The Travel Hub Kuala Lumpur Guesthouse


I wanted somewhere cheap, clean, and central in Kuala Lumpur. There are many hostels and guesthouses to choose from in Malaysia’s capital city, and I chose The Travel Hub because I could get a very cheap single room, rather than a dormitory bed. Travel Hub front door

I arrived in the evening and the location was somewhat confusing, being at the end of the street in the address, such that the front door was around the corner. The guesthouse is not on the ground floor, so I lugged my suitcase up lots of stairs. When I found out my room was on the third floor I was worried, but fortunately there is a lift serving floors one to three (two to four if you’re counting US style with the ground floor as level one).

 

My single room with a window and air-conditioning was certainly small, but it was clean. The blind on the window would not shut fully so it was never totally dark, and at times it was noisy outside. The single bed was super-creaky. I thought I was going to break it each time I rolled over in bed! There was wifi in my room but with a very poor connection that only worked sometimes, in some parts of the room. Single Bedroom with Window and a/c

The shared bathrooms were fine, not the cleanest but perfectly useable. I never had to wait for a shower. The communal living room area was nicely decorated, with comfy sofas to lounge around, and a shoes-off policy.

 

The guesthouse staff were friendly and helpful. When one of them had forgotten to book me a taxi, the staff member on duty went out and found me one in the street.

 

Breakfast was advertised as 7-10am, included in the price, but in practice it was self-service toast and jam with tea or coffee. I wondered why they only offered it during those hours instead of having bread available throughout the day like in some other hostels (like this one in Malacca for example). Communal space at Travel Hub

Overall, I have yet to find an ideal affordable place to stay in KL (suggestions welcome!). The Travel Hub is perfectly okay, but I would be equally keen to try a different hostel next time.

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Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, Malaysia


Spending a day wandering Malaysia’s capital city, Kuala Lumpur (KL for short), I had visited plenty of museums and Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park offered something a bit different. I had already visited zoos and bird parks, but had never been to a butterfly park. I paid the RM 20 entry fee and entered the lush green park, where possibly thousands of butterflies were flying around, settling on leaves and flowers, or hiding up in the corners of the green netting that acted as the high ceiling of the park, preventing them from escaping.

The KL Butterfly Park is not as big as I expected, but I guess it is hard to cover a large area in green netting. Detail is the name of the game here, spotting the different butterflies as they flit around, catching photos if they land, and creeping up to snap unsuspecting butterflies as they feed. The best way to show you the park is through images:

 

Air Asia to Stop Europe-bound Flights


http://www.flickr.com/photos/39551170@N02/3793795589Air Asia X, the long-haul branch of Air Asia, has admitted that it will no longer be flying to Paris and London as of March this year. These are currently the only two European destinations served by the airline, so their withdrawal leaves Air Asia firmly off the European map.

For travellers like me, who frequently fly between the UK and South East Asia, this will make a difference, in particular during the Christmas period, when Air Asia is the cheapest option. In terms of nonstop flights between South East Asia and London, this leaves airlines like Singapore and Malaysia Airlines as the only choices, both of which are significantly pricier than Air Asia’s budget service. Other routes include the many airlines that transit in the Middle East, including Emirates, Etihad, Gulf Air and Qatar Airways.

Many potential and past customers of Air Asia seem unaware of the change, which may affect their future travel plans. Having taken the London-Kuala Lumpur Air Asia X flight back in January, a fellow passenger told me she had heard a rumour that the route was being cancelled sometime this year. I asked Air Asia via Twitter and they replied that indeed the route was being withdrawn from March this year. However, I have yet to see an announcement about this major change on the Air Asia website.

Did you hear about this before reading this article? How will it affect your travel plans?

Hotel Review: Tune Hotel LCCT, Kuala Lumpur International Airport


This is a no-frills, budget, transit hotel, plain and simple. If you’ve flown into Kuala Lumpur on a budget airline (this is AirAsia’s base) you will be at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), and this is the nearest hotel. You can actually see the hotel from the terminal, though it feels much further than it looks when you’re dragging your luggage through the massive car park. Tip: the hotel runs a shuttle bus for MYR 1.

