Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Trip from Kuala Lumpur- Batu Caves

Depending on whether you want man-made or natural sights there are quite a few possibilities for day-trips to get you out of Kuala Lumpur.
One of the more popular and nearest "natural" sights are the Batu Caves.
One of the surprises of Kuala Lumpur is that you don't have to go very far to be out in the country-side ( calling it "jungle" sounds a bit too exotic) and see lots of greenery.

Batu Caves are about 15km outside the city on the outer-ring road and are the focal-point for over a million Hindus during Thaipusum,at other times of the year it's less busy but they are on the tour-group day-trip itinerary and are a popular destination.The cave complex is in a huge limestone outcrop and offers an interesting excursion and some fresh air.A climb of 270 steps leads you into the vast main cave which is where the Thaipusam pilgrimage ends.There are a few other caves to visit,some with interesting statues and sculptures inside.
To get to the caves ,you can get a taxi for about RM 25 or a bus for about RM2 with

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Liberte,Changkat Bukit Bintang

Another little bar recently opened on the ever-popular street,Liberte has been carved-out from Le Bouchon restaurant at the top of the street,below Envie Nightclub.
Beer price is reasonable at RM 12.There are lots of tables and chairs outside on the patio to create a beer-garden type atmosphere,whilst inside most of the small interior is taken up with the bar-counter and it seems a little claustrophobic.
Nevertheless,it's always good to see new places open and it makes a good spot for a couple of beers before heading-out for something to eat or some serious partying.
The next new venue to open will be located at the Al Bait Restaurant,next to the Green Man where another bar is eagerly anticipated.......

Monday, September 14, 2009

Havana,Changkat Bukit Bintang

After a major and classy refurbishment Little Havana has now become Havana,although it's still the same size,it's now managed by the same guys who operate the Magnificent Fish and Chip Bar further down the street so we can expect the same level of quality and service. You will also notice a few similarities in decor and style.
Gone are the slightly wobbly bar stools ,tables and fountain to be replaced by an even floor with comfortable bar-height tables and a chill-out area with low seating and scatter-cushions.
The kitchen theme is Louisiana/Southern US style,with alligator on the menu and judging by the amount of wine bottles on the back wall,there is something for even the most discerning.
A barbecue area to the left of the bar also serves take-out.
The bar itself is a nice granite-topped slab whilst upstairs can still cater to private parties and events such as the Time Out Comedy Night,held on the first Thursday of the month.
For those that prefer aircon,the inside also offers a similar length bar plus TV.
All-in-all it's an impressive looking place compared to the Little Havana of old,especially the clean toilets!
As befits a major face-lift the pricing structure is a little higher than before and some may say that the previous rustic,almost run-down charm has gone but on the plus-side you still get an alfresco eating and drinking experience,a good size long bar to prop-up and clean toilets.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jalan Bukit Bintang

Jalan Bukit Bintang is the premier street in Kuala Lumpur.Starting with the Pavilion Shopping Centre and running down to it's junction with Jalan Pudu the street is a hive of activity by day and by night.There are many up-market shopping malls and hotels located at one end of the street but as you walk further down past KFC it becomes cheap and tacky,especially at night.
There's absolutely nothing here except aggressive touts offering foot massage or young ladies and a few tacky souvenir stalls.
A pedestrian walkway at the side of Pavilion is lined with restaurants and cafes and you can get some very good value happy hour deals,it does get busy but you have to put up with the constant drone of aircon outlets,which doesn't make for a relaxing atmosphere.Each establishment plays it's own loud music in an attempt to drown out the noise from the aircon plus there are a couple of big screen TV's doing there own thing,the end result being a cacophony of sound.
La Bodega at the beginning of the walkway is probably the one that feels a bit more like a bar,whilst the restaurants at the other end have the best beer deals.
Star Hill Shopping Centre,which seems just to sell watches,has an interesting well-planned restaurant area downstairs in the basement and is worth a visit just to walk through the multi-coloured reflective link to the Marriot Hotel.
The only real nightspot not in a hotel is upstairs at The Ship situated opposite BB Plaza,it's been going for years and is a huge barn of a place with a very loud band and a hefty cover-charge.
It gets packed after midnight with a young,mainly local crowd.
The ladyboy show can also be good(harmless) fun and the "girls" quite like picking on expats in the crowd to try and embarass them.
The show has been runnung for years but it seems a bit of a contradiction that whilst semi-naked men pretending to be women dancing on stage is permitted by the authorities the same cannot be said for actual real women.....

For shopping,forget the bland homogeneous up-market malls and head to Sungei Wang/BB Plaza
It has a certain unique character and is full of owner-operated small stores selling cheap clothing,electronics and cheap shoes and is a breath of fresh air from the usual franchises and international brands.