Skip to main content

KL Getaway: Just the 2 of Us!

Since our marriage 6 3/4 years ago, we have made it a point to go away on our wedding anniversary. With our children it got harder, especially in the early years, and especially for me, the mother. I remember bawling my eyes out in our Batam resort when our oldest was still about half a year old, accusing my husband of forcing me to leave our baby behind! 

But fast forward a couple of years, and with two active boys underfoot, I have really started to anticipate and appreciate these precious times away. Our anniversary also falls in December, making it a good time for us to take stock of how our marriage and family are doing, recalibrating and setting a focus for the year ahead.

So it was a special treat when we got to go on a last-minute getaway to Malaysia's capital city Kuala Lumper, without the kids. We had a one night stay at a Copthorne group hotel to redeem, with Mark's American Express Kris Flyer miles card.
Enjoying a substantial ramen meal at Marutama Ramen in Fahrenheit 88, Bukit Bintang. The free flow side of crispy garlic chips is a real treat. Fond memories here - this was where our older son slurped his first bowl of ramen noodles, 3 years ago!
We decided to give ourselves two nights away, as staying one night would be tiring with a 4-6 hour coach journey back and forth from Singapore. What happiness when we found a SGD36/ night hotel, U Pac Hotel, which was ranked #25 out of 272 hotels in KL, for the first night! Fantastic service at the reception, clean and cosy rooms. A simple but nourishing breakfast spread is provided, which is amazing for the price. The best part - the dim sum place directly behind the hotel! We both decided that meal alone was worth the 6-hour coach ride that day.
Mark's contented grin says it all. You can't find this quality of dim sum in Singapore, or at least that's what we think.  Delicate flavours and textures, each juicy bite was unique!
A close-up view of our feast on a rainy evening in Pudu, KL
With our minds (and stomachs) still focused on food, we checked out of U Pac Hotel early, hoping to cover some of the food places featured in Lonely Planet. Jalan Alor was one of those we hoped to visit. According to the Malaysian tourism website,

Located in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Alor is one of Malaysia's most popular food haunts. Relatively quiet during the day, the street is transformed into a bustling outdoor food court when the sun goes down. Hawkers fire up their woks as hungry customers start piling in, sitting on makeshift tables and chairs lined by the roadside.
The streets are interestingly chaotic in KL. We love how every meal we had at a street stall was a scene of a drama unfolding - cars parked every which way, drivers arguing, people dashing out from their cars to get some packed food.
The stark contrasts between the old and new are perfectly felt at Jalan Alor. We love how KL has allowed the olden day atmosphere of some neighbourhoods to remain, despite the sprouting high rise buildings all around.
Lonely Planet had recommended the 'drunken' chicken noodles at Jalan Alor, with the stock made from rice wine. I don't know why I didn't catch the cue from the word 'drunken', but those noodles were potent! Even Mark, who usually holds his alcohol well, said they were strong. 
Pre-Chicken Noodle 'Drunkenness'
The noodles were steeped in extremely strong rice wine. A few slurps was enough to make me dizzy! It was an aromatic stock and the fried eggs complement the chicken pieces. This dish is probably best shared among a few people. The stall sold other kinds of noodles, which also seemed to be popular.
The rest of the day was spent shopping around the Bukit Bintang area and catching a late night movie for only RM20 for 2 tickets, which is about SGD4 per ticket. We enjoyed a substantial ramen dinner at Marutama Ramen at Fahrenheit 88 before retiring to our extremely comfortable room at the Grand Millennium, KL. 
Our luxurious accommodation at the Grand Millennium KL
The next morning (and our last), we embarked on a purposeful search for the Jalan Imbi Market. It is featured in Hungrygowhere Malaysia, as well as in many food blogs, as a food paradise. Some of the must-eat items are the chee cheong fun, crispy popiah, and egg tarts. We were really looking forward to a hearty breakfast, but somehow could not find the place after walking around for 30 minutes! 

