Kuala Lumpur: Malay-ja-vouz

Published: August 4th 2012
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We had a very traumatic flight from Krabi, southern Thailand to KL, we swerved taking off and suffered turbulence throughout and as we were grateful to be coming into land, the captain reinitiated the thrusters and we zoomed back up in the air! We circled for a few minutes before trying again, this time landing but it was anything but smooth! Ben reached for Lauren's hand who was fine but Ben did seem a little shaky! Oh well to the metro! We arrived at our pre booked accommodation that described itself as a hotel. We were paying $40 a night for an uncomfortable double bed with terrible a/c, no furniture and a shower and toilet with a clear sliding door providing no privacy, good job we are married eh! It was shocking and extremely loud and as a Muslim country every second seemed to be prayer time including through the night! We had booked breakfast and paid but told not available as Ramadam, something we have complained about as sold to us that we are still trying to solve as we leave our next destination! The only saving grace was the location- a stones throw from the Berjaya Times Square a huge ten storey mall based on the New York Times Square complete with a section designed to be Central Park!

The malls were the first indication of a reminder of Dubai. This also housed a theme park, the worlds largest, and we wanted to go one one ride but as you had to buy a full day pass, we skipped. We also ate at Hard Rock Cafe that evening needing some solid western food and although alcohol available, unlike Dubai, it was astronomically expensive! Luckily the soft drinks were bottomless! Our objective at this stop was to see the capital, the typical skyscraper skyline and prepare ourselves for two weeks of hectic business and manic walking! We achieved this with flying colours! We spent all Saturday and Sunday walking around the huge capital and still not fully getting a true orientation!

Saturday saw us escape the metropolis and retreat to the large park complete with lake. It was incredibly peaceful but the skyscraper skyline served as a reminder of the crazy busy city beyond the trees. The gardens had many interesting fauna and flora and we busied ourselves turning at every corner to admire new features. We also had a delight in a free attraction that was an open zoo but on a very small scale! It housed a collection of animals that were mainly wandering free, with the exception to the deer. We passed monitor lizards which freaked Lauren out, turtles swimming with big carp, deer mouse which are very cute plus a large collection of monkeys that swung around eating melon, we got some great up close shots and they appeared friendly! As we got closer though they did scamper and played in a small pool pushing each other in! From there we walked and did the tourist trap cycle. We saw the national mosque, beautiful colonial buildings mixed in with Islamic architecture that complimented each other superbly. We passed Merdeka square where independence from the British was declared in 1957 and a huge Malaysian flag flies. We saw some people watching the opening Olympic ceremony on a huge screen, but we had stayed up the previous night from 4am till 8am watching this!

Our next destination was KLCC, a huge designer shopping mall. As opposed to times square that housed largely independent boutique shops, this was home to the designers from all over the world, Paul Smith, Tiffany, Prada and such like. We enjoyed the air conditioning retreat and went outside to the fountains and greenery and enjoyed the sights of the Petronas Towers, looming over us as the former tallest tower in the building and now the tallest twin towers. The ever mistrusted LP guide had said we could go to the bridge adjoining the towers for free but this was not the case now costing 80RM roughly £16 each which was too out of budget! So we admired them from afar and then decided we would like to see them lit up in their shining night lights. We ate at Chili's a brand we encountered in Dubai. We also got our first chance to watch some Olympics but the road race as we know wasn't a good result for the boys! After sundown the towers, home to the petroleum company, really came into their element proving their worth on the front of most postcards. We walked home through busy streets with neon lit bars and expensive cocktails before chatting to Ben's parents calling it a night.

Sunday saw more of the same sightseeing. We found yet more greenery to retreat to in the home of one of the world's largest free standing towers, the Menara Tower. Our way to the entrance was interesting climbing hundreds of stairs and then if that wasn't enough exercise, we performed some of the movements on the free gym equipment! The tower itself got larger as we crossed rope bridges and we awed in its magnificence but sadness came as we saw the price had increased to that of the other towers so we took some photos and made our way to Chinatown. The downside of a budgeters lifestyle! Chinatown was easy to walk to and home to every style of fake product available! It would seem that quality wasn't important it is the name of the product. For instance, they had many Beats headphones that are designed for their amazing sound quality yet these were cheap and not designed to demonstrate their astonishing sound cancellation but they merely wear them as they have the "B" logo. The same is said for the quality of bags, watches and other leather goods. The smells were a bit too much for our weak palette so we again went to a Western chain in the form of Lauren's favourite. Yes you guessed it, when Ben saw the famous red and white stripes the evening before he swung Lauren round in happiness he had found her favourite haunt and promised we could visit! We had the same dish as Dubai and enjoyed the familiarity.

Another early night ensued as we were up early for our next flight, and reflected on our short time in Malaysia. We had intended to spend nine days here and see two other places but as you may recall other plans had taken shape and Malaysia didn't really do it for us, not in relation to every where else we have travelled in south east Asia. Perhaps as a separate trip but SEA has come to its expiry date for us and we were happy to be propelled toward the diamond in the rough, Singapore.

Things of note:

Every thing is fake as we said above including restaurant chains, we saw "Rainforest Bistro" with the exact logo of "Rainforest Cafe"

The citizens are obsessed with Apple products, hoards of people would sit at community squares playing on phones or iPads!

The Petronas Towers and Menara Tower are national treasures and the icons of KL.

Similarities really presented themselves with Dubai, the religion is not as oppressive