THINKING of a day trip to Kuala Lumpur? Why not leave the car at home and take the Hop-On Hop-Off city tour? Going for a joyride on these double-decker buses will not only give you a good view of the capital, it will remove the hassle of driving. StarMetro took a ride on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus and found some interesting spots.
Petronas Twin Towers - Bus Stop 23
No city tour of Kuala Lumpur will be complete without a stop at the most photographed building in the country. Be prepared to stretch your necks up to the sky to see the pinnacles disappearing into the clouds. Then grab your cameras and get creative.
Photographers named the fountains at the tower entrance as one of the best spots for novelty snapshots. Once you are done, head inside to see the KLCC Dancing Fountain in action. The best time to catch the water-and-light show is at night.
It is also worthwhile to take a walk to the KLCC LRT Station joining KLCC and Avenue K, to hear the buskers play. Ayawan Musafir Singgah, a flautist, is one of the regular street performers you will find here.
National Art Gallery - Bus Stop 21
If you are into art, this will be an important stop. This year, Malaysia has been marked as the new art tourism destination of Asia. As the National Art Gallery is reputed for its regional influence, visitors can expect to find the works of the talented artists.
Lucky visitors can meet international artists such as Choong Kam Kow whose works are currently on show and Lutse Lambert Daniel Morin, an Indonesian wax sculptor who will be showcasing his work until June 16. The programme also saw the participation of bronze sculptors around Malaysia.
Lake Titiwangsa - Bus Stop 21
To rest and relax, sit by the lake and drink in the view of the skyline. Bicycles are available for rent. So are pedal boats. Also look out for the horse wagon rides. This service is offered by Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s mounted unit and the ticket price is reasonable. Otherwise, just take your time to stretch and enjoy the vast, open space.
Kampung Baru - Bus Stop 19.
A Malay village right in the heart of the city where the old coexists comfortably with the new. Visitors flock to this place for a good reason — authentic Malay food. Great nasi lemak and grilled fish with sambal belacan can be found here. No wonder this has become a popular place to have lunch.
After a heavy meal, walk through the row of houses for a glimpse of traditional Malay life. You can find one the oldest houses in the settlement along Jalan Raja Mahadi. The current owner Norhayati Salim said she inherited it from her great-grandfather who worked as a driver for Loke Yew, the Chinese tycoon whose name is used for one of the roads in the city.
Royal Malaysia Police Museum - Bus Stop 16
One interesting exhibit here is a preserved seladang head hanging over the entrance. Museum spokesman Sjn Hanifah Mohamed Ali said this was the very same animal that fatally gored the then police commissioner H.C Syers in 1937.
Be sure to not miss the firearms exhibit. On display are the weapons confiscated from Botak Chin, a notorious criminal from the 1970s.
Orchid Garden - Bus Stop 15
This is a place for fans of flowers. The garden is home to 6,000 orchids. Over the years, local horticulturists have created two species — Mokara Seri Endon and Dendobrium Datin Seri Jeanne — in honour of two of Malaysia’s former first ladies.
Istana Negara - Bus Stop 13
A grand sight awaits visitors to the official residence of the King. There is a good reason why the city tour stops for a 10-minute break here.
If you are lucky, you may see the changing of the guard. If you stand close enough, you may catch the guards humming to their horses, believed to be a method used to soothe the animal which might be startled by camera flashes.
Little India - Bus Stop 10
This is a very good place to experience Indian culture. From sarees to chappatis (Indian bread), to shiny bangles and pulsating beats of Bollywood hits, this place never sleeps. Look for the alley where all the flower garland stalls are. Watch the florists stringing jasmines, roses and chrysanthemums with their quick nimble fingers.
Jalan Bukit Bintang - Bus Stop 6
Arm your wallet with cash and credit cards if you are planning to make a stop here as you can find the biggest designer names as well as the best bargains. A word of caution though, retail therapy has a way of working overtime here.
Hop-On Hop-Off offers a free and easy city tour with 23 stops, covering more than 40 attractions in the city. Malaysians enjoy special rates -- the 24-hour passes are at RM19 for adults and RM12 for children. Tickets can be purchased on the bus or from any major hotel or travel agents displaying the Hop-On Hop-Off logo.