Anyone been to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia before?

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  1. Hello,

    I will be traveling to these 2 spots next month and thought I'd tap your collective wisdom over here. Any must sees? Any tips on avoiding any hassles(I heard Singapore was super strict and am not sure how KL is).

    What part of town would you advise staying in?

    TIA ...I'm very excited to check out these 2 cities :tup::idea:
  2. Wonderful choices for a holiday since both are so different but to help you, perhaps you could give me an idea of what you like to do? Shopping, sightseeing, eating and even budget? Would be pleased to give you some tips to make your holiday enjoyable...
  3. #3 Jan 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
    Hi Bagfreak,

    My plans are to do a mix of budget travel in Singapore and be a lil more spendy in KL in terms of accommodation.

    Do you know of any good hostels in Sing.? I plan on shopping(I heard Orchard Road is good) and eating(especially fun night time market type places) but also want to know what other good sightseeing/activities there are there. I am traveling there alone.

    In KL I want to book a hotel, stay in a central location that is convenient to get around from.

    Also, is it better to fly from Sing. to KL or to take the train or bus? I think a flight is one hr from Changi Airport and buses cross the causeway taking several hours same with the train (the KTM?) Is it worth going by train or bus or is it logistically more complicated?

    I'm excited to hear your input!:yes:
  4. #4 Jan 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
    Singapore's a very safe place as long as you do what your common sense tells you that you should do (eg avoid dark alleys etc).

    For drinking and chilling out, check out Boat Quay (very popular with the after-work crowd on Thursdays and Fridays) or Clarke Quay (more up market drinking place) or Robertson Quay (loads of good food and has a very chilled atmosphere. Geylang on the other hand, has a lot of great street hawker food (although be careful not to wander off into the dark and seedy streets as Geylang is also a red light district - firearms is not legal in Singapore so it's more like the petty crimes that you have to watch out for). There are tons of eateries all over Singapore. For food, you could go for seafood at one of those mega seafood restaurants like Jumbo, Long Beach, or you could chill at currently uber-cool placeslike Dempsey Road area (also known as Tanglin Village).

    For shopping, check out Orchard Road - specifically Takashimaya and Paragon (right opposite each other) are home to luxury brands (LV, Gucci etc). Wheelock Place is home to Borders and you can also check out Isetan (another Japanese mega brand) outlets in Orchard for cheaper retail lines. Or there is also Vivocity which is the largest shopping mall in Singapore and which sits right across a body of water from Sentosa (for the beach, and Cafe del Mar for the Ibiza feel (or what we have closest to Ibiza :smile:)

    For heritage, check out Arab Street for a lot of Indian and Thai silk (the entire Arab Street area is made up of many Malay, Indian shops which sell fabric and loads of local Malay food), or Waterloo Street area (about 15 mins walk from Arab Street) where it is most populated by Chinese Buddhists on weekends and has a very cool Chinese feel to it.

    On weekends, the local Singaporeans usual take to the malls or the beach (East Coast Park or Sentosa). If you are feeling up to it, I would also suggest a train ride into Toa Payoh Central or Parkway Parade where you would experience Singapore heartland living, where the local live.

    Edited: To get to KL from Singapore, there is a whole myraid of options - (i) Fly from Changi Airport to KLIA. The flight time is about 45 mins but you have to budget for about 4-5 hours because you are required to check in 2 hours before an international flight, fly for 45 mins and when you reach KLIA it will take about 1/2 hour by speed train to KLSentral and from there, you would have to take a cab to your hotel which, if is near the Petronas tower, will be about 20 mins away. Personally, I love staying at the Hilton (or Meridien- they are next to each other) at KLSentral because it is easily accessible to places and it's not too noisy. But if you want to be in the heart of the city, this is probably not the best option. (ii) Take a tour bus to KL - you can check out Aeroline, Trans Star etc - it takes about 5 hours to travel by bus to KL - depart as early as possible out of Singapore as you would not want to be caught in the Singapore-Johore Causeway traffic jam which can stretch your journey potentially by another hour. (iii) By train. You can take a train at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station - it takes about 8 hours by train (as the train will stop in several small towns) so you can do an overnighter and arrive in KL the next morning but I think this will be a great experience if this is your first time in Asia. As to which mode of transport suits you better, believe me when I say it is an age old dilemna which even my Malaysian friends fret and "fight" about. If money is not an issue, I say fly (either Airasia or Tiger which are budget airlines or MAS or SIA) to minimise inconvenience :smile:

    Phew. Hope this helps!! :smile:
  5. #5 Jan 23, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2009
    Thanks MadeofDreams for sharing. I appreciate it!

    The transportation part helps the most as I too am "fretting" over which is the best way to get to KL.
  6. Glad to help, to make things easy, lets review the tips by each country:

    1. Budget accomodation - I personally have not stayed in hostels in Singapore but the city is so getting around is really no problem. Check this link out to get some ideas if you haven't already.

