Malaysia — Next stop — Cameron Highlands, Malaysia

The Cameron what?

August 2015

Now, the Cameron Highlands was an interesting choice on my list.

My main reason for going to the Cameron Highlands was because I knew several people who had visited the area and liked it. Plus, I wanted to visit somewhere in Malaysia that was described to me as having “very cold weather”, and for which, when visiting, I had “better take a fleece”.

The Highlands are located about 3.5 hours north of Kuala Lumpur.

Having returned to the Malaysian Peninsula from Langkawi, my first stop was a night in a hotel at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

Tune Hotel, KLIA2, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I wanted to drive up to the Cameron Highlands in daylight, as I had heard the last hour or so of the drive was pretty impressive. As my flight from Langkawi landed late evening, I decided to spend the night at the Tune Hotel at KLIA2.

The Tune Hotel is next to the KLIA2 Arrivals Hall and does exactly as it says it does. It is a perfectly functional hotel. There are no thrills, no towels folded into the shape of a swan, no pool, no gym, and no fancy restaurant. The hotel was plain and simple. The bedroom had a comfortable bed (no tea-making facilities in the room) and an en suite shower and bathroom. There was a ceiling fan and very efficient AC. The room also had Wi-Fi that worked, and there was a 7-Eleven Store next to the hotel for snacks and drinks.

There was no breakfast in the hotel, but as there is a terminal next door full of restaurants, that was not a problem.

If I had two complaints about the hotel, they were that the pillows were too thin and the hotel wasn’t well signposted in the terminal, so it took a bit of finding. There was a walkway connecting the hotel to the terminal, but its position almost seemed to defy logic. When I came up from the KLIA Express (a train service that connects Kuala Lumpur Airport to Kuala Lumpur), I didn’t seem to go up enough floors to still have to go down a floor from the arrivals area to find the bridge over a road. It felt like that by going down a floor; I should be at road level. All very odd.

Bottom line — good, efficient, clean hotel, and I wish more hotels were like Tune Hotel at KLIA2.

Kuala Lumpur Airport - Looking for Avis and a possible rip-off?

Good luck if you are trying to rent a car at Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL). There are no clear signposts in the terminal to show you the way to car rentals.

I eventually found Avis by wandering around and asking people for directions. On several occasions, people sent me the wrong way. I was told car rental was ’next door' in a building in front of the terminal. At one point, I got very confused when trying to leave the building as every time I went down in a lift to the ground floor, I ended up in the train station. It turned out that there are two sets of lifts opposite each other, and if you go in one set, it takes you to the train station, whereas the other lift takes you to the ground floor.

I finally escaped the terminal and crossed two roads; the second one was a ’trolley stopper’, so I had to carry my bags. The building I finally arrived at was the bus station, where, upon asking a few people, I discovered that car hire was ’next door’. But there was no obvious way to get there.

The route I finally took involved walking across the bus station (watch out for buses). I then went through some offices that handled something to do with car parking, where I was told that car hire was ‘next door’, and then I finally found car hire. In all the wandering, apart from one sign near the exit post-bag collection, I didn’t see another sign for car rentals.

Once I got to the Avis counter, I handed over my licence, credit card and passport. The staff vanished into a back room, presumably to make copies. At this point, my phone pinged and altered me to a RM938 (£180 UK; $260 US) transaction on my card by Avis. This was the first I had heard of this. No one said they would do it; they just did it. When challenged, the staff said that this was routine. I can’t recall such a thing happening before, and I was less than impressed that they didn’t tell me they would make the charge.

Update: Upon returning the car, there was no sign of the RM938 being returned. The staff said I would only get RM500 as there was a RM430 car hire charge, which was odd because I had pre-paid.

Update 2: There was a bridge connecting the bus station (so you will still have to dodge buses and go through the ‘car-park office’) to the main terminal building. I had been over the bridge at one point looking for car hire but had turned back as there were no signs to car rentals.