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This is Visit Malaysia Year, and tourists all around the world will be visiting Malaysia. For those coming to Kuala Lumpur, you might want to find a good place to just suntan and hang by the pool area. Unfortunately, KL is not by the sea. For those able to afford to stay in 5-star hotels, pools are provided. For those budget travellers, say backpackers, most would stay at hostels around Chinatown. Good news for you guys, because just nearby is the Chin Woo Chinese Association with a swimming pool. This pool would be ideal for foreign travellers on a budget, looking for a nice poolside place to relax. Here's why:
1) Located right in the city
To get there, foreign travellers just need to walk up a small hill beside a Presbyterian Church. The walk up is a good exercise. Depending where you come from, most buses from other towns would stop at Kotaraya with a huge UTC signboard you can see. From there, just walk until you a reach a junction with the Guardian store in front. Then turn left, and walk all the way up until you reach another junction. (you will pass the famous Petaling Street would be on your right) From that junction, turn left again until you pass the Presbyterian Church, where you'll see a road going up on a hill on your right. It's really simple to get there, just ask anyone you might came across. Or hire a trustworthy Guide like myself when you are visiting the city. I can rent you a room nearby the city, show you all the good places to eat cheaply (or expensively, whichever your taste), help you communicate in BM or act as translator, be your point person for all info about the city and be a confidential companion. Just email me: email@example.com
2) Affordable Entry
If you go in on weekedays, the price for a ticket is RM4. On weekends, it is RM5. If you compare to other pools like the MPPJ Kelana Jaya, it is cheaper for like RM1. But calculate the extra cost of actually getting there, you'll be better off to just settle for Chin Woo. Besides, you need to get another bus to just go to Kelana Jaya. The extra money you pay for the bus get there is simply not worth the trouble.
3) The Broken Clock Tower
You'll notice a tall clock tower that stays "dead" at 2.25. It has this classic look of architecture from the 60s, with the interface being Roman numerical. I wonder why they haven't fix the clock tower after so long. But I suspect they might not have the funds for it. I suggest they fix it, because a lot of times, swimmers need some time reference when they're in the heat of their exercise. I don't have any water-resistant watch and relies heavily on the clock displayed in the pool area to tell time. But it's an interesting form of landmark that makes Chin Woo stands out in time. It has a rich history within this area, and many would wonder what caused the clock to stop...
4) Relaxed Swimming Attire
I was harrassed, accused and shouted at rudely by the lifeguard from MPPJ Kelana Jaya for wearing a "skimpy" swim wear. No such thing will ever happen at Chin Woo. I can see girls wearing bikinis swimming around, and a few older men wearing colorful trunks at Chin Woo. So it was a pleasant relief that the lifeguard at Chin Woo understands the swimmers need to feel free there, and not talk at them rudely like some guilty convict. Of course no beach shorts allowed in the pool.
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5) Feel free to Suntan
There's an area for swimmers to put their mats on for suntan-ning. So long as your private parts are covered, it is fine to do some sun worshipping. The sun there is actually very strong in the afternoons since the pool is located on top of the little hill - so take advantage of it. If I'm there with you as your City Guide, I can put the lotion on your body and keep an eye for your stuff, or cover you with sarung when you want to change in the open. I promise not to peek at your naughty parts. Scout's honor. Your privates are safe with me.
6) Mid-size Pool
For serious swim enthusiats, the pool size might not live up to their expectations. But to me, it's more about the time you spent swimming versus the distance of the pool. The shorter lane actually makes me swim faster and pushing up my endurance confidence because I feel achievement everytime I completed a lap, as compared to the bigger Olympic-size pool at MPPJ actually makes me tired faster and causing me to stop at each lap to catch my breathe. The depth level in MPPJ Kelana Jaya is not as deep as in Chin Woo. I prefer a bottomless like pool where I can swim with the feeling of "floating in the air" like at Chin Woo as compared to the pool floor that I can see while swimming like at MPPJ Kelana Jaya. The ground that I see while swimming actually makes me out of breath faster. Besides, the pool in Chin Woo looks cleaner.
7) Lesser crime reported
In Chin Woo, you can either leave your bag at the bench or pay a locker. Either way, it is safe. If you leave it on the bench, be sure you can see your bag from a swimming distance, which is not far anyway. I had my wallet and swimming gear stolen before at MPPJ Kelana Jaya and right outside at the entrance there were cases of snatch thefts by thieves on motorbikes racing by. The lifeguards and attendants at MPPJ Kelana Jaya can do nothing once your stuff is stolen, so why take the risk and go there? Chin Woo is safer because the place is not big, so you can look-out for your stuff at any distance. It's also very near to the main Police Headquarters.
8) More diverse community
In Chin Woo, you get some international tourists mixed with high-school students with their families along. It's a more diverse crowd of people than say at MPPJ Kelana Jaya, where you get very specific type of old men at certain hours because they get to enter for free. At Chin Woo, you are free to mingle and talk with other swimmers of any age, as young as me or as old as this uncle with a pot belly.
9) You can take pictures
In Chin Woo, you can snap pictures of yourself and your friends enjoying by the pool. There are even some Bollywood production companies and advertising commercials that came and filmed some scenes at Chin Woo. But at MPPJ Kelana Jaya, you are not allowed to film, take pictures, wear "skimpy" swimwear, even the not skimpy ones are also condemned and labelled unsuitable. So be careful how you walk and hang around at that pool for the lifeguards there like to accuse you of committing some scandal. You cannot take pictures at MPPJ Kelana Jaya and all sorts of ridiculous rules like no teaching your friend how to swim in the pool. All these don'ts actually kills the fun, innocent swimming experience. But at Chin Woo, taking pictures is allowed so it has a more liberal environment there. There's also a pretty garden around the pool area that is beautifully kept. Perfect setting to record your memories. Or even get spotted by an international photographer if you're a model, like I have.
10) It's an Association
Being an association, Chin Woo does not receive any steady funding from the government like MPPJ Kelana Jaya. In fact, Chin Woo has to pay the government for the land leasing or threatened being excavated. So Chin Woo actually have a tougher time operating their pool. The money you spent swimming there actually helps keeping the operations running smoothly.