    2. Shopping - Orchard Road is a heaven for shoppers with every brand imaginable but shopping is not cheap here. And since I am not sure where you are from, some things are cheaper (especially designer stuff) in Europe/USA. What is worth buying is electronic items and watches. Although there is GST, you can claim it back if you fly out of changi. Normally after administration charges, you get back about 5%. If you are a techie, then head out to Funan centre which is the capital of Singapore's IT world.

    On the other hand, if you want some fun wondering around and getting an idea of the what "old" Singapore was like, walking the streets of Chinatown and Little India is absolutely charming. You might not buy anything but those streets are really unique to Singapore.

    3. Sightseeing - Now most people ignore the museums in Singapore but I do think it is worth checking out the National and Asian Heritage Museums. Worth considering is the Night Safari at the zoo, I was skeptical at first by actually enjoyed the rides and the atmosphere.

    1. Hotels- There is a lot of choice and since KL is spread out, location is important. So I need some help from you in terms of what you want to do in KL but most people stay near KLCC. Top end choices include Mandarin Oriental, Traders Hotels whilst cheaper choices include Milienium, Westin, Novotel and Crowne Plaza.

    To get from Spore to KL :

    1. Flying - There are 3 budget carriers - Airasia, Tiger Air and Jetstar. Check out the websites for the rates. But bear in mind, the taxi to KL City from the low cost airport might cost as much as the air ticket unless you take the cheap RM8 bus. Door to door is about 3.5 hours... I normally take Airasia, the last time I flew return, it costs me RM200.
    2. Bus - Its a bit of a hassle but is relatively cheap - try first coach, nice bus. Its a bit of a bother if you have luggage as you need to take you stuff off the bus when you depart Singapore and then lug it thru immigration. Also if you travel during holidays, traffic can be bad on the road making the journey twice as long. otherwise the whole trip should take about 5 hours. Depending on the bus company- About RM80-150.
    3. Train - AVOID unless you like train journeys... very slow

    Hope this helps....
  7. Thanks Bagfreak. That was very comprehensive. Do you live in Singapore? You are very knowledgeable :smile: I will be flying in from California. Not looking forward to my long flight though :sad:

    -Transport to KL: I'm going to rule out the train. Is it a toss up between bus and flying? When the bus comes into KL, will I also have to take an additional long taxi ride to get closer to the city center? I'm looking at total cost plus time/convenience factor.

    -GST: What does this stand for?

    -KL Hotel: I was actually thinking of staying near the Petronas Towers area. Is there alot to do nearby there? And what is KLCC?

    Thanks again :smile:
  8. Hello..

    sorry should be clearer.

    KLCC is actually petronas tower... Its the shopping mall at the bottom of the towers. So my hotel ideas still stand. There is a park at KLCC, tons of shopping and lotsa of food! Try the street food at Jalan Alor.

    GST - Government sales tax

    As for buses, it depends which bus company you are using. If you staying near KLCC, the bus which stops nearest is Aeroline. You can literally walk to KLCC from their stop at Corus Hotel. To get an idea of the choices see

    And no I am actually in KL but Singapore is like my 2nd home. Studied there and am there every other month for work....
  9. cool bagfreak. I am really looking fwd to this trip now with more info in hand. I am gonna book a hotel near KLCC. I made a friend while traveling to South America who lives in KL too. She's been busy traveling recently so hasn't been able to share any travel tips with me :smile:
  10. While you are in Malaysia, visit one of the islands.. me nad DH went to Perhentian Island last year and it was heaven!! Very secluded and out of this planet kind of place..must try.
  11. syrah22, lciabugia - unfortunately this is not the time of the year to visit the east coast of Msia where Perhentian Island is. It's monsoon season at this time. Best time is from May to Aug. However, there are other islands on the west coast, Langkawi Island (Four Seasons, The Datai) as well as Pangkor Island (Pangkor Laut Resort - one island, one resort)
  12. Thanks for the tips regarding the islands and monsoon season. Unfortunately I will only have time for Kuala Lumpur.

    Quick question though...has anyone flown Firefly Airlines? Is it decent?
  13. I stayed at Shangri La when I was in Kuala Lumpur, and even thought I stayed in others Shangri La and other high end hotels this one had the best breakfast buffé I ever encounter. I would stay in that hotel again solely for their breakfast.
  14. Syrah22 - Pls avoid firefly if you can. I had booked tickets to Koh Samui with them and was told about a month before my flight that the flight would not be a direct KL-Samui flight. Instead the flight would be diverted to Penang which adds a 45mins to journey time and would depart at 2pm instead of 930am. They are totally unreliable and have even cancelled flights in the past.... A lesson learnt for me!
  15. I had the most wonderful time in Singapore/Malaysia. I flew to Changi and experienced all that Singapore had to offer - Orchard Road, the prison, Holland Village, Temples etc and then got a train all the way up into the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia. Stayed at a wonderful inn (The Old Smokehouse), visited tea plantations, heard colonial tales of explorers and then had a couple of days in Kuala Lumpa. From there, I went to paradise - probably the most beautiful place I have ever been - Tangjong Jara and had a heavenly week before getting the train back down the coast. It was glorious and I adored every moment - have a wonderful time!