrace of shops that were still closed for breakfast. Breakfast this time was still the same as last night’s dinner menu….Yup, I could still rely on oat powder. To be honest, I already ran out of Ringgit that morning, I only had Ringgit left to take the airport bus this afternoon and have a modest dinner at KLIA2.
From this, it could be concluded that I would go around the city without spending even the slightest bit of money….Yes, I would never spend it.
Luckily, the streets were still quiet. This situation certainly reduced the burden of embarrassment when I had to sip spoon after spoonful of oat powder wet with a splash of mineral water.
Thank God breakfast was over….The adventure began.
I headed to the Pasar Seni Bus Hub to look for the Go KL City Bus Purple Line. The free purple line bus would take me to the KL Tower complex.
KL Tower is a telecommunication transmitter tower, broadcasting tower, altitude culinary tour, and city viewpoint from above.
From a distance, I saw clearly that the bus was already in position. So as soon as I arrived at the platform, I just got on it from the front door. Only a few passengers were already occupying the seats. This was what makes me have to wait about ten minutes….At least to fill the empty seats with passengers who were slowly arriving.
At eight in the morning, the Go KL City Bus Purple Line finally departed….
While sitting, I thought that KL Tower was a tall building, so I just relaxed. Of course, I only needed to stop at any bus stop near the KL Tower building which would be visible from a distance because it was so high.
The Go KL City Bus slowly ran in Sultan Street to leave the Pasar Seni area. As soon as I arrive along Raja Chulan Street, KL Tower was visible from the bus window. I just needed to make sure when to get off at the nearest bus stop. Several times the Go KL City Bus stopped at the bus stop, but I still couldn’t get off. I still hoped that the bus would stop at a shelter that was closer to KL Tower.
There was an exception, instead of getting closer, the Go KL City Bus was getting farther and farther away from KL Tower. “Ahhhh, damn….I’d gone too far and instead of slowing down the bus was getting faster and faster”, I leaned against the bus window. Due to that stupidity, I just gave up following where the Go KL City Bus went. I decided to return to the Pasar Seni and repeated the journey from scratch….Too bad.
After 40 minutes of travel, the Go KL City Bus finally arrived at Pasar Seni.
“Ridiculous….”, I cursed myself.
Now I got off the Go KL City Bus and moved to the bus in the front which was ready to depart. Luckily for me, the Go KL City Bus left immediately when a few seconds earlier I stepped inside.
Now I put on a wary attitude when sitting on one of its seats. I would decide to just get off when I saw that KL Tower could reach within walking distance.
That moment has arrived….
The bus stopped at a bus stop and I jumped down from the middle door.
“THE WELD….”, I read the signboard on a skyscraper that stood right behind the bus stop where I got off.
Now I was on Raja Chulan Street and THE WELD itself is a 26-story office complex located 800 meters east of KL Tower.
From THE WELD, I cut off P. Ramlee street to then took fifty steps into a smaller street, Puncak Street. This was the main road to get to the KL Tower which was built on higher ground.
Panting for a quarter of an hour, finally I arrived at the courtyard of KL Tower. Back in 2014, I had the opportunity to cross this tower when I tried the KL Hop On Hop Off to get around the city. Only, at that time I went down for less than five minutes to see it. This was all because KL Hop On Hop Off rushed to explore the city.
That time I would be a little longer in enjoying the charm of this communication tower that wasn’t less than a quarter of a century old. How could I not be happy, when I finally had the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of a tower whose height was included in the ranks of the ten tallest towers in the world?
The uniqueness that could be seen for the first time was the roof of the basic building which used a series of tapering patterns. My mind then referred to the roof of the Sydney Opera House. Meanwhile, at the upper end between the mast and the antenna, there was a round building that was the center of broadcasting, telecommunication, restaurant, observation deck, and sky deck activities.
As far as I knew, to enjoy the observation deck, visitors must pay 49 Ringgit….While the sky deck tour price reached 99 Ringgit….Woouuooww.
