Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Kuala Lumpur National Planetarium

Kuala Lumpur National Planetarium was built in 1994. We went there once back in year 2000. What we can say, it is getting much better now! The planetarium cannot be considered as very attractive, but might serve as a touch and go point. At least, we gained information about the involvement of Malaysia in space programmes there. A full trip without watching planetarium shows, more or less one hour.

Stairs.... that's the price to pay before you can visit KL National Planetarium (left). The planetarium is complemented with an observatory tower, which can be reached through the lift inside the main building.

As we visited the planetarium in the middle of the day, we skipped all the outdoor Ancient Observatory Park. The exhibition galleries were a mix of everything. Anyway, we try to categorise them into the Solar System right after the entrance, the history of space exploration, the history of Malaysia space project, and the observatory tower.

This is the statue that welcomed us at the entrance of the planetarium. Who is he? Al-Khwarizimi, perhaps.

Your weight at different planets in the Solar System (upper left). The robots that mimic the vehicles for Mars exploratory (upper right). One of the robot is capable to take your picture. The composition of the stars (lower left) and photo gallery of the space from earth.

Viking engine used in Ariane 4 launcher (left), and our photo with replica of Soyuz Capsule for Soyuz spacecraft by Russian.

The exhibition shows the space science experiments done by the first Malaysian Angkasawan (astronout), Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar.

The lift to the observatory tower is not easy to notice from the main building. The way that leads to the lift is just between Red Planet (with robots) and Made of Stars. High above the rest, the tower promises great view over the Lake Garden and KL area. The binocular is provided free of charge during our visit (middle).

Our photo at the observatory tower, backgrounded with KL city center.

The planetarium opens daily from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm (except on Monday, Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji). The admission for the gallery is RM1 per adult, while free for child under 12. If you wish to watch the planetarium shows (which is off on every Friday), the maximum fee is RM3 for adult and RM2 for child under 12.

We went there with our own car, ample of free parking space available. Anyway, the planetarium is about 20 minutes walking from KL Central Station. You can take taxi from KL Central as well. If you take KL Hop-On Hop-Off, the station is number 14 (share with KL Bird Park). For more information about KL National Planetarium, you can visit the Official website of the planetarium.

Our suggestion, do not visit the planetarium alone in a single trip. You can visit the attractions nearby, including National Museum (just 200 m away), KL Bird Park (approx. 400 m away), while the National Mosque, Merdeka Square, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, and Malayan Railway Station just 20 minutes away by foot.

For our sharing on the attractions nearby, please visit:

Kuala Lumpur National Museum

National Museum is getting better, in both layout and the artifacts exhibited, a big thumb up for it! The museum is not splendid with 6000 artifacts displayed (pls. correct us if wrong), but we were quite impressed by the way that the museum delineates the history of Malaysia in a continuous storyline that spans over four galleries. On our last visit, we spent around one hour in the museum with Betty's younger sisters- Nancy and Katty.

Our photo at the side of the museum, together with one of the first steam locomotive in Malaysia.

The front side of KL National Museum. The museum was built on the former site of Selangor Museum. The project of change was initiated on 1958. The building was designed by Ho Kok Hoe, and was built by Yew Lee Company. The two large mural on the front side of the museum was made by Italian mosaic with RM 1.5 million, contributed by Dato' Lee Keng Chian, with the illustration by Cheong Lai Tong (right). The photo on the left shows the entrance of the museum.

Betty and her sisters in front of the mural of the museum.

The entrance leads to the lobby of National Museum with catchy red benches. Ceramics from the Diana shipwreck, displayed at the lobby.

Four galleries represent four different time, namely early history gallery with artifacts 10k - 1.1k years ago, the Malay Kingdoms before 1511, the colonial era of 1511 - 1945, and Malaysia today. We are sure that, everyone who visits the museum will know Malaysia better.

Some of the artifacts in Gallery A: Early History. The artifacts from neolithic age (upper left) and the 1000 years old log coffin from Sabah (upper right) are some of the objects displayed.

