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29 January 2010

Virtual buddies become real buddies

By Imelda

This story was originally published at “The Window” http://imeechan.wordpress.com

Happy New Year!!!

I promised to write soon but I’m afraid it was not as soon as I expected, sorry folks… Holidays had consumed my time after nearly six months in Sudan without having any break. I had a great time and as usual, it was always too short.

Went home felt so good, spending Christmas and New Year with my family and friends was amazing. Most of all, I had a chance to visit some friends whom I only met virtually before. MI, NH, and SC are three awesome girls whom I met through social network, Twitter. It started with our common interest in an ex-boy-band, NKOTB. From our ‘Twitter ritual,’ we finally became good friends, the idea to spend a weekend together and a-girls-night-out in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where they come from, came up and we finally made it happen in early of this year.

I flew out to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from my hometown, Surabaya, Indonesia, with ‘The World’s Best Low-Cost Airline’ called AirAsia. If you happen to have an idea to travel around South East Asia I suggest you to fly out with AirAsia. The price is cheap but very convenient, for example, I only spent about USD$100 for my round trip Surabaya-Kuala Lumpur-Jakarta. For that, I booked three months in advanced but if you booked earlier you might get cheaper.

I was picked up by MI and NH at LCCT Airport, I was very surprised with their warm welcome and in fact, it was the first time for us to meet up face to face. Soon after that, SC joined us and we went to Burger King for lunch.

After lunch, we went to Citrus Hotel where I stayed at on my first night. Citrus Hotel is a three star hotel and located in city centre. It was not far away from Bukit Bintang, downtown area, where shopping centres and restaurants are.

The room rate in Citrus Hotel is not expensive I’d say, it was MYR129 (USD$39) per-night for standard room inclusive of tax and breakfast. However, some travel reviews suggested to book Club floor room instead with MYR149 (USD$45) per-night inclusive tax and breakfast. If you stay on Club floor area means you will get free wireless internet in your room and you have access to Club floor lounge where you can use their free business centre with free snack and soft drinks, you won’t get these facilities if you stay in standard room. I finally did what people suggested and I never regret!

Although I never had a chance to enjoy the hotel facilities but I noticed Citrus Hotel has quite facilities like gym, swimming pool, spa and nice restaurant with international cuisine.

In the evening, SC, MI, NH and I went to see a movie, Sherlock Holmes, at One Utama Mall cinema. At the cinema I also met my long-lost dear friend, KE. KE & I were in UN mission in Afghanistan together back in 2003/2004. That night was a special night for me, I met my virtual friends and also my old friend.

The second night I moved out to a four star hotel downtown, Berjaya Times Square Hotel & Convention Center. I should say this hotel is one of the luxurious hotels in Kuala Lumpur. Berjaya Times Square Hotel & Convention Center has all facilities of most four/five star hotels to offer. It has swimming pool, gym, jacuzzi, spa, restaurants and it’s adjoining to Times Square Mall which used to be the biggest shopping centre in South East Asia back in 2004.

Actually I booked this room together with MI, NH and SC because we planned to have a girls-night-out at Red Box Karaoke in Low Yat which was just across the street from Berjaya Times Square Hotel. We booked one superior room with only MYR277.73 (USD$85) per-night inclusive of tax. This rate was a special rate which allows you to book 30 days early and you get 30% discount from its internet published rate, MYR355++ (USD$107++).

The room was very big like a studio, it has TV room, kitchen, bedroom and spacious luxury bathroom, I should say the room is nicer than Citrus Hotel. Unfortunately I couldn’t get facilities that Citrus Hotel offered in Berjaya Times Square Hotel, television at Berjaya was very old fashion, Citrus has LCD screen TV, unlike Citrus Hotel, there was no DVD player at Berjaya except CD player which was not well-played. There was no free wireless internet at Berjaya, if you want to get 24 hours internet connection you have to pay MYR50 (USD$15).

Our room was on the 26th floor and it offered spectacular view of Kuala Lumpur from our room’s window.


Anyway, less facility didn’t stop us to have fun. We shopped till we dropped at Times Square Mall during the day and in the evening we went to Red Box Karaoke to have our girls-night-out. Each of us paid MYR50 (USD$15) to book a karaoke room for two hours and it was including dinner buffet and two free non-alcoholic drinks. I think it was not bad for total MYR200 (USD$60) especially we got bonus to use karaoke room for another two hours FREE! We really enjoyed ourselves singing and dancing until 2 a.m. Apparently we got along so well, not only virtually but in the real world too!

The next day I returned to Citrus Hotel. In the evening I was invited for a fine dinner by KE and her husband, VC, at Leonardo’s Restaurant in Bangsar area. Bangsar was like 20 minutes away by car from Tiong Nam road, where Citrus Hotel is. The food selection at Leonardo’s was impressive, it offered not only Western food but also local food like Bai Kut Tee. VC and I ordered pork ribs steak, KE ordered Bai Kut Tee. The steak was very delicious and a couple of glasses of white wine made the evening so perfect!

Blue Sunday I should say… I felt like didn’t want to return to Indonesia but I had to because my best friends in Jakarta were waiting for me to go to Singapore on the next day. NH and MI dropped me off at the airport, we were sad to leave our fun weekend behind. We had lunch at Old Town White Coffee before we said goodbye. Old Town White Coffee is the largest kopitiam restaurant chain in Malaysia. It offered various delicious local dishes like Nasi Lemak, Curry Mee, Assam Laksa, and also hot/cold beverages, of course, its coffee, tea and chocolate. I ordered Assam Laksa (Fish soup with noodles) and cold original Old Town White coffee. The funny thing is, I thought Old Town White Coffee was really white coffee, literally, but it was not… It was normal black coffee with cream and sugar… Silly me!


  • Nickee

    nice trip with friends you met online!! there are more opportunities like this at koolred.com too!