Intro: Building A New Zealand Adventure Around A One Way Qantas Flight
Part 1: Getting To New Zealand Via Asia
Part 2: Spending A Couple Recovery Days In Kuala Lumpur
Part 3: Exploring New Zealand’s Beautiful North Island
Part 4: Exploring New Zealand’s Beautiful South Island
Part 5: A Short Stopover In Sydney And The Ride Home
I arrived at KUL just after midnight, so it was necessary to take a taxi into the city rather than the ultra efficient airport train. There’s a convenient taxi stand within the airport (located just past immigration,) to pre-purchase vouchers at a pre determined fare, avoiding any late night monkey business with drivers. That’s the option I went with. There was no traffic at all, so I arrived at the Double Tree Kuala Lumpur just after 1am.
I had stayed at this property before, and at 10k Hilton Honors points per night, its a steal. The NZ tour I booked didn’t commence for another three days, so spending a couple of nights in Kuala Lumpur to recover from the long flights and get a jump on jet lag seemed like a better option to a relatively expensive New Zealand.
Because of the late check in, all the suites had been given away by the time I got there. Certainly not a big deal, a standard room is well appointed and plenty spacious for one person.
As a Diamond level guest, I was given executive lounge access, free breakfast, and free laundry services for up to three pieces of clothing per day. The lounge is one of the nicest I’ve been in, with all day refreshments, and a spread of hot hors d’oeuvres in the evening.
Breakfast the next morning at the Makan Kitchen was just as extensive and amazing as I remembered it to be. I love Malaysian food, and there were plenty of local options, as well as the usual pastries, fruits and yogurts.
There was also the option to have breakfast up in the executive lounge but more times than not, you’ll do much better in the regular restaurant, with more variety and a larger staff. It’s always my first choice.
The Doubletree is extremely well located, actually in a hybrid mall/office building of sorts, with grocery, drug , and just about any other type of store you might need to frequent on your stay. There really is no need to ever leave if you don’t want to. Of course it would be a shame if you didn’t!
Following breakfast, I set out to do a bit of exploring. An attached sky bridge connects both to the local Ampang Park subway station, and another small mall. The Petronas Towers is an easy ten minute walk. I decided to go to Chinatown this visit, so hopped on the very easy to navigate subway to get there.
Chinatown was bustling and very colorful on this extremely sunny day!
After exploring a bit, I headed to the Central Market, essentially a handicraft market with local foods, leathercrafts, wooden goods and the usual touristy type souvenirs. I eventually headed out to pay my respects to the Petronas Towers. No matter how many times you see them, they’re always pretty spectacular.
I ended the day with a visit to a local hole in the wall restaurant for some local Malaysian fare for dinner. And it was delish!
Jet lag was starting to catch up with me, so after a visit to the executive lounge I called it a day, hoping for a good night’s sleep after the long journey. Though not before checking to see if alternate One World award availability for my onward flight had opened up. I was (unnecessarily, though understandably) a bit skittish for the following evening’s Malaysian Airlines overnight flight to Sydney.
After a late morning and a bit more wandering around the city, I checked out around 3pm (late check out courtesy of Diamond status) and headed to the airport. The express train to the airport costs around $10 and takes about 30 minutes from the KL Sentral train terminal, about four stops away from the station closest to the Doubletree. While exploring the KL Sentral train terminal, I noticed that there are three good hotels literally steps away from the train platforms: Aloft, Le Meridien, and Hilton. All good options in the case of long layovers or when ultra tired after late night long haul arrivals.
The train station has its own airport check in / baggage check. It’s pretty convenient and though I didn’t check any bags, I was able to pick up my boarding pass.
With boarding pass in hand, I breezed through security and went about locating a good lounge to await my overnight flight to Sydney. KUL has many lounge options, though Malaysian’s Golden Lounge is pretty solid choice, with plenty of space, spa,showers, great plane spotting floor to ceiling windows and decent food options on the business class side. There’s even a noodle bar. Overall a good way to pass some time before a flight.