Gallery B: The Malay Kingdom, with the artifacts collected during the era. The statue of Avalokitesvara on lower right is dated sometime between 7th - 12th centuries AD.

The siege of Portugal upon Malacca (left), and some of the equipments used by Japanese soldiers during the World War II can be seen in Gallery C: the Colonial era.

The Sultans during the independent of Malaysia (Gallery D: Malaysia today).

Some interesting themed exhibitions that are conducted from time to time in the exhibition hall behind the main museum building can be access from the exit of the museum. During our visit in April 2011, the theme of the exhibition was "Orang Asli: Beliefs and Traditions". The exhibition was focused on the indigenous ethnics in Peninsular Malaysia.

Some of the objects displayed in the special themed exhibition.

Several antique vehicles were displayed beside the exhibition hall.

KL National Museum opens daily from 9 am - 6 pm, except the first day of Aidil Fitri and Aidil Adha. The admission fees for Malaysian adult is RM2, Malaysian elderly or disable is RM1, foreigner adult is RM5, foreigner child 6-12 years is RM2, while FOC for the rest.

KL National Museum is easy to access. It is located 500 m from KL Central Station. You can take KL Rapid Shuttle Bus no. 12 to the museum (the fare should be RM2 per trip), or you can simply go by foot from KL Central. The museum can be reached by KL Hop-On Hop-Off at Station 12. Drive a car? The parking fee is RM2 per entry. For more information about the museum, please visit the Official site of KL National Museum.

The museum is connected to National Planetarium through a walkway behind the museum (beside the toilet). You may visit planetarium together with the museum. From the planetarium, you can visit KL Bird Park (10 minutes from planetarium by foot), KL National Mosque, Merdeka Square, Sultan Abdul Samad Building and Malayan Railway Station as well.

The walkway connecting National Museum to National Planetarium, crossing Damansara Road.

Other attractions in KL? Please visit:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

KL Bird Park is big, covering an area of 21 acres, 3000 birds from 200 species, and what we like the most- it's free flight concept. Two third of the bird park is literally covered under a big aviary. Some rare species or aggressive birds are kept in smaller aviaries, sub-set to the big aviary. With this free flight concept, we have the chance to get really close to the birds, especially the storks, egrets, pelicans, peafowls, parrots, and pigeons. For us, it is a must visit site in KL, especially for the nature lovers.

Ficus trees outside of KL Bird Park (upper left), just opposite to the ticket counter (upper right). Station 14 of KL Hop-On Hop-Off (lower left), while taking a taxi is not a problem here.

Upon entering KL Bird Park, we were greeted by Love Birds in Love Aviary. Friendly green cheeked conure and Indian ring-necked parakeet warmly welcome all the visitors with their chirps.

Sun conure (upper left), green cheeked conure (lower left), and Indian ring-necked parakeet are some of the parrots in Love Aviary.

Our photo in Love Aviary.

The pond after the Love Aviary leads to the T-junction. Left, zone 3 and 4. Right, zone 2 of the park. So, left or right? Our advice, right first, where you will meet with pigeons and doves, and peafowls such as peacocks. Along the way, you will be greeted by song birds now and then. At Brahminy Land, eagles and owls awaits. After Brahminy Land, the main alley leads a round trip through zone 2, with a stream dotted with water birds- pelicans, storks, ibises, herons, etc. flows beside the alley,

The pond after Love Aviary. The T-junction is just at the bridge far left of this photo.

Black-naped oricle is one of the song birds available in the aviary (upper left), Victoria crowned pigeon (upper right), peacock the peafowl (lower left), and great argus pheasant are some of the free moving birds in zone 1 and zone 2. Btw, the Victorian crowned pigeons are a little too fat and lazy to fly :-p

One of the peacock is following Betty, wish to get some food (left). The park is wheelchair friendly.

The stream for the water birds.

Yellow billed stork (upper left), egret (upper right), scarlet ibis (lower left), and you might come across a cute tame pelican rests on the bridge and stays for photography sessions.

