Feeling lost in the big city? A free pocket handbook may just be the thing for you.
For most travellers, the first thing they look for when they step into a foreign country is a free city guidebook.
Some cities like London, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore have excellent comprehensive guidebooks, while others might have loose brochures where the only thing of value is the city map. Surprisingly, or not, our bustling metropolis belonged in the latter category – until August last year.
Did you know that Kuala Lumpur never had a free comprehensive guidebook? Me neither. As locals, we take for granted that there is sufficient information on our city readily available at our airports. I, for one, am guilty of rushing through airport customs and exits without taking note of my surroundings.
The debut of the free pocket handbook that provides travel guide around Kuala Lumpur.
Unless they purchased a Lonely Planet or Footprint guidebook, KL visitors had until recently to rely on various brochures that were mainly filled with advertisers promoting their products.
Realising the need, Bluedale Publishing decided to work closely with the Ministry of Tourism Malaysia when its former Secretary General, Datuk Dr Victor Wee, showed them a copy of a free guidebook from Korea.
“We realised that visitors to Kuala Lumpur needed free information as soon as they touched the ground. Our inaugural issue of KL The Guide was published on August 2007, in conjunction with Malaysia’s 50th birthday. What sets us apart from other free guides is that we are distributed at proper key channels,” said Bluedale Executive Director, Garry Llewellyn.
KL The Guide is available at information counters of all international airports and Tourism Malaysia offices in Malaysia.
My first impression of the book was quite a good one. I liked the feel of it because the cover is of acceptable quality. It is also small and light, making it easy to carry around. There’s a good detailed map of our country and a map of KL as well.
“We want it to be practical for users, for it to be small enough to keep in their day pack or even their handbags. Reading a big map in a taxi is quite troublesome so this format will help travellers. The quality and presentation of the book will encourage travellers to keep it or pass it on to their friends and family back home. We hope to reduce waste by doing this,” said Lyndon Yap, the Bluedale Publisher.
The Guide starts off with a brief introduction on Kuala Lumpur and the various transportations you can take to get around the city. I found the detailed train route map which includes the LRT, Monorail, KTM and KLIA Ekspres extremely helpful.
The book is divided into several colour-coded sections such as Sights & Attractions, Shopping, Accommodation, Food, Entertainment, Recreation & Activities and Essential Information.
A good thing about The Guide is that there is a lot of information, although this tends to get a bit cluttered since a lot is squeezed into one page. I can understand that they want to put in as much information as possible but it borders slightly on information overload.
It can also be difficult to look for a particular attraction as the places are not in alphabetical order and the layout is inconsistent. Information on a particular place tends to be vague due to space constraints so that visitors wouldn’t really know what sets an attraction apart.
On the plus side, the guidebook does have attractive pictures, recommendations and comprehensive contact details.
I like the accommodations section as it provides information on various types of accommodations, which are divided into its respective categories, ranging from hostels to five-star luxury hotels. Not many free brochures have information on hostels. All the featured accommodations have contact details as well.
The food section is quite good as it introduces local food such as teh tarik, nasi lemak and char kuey teow, and tells you the best places to go for them.
Those who are homesick are also given the heads-up on restaurants serving international and fusion cuisine. Shopping is quite comprehensive, with suggestions from premier shopping malls to flea markets.
Yap said they are working on a new guidebook called Travel 4 Locals targeted at locals who would like to know more about the places of interest within the Klang Valley and its surroundings. The inaugural publication is scheduled for the first half of 2009.
“We’ve done some research and found out that most city folks do not know much about hidden attractions within their area. This book will feature attractions from beaches in Morib and Bagan Lalang to watching fireflies in Kuala Selangor.
“We will use the same distribution channels, which are the international airports and Malaysian Tourism offices, but we will also explore other channels such as major hypermarkets and gas stations. Members of the public are invited to contribute what they know to us, especially best food and attractions in their hometown. We will give credit to them, of course,” said Llewellyn.
So the next time you fly back home, curb your urge to rush straight through. Spend some time to go up to the information counter and ask for your very own free copy of KL The Guide.
Source from: http://thestar.com.my/
Location, Driving Direction and Map for Getting Around Kuala Lumpur: