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Business trip: Kuala Lumpur

Last week I had to go to Kuala Lumpur on a business trip. Let me use this trip as an example to explain what a business trip to an unknown place is.

Going there

CIMG2845I had to be at Kuala Lumpur on Monday at 10:00am, so I had to travel on Sunday afternoon. At Asia, due to the huge distances, most of the airplanes are really huge, like Boieng 747 or Boeing 777. But in this fligth from Taipei to Kuala Lumpur, a Boeing 737 was used. This is the kind of smaller planes more usual in Europe. This fact increased the duration of the flight (as the top speed is 100 km/h lower than on the bigger models) and made the experience less comfortable (less space and no personal entertainament system). Usually there is no time to study the destination, as you would do for a holiday trip, so I am now used to print the Wikitravel page and read it on the plane.

Once arrived at the airport, taxi to the hotel. I reached my room around 21:30 and went for a quick dinner downstairs.
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kulrn_phototour49Kuala Lumpur, or Malaysia in general, is one of the cheapest places to enjoy a 5 star hotel. Even I booked at the last minute, for 110-120€ per night, I could stay at the Renaissance Kuala Lumpur as the conference on Monday was at the same hotel.

The hotel is quite ok but the rooms are old and not very well prepared to work from there. I had problems to connect to the internet, the electronic keys failed and all the room was controled from a central console (that was not easy to operate).
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Day 1

After waking up I could enjoy a very nice view of the Petrona Towers, that were not far from the hotel. The breakfast buffet was spectacular… it is a pity that in the morning I am usually not very hungry.CIMG2901

Let’s go to work! … at the basement of the hotel where the conferences and demonstrations where held.

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That lasted until 16:00, with a break for lunch (at the some hotel, of course). That was followed with a meeting (at the bar of the hotel) and then there was a dinner (with the same people) at the Malaysia Tourism Center … just in front of the hotel. It is a touristic place: buffet dinner + traditional dancings. Those who know me a little bit can imagine that this is not my kind of place.

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As you can see: hotel + hotel + dinner in front of the hotel…

Day 2

On the second and third day we had to go to another hotel, for more conferences, from Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) and some additional demonstrations.

The transit is terrible at Kuala Lumpur during the rush hour. We were lucky as the hotel we had to go for just one stop away using the monorail.

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And conferences and demonstrations all day long.

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The conferences ended around 18:00 but I had to join another meeting (organized the day before). I crashed at the hotel really tired and I only had energy to walk to the Petrona Towers and have a quick dinner at Pizza Hut at the mall located at the basement of the towers.

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CIMG2882At Malaysia they are running an internal promotional campaign “One Malaysia”. It was easy to spot adverts, people with pins or some words on the political speeches. The main idea is to minimize the differences between Kuala Lumpur and the rural areas of the country (specially on the basic services), at the same time Malaysia wants to be number 1 on a various fronts in the South-East Asia. It is also important to unify the country where various cultures and religions coexist (without any big problems as far as I could see).

… and then to sleep.

Day 3

More conferences and more demonstrations (yes, sames pictures as before :))
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Even if it is not always possible on a business trip, this afternoon I managed to arrange some free time to act like a tourist.

Starting at the same hotel to enjoy a huge swimming pool on the 4th floor. I only stayed there for 15 minutes.

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I had to leave because I had an appointment with Emilia (a colleague from the company gave me her contact). Emilia is the founder and director of the TMSART, an art gallery focused on the promotion and on selling Batik products. Batik is an art technique where wax is applied on the area that does not need to be painted. After that the wax is melted and collected. The process is repeated with every colour that needs to be applied. Batik is very popular in various countries of the regions and at Malaysia is the most prominent national art.

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Back to the hotel I found people from the conferences at the lobby and decided to join them for a drink in a nearby area. We ended up a the Aloha KL

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Going back and final remarks

Even I went to sleep around 2am, I had to wake up at 6:30am in order to take the plane back to Taipei at 09:20am. After 4 hours on the plain and around 50 minutes on a taxi, I finally arrived at the office around 15:00…

As you can see conclude from this post, a business trip is obviously not a pleasure trip although sometimes it is possible to act like a tourist for couple of hours.

After this trip, my personal first impression of Malaysia is that it is like Greece or Turkey with tropical landscapes. Malaysia is a very multicultural society, Malays being the dominant group, 25% of Chinese (they speak Cantonese, not Mandarin), around 8% of Indian people and 12% of others. Most of the tourist are from UK (Malaysia is a former British colony indeed), Australians, Americans (navy people and business people) and nordics. Malaysia is mainly a muslim country but with other groups such as Christians, Budists or Taoist being aso important. This fact makes it possible to drink alcohol or to eat pork without any problem.

Kuala Lumpur is not a very charming city (at least the bits that I could see) but according to the travel guides, the country hides a number of very interesting destinations on the rural areas with the advantage of being less touristic than the nearby Thailand.

See you again in KL? … maybe

3 Comments

    Hi hauràs de tornar per a completar la part turística. De moment, sembla que les relacions socials no fallen.

  • Dear.. thank you for your lovely writing.. hopefully you love MALAYSIA and will come again…

  • Hola Albert i Anna .
    Avui us estem espiant pel blog.
    Esperem que estigueu molt bé.
    Aviat rebreu una visita inesperada…
    Molta sort i molts petons !!!!!

    Lourdes, tieta Mari. Teresa Mari