We stumbled upon this place instead which seemed to be popular, based on the many newspaper articles featured outside. Turns out that Pau Kee is cited in Hungrygowhere as having the best Ipoh Hor Fun in KL! The noodles were indeed of a very fine texture and seemed to melt in the mouth. The wanton noodles were served with prawns. We were still a little sore about not finding the Jalan Imbi Market, but concluded that we would just have to come back again to KL for another trip.
We stumbled upon this gem, toted as the best Ipoh hor fun in KL.
A simple and nourishing breakfast
We spent the last few hours before our coach journey doing some last minute shopping at Pavilion, just opposite our hotel. Glad for the rest and the time away, and looking forward to our next getaway without the kids in December! 

A final snack before our coach ride - Snowflake Taiwanese dessert. All ingredients are freshly prepared. The taro pieces were chewy and not too sweet. Delicious!


Popular posts from this blog

Malacca with the Kids: March 2015

Malacca has always been our go-to place for a short getaway. Most of the time, it's been without the kids. We love soaking in the ambience of Jonker Street and strolling by the river. Of course, the food never fails to draw us back to this laidback town with its sleepy atmosphere. The facade of Malacca has, however, changed over the years. Imposing mega malls loom over two-storey shophouses. I would probably have not brought the boys along as the streets are narrow and traffic seemingly never ebbing, but when I googled "Malacca for Kids" this time round, there were quite a few options for the kids to enjoy. Of course, the main reason why we decided to go was because we were attending my dearest  cousin's wedding dinner. This brings back memories of how my cousins and I used to hang around at Chinese restaurants. We would be so thrilled to be on an actual stage... And our choice of accommodation was largely influenced by the water play area which our hot

Setting Up a Finnish School in the Home

The issue of private tuition has again come to the forefront after a senior education official pronounced in parliament that the Singapore education system is "run on the basis that tuition is not necessary". Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State for Education, added that schools provide "comprehensive levelling-up programmes" as well as remedial and supplementary classes to support weaker students. In the days that followed, mainstream and social media agencies were abuzz with reports from parents and students alike, many of whom disagreed with Ms Indranee's assessment of the education scene. They argued that private tuition is already a multi-million dollar industry, and that its very existence disputes notions that tuition is unnecessary. From the perspective of an educator in Singapore, I can understand the comments made by the Senior Minister of State, especially since it is the responsibility of the Education Ministry to teach our school childre

"Monkeying Around": A Review of My Gym Singapore

Our 2/1/2-year old son E has always been an active child. When he was an infant, E would crawl around and get into all sorts of mischief, until one day when he discovered that he could climb on  his poor Daddy, in an inspired moment of pretend play - Daddy was his mountain and he was Sir Edmund Hilary - the first person to scale Mt Everest! It was therefore with great excitement that we we heard that Parenting on Purpose had been invited by My Gym Singapore  to participate in a series of four classes. We agreed at once; knowing that our little boy would thoroughly enjoy gym class - this was also a chance for our exuberant toddler to work off his energy and hopefully fall fast asleep after getting home. Our little son having a swing of a time at gym class.  My Gym  has an interesting educational philosophy that emphasises building self esteem in children. This is an excerpt from the company's website: The philosophy that guides My Gym’s programming and breakdown for clas

Schooling for Gold: a Parent Reflects on Singapore's First Olympic Gold Medallist

50.39 seconds. The (less than) one minute of time that made history for the small island nation of Singapore. Millions in Singapore and around the world watched as 21-year-old Joseph Schooling defeated his long-time idol and heavily-decorated Olympian Michael Phelps, the man described as "the most-decorated Olympian of all time". Indeed most of the international news footage had been previously focussed on Phelps, given that the American is expected to retire at this year's Rio Olympics. The New York Times even ran an article with the headline: " Somebody (His Name’s Joseph Schooling) Finally Beats Michael Phelps"! For Joseph Schooling, it could not have been a prouder moment, as he not only bagged Singapore's first and only Olympic Gold, it was also a race that proved he had not only matched, but also beaten his childhood idol. Indeed a 2008 photograph of 13-year-old Schooling standing side by side with Michael Phelps has been spreading like wildfire o

Hong Kong for Kids: Our Dorsett Wanchai Experience

It was only a few months back when we had our lovely holiday experience in Hong Kong. We had then stayed in the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a lovely place located at the northern tip of Hong Kong island, near the world-famous Ocean Park. Most people have asked us why we chose Hong Kong as a destination for our kids given the island's reputation as more of a food and shopping paradise. We shared with them that there is actually more than meets the eye to this territory known affectionately as the "Pearl of the Orient".  The view from Stanley, one of our favourite spots in the beautiful city of Hong Kong. Rooms in Hong Kong are small, and we had a hard time looking for a place to stay that could meet the needs of our two very energetic children. We settled for the Cosmopolitan Hotel, given that it was one of the few hotels that had affordable prices for its Family Quad Room, a large room that could accommodate all four of us comfortably. We were pleasantly surprised when we r

A Safe Space: Adventures in Fostering

Fostering challenges traditional notions of what a family is and what a family should be. At the end of the day, what is your idea of "family"? The younger child seemed a little troubled during bedtime. "Mummy..." he said. "Yes Darling," replied Mummy. "It will be very sad when R has to go home to the tummy mummy and daddy one day."  "Yes, Darling. It will be very sad." "But it's all up to God, right?" "Yes it is. You know that R's tummy mummy and daddy can't take care of any child right now? That's why R is with us." "Yes I know. R is with us just for awhile. Not like Kor Kor and I. The four of us are a forever family." "Yes we are. So how will you feel when R goes back to the tummy mummy and daddy?" "It will be sad, but it will be all right." The older child, who was a silent participant in the conversation, decided to speak at th

The Father I Will Never Be

We recently went on a holiday to Fraser's Hill, one of the less-visited places in Malaysia. For Sue and I, this is a place that is filled with memories. It was, for her, a childhood oasis, a place where her family would visit year after year, and build many precious memories together. It was, for me, a special place where I visited with a band of dear brothers during our university days, and where we set a stake in the ground, to declare that we wanted to surrender all of our days to the glory of God. It was, for Sue and I, the location of our honeymoon, the place where we enjoyed our first few days of marital bliss; the place where we chiselled our marriage covenant and planned for our future as one.  This is how I remember Fraser's Hill. Shrouded in mist and somewhat mysterious; a grand legacy of days gone by. I remember my first visit there as a single young man, not yet a quarter of a century old, but yet imbued with the desire to be the best father I could be sho

The Insecurities of a Homeschooling Dad

Social media can be very deceiving. We scroll through the news feeds of people we know (or of celebrity bloggers and content experts), and assume that they are living perfect lives. With every holiday photo they post, every food picture presented, or every insightful article they write, we slip into social media envy and  assume that our friends are enjoying the time of their lives. And many people assume that of me as well. They seem to think that I am living the dream life with a wonderful job and wonderful kids. And when I meet people at my various engagements, I seem to get the nod that I am the model citizen of social media society.  A recent holiday in Disneyland. After long queues under the hot sun, we were quite the "model" family! There is some truth to this. At this moment, I can say that there is no other job I would rather do; to be my own boss and to conduct training workshops for others, sometimes with my wife; what more could a man ask for? And my kids? T

Parenting Your Child for Marriage

It's not often that the Father of the Bride gets to speak at a wedding. Oftentimes, the only words are in response to the question, "Who presents this woman to be married to this man?" In that instance, it is normally a mild-mannered man, one who shuns the attention of the moment, who barely manages to whisper out the refrain, "I do."  A precious photo of a very special couple.  This was completely not what happened at a wedding I was at almost three weeks ago. In response to that question, the Father of the Bride seemed to have an entire speech prepared for the Groom, "I present to you the key to my daughter's heart, " he declared. "I have protected her heart all her life until this point, and now I am handing over this responsibility to you." And with a firm voice, he presented this solemn reminder: "Remember that you will not be able to do this on your own, but only with God's help, and by spending time with Him daily.&

Running the Race of Shame

Every muscle in my body protested. Every inner voice in my being screamed from the recesses within. "Don't do it!" they yelled.   "You will make a fool of yourself!" they taunted. "Why are you so stupid? Why do you want to prove to the whole world how stupid you are?" "You know that you are a colossal failure. Now you want everyone in the world to see what a loser you are?" It was deafening deep within. But I did what I could to ignore the deep shame and hurt that I felt from within. The voices of shame can be deafening even in the presence of an external quietness. "The next event will be the Parents' Race. Will  Mark Lim please proceed to the reporting area?" This was it. There would be no turning back now.  So I dragged myself to the starting line, and mingled with the other homeschool dads who all looked eager to race. "I haven't done any running since I was in National Service," I remark