I stepped towards the KL Tower entrance gate to see the activity there up close. Of course, I won’t go up to the top for a tour, it’s too expensive for a visitor like me who just stopped by in Kuala Lumpur.
It wasn’t that crowded, so far only a few European tourists decided to buy tickets and went up to the top of the tower, while I just watched the remnants of the programming competition that was held the day before yesterday. The competition was titled HR Hackathon.
Shifting to the right of the tower, there was another attraction. On that side stood a ticket sales counter for visiting the KL Tower Mini Zoo (KLTMZ). Existing information boards said that KLTMZ contains no less than fifty native and exotic species. And to see these unique species, visitors needed to spend up to 30 Ringgit.
Move again towards the front of the tower. There was a KL Tower F1 Zone which provided a Formula One simulator for the public. Visitors could feel the sensation of driving the land jet by paying 20 Ringgit for six minutes of driving in the simulator. The walls of the KL Tower F1 Zone were bright red, in harmony with the colors of one of the leading racing teams in Formula One’s premier racing event. It’s just that, when I visited KL Tower, the KL Tower F1 Zone was still closed. Maybe I arrived too early.
Oh yes, the KL Tower F1 Zone was also equipped with a Formula One Cafe & Mart…
But just looking at the cafe & mini market from outside for a moment, I saw the arrival of the white KL Hop On Hop Off with the upper deck partly open. Suddenly I ran towards it, it’s been six years since I’ve ever met up close with that tour bus. It turned out that in the courtyard of the tower, there was a KL Hop On Hop Off shelter. No wonder the tour bus stopped to drop off the tourists.
It didn’t take long to stop, dropping only 5 tourists, the bus stepped on its gas pedal again. But not long after, there was a familiar accent when the five female tourists were talking to each other after getting off the bus. “That’s the Surabaya accent….”, I concluded. I decided to say hello and spoke for a while. I hadn’t met Indonesians for four days, so there was nothing wrong with speaking for a moment. Because of that incident, I knew that the five were female workers who were traveling to Kuala Lumpur. From our conversation too, I knew that they were working in Penang.s
As usual, Indonesians always have their characteristics. They finally asked me to take a photo with the KL Tower as a background.
I? ….Yes, of course, I also asked to be photographed….I was originally from Indonesia….The Republic of Indonesia exactly…Hahaha
I was at the end of a visit to KL Tower. To close this short visit, I entered the front half area of KL Jungle Eco Park. Formerly known as the Hutan Simpan Bukit Nanas, it was one of Malaysia’s oldest permanent forest reserves. To enter this forest reserve visitors must be willing to spend 40 Ringgit.
On the first step out of the Central Market area, there was a betrayal of intentions. My steps still didn’t accept heading to the inn.
It was almost nine o’clock in the evening….
“Central Market may begin to lose its charisma, swallowed up by darkness, but not Petaling Street. The crowds have just started there”, I began to force my intention to change direction, even though my body was already shattered due to the nearly nine-hour journey from Kuala Terengganu that morning to the afternoon.
I stepped north to completely devour Hang Kasturi Street until I cut off Jalan Leboh Pasar Besar Street at a t-junction. The T-junction was marked by the existence of the UOB building and the Pacific Express Hotel. The situation was still crowded along the road. So that I was even more engrossed and felt safe when I stepped east until I met an intersection marked by the Maybank Building. The intersection brought together four roads, namely Yap Ah Loy Street from the east, Tun H S Lee Street from the north, Leboh Pasar Besar Street from the west, and Petaling Street from the south.
Yap Ah Loy Street….Who is Yap Ah Loy?
Yes, Yap Ah Loy is the Chinese figure who first prospered in the Pasar Seni area by building a tapioca factory. The prosperity brought about by his business activities has helped a lot in developing Chinatown in the Pasar Seni area.
OK, let’s continue my short journey….
Because I wanted to visit Petaling Street, I had to head south from the intersection earlier. The road I took was part of the Petaling Street section. This is a popular street in the Chinatown area that runs from north to south for nearly 800 meters. But Petaling Street I mean in the title of this article is part of its section that provides 300 meters long protective roofed commerce stalls.