The highlight of zone 1- Flamingo Pond and Bul Bul Land, both opposite to each other. Flamingo Pond, filled by water birds, backgrounded by a waterfall. Bul Bul Land is a well-landscaped small aviary with cute birds. We like the Mandarin Ducks the best.

Mandarin duck really knows the best place to stay during hot afternoon (upper left). Superb starling (upper right), red-crested pochard (lower left), and golden pheasants are some other birds available in Bul Bul Land.

Well landscaped Bul Bul Land (left). A carolina duck is resting beside the waterfall in Bul-Bul Land.

A side view of Flamingo Pond from Flamingo Kiosk.

Zone 3 can be reached from zone 1. What we were able to see in zone 3- two oriental pied hornbills and a rhino hornbill flying freely in the aviary, while the rest of the hornbills were caged. The best part of this zone is the Hornbill Restaurant and Cafe. The restaurant has an open space corridor where we can dine with the hornbills. We took a stop for lunch at the restaurant. The taste of the food, exceeded our expectation. The price... exceeded as well (around RM25 - 30 per person).

Doorway to zone 3- Hornbill Park (left). The oriental pied hornbill is one of the three hornbills that we noticed to fly freely in the aviary.

Hornbill Gift Shop, with the Hornbill Restaurant and Cafe on the third floor of the wooden building (left). A view from the open air dining area of the restaurant.

Lastly, zone 4, the largest zone for the bird park. Most of the area in zone 4 occupied by flightless birds, eg. ostrich, emu, cassowary are not covered with net. However, still the aviaries are the highlights here. First, the World of parrots- an aviary where we met with many human friendly parrots. Beware, as they will treat all the food that we brought as a free treat from us.

The rainbow parakeets and red lory are well domesticated without fear or shy to the "food bringers".

The World of Parrots is one of the gathering place for visitors.

The Waterfall Aviary exhibits a really nice landscape with waterfall and lakes around the aviary. However, about the birds, nothing more special than storks, peafowls, and some flamingos.

Our photo behind the waterfall.

The bird show at amphitheater, although it is not the 5 stars stuff of performance, but at least guaranteed some entertainment.

Some other cages of birds in zone 4 (upper left). Most of the alley is covered by sunshade. Bird gallery and the education station is not very attractive (upper right). More materials should be added in future. We can take photo with various birds in the photo booth in zone 4 (lower left). The food kiosk, resting area and toilets are handicap-friendly.

The strategic location of KL Bird Park at Taman Tasik Perdana (Lake Garden) make it a most accessible bird park in Malaysia, with just 30 minutes by foot from KL Commuter Station, or from KL Central Station. Taxi from KL city center costs RM15, which will take around 10 minutes, without traffic jam. KL Hop-On Hop-Off? The bird park is on station 14. The entrance fee, for Malaysian adult and child are RM20 and RM10 respectively (don't forget to bring your MyKad), for foreigners, RM45 and RM35 respectively.

The opening hour of the park is 9 am - 6 pm daily. The bird park is big and for us, we spent more than 3 hours in it. Please take note of the feeding hour for eagle at Brahminy Land at 2:30 pm (most interesting for us), and the bird shows on 12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. While the ostrich feeding and lory feeding (both in zone 4) are open whole day long. Ostrich feeding is free, while the lory, RM2 per package of food.

Food and beverages are available in the park, but expensive. Bring along some snacks and drinks are highly recommended. Besides, a hat to block the blazing sun and the direct hit of the bombs" from the birds atop, and sport shoes to cruise over the slippery floor are necessary.

For more information of KL Bird Park, please visit the official webpage of KL Bird Park. Or call the park hotline +603-22721010.

Other attractions nearby the bird park are the Butterfly Park, National Planetarium, National Museum, National Mosque, Merdeka Square, and the historical building of Sultan Abdul Samad and Keretapi Tanah Melayu (Malayan Railway). All the attractions mentioned are within 30 - 40 minutes of walking distance.

For our sharing on the attractions nearby, please visit: