Having ticked off the Old City Center from our “must-see-do-experience @KL” list, we decided the bright sunny day needs to be dedicated to the “Golden Triangle”.
“We will start at Bukit Bintang- that’s the shopping district of the city, from there we will find our way to Jalan Alor for the street food and we can then walk down to the Petronas Twin Towers – to see the lights on in the evening. You can get yourself a tripod in the shopping area, so that you get good pics of the towers at night” Bee hurriedly added, just as I made a face about going to the shopping arcade. I mean, why would anyone in their right minds go to see the shopping area- it’s all the same- everywhere in the world, you get more or less the same things, at more or less the same price! I wanted to see the other things- specialties of KL which you don’t get in any other city. The last thing I wanted was to go shopping, or worse, go see the shopping district without needing to buy anything on sale!!!
But Bee’s “Tripod” bait worked! I have always wanted a tripod – to be able to do justice to the night shots I take with my Nikon D5100. Not that they are bad without the accessory, but night shots- especially those requiring long exposure times do need a very stable hand. One of my favorite “traffic light trails “shot did not live up to my expectations back in Bangkok. (https://www.facebook.com/loveleen.mishra/media_set?set=a.4049336365773.158854.1652899674&type=3)
I have, ever since, been vying to get a nice, stable tripod!
So that was it- with breakfast tucked in and a plan in place, we left the hotel and made our way to the works!
The Bukit Bintang (roughly translated, it means “Star Hill”) area is the premier shopping area of KL- flanked on all sides by teeming shopping malls, al fresco restaurants, swanky bars- the lot. It is among the most preferred Youth Haunts (if I may use the term) of the city. Today, the Bintang Walk hosts some of the biggest events at KL, including the annual F1 GP “pit stop”, the New Year’s eve celebration and the Independence Day Eve celebrations.
Some of the most famous Retail Outlets (all right, I am saying it- Shopping Malls) Some of the most famous Shopping malls in the Bukit Bintang area include the Berjaya Times Square, Imbi Plaza, Farenheit 88, Low Yat Plaza (For all your electronics junkies), the Lot 10, Starhill Gallery & The Pavillion (for all fashion-estas)
“We can’t possibly see all these at one go, Bee. Which one to see and what not to see? We don’t even have a lot of time” I worriedly asked.
“Lets start with Berjaya Times Square and then find our way to the next ones, OK?”
So, first up- the Berjaya Times Square. When we were there, we were not aware of the records that this building holds. First, it is the world’s 8th largest building in the world (by floor area) and is also the world’s largest building to be made in a single phase! What we loved about it was its “Fish Foot Spa”, a Theme park right in the centre of the mall and of course the GSC MAXX 2D&3D theatre.
Soon, we were hopping from one shopping mall to the other- till we found ourselves right infront of the Starhill Gallery
It is the most ritzy and luxurious of the lot- boasting brands such as Louis Vuttion, Gucci, Fendi and Sephora. Brands apart, it is one stunning piece of architecture. In fact, we found out that iIt was shortlisted for the World Architecture Festival (WAF) Award in 2013 in the Shopping category.
And, standing right across the Starhill Gallery, is the most famous of them all- the Pavillion, Kuala Lumpur.
A one-of-a-kind shopping mall, the Pavillion can be divided into six distinct categories, including “The Couture Pavilion” (Dedicated to some of the major fashion labels and flagship boutiques), the “Centre Court “(where some event related to Swiss made watches was going on as we went in), a “Gourmet Emporium” for the food buffs and “Seventh Heaven” with its beauty parlors and spas! The Pavilion is also home to former Prime Minister (Tun Mahathir Mohamad)’s own bakery- “The Loaf”
By this time, it was well past lunch-time and we needed to grab some food, before venturing further into the remainder of KL’s “Golden Triangle”. So we peered into the Nokia Maps and found our way to “Jalan Alor”.
The few streets that we walked to get from BB walk to Jalan Alor seemed to be like traveling back in time. As we came closer to the famed “Food Paradise of real Asia”, the ubiquitous Flashy billboards from the BB Walk, start to get replaced by Chinese boards – hawking the food available. The streets were now lined by Chinese “Dhaba” equivalents- ready to put chairs on the street and start feeding you! We had heard that this place comes alive after sunset- we could sense the prep for the evening was on; but alas! We had arrived a little too early to enjoy the gastronomical delights of Jalan Alor!
“Bee… lets go somewhere else. I am hungry and this place doesn’t open – not even a single hawker on the street- during the day”
“Ok… lets head back” and we found our way back to the hustling streets of Bukit Bintang!
It was during lunch that Bee told me “You know, Jalan Alor was very infamous in the past. It was the red light district of KL till some years back. The Tourism Dept and the City Municipality have actually put in efforts to get rid of the menace, and put some life & focus back on the food paradise part of Jalan Alor”
I listened intently as he continued “There are still many undercover pimps on these streets, trying to lure single male tourists into getting a good massage!” Bee winked as he related yet another story, while I finished lunch.
We continued walking in and out of the myriad of retail outlets for the rest of day- looking at the map to find the best route (read shortest route) to the KLCC and the Petronas Towers.
By the time the sun set that afternoon, we found ourselves at the Suriya KLCC- Our final Shopping mall for the day (and for a lot of days to come, I hoped)!
The Suriya KLCC mall is a must visit- not for the shopping, or the brands, or even the food. It sits on the base of the Petronas Twin Towers! For any architecture major, or building enthusiast, or memento collector, or engineering major…. For that matter, every visitor to KL should and does come to the hallowed grounds of the Petronas Twin Towers. Why? Well, it is currently the tallest twin towers in the world; it was, from the time it was built, till 1998 (when the Taipei 101 was built) the tallest building in the world… It is, in fact, a symbol of how far the city of KL has come. From shady beginnings as a tin mining shanty (link to blog), through a series of race riots, KL has transformed itself into an alpha world city. The Petronas Towers are symbolic of the city and her status as a Global Player. (Refer http://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/ for further details)
The sun was not down yet, so we still had a few daylight hours to kill- before we could witness the splendor of the Towers with the night lights. So we decided to take a stroll in the KLCC park, and snapped some pics of the towers in daylight.
Beside the wading pool, a few photography enthusiasts were preparing for the light show- setting up tripods, ensuring they got the view of the entire towers, setting up and checking the light-meters.
“Bee..” I suddenly remembered “We did not get that tripod for me! You said in the morning we would buy a tripod for me. We forgot! What will I do? How will I get a steady shot of the towers at night?” I was panicking by now.
“Its ok… you will get good shots. I am sure. Besides, you said a few times in the last one hour that you don’t want to go to any more shopping malls- you are fed up, remember?” Bee Chuckled
“Cheatercock! You should have reminded me!”
And the argument continued…
Till the lights came on- and then we were too mesmerized to break its spell. As if on cue, the fountains in the pool rose up in a sequence of synchronized choreographed moves, and danced along.
By the time we had clicked a hundred odd photographs of the site from all angles and all sites, we decided to call it a day and walked back to our room.
But that’s not the end of the story, Bee had yet another ace up his sleeve! This time, the agenda was to bug me off completely (and he succeeded, like in all his other ventures)- Instead of walking to the closest metro station, he walked and made me walk two stations in the opposite direction, before finally taking a train back to our studio! I am so sure he did all of this just to annoy me … Why, you ask?
Well, all the married folks reading this would know why- the singles…. J J I am sure, you will know the answer at the right time!