However, apart from taking advantage of Petaling Street, this street bazaar also widens to the east and west to take advantage of the side of Hang Lekir Street which does not have a protective roof.
Exactly nine in the evening…..
I arrived at the gate of Petaling Street. I crossed the wide intersection paved with neat paving blocks to enter the initial area of Petaling Street. As soon as I passed through the gate, the easiest thing to remember was the rows of lanterns hanging from the ceiling. In addition, the concrete-paved streets with paving block motifs and pillars and roof trusses made of steel perfectly straddling the road were things that could be quickly captured in memory when passing by.
The fundamental difference from the lanes in this commercial area is….The route along Petaling Street is dominated by stalls selling souvenirs, various clothes, bags, shoes, wallets, accessories, and other knick-knacks with Malaysian smells. Meanwhile, along Hang Lekir Street, we can easily find food stalls that are dominated by Chinese food and various other street foods such as roasted walnuts, fruits, drinks, and others. As an illustration, for various types of drinks, from soy milk to fruit juice, the price is only 1.8 – 6 Ringgit….Cheap, right?
However, the very cheap and negotiable price of souvenirs certainly indicated that these products would be easy to buy by tourists. Therefore, we need to be observant to bid before deciding to buy.
Petaling Street is indeed an idol trading place in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from that, Petaling Street also describes an existence for efforts to preserve Chinese culture in Kuala Lumpur.
On my fifth visit to Petaling Street, I only explored it in less than half an hour.
Exactly half past ten….
I decided to back to the inn because my eyes were getting sleepy and my body was feeling worn out.
After sipping the oat powder, I walked away from the edge of Tun Sambanthan Street. Crossing it to reach the Central Market courtyard.
In the courtyard, I stood still, looking at all the market buildings which were sparkling with lamps. This was one of the landmarks in Kuala Lumpur which is more than 130 years old.
“Hhmmhhh….Central Market, what should we do on my fourth visitation this time?”, I thought.
“Ohh…Better to dissect every corner of it tonight”, I decided.
From the front yard of the Central Market, I shifted to the east side of the building. This was the Kasturi Walk, a 75-meter-long path filled with shops selling clothes, fruits, local food (one of them is Ipoh white bean), children’s toys, handicrafts, and other souvenirs.
Kasturi Walk is a part of the Central Market which is unique because along the way it is covered with a roof where at the base of the roof a typical Malaysian kite design is pinned. Kasturi Walk itself only takes a small part of Hang Kasturi Street which stretches for nearly half a kilometer.
Please note, if the Central Market was the king of wet markets in the past then Hang Kasturi Street was famous as the dry market.
I was amazed enjoying the crowd along that path even though none of the items were purchased. Nothing else, because my intention was only to complete the exploration of the Central Market.
After exploring each end of Kasturi Walk, I immediately entered the Central Market building. I also entered it in 2014 when I was shopping for t-shirts and key chains for some colleagues in Jakarta. But now, I would just walk through its corner by corner, floor by floor then found out more about its contents.
Entering through the east door, I was faced with a row of stalls divided by a long corridor. Rows of stalls offered souvenir knick-knacks, sparkling gemstones, dry fruits, various kinds of aromatherapy, batik, communication tools, and other merchandise.
Located in the center of the room, a welcome sign in various languages hangs from the market ceiling to welcome all visitors. Meanwhile, the favorite place for visitors on the first floor is the well-known outlet….Old Town White Coffee.
I climbed the stairs to the second floor after finishing my exploration on the first floor. Seen on the second floor, there were corners for the promotion of tourism and the culture of Malaysia. This was an important advantage of the Central Market, besides being a shopping center, it also functioned as the face of tourism and Malaysian culture.
After visiting the cultural corner, at least I understood that the Central Market regularly holds Cultural Dances which were held on the outdoor stage (Central Market courtyard). From that cultural point of view, I also received information that in the Sarawak area, Malaysia had a part of the Dayak ethnic group called the Laki Iban. In that corner, they also introduced their typical clothes, nicknamed Kelambi and Sirat.
