Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur-Hill Stations

Hill Stations were what the old-colonials used to retreat to when Kuala Lumpur got a bit too hot and sticky and as the name suggests,they are settlements at a higher altitude and therefore offer cooler temperatures.
Bukit Fraser 100km north of KL at 1524m above sea-level offers a good chance to experience a Hill Station of old.The buildings resemble an English village from the 1930's and are very quaint and picturesque.There's not too much to do once you get there,but it's nice to just walk around the village,enjoy the breeze and cool air and soak-up the atmosphere.
A lot of the buildings have been converted into guest-houses,some are well maintained whilst others are ,sadly showing signs of neglect
The drive here can also be interesting,with lots of switchback bends,with the last part of the journey being a one-way stretch controlled by traffic lights known as "The Gap"
If you're a golfer,you can play a round otherwise you can walk around,or do some horse-riding.
In the village there are a few signboards detailing hiking trails, and you can get brochures and maps from a couple of places.The hiking-trails start with an easy 30 minute walk, whilst others are 2-3 hour treks which can get a bit strenuous, wet and muddy.
Keen bird-watchers and wild-flower enthusiasts should have a good time.
There are a few restaurants dotted around,the most famous being "The Old Smokehouse" that offers roast dinners.

It's possible to get to Bukit Fraser by public transport,but probably not worth the effort,if you're wealthy you can hire a taxi for the day to get you there but your money would be better spent doing something else.It's a viable trip if you know someone who can drive you there and back in a day.There are places to stay on the hill,if you want to make a night of it,or if you miss your connection going down.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Signs Of The Times in Kuala Lumpur

One of the main risks of walking around Kuala Lumpur is the ever-present threat of bag-snatchers. The local police and city council are taking the matter seriously as can be evidenced by this sign!
I'm sure it would make potential snatch-thieves think twice about taking another poor victims belongings...The high risk areas seem to be around Bukit Bintang and Changkat Bukit Bintang and both of these streets now have a more visible police prescence.
The parking jockeys along Changkat Bukit Bintang have been known to chase-down culprits and administer a little street-justice.
To be honest,I haven't heard of an instance for quite a while so the extra policing may be working...or maybe it's under-reported.
Anyway,it pays to be a little street-wise when walking around any city in the world,Kuala Lumpur is no different.
If you decide to go to the park,the sign above tells you what you can't do!
Perhaps a sign telling you what you can do would be easier to understand....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hakka Restaurant,Jalan Kia Peng

If you've already sampled the food along Jalan Alor and now want a slightly more up-market but not too expensive experience without all the street noise,touts,hustlers and smells then a trip to Hakka Restaurant would be just the thing.
Located behind the Novo Hotel on Jalan Kia Peng next to the Borneo Barak Club,Hakka Restaurant has been serving good Chinese food for 40 years (although the present location is about 18 months old)
It's a huge open air place with great views of the Petronas Twin Towers and is popular with tourists and locals alike.If it's raining, an automatic roof is deployed to keep you dry.
Another plus-point is the clean toilets.(try saying that in Jalan Alor!)
The menu is quite vast and in order to sample as many dishes as possible it's best to go with as many people as possible.
The staff are friendly and will help you navigate the menu and the girls selling the Tiger Beer wear some of the shortest mini-skirts in KL!
If you're staying around the Bukit Bintang Area you can walk to Hakka Restaurant by going through the food street of the Pavillion Shopping Centre and crossing the pedestrian bridge signposted to the Convention Centre.
The restaurant is also within walking distance of the bars and clubs on Jalan P. Ramlee

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur-ATV Quad Bike Adventure

Another trip to take you out from the concrete jungle and into the real thing!
ATV Adventures are a small,friendly outfit operating in Ulu Kelang,about a 5mile drive from Kuala Lumpur.To get there follow the signs to the Zoo,on the MRR2 and then take the small road that goes past the zoo entrance and winds it's way towards Kampong Kemeneh.
In no time at all you will notice the road getting increasingly narrower and a definite "kampong feel".The air seems cleaner and a bit cooler whilst the small rivers are clear and fast flowing.
It's a nice serene scene,children playing in the river,families having a pick-nick and the sound of birds and insects fill the air.The city seems very far away indeed.
What better way to have fun than to rip-it-up brash,noisy quad bike!
For RM 100 you can experience a 2 hour trek through the jungle to reach a small waterfall.
The adventure begins with a safety and training brief including a few laps of the tricky training circuit and then,off you go following the leader on a narrow muddy path climbing ever higher in the hills and navigating your way over tree roots,smashing in to low-hanging branches and splashing through muddy puddles.
It's great fun!
Hopefully,you'll arrive at the picturesque waterfall tired,muddy and sweaty and can then appreciate a paddle in the cold water.
At the waterfall there is a camp site where ATV Adventures hold their jungle trekking and other exciting activities.
After a short rest it's back to the beginning for the return journey and just as you reach the start-point you have the opportunity to take the ATV across a small river.
Trips start from as low as RM20.
The bikes all look fairly new and are well maintained.You will be asked to stick to a speed limit of 30kph when driving on public road and 40kph when off road....which seems way too fast on a narrow path!
The instructors/leaders are knowledgeable and friendly and encourage everyone to have a good time and drive at a pace that they are comfortable with.
The only hassle,as far as I can see is actually getting there, as you will need private transport.A taxi may not want to venture that far off the beaten track.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur-Whitewater Rafting

Escape the concrete jungle for the real thing!

If you're looking for a fun day-out, away from the city a great experience would be to go whitewater rafting.
A two hour drive heading north from Kuala Lumpur towards Ipoh will take you to Nomad Adventures' Earth Camp where a host of activities awaits.
The most popular is their Whitewater rafting trips on the Sungei (River) Kampar.
In total you can navigate 22 rapids ranging from grade 2-3 and can opt for a half-day,either morning or afternoon or a full day.
The morning session starts at 9am sharp-or so they say but we actually commenced closer to 10am...nevertheless you will have to make an early start from Kuala Lumpur.
Upon arrival a lorry then transports you for about 45 minutes to the point of departure where you undergo a comprehensive safety briefing and then,to ensure that you're fully awake you begin by actually swimming through a rapid!
Then it's onto the raft and away you go.
The guides are pretty good fun and knowledgeable about the river.
The first two or three rapids we hit were pretty big and it's not uncommon to fall overboard but the swim beforehand gives you a bit of confidence so as not to panic (too) much
After that and as you get the hang of it and the rapids become less severe so the guide can decide to take some rapids sideways or backwards just for the fun of it.
The biggest danger is getting hit by a paddle or hitting a rock with a tender part of your body.
Our trip finished at about 12.30 with some lunch and then it was time to face the boring drive back to Kuala Lumpur.
The half day trip cost RM 150 and when you add-in the long drives and early start it seems like a whole day.We arrived back in town at 4pm after leaving at the ungodly hour of 6.30 on a Saturday morning!

The same company also arranges various rock-climbing and caving activities but the rafting trips are very popular.Other companies also run-the-river and it can jam-up with 8 or 9 rafts waiting at the top of a rapid.

All-in all a pretty enjoyable day out.