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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 13, 2010


WE JUST returned from Kuala Lumpur with our son Mario Miguel, his wife Shirleen and their daughter Victoria and we can’t help but be impressed by all its progress. We first visited KL with our late wife 31 years ago and it looked very rural then, with the Subang airport in a sorry state. Now, the new airport is a sprawling affair about 62 kms. away from the city proper, but they have a fantastic railway service that takes you to KL Central (where all public transports like trains and buses gather) in the heart of the city. They also built a six-lane highway to and from the airport that makes travelling really fast and convenient. But even if this airport is still very much serviceable, they’re now building another one which is bigger and futuristic to accommodate the influx of more tourists.

The city itself has changed, with skyscrapers all around, but they have kept it environment friendly as it’s so green with trees all around, including a huge forest reserve where the landmark KL Tower is located in Bukit Nanas. We stayed at Piccolo Hotel in Bukit Bintang, the equivalent of Nathan Road and Tsim Tsa Tsui in Hongkong. It’s surrounded by various kinds of malls from the classy (like Pavilion) and the Divisoria Tutuban type (Sungei Wang and BB Plaza).

We took the KL Hop On Hop Off bus tour that takes you to all the 40 tourist spots in the city for a reasonable price of only 38 ringgits per person. We stayed on the longest at the Petronas Twin Towers in Jalan Ampang where they have a huge mall and a beautiful garden complete with an enormous public swimming pool. There’s also the night market at Petaling Jaya in Chinatown for bargain hunters and the usual museums, palaces, temples for culture vultures.

On our last day, we went to the resort-theme park in Genting Highlands. It’s like Baguio with cooler temperature but the road network going there is truly a marvel. The zigzag roads are all very wide and well maintained, and they made sure that there will be no disastrous landslides through the help of modern engineering that reinforced the side of mountains to prevent erosion.

It’s obvious the Malaysian government is really working hard for the city’s progress and they’ve even put up another city on the way to the airport, Putrajaya, where government offices are now located. This is our family’s fourth budget trip to an Asian city after Hongkong, Macau, and Kota Kinabalu. Our kids just get our tickets on sale at Cebu Pacific then they find sale hotel prices through the internet. For KL, we only paid P14,000 for our airfare and P17,000 for our hotel (we were even upgraded to a plush suite complete with a living room and kitchen). We were there from Friday night to Tuesday morning. Not bad at all. A cheap way of travelling indeed.