The rest of the second floor looked crowded with the existence of the Central Market Food Court. The food court was inhabited by all kinds of stalls. Apart from various typical Malaysian soups and special dishes from Penang or Ipoh didn’t miss the typical Thai taste. Meanwhile, Kopitiam would facilitate the enjoyment of coffee in other ways.
As an illustration, food prices at the Central Market Food Court also vary and could accommodate visitors with various wallet thicknesses. Starting from 1.9 Ringgit for the price of a piece of Sunny Side Up to 24.9 Ringgit to make up for a portion of Grilled Lamb Chop.
Apart from being a food court, part of the second floor is also enlivened by rows of clothing shops, with batik being an idol on this floor. I continued my steps by enjoying the typical patterns of Malaysian batik.
Finally, even one hour I went around and observed the activities of visitors at the Central Market until the shopping center began to quiet because it was late at night. I slowly started to go down the stairs to arrive downstairs and got ready to go back to the inn.
I had to wash and rest because tomorrow I would explore several tourist spots in Kuala Lumpur until noon.
I rushed down the escalator after escalator to go to the 3rd floor of Bersepadu Selatan Terminal and immediately decided to get out via the connecting bridge to Bandar Tasik Selatan Station.
Arriving in front of the row of ticketing vending machines, I immediately looked for a ticket to Pasar Seni Station, which I would take using two integrated train routes, namely the Seremban LRT and Kelana Jaya LRT. I put 3.5 Ringgit into the machine to get a blue token to go to the Pasar Seni which was ten kilometers to the north.
It didn’t take long for the Seremban LRT to arrive and I entered the middle carriage. That afternoon the train was full, and I had to stand until the train arrived at KL Sentral.
You need to know that Pasar Seni is an area that is located just two kilometers north of KL Sentral. From KL Sentral, I rushed down and headed for the LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya platform to reach Pasar Seni Station.
At almost seven o’clock I arrived at the Pasar Seni…..
I momentarily pulled over in the corner of the station platform to observe the busy area of the Pasar Seni from above. It was been three times I’d explored the area since 2014, meaning this was the fourth time I’d arrived at the same place. Bored?…. Of course not, there were always new and interesting things that I could find even in the same place.
Towards dark, I started down the steps of Pasar Seni Station and started walking down Hang Kasturi Street to reach the inn, namely The Bed Station. The inn I chose was quite close to Pasar Seni Station, only needed to walk 200 meters.
Finding the inn’s location, I rushed in at an unguarded and unlocked door, only a stairway leading up, connecting several floors.
The reception desk I was looking for was located on the second floor. I entered the room where its situation was still empty and quiet. To then decided to take a seat in front of the reception desk to wait for the hotel staff to arrive.
Finally, fifteen minutes later, the male staff arrived.
“Hellooo….”, he friendly greeted.
“Hi….I want to check in”, I got up from my seat and approached the reception desk then handed over the online booking confirmation sheet and passport.
“Let me see!…. Your name is in our system. Ok, 22 Ringgit for room and 20 Ringgit for deposit”, he started to close the transaction.
“Why don’t several hotels in some cities in Malaysia require a deposit?”, I was feeling astonished
“I don’t know about that. I’m originally from Egypt, so I don’t know more…”, he explained still with a smile.
“Just take a bunk bed in your room….All the choices are up to you”, he handed me the locker key.
After completing the transaction, I headed to the 3rd floor via the stairs to enter the room. The room was full, with 20 bunk beds in the room leaving only a bunk bed near the door.
“Oh, this is my bed”, I smiled frowning.
The dorm room was empty, all guests were probably having an adventure in the city. Later that night, before going to bed, I found out that the guests were all a group from another city in Malaysia because they spoke Malay to each other. I guessed it was a group of students who were on a study tour because one of them was called a teacher.
I went around the 3rd floor looking for a shared kitchen but never found it. There was only a shared bathroom on a side of the stairs and a shared lobby in the form of a chair row with an elongated hanging table which was usually used by guests to work with their laptops. There was only a long sofa available in this shared lobby.
“Wow, that means I have to eat out”, I immediately decided to leave from the 3rd floor.
It was already eight in the evening….
That night I would only fully explore all sides of Central Market. Even though I’d visited it three times, I hadn’t even explored it in detail. So that night I will complete my intention.
I went back down Hang Kasturi Street heading north. Until arriving at a big T-junction.
“I have to have dinner soon, before going any further”, I decided to sit on one of the concrete benches on the edge of Tun Sambanthan Street.
I confidently opened the oat powder package, poured it into the foldable lunchbox, filled it down with mineral water, then started my very simple dinner. I deliberately sat on the side of the road because, on the upper side, the LRT Laluan Kelana Jaya went back and forth across the road beautifully.
Towards sunset, I arrived at Bersepadu Selatan Terminal after traveling eight and a half hours from Kuala Terengganu using the Arwana Bus service. Bersepadu Selatan Terminal is a giant terminal in the south of the city that replaces the role of Puduraya Bus Terminal which is located in the center of the city.
That night, I was going to stay at The Bed Station in the Pasar Seni area, but I didn’t need to be in a hurry because I’d reserved one bunk bed at that inn through a well-known inn e-commerce six days before I left my own home.
This wasn’t the first time I’d set my steps in Bersepadu Selatan Terminal (TBS). In March 2018, I stopped by for the first time when I was back from Melaka. Whereas my second visit occurred nine months later when I was back from Ipoh.
But on the last two visits, I’d been in a rush. So at that time too, I never had any intention of really exploring the biggest transportation hub in Peninsular Malaysia.
But in the late afternoon that night, instead of going to the inn.
My intention to explore TBS was growing at that time….
Finally, that evening, I decided to explore Bersepadu Selatan Terminal, which was an integrated hub covering an area of 2 hectares with a height of six floors, the pride of Malaysia.
That afternoon, the Arwana bus dropped off each passenger at the arrival hall on the 2nd floor, to be precise, on the west side of the terminal. As soon as I got off the bus, I was faced with five escalators in a row which would take each passenger up to the 3rd floor. Why was that?…. Because on the 3rd floor, was where the TBS’ connectivity point with other public transportation routes was located.
While passengers chose to continue their journey to their respective homes using private vehicles, of course, their vehicles were nicely parked on floors 4 to 6.
Entering TBS’ main lobby door on the 3rd floor, I was immediately faced with an arrival lobby on the right side of the door which was filled with rows of chairs. While in front of the arrival lobby, there was also the TBS executive lounge for passengers.
While several banking promotion booths appeared to have acquired several corners of the lobby, one of the bank’s brands was PTPTN (Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Nasional). The Guidance & Information LED also displayed a directory about floors 1-6.
The remaining part was travel-related stalls such as telecommunications equipment shops (DiGi was one of them) and minimarkets (POINT and 7-Eleven could be seen in the corridor) completing the hustle and bustle of the 3rd-floor corridor.
Before heading to the center of the hall, there was a departure hall gate that was divided into two departure gates. It was the two gates that would lead passengers to two parts of departure hall l, namely the departure hall with platforms 1-13 and platform 14-16. Meanwhile, right on the south side of the departure lobby, there was an exit to the connecting bridge which would take passengers to the commuter train line, Seremban LRT, and airport train (KLIA Transit). Apart from trains, of course, passengers would also be directed to be able to use city buses and airport buses.
Walk until you were right in the middle of the 3rd-floor room !, there were two giant LED boards to display departure and arrival schedules. Meanwhile, under the two LEDs, eighteen sales counters were visible in a row, acquiring almost half of the hall. And right at the very beginning of the ticket sales counter, six machines were part of the self-service ticketing system corner. And finally right at the very end of the hall, enhanced by the existence of an information center to facilitate the information needs of passengers.
From the elevator at the east end of the hall, I started to go up to the 4th floor. The 4th-floor corridor was dominated by a food court, and shopping center, and there was also hotel transit, as well as access to parking locations. From the 4th floor, I followed the stairs to the 5th floor. There was no longer a hallway on the 5th floor, but all floors of the building were dominated by car areas (parking areas). Likewise, the 6th floor was also used for the same function.
After half an hour, I was satisfied exploring the whole of Bersepadu Selatan Terminal. Now it was time for me to head to The Bed Station. I had to get closer to downtown before it was too late.
Finally, I rushed down using the escalator to the 3rd floor to reach the connecting bridge to the Seremban LRT.
I staggered and grabbed any handles when I suddenly woke up from sleep and headed straight for the shared bathroom when my eyes hadn’t been fully opened. That was because I stared at the clock on the wall perched at half past eight.
“Damn”, I cursed my waking up too late. At dawn, I deliberately pulled back the blanket and covered my cold body. Luckily, last night I had packed all my supplies.
I took a quick shower, yet my whole body still felt clean after the last shower at ten o’clock last night. I put back on the t-shirt I wore to sleep last night and put on the jeans I had prepared last night.
After that, I locked my backpack on my back and headed to the shared kitchen to brew oat powder with hot water from the dispenser. It was a tedious breakfast menu, but I’ve been repeating myself for three days out of my home.
While sipping the wet oat powder mouthful after mouthful, I began to worry because the reception desk was still dark and empty.
“Ouch, what time will the staff be ready? I might be late chasing the bus”, I thought to myself and hoped that, after breakfast, the staff would come so I could hand over the key and take the deposit.
It turned out that until breakfast was over, the room was still empty. I, who was getting more and more anxious, could only give up waiting in the lobby. Luckily, fifteen minutes later, the inn owner appeared and immediately smiled at me.
“I want to check out….sorry for the long waiting”, he started a conversation while turning on the room light and heading behind the desk. The lack of guests at the inn made him not need to ask for my identity and room number because he would easily memorize it. It didn’t take long to take the envelope with my room number containing the 30 Ringgit deposit and then gave it to me.
“Thank you, Sir”, I received the money and handed over the key.
“See you….Be careful”, he waved as I started down the stairs to leave the inn.
Outside the inn….For the fifth time, I completely completed the route to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu. Now I walked very fast and focus only on getting to the terminal. I’d rather wait far from the bus departure time than missed it.
It was almost half past nine when I arrived right in front of the counter where I bought my ticket yesterday.
“Wait for it on platform 1, the bus will come later”, was the answer from the counter staff when I asked where to wait.
“Whatever, in the next hour I’ll just wait here”, I thought as I took the concrete seat next to platform 1.
But waiting for something in a foreign land was always interesting. Observing the activities of local residents on each side of the terminal kept me away from boredom.
Until finally I was shocked when a red maroon bus with a yellow combination appeared from the rear gate of the terminal.
“Arwana Group”, I could clearly read it from a distance.
This was the bus I was waiting for. The bus arrived fifteen minutes before departure. The bus stopped right on platform 1 and I rushed towards it until an Arab-looking man stopped me.
“Kuala Lumpur….this?”, his short question was thrown at me.
“Yes….This bus goes to Kuala Lumpur”, I answered briefly.
“Where are you coming from?”, I added.
“Is Yemen Okay now?”, as far as I knew the country was in civil war.
I jumped in from the front door and looked for seat number 13. I chose the single seat on the bus which had a 2-1 formation of seats.
Exactly at half past ten, the bus started the long journey to Kuala Lumpur…
The 43 Ringgit trip would take 5 hours and cover a distance of no less than 450 km.
The bus started leaving the city by commuting through Perusahaan 3 Street, this was the main overland route on Malaysia’s east coast that stretched for more than 700 km, starting from Kelantan in the north and ending in Johor Bahru in the south. I was very grateful for being given the opportunity by God to comb the seaside with the most beautiful scenery in all of Malaysia. The most amazing sight on this trip was where I could cross the road which was only 50 meters from the beach. Later I would show you the beauty of this road.
At the beginning of the trip, I still remember the view of Kuala Terengganu that was presented to Kuala Ibai Village, because I had passed it while visiting the Tengku Tengah Zaharah Mosque the other day. But after crossing the Ibai River, I passed through an area with views I had never seen before. Instead of falling asleep, the sight managed to keep me awake all the way.
Within half an hour, the bus started to leave Kuala Terengganu District and entered Marang District which took Pandak Beach to the gate. Three kilometers away, the bus crossed the coastline of Rusila Beach which was one of the most beautiful sights in the district. Until finally the bus rested for a while at Hentian Bas Marang. The bus had to pick up some of its passengers at the small terminal.
The view after a short pause at the Marang City bus terminal may be the highlight of this trip. The beautiful seaside scenery stretched for 50 kilometers starting from Peranginan Kelutut Beach to Batu Pelanduk Beach at the beginning of the Kuala Dungun District.
Two hours away, the bus had now passed through the main landmarks of the Kuala Dungun District, especially not the Dungun River which has a width of no less than 300 meters.
The bus quickly started entering Paka City. The city was home to Malaysia’s largest power plant run by the national power company, Tenaga Nasional. No wonder the vast expanse of electric power stations was in this city.
More than ten kilometers parallel to the bend of the Paka River until the bus finally left Paka City and entered a new city, Kerteh City.
Kerteh is an oil city because it has the potential for petroleum stored at the bottom of the South China Sea. The city of Kerteh is one of the most important places in the state of Terengganu because of its dense population and complete public facilities.
Exploring Kerteh City made me understand that Petronas, the giant oil company in my neighboring country, placed many important facilities in this city. Oil refineries, gas pipelines, chemical factories, and the Petronas housing complex dominated the sightings along Kemaman-Dungun Street.
For almost half an hour, I was presented with the bustle of the oil business of Kerteh City, until finally, the bus arrived at the southernmost area of the state of Terengganu, namely the Kemaman District. This is the border area between Terengganu State and Pahang State.
Entering Kemaman, the bus directly divided Chukai City which was the capital of Kemaman District. City parks were spread out in the corners of the city, and congestion was starting to feel, while the Kemaman River stretched widely as the main decoration of Chukai City.
South of Chukai City, the bus stopped a second time. This time the bus picked up two passengers at the Kemaman Express Bus Stop. After carrying its passengers, the bus continued its journey to get out of the southern border of Terengganu State and started its adventure in Pahang State.
There was still an hour to arrive at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, the main bus terminal in Pahang State. Meanwhile, it was one o’clock in the afternoon. I was sure all the passengers were feeling the same way….Hungry.
And a quarter of an hour after entering the State of Pahang, the bus finally decided to stop for lunch. It was D’Cherating Cafe which took its name according to the area where the restaurant stood, namely in Cherating Village.
Here, the driver allowed passengers to enjoy lunch for half an hour and then continued the rest of the journey to Terminal Sentral Kuantan . At the end of the journey, the driver-focused behind the wheel to complete the last 40 kilometers to the largest bus terminal on Malaysia’s east coast.
My first stage of the journey was over…
After a break at Kuantan Sentral Terminal, I would continue my journey to the final destination, i.e the Terminal Bersepadu Selatan in Kuala Lumpur.
I sat in the front seat on the left when Bas KITē slowly left the Tamadun Islam Park complex. Via the only connecting bridge, Bas KITē completed its wheel loop over Wan Man Island.
Now the Bas KITē would complete the remaining half of the journey to the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu, when I got there, the bus would take a break to operate again tomorrow at half past ten in the next morning.
On the way back to the inn, I was more relaxed and free to talk with the driver. During the rest of the trip, he told about his daily activities with four other Bas KITē drivers in operating that special city bus. He also told about his son who was having a hard time finding work in Kuala Terengganu, many employment sectors chose to use foreign workers which made it difficult for residents to find a livelihood. I only listened to it as a form of empathy, even though I didn’t know the real facts.
On the way back to the inn, the bus driver only took a middle-aged female passenger who seemed to be very familiar with him. Maybe the woman was a subscriber to his Bas KITē, so as soon as she got on, the driver immediately familiarly asked about the woman’s activities throughout the day. The rest after the female passenger boarded, only the two of them had the dominant conversation until the trip was over. The conversation with Terengganu’s thick accent I tried to understand even though I could only absorb it a little.
At a quarter past six I arrived at the Hentian Bas Majlis Bandaraya Kuala Terengganu….
Jumping off the bus and thanking the Bas KITē driver once again for giving me five precious minutes to enjoy the beauty of the Crystal Mosque, I tried to leave the terminal as quickly as possible. I didn’t want to be trapped in the dark in the terminal.
I swiftly walked through Masjid Abidin Street to arrive at the intersection where the PERMINT Tower stood. “What’s that sound?…”, I stopped when I heard a noise from a height. Due to that sound, I backed off from the inn. I was now walking along Sultan Ismail Street towards the source of the sound. “Wow….That’s a flock of sparrows”, I knew now. On the entire face of the Wisma PERMINT building, perched a lot of sparrows calling to each other, making the sound like a pleasant harmony to be heard at sunset.
For so long I was stunned, capturing and videoing the scene that two other tourists suddenly came next to me and did the same. After a while of enjoying the harmony of the sound of the sparrows, simultaneously the street lamps began to come on, and the building lights began to be turned on, making the path along Sultan Ismail Street show off the beauty of its colorful lights.
“Looks like I have to enjoy my closing night in Kuala Terengganu by being on the streets even if only for a moment”, I decided.
My night exploration step started from the KT Walk which was a spacious area that usually presents a night market view for residents. It was just that the night has just begun, and a row of new food stalls was getting ready to entertain their prospective guests who would arrive soon. Because there were no significant activities, I just enjoyed the KT Walk for a moment from a corner of the field.
The night was creeping up and the lights were starting to look more dazzling as the sky darkened. I continued to comb along Sultan Ismail Street and then was stunned at a bookstore that seemed to be the favorite bookstore in the city, SMO Bookstores. “There’s nothing wrong if I go in …”, I idly started.
I rushed into the bookstore. As soon as I entered the shop, I just looked around and visited several bookshelves which were visited by many visitors. “A collection of novels which have been adapted into Malay”, I slightly frowned as a sign that I wasn’t interested in it.
SMO Bookstores isn’t as big as a well-known bookstore brand in Indonesia, the collection isn’t much, but many people visit it. Maybe Malaysia’s good literacy rate makes it so.
I finally left SMO Bookstores and resumed my journey to enjoy the night atmosphere of Kuala Terengganu. Although not too crowded, that night was able to make me a little amazed because, during the two days in Kuala Terengganu, I was more dominant in enjoying the atmosphere of the day. Even though the sparkling lamp that night wasn’t as beautiful as in Kuala Lumpur, it still kept its charm. A city that wasn’t so crowded was showing its beauty at night.
I turned at the corner at the northern end of Air Jernih Street, which was still doing business. Walking along the street, I stopped again at a 7-Eleven, I purposely entered it to look for fast food on my dinner menu. I felt like I have been reluctant to go back a little further to visit “Kedai Kak Na” which I visited that afternoon. It was better to just look for perfunctory food at the mini market.
I came out of the 7-Eleven with a packet of fried rice that had been heated in the microwave for a while. I immediately left the minimarket to the inn while enjoying the remaining scenery. Continuing a little step on Kota Lama Street, I turned left on Engku Pangeran Anom 2 Street and then arrived at the inn, The Space Inn…
Engku Pangeran Anom, who is it?
Engku Pangeran Anom was a Terengganu noble with the full name Pengiran Anum Engku Abdul Kadir bin Engku Besar. He was a man who really understood the history of Terengganu and was often a reference to the sultanate which at that time was led by Sultan Ahmad.
I arrived at the inn at exactly half past eight….
It was time for me to wash up, have dinner, fold the clothes and tidy up my backpack because tomorrow I would leave Kuala Terengganu at half past ten in the morning.