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Menara - Kuala Lumpur Tower

Kuala Lumpur

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Menara - Kuala Lumpur Tower

On day 2, returning from the Batu caves, we proceeded straight to the Kuala Lumpur tower, locally known as Menara. This is a radio/TV tower constructed in the mid nineties, rising 421 metres from the ground (including the antenna) and is the 7th tallest telecommunications tower in the world.The roof, which tourists can visit through an elevator, is at 335 metres. From the roof, you can get a bird's eye of Kuala Lumpur. There is also a revolving restaurant on the roof, but we couldn't visit it.

Entrance fee: Apart from the observation deck, there are other attractions here like F1 simulator, open deck etc, so pricing depends on the package. The observation deck, which we went for, costs 49 RM/adult and 29 RM/child for foreigners. There is also a small cultural village, with a mini zoo, at the base of the tower and it is free with any package that you buy.

The tower...
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On the observation deck...
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At the base...
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By the way, we found a Hop On Hop Off bus on return though we didn't hop on since Metro is faster..
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Posted by arunbaliga 14.09.2014 07:04 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur tower menara Comments (0)

Batu Caves

Kuala Lumpur

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Batu Caves - Kuala Lumpur

We arrived at KL late evening by flight from Siem Reap and stayed at Sunway Putra near PWTC. Nice hotel it was..plus one to it and we got a free upgrade too..another plus one. KL has an efficient rail public transport consisting of Metro, commuter trains (KTM Komuter) and Mono Rail and our location in Putra had an advantage that there were both Metro and KTM stations here.

We started off next morning towards Batu caves, by KTM train. Batu Caves is the terminal stop on Batu Caves - Port Klang route of KTM, train schedule is good and the station is just a few steps from the caves.

Batu Caves is a hill with caves and gets it's name from the Batu river that flows nearby. It is today a popular Hindu shrine dedicated to the deity Murugan , there are couple of temples at the base and the main temple is inside the cave, reached by a 272 step climb. I heard Batu caves is the focal point for devotees during the Thaipusam festival. This is understandable given that Malaysia has a sizable Tamil speaking populace, many of whose ancestors arrived from Tamil Nadu state of India to work here during the British days and later settled down.

The caves could be hundreds of millions of years old, but the temple itself is quite recent, built around late 19th century. In front of the shrine, there is an imposing golden colored Murugan statue, unveiled about 8 years back.

Entrance fee: None. No camera fee. However, do protect your camera and other stuff from the smart monkeys around here. And keep the footwear outside the temples.

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The main shrine inside the cave...
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View of KL from the top, with Petronas twins in the backdrop...
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The climb can be tiring...
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Batu Caves KTM station..
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Posted by arunbaliga 14.09.2014 06:14 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala_lumpur batu_caves malaysia kl batu Comments (0)

Return from Siem Reap...back to KL

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On day 4, we had to catch the flight to Kuala Lumpur late morning...we hired a tuk tuk to drop us to the airport, they are really cheap (cost us 5 USD) compared to cars. We drove by the almost empty road to airport, did some flight seeing at the small but beautiful Siem Reap International Aiport and got on the flight to begin the KL part of our tour.

On the tuk tuk...
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The airport...
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A little flight seeing...the 1st one has the local Thonle Sap airline and MAI of Myanmar. And the 2nd one in lively colours is Bangkok Airways.
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Elephant poo paper!!!
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Posted by arunbaliga 14.09.2014 04:49 Archived in Cambodia Tagged airport siem_reap Comments (0)

Cambodian Culture Village - Siem Reap

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Cambodian Culture Village - Siem Reap

This one was something that we hadn't planned for..on day 3 in Siem Reap, after we finished a boat cruise in the Thonle Sap area in the morning, we did have a whole afternoon free. We had seen this theme park, there is a big wheel in front of it, on our way from the hotel, so we just decided to go for it even though it is considered as a touristy stuff.

At the entrance...
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The Cambodian Culture Village is a theme park located on the highway between the airport and the Siem Reap town. It contains miniature famous buildings of Cambodia, a wax museum with models of Cambodian personalities from history and modern era and many villages depicting different village cultures within Cambodia. There are cultural shows held at different times at each village..it could be a dance, marriage ritual or drama depicting a historical Cambodian event, so we just follow the time table and follow the flow.

Entrance fees: 12 USD for foreigners. No camera fee.

Contrary to our initial doubts, we did really enjoy it. The wax museum was good..atleast they focused on their local personalities and not copy cat what Tussauds does, miniature monuments were average, but the shows at the villages were the highlight..that is what made it worth it, otherwise the fee is quite steep for it.

And avoid buying the photo mementos...they take your snaps, out of nowhere and then follow you to buy them. It is a cheap photo print hastily glued on a porcelain plate,not printed directly...if you don't buy it, they ll quickly glue the next snap on it.

The wax museum...
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A village...
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A miniature monument...
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and many of the shows (including a marriage ritual...a fellow tourist volunteered to be the groom!!)
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Later in the evening, we checked out the local market and I could also try out the Amok, a fish curry delicacy from Khmer cuisine.
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Posted by arunbaliga 14.09.2014 04:09 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia siem_reap amok cambodian_culture_village Comments (0)

Angkor Wat

Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia

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Angkor Wat

After lunch (it was a good one for me, but thumbs down from my veggie wife) at a local restaurant, we headed off to the destination of the day - Angkor Wat, the largest and most famous temple in the Angkor Archaeological Park. We entered through the rare entrance and we didn't realize we were at Angkor Wat until we reached the front part a couple of hours later, probably because we had always pictured the more popular full front view.

Rear entrance...
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Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century AD by the Khmer King Suryavarman II (a predecessor of the emperor Jayavarman VII) in dedication to Hindu deity Vishnu and it also served as his state temple. Today, it is the best preserved temple in the park and has also become a symbol for Cambodia, appearing on it's national flag and also as the prime tourist puller for this nation. The architecture is distinctly Khmer..constructing temples like steep mountains (symbolizing Mount Meru, home of the Hindu deities) and being surrounded by a watery moat (symbolizing that the world is surrounded by oceans).

The bas-reliefs of the temple wall contain scenes from Hindu mythology such as the Churning of the sea of milk for Amritha (nectar), Mahabharata war, episodes from the Ramayana, Krishna's victory over demon Banasura and images of Apsaras (celestial dancers) and Hindu deities.
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We also saw some of the steepest steps (they were off limits when we visited) ..i wonder how would people climb those then.
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My wife stacking up stones for good luck...
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Lord Buddha being worshipped...
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And Vishnu...
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We reached the front section after a couple of hours of exploring the temple. And here we were !!!.. a magnificent image that we would always remember..
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Few other snaps in the temple grounds...
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By the way, we did a visit a local super market that late evening, was just a short walk from our hotel...
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Posted by arunbaliga 14.09.2014 03:00 Archived in Cambodia Tagged cambodia siem_reap angkor_wat angkor Comments (0)

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