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Red Palm Hostel - Kuala Lumpur

The Red Palm backpacker's hostel in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, has now joined the Backpacking Asia Network. Red Palm won the 'best hostel in Asia' award in 2006, based on Hostelworld ratings. Find out more about this small and cozy hostel and Kuala Lumpur as a travel destination in this interview with the hostel owners.
Backpacking Asia Network member: Red Palm
Backpacking Asia Network

-   Member Introduction

 
Red Palm
name: Red Palm
business type: Backpacker Hostel
location: Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
website:  www.redpalm-kl.com

book a bed at Red Palm now
 

Can you briefly introduce Red Palm. What makes it special?
Red Palm is a small hostel with only 13 beds in KL's CBD providing an affordable accommodation with basic facilities to backpackers.  It is an ideal place to call a home after a long day of sightseeing and experiencing Malaysia's culture, hospitality and culinary delights.  At Red Palm, we provide a lounge area that gives the opportunity for the guests to socialize and exchange their traveling experiences.  We want our guests to have a common area to relax and get to know and make friends with other guests.  Another backpacking feature we offer at Red Palm is the book-exchange corner.  Red Palm is a clean and comfortable accommodation, with friendly and knowledgeable staff, at a strategic location, and is a value for money, these are the essence of Red Palm establishment.
 

When and why did you start operating Red Palm?
Red Palm was established in October 2004 with a collaboration of 3 main partners and great supports from several friends.  During that period, the backpacker's hostels and guesthouses were still relatively new in Kuala Lumpur.  Initially, we started our operation more of a convenience than making the profits.  Not only did we manage to have a place to hang out in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, our guests had also enjoyed a warm, jovial environment with our personal touch services. 

 

What are the memorable story you had with the guests?
This hostel brings 1001 memories to each of us. However, the most valuable serendipity from the business is getting to know the people. Friends who made their returns to Red Palm during the past years on several occasions, backpacker's of old and young, dive instructors on their visa-run, people doing internships in KL and many more.
One of the funny stories that comes to mind is a guest who went to buy mosquite repellent from a nearby convinience store for her trip fo Taman Negara. When she returned from the trip she was sick from using the "mosquito repellent". It turned out that she bought insecticide spray instead and used it on her skin.

 

Red Palm Loung
the Red Palm lounge

What are the main attractions in Kuala Lumpur Why should travelers come here to visit?
Some of the attractions not to be missed by the travellers:
 1.  If you only have a day or two, it's best to see Kuala Lumpur by taking Hop-On Hop-Off Bus to cover all main attractions besides Batu Caves.
 2.  Take a Golden Triangle Tour: Petronas Twin Towers, Aquaria KL, KL Craft Cultural Centre, Pavilion Mall, Bintang Walk, Low Yat Plaza, Berjaya Times Square and Menara KL (KL Tower) including KL's Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve and Jalan Alor.
 3.  We also recommend our guests for their self-day tour: Batu Caves, Forest Research Institutes of Malaysia (FRIM), Little India at Brickfield (KL Sentral), Historical Heart and Lake Gardens, Central Market and Chinatown.
 4.  Firefly and Elephant Sanctuary tours.
 5.  Observe Malaysia's various cultures, religions, races, culinary and festivals.

 

What are your top 5 things travellers should see or do in/near Kuala Lumpur other than the main attractions?
1) Have dinner at Jalan Alor, which is just around the corner from Red Palm - actually, eating in general is great way to explore the city and culture, and to enjoy yourself.
2) Have a walk around Chow Kit to see the wet market and the "non-touristy, non-glamorous" side of KL.
3) Feed monkeys at Bukit Melawati in Kuala Selangor.
4) Visit Bukit Cherakah Forest Reserve in Shah Alam.
5) Take a trip to Templer Park and trek the multi-tier waterfalls.
6) While in Kuala Lumpur, travellers should take the opportunity to visit Putrajaya for the fascinating architectures and botanical gardens.

 

What do you think of the transportation landscape in Kuala Lumpur?  What advices do you give to backpackers to travel into, from and around Kuala Lumpur?
A lot of travellers arrive by air in Kuala Lumpur, either as their first destination in Asia or on a stop-over as Kuala Lumpur is the hub for Air Asia.  The airport is quite far outside the city (about 50km) and is split between LCCT (for low-cost carriers like Air Asia) and KLIA. Both terminals use the same runways but act as individual airports. The cheapest options for both terminals to get to the city is to take a bus, while KLIA also has a rail connection. Of course, there are also taxis (buy the tickets at the ticket counters).
Kuala Lumpur just upgraded its bus terminals with a complete new terminal for south-bound buses (TBS), the renovated Puduraya Bus Terminal for north-bound buses and the old Putra Bus Terminal for buses to the east coast. So the infrastruture for long-distance buses changed a lot in 2011.  Therefore, it is all new to us as well.
For getting around in KL, there are 2 LRT lines and a Monorail which offers views of KL. However, KL is a very condensed city so you can actually walk to most places. Unfortunately we don’t really recommend taxis in KL that tend to refuse using the meters and over-charging the tourists when you haggle.


 
What are your recommended foods / restaurants in Kuala Lumpur?
In general, Malaysia offers lots of eateries ranging from cheap and affordable prices to more dear charges.  In Kuala Lumpur, you can find food in almost every corner.  There would be a long list of warong (stalls), cafes and restaurants to suggest, however, some worth mentioning here are Jalan Alor, probably the most famous and popular food street in KL. This street comes to live at night that transforms into busy, open-air restaurant at night.  You shouldn't miss the Teh Tarik and Roti Canai, that are consumed by almost every Malaysian of all age and races.  For those travellers that prefer a more closed and air-conditioned environment, there are plenty of food courts available in the shopping malls, such as Food Republic in Pavillion shopping mall.  To look no further, Changkat Bukit Bintang hosts a more international restaurants, from Middle Eastern to European and also Asian delights.  Vegetarian restaurants are also available and easy to locate around the city, notably Blue Boy Restaurant behind Corona Inn Hotel.  In specific areas, travellers may visit Kampung Baru, Chinatown and Brickfield for abundant Malay, Chinese and Indian food stalls and restaurants respectively.


 

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