Kuala Lumpur: Hello Berjaya Times Square!
Travel Period : 9th Nov – 12th Nov 2011
How We Got There :
Took Grassland Express Coach Bus (6hrs) to A Stop Opposite Berjaya Times Square
Waking up at 5.30am, we made final preparations before calling a cab to head towards Golden Mile Complex for our coach ride to Kuala Lumpur.
Before the trip, we had checked out the user reviews on the various coach providers in Singapore and decided on Grasslands Express, after seeing that it had the least complaints (Transtar also had few complaints but their coach schedules didn’t match ours).
We arrived at the Grasslands office at Golden mile Complex at around 6.45am, a little too early. When we bought the tickets a fortnight ago, we were told to just arrive half an hour before our coach set off at 7.30am. Still, we were not the only early birds as there were already quite a number of people sitting on the steps in front of the office, waiting for it to open too.
Several minutes later, the office doors opened and I went in to do the check-in and getting the coach’s license plate number. We were also told that the coach had already arrived and was parked in the car park just beside the complex. When I headed over there for a look, I located our yellow coach but decided it was still too early for us to board it.
We thus returned into the complex and eased ourselves a little before our long 6-hour ride ahead.
The Coach Journey
At around 7.15am, we moved over to the car park again, this time to board the coach. We had opted for the Royal VIP Coach for more comfort, with our seats located at the lower deck, since the top deck’s seats were almost fully booked then.
The advantage of being at the lower deck is the convenience when boarding and alighting, since we would not need to climb up and down the rather steep and narrow stairs. We also had more privacy since there are only 4 seats on this deck.
Unfortunately, as we started familiarising ourselves with the amenities, they didn’t live up to our expectations, especially with the individualised on-board TVs.
Out of the three seats we booked, one of the TVs had completely malfunctioned (no display, no sound, nothing) while the remaining two had broken volume buttons. So, basically none of these TVs was in acceptable working condition. We feedback these to one of the drivers but he just shrugged and said there’s nothing he could do about it, despite obviously they had not bothered to maintain them. We started to wonder what’s the point of opting for the more luxurious coach when everything were failing?
Anyway, Dar was resistant to sit alone in his seat and we ended up having him seated on my lap for the first part of our journey. I didn’t really mind though since I was not intending to sleep yet and I could pass time on the coach by talking and playing with him, especially when the TVs were not functioning properly.
After we crossed the checkpoint and reached Yong Peng in Malaysia for a short rest, we decided to let Dar occupy a seat himself, since we had already purchased a ticket for him and we do want him to be more independent. Fortunately, he wasn’t as resistant as before, with the help from his Thomas & Friends trains to keep him occupied on his seat.
Anyway, one of our three seats was separated from the other two, and that was the seat which TV monitor was completely malfunctioning. We thus tried to let Dar sleep on that seat but he became restless, as he didn’t want to be separated too far from us. So in the end, Cat and Dar took the joined seats while I tried to take a nap on that individual seat.
Finding Our Hotel
We reached our destination at around 1.30pm, when the coach pulled over under the overhead bridge just opposite Berjaya Times Square. We were then stranded alone as we didn’t really know the way to get across to the mall. Believing that the overhead bridge was the way to go, we took the escalator up, only to realise that it led to the Imbi monorail station instead. We then saw a sign asking us to walk down a flight of stairs, and taking the path just underneath the station (we were still on the overhead bridge) where we could finally walk into the mall.
While inside the mall, we got lost and had no idea on how to reach the Berjaya Times Square Hotel‘s lobby from there, since there was no sign nor directions to be seen. Asking the security guards there didn’t help either as they pointed us to the wrong directions. As a result, we ended up wandering all over the mall pulling our luggage.
When we finally reached the lobby after a huge detour, we proceeded to the counter for our early check-in. Although we had already requested to stay in the more convenient West Wing of the hotel, there was unfortunately no vacant room available for us. Therefore, we had to stay in the East Wing instead. However, the manager who attended to us said he had found us a room in the West Wing which would only be available from the next day onwards, and said he would arrange for us to change our room then.
A bell boy then helped us with our luggage as we headed to the East Wing, which was indeed a long distance away from the lobby. Basically, we were walking from one end of the shopping mall to the other, since the two towers were built on two ends of the mall. Also, as we were assigned to a room on the highest floor, our lift ride took quite a while with several stoppages in between due to people boarding and alighting.
Finally, The Room
When we entered our room, we were pleasantly surprised at how big the Superior Room which we had booked was. Besides the usual amenities, there was also a pantry area (with fridge, electric kettle and sink), a huge toilet the same size as the bathroom with adjoining doors and the bedroom with sliding doors so that whoever is sleeping won’t be disturbed when the TV is switched on in the living area.
Dar was also very happy upon entering the room, exclaiming ‘Holiday’ and ‘Kuala Lumpur’ excitedly as he started to explore the place.
When we looked out of the window, we could see the West Wing facing us, and the elongated swimming pool just below us. We were amazed at how big the pool was.
Anyway, we had booked the room under the Family Package, which comes with indoor theme park tickets for 2 adults and 2 kids and buffet breakfast for all the mornings.
After washing up and settling down a bit, we left our room to go back down to the Berjaya Times Square Shopping Mall for our lunch at Sakae Sushi. We were surprised that my membership card in Singapore was applicable for a 10% discount there too.
After our meal, we started to explore the mall. It was indeed a huge mall (bigger than Mid Valley Megamall) but we felt Mid Valley Megamall’s shops were more appealing to us. For one, there wasn’t any big stores such as Metrojaya nor Jusco here, and the items selling in the small stores did not catch our eyes. We also noticed that despite the many floors in the mall, most of the opened stores were actually concentrated on the lower floors of the mall, so it got a lot more quieter (no tenants) when we made our way to the higher floors.
The exceptions were Level 5 and 7, where the indoor theme parks were situated. We would often hear screams as the roller coaster roamed by within the complex, and Dar would be very interested looking as it passed, calling it a ‘train’.
When we got to Level 7 to check out the theme park meant for younger kids, we were quite impressed with the good maintenance and large size of the place, though we were also surprised at the lack of patrons. Probably it was because it wasn’t peak season for travel yet and furthermore, it was a weekday.
Slightly further down was a viewing area with glass walls for us to look at the surrounding cityscape. We could see the famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur, Petronas Towers, from there.
Starting to feel the tiredness from our long coach ride, we decided to head back to our room for a rest. Cat headed for a nap while Dar and I decided to go down for a swim, since he was very enthusiastic about it.
The pool was more windy than I expected, so we had to keep our bodies submerged in the water regularly to avoid getting frozen. There were only another handful of other swimmers and most of them looked like they were from the middle-east countries. In fact, many of the hotel guests we had come across during our trip seemed to be coming from that region too.
We had great fun in both the baby and adult pools, especially in the latter with me carrying Dar in my arms and keeping him afloat. We would come up with all kinds of fun games and he just couldn’t stop laughing. Fortunately this was a big and open pool so he wouldn’t get complained even if he make a lot of noises.
When I noticed Dar’s lips starting to turn purplish, I knew it was time to go and I wrapped him with our thick towel brought from our room. There were pool towels available but they could only be collected from the counter near the West Wing so we didn’t bother to pick them up (I only knew about this after coming to the pool). Poor him was shivering a bit as we were making our way up the lift. I didn’t know there were actually shower facilities by the pool else I would have showered him there.
After washing him up in the room, we returned to the mall for our dinner, bringing our stroller this time since Dar looked tired, probably due to his lack of sleep on the coach and the swim.
True enough, he fell asleep in his stroller just when we were reaching the eatery. As a result, we had to dine without him at The Chicken Rice Shop. It had a butter chicken set promotion and we ended up having a large and delicious serving of chicken meat, rice and other stuff. We had decided to return again for the good food before we returned to Singapore but that didn’t materialise in the end.
With our stomachs filled, both of us started exploring the mall again, browsing through the shops for things to buy. Dar woke up later on and we bought him an apple pie from the Cold Storage supermarket as dinner since most of the shops were closing or closed by then.
Later that night, Dar started having running nose, as he had probably caught a cold during the swim in the day. Fortunately, we had brought along his medication and fed him with it. He dozed off soon after.
Tomorrow we would be spending the day at Aquaria KLCC and the indoor theme park.