This was the second time I have used Tune Hotel LCCT as a transit hotel and, if anything, it just looks a little more worn. The Tune chain has hotels across Malaysia and in several other countries. Sold on the basis of a clean room with a comfortable bed and en-suite power shower, it pretty much does what it says on the tin, though the slogan “5-star beds at 1-star prices” is an exaggeration to say the least.

The room was tiny (smaller than rooms at the Tune Downtown KL Hotel that I recently reviewed), and I had to move the bed slightly to make space to lie my suitcase down and open it (a large suitcase indeed, but still). It would have been very difficult to fit two people’s luggage in. The queen-sized bed was comfortable, with lamps on both sides and a single bedside table. There was a small fold-down “table” on the wall at the foot of the bed, a couple of pegs on the wall and a large ceiling fan. The decor was a little worse for wear, with scratch marks and stains on the walls (nothing terrible, just not the vibrant, new and shiny place it had been when I stayed here almost exactly two years ago). The power shower was very good and the bathroom was very clean

As a budget hotel, you can pay for add-ons, including towel rental, air-conditioning and wifi internet. I bought 12 hours of air-conditioning for about MYR 13, which was far more pleasant than having the massive ceiling fan on all night. The air-conditioning unit only went from 20-30°C, which was not really cold enough initially, and had very limited controls, without a way to make the flaps open and close. I also attempted to buy wifi internet (24 hours cost MYR 12), but I couldn’t connect on my phone or my laptop. Returning to reception (there is no way to phone down to reception) to complain, they immediately offered a refund rather than offering to come upstairs and fix it, which suggests that this may be a common problem, and is worth bearing in mind if you are intending to work using the internet during your stay

Traffic noise would be an issue for light sleepers at this hotel, with a busy road outside my window. However, at least there was a view across the airport area. The building is designed with the corridors or walkways on the outside, so anyone can and will walk past your window on the way to their room. Curtains and net curtains offered privacy, but also shut off the view. Sound insulation was not great, with people talking in the corridor or opening and shutting doors sounding very loud in my room

Breakfast is not provided since this is budget accommodation, but there are several places to buy food on the ground floor, and many eateries at the airport.

Staff were helpful and service was fast and efficient in excellent English. I was surprised when the porter who showed me to my room asked for a tip, as I had not had that experience at other Tune hotels, or Southeast Asian hotels in general.

Overall, this is a transit hotel, for people who are in between flights into and out of the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). It’s very cheap and very close to the airport terminal. If you’re not transiting there is no reason at all to stay at this hotel.

Hotel Review: Tune Hotel Downtown KL


I stayed at this hotel for the second time, on a one night stopover in Kuala Lumpur. With Tune Hotels in general, from my experience you get what you pay for, no less and no more. This is a budget option but the room was clean, with private shower room, a queen-sized very comfortable bed, a small clothes hanging rail, one bedside table, a fold-out desk and a large ceiling fan. My husband, who didn’t have much experience of budget accommodation, was shocked at the small size of the room, and we were constantly stepping over our suitcases. However, for one night it was more than adequate. We paid for 12 hours of air conditioning and although it took us a while to make it cold enough, it kept us cool all night long

The bedding was clean and we had brought our own towels (you can pay to borrow towels). The power shower was very effective, and a constant supply of hot water was available. The bathroom was clean and in good condition. The room decor was looking a bit worn, with some marks on the walls, and downstairs the hotel reception was being renovated so there was nowhere nice to sit in the lobby. The noises from the building work were inaudible from our fourth floor room though we could hear neighbouring doors being opened and closed. We had no view whatsoever from the small window which opened into a central atrium

Staff were helpful and friendly and check-in/check-out processes went smoothly. Breakfast is not included but there are a few places to eat in the area; for breakfast we turned left out of the hotel and left again and, crossing the road, found a nice little cafe serving a range of Malay and Indian dishes. There is also a food court if you turn right out of the hotel, though we didn’t have a chance to try it

The hotel is conveniently located within easy walking distance of both Medan Tuanku and Sultan Ismail stations. A number of buses also serve the area. Getting from the airport LCCT terminal was a bit of a slog, involving taking a bus to KL Sentral and then the monorail to Medan Tuanku, followed by a short walk. If travelling with lots of luggage it may be better to get a taxi from KL Sentral. We took a taxi back from Tune to KL Sentral and it cost MYR 20. The bus from LCCT to KL Sentral costs about MYR 8.