My name is Mike Smith. I am the touring Editor for Traveler’s Digest. My job is to explore, film and write about our experiences. I write not as a sponsor or critic, but as an individual with open eyes and great appreciation of the worlds many differences. We must all learn to understand that these differences are unique and beautiful and with an open heart we shall strengthen the bond that makes us all…humans.
Our crew left San Francisco in March 2002. We toured, filmed and reviewed the magnificent islands of Hawaii. The magical land of New Zealand and the inspiring country of Australia. Then we moved North into Indonesia, Singapore, Bintan and Batam islands. I can not honestly say that one land was better than the other. They were all uniquely different. Hawaii was mystifying and overwhelming. New Zealand was like visiting the world when it was new, back to when dinosaurs ruled. Australia was majestic with undiluted raw, untamed nature unlike any other place on Earth. Indonesia was truly breathtaking. A pure blending of beauty and simplistic ideology. It did not matter where we were, each traveled mile was more inspiring. Each moment creating new layers of fantasy-like memories. This world belongs to each and everyone of us and we owe it to ourselves to explore it, to feel its need and savor its beauty.
We spent two weeks in Singapore. A truly metropolitan city, molding its culture and modern lifestyle with uncommon clarity. A business center… most certainly. A city always willing to smile at a stranger… absolutely. A clean, but not sterile environment… without a doubt. I recommend that everyone at least once in their life visit Singapore. Leave your conceptions at home, because only with an open mind will you truly experience this magnificent city..
When it was time to leave Singapore and start our next adventure we did so with child-like adrenaline. Wanting to see as much of the terrain as possible, we decided to take the train. We headed North through the jungle into Malaysia. The train was built in the 1960’s and was an adventure into itself. The squeaking, bouncing, chirping and rattling might of been frightening to some, but to me it was being alive. I love to feel connected, to myself, my family, the Earth, the highway and even to these old tracks. At times we try hard to escape from what makes us all human…our senses!
The seven hour rail into Kuala Lumpur was rewarding. I persuaded the rail conductor to open the two entrance and exit doors between the cars. I had my cameras and video recorders running about as fast as the train. Shooting images along the track and through the small villages that dotted the jungle I was rewarded with many sights and sounds not seen by many outsiders. The quality of life in this sector of the world is diversified and can not be easily absorbed in one simple statement of being either “Rich or Poor.” Life there is more historic, in which I mean, repetitive, passed down from generation to generation. Extremely slow to change, but desiring to grow nonetheless. Life here is lived with strong presence. After many hours we pulled into the train station at Kuala Lumpur. I could see the city lights stretching for miles in every direction. The giant Petronas Towers, the largest buildings in the world, could be seen reaching into the night sky. I could feel the presence of this city even before I disembarked from the train.
We had made arrangements to tour, review and write an editorial about the Maple Suite in downtown Kuala Lumpur. I only knew in advance that it was not just a typical hotel. As we checked in late, about 11:30 PM, I was fairly tired and wanted only to sleep, but as we strolled down the marble hallways and entered one of the adorned elevators I realized the class of the architecture was very evident. We settled into our large two bedroom suite and did a little exploring of its interior before drifting to our beds. The master bedroom was large and very attractive. The huge bed was warm and welcoming. Its comfort firm and supportive, yet soft and inviting. The weariness of the last several days evaporated before the break of day.
I have to admit, The Maple Suite impressed me. They reward their guests by providing masterfully adorned luxury suites, that are beautifully decorated, large and tasteful. Offering one to three bedrooms, two or more full bathrooms, dining center, den and large fully functioning kitchens they can accommodate your ever need. When it comes to viewing the city, with one touch of a switch, the automatically controlled drapes swing back exposing you to the marvelous downtown. The Maple Suite is major style and comfort, offering a secure and peaceful environment in downtown Kuala Lumpur.
We spent the next three days shooting film in and around the Maple Suite and were fortunate enough to have been acquainted with the Maple Suite Communications Director, Mr. Edmund Chin. A true gentleman. He was extremely courteous and took time from his busy schedule to drive us around the city. He was anxious to share his appreciation and love of this city, Kuala Lumpur. We explored the winding streets, shot film from the Kuala Lumpur Tower, fourth highest in the world. We had dinner at savory sidewalk cafes, went bargain shopping in China Town, went to the zoo, the art and culture center and were made to feel welcome from the many interesting people we met.
Kuala Lumpur grew from the jungle and sprang forth like a blossoming flower. Its skyline is powered with the giant presence of the Petronas Towers. Each day we took some time to further explore the grandeur of these beautiful buildings. They are overwhelming, not only their height, but their architecture. Beautiful marble and polished metal casings blending with master strokes of art and style. Their design is so driven, so forceful and unique. They do not simply labor into the sky…they personify mans abilities to dream and with motivating struggle create those dreams.
The interior of the towers is where the building exposes its palace like adornments of paintings, stone and master workmanship. The lower floors are a extensive layout of stores, eateries, boutiques and designer shops. Each level is accessible with state of the art escalators and elevators. The smells of fine restaurants invite you at every level. We enjoyed the mall and admired its stylish architecture for hours on many occasions involving several days and when we had totally enjoyed the splendor of the interior we decided to take the tour to the Sky Bridge which is on the 41st floor. The upper floors are offices and closed to tourists, but even on the 41st floor the view was not diminished in the least. The treasures and the experiences of visiting this city will linger long after you leave. The trip will be even more fulfilling if you rejuvenate in the luxury of the Maple Suite.
An entire family could easily spend the day admiring the twin towers engineered beauty, not to mention the shopping… that would definitely be the start of another adventure.
Kuala Lumpur, like all cities, is struggling to balance its rich culture with a modern lifestyle. It is achieving it’s goal and pioneering its permanent place in the civilized societies of this crowded world and is doing so with fortitude and style.
We at Traveler’s Digest have spent many years and great fortunes traveling and seeking out the greatest adventures. We are exploring every country, every city & village, every mountain, every island and every beach to bring to you, our viewers and readers, a little insight to this great planet that we all call our home. We recommend that you seek out not only the fantasies of your youth, but the realities that are in themselves fascinating. Venture out into the world, explore and make memories to enrich your life and let them influence and reward your future. Once you truly fall in love with our great planet, you will not only enjoy it and understand it… you will help save it. All life, and we are all one family, are totally dependent on each other for survival and please always remember, the dignity of all life is precious.
We recommend Kuala Lumpur and most definitely The Maple Suite. They both represent quality, style and culture. Being much more than a hotel, they accommodate entire families, large groups, business conferences, a romantic get away, sports teams, golfing buddies and everyone that appreciates and expects the absolute best. For a stay of just a few days up to many years…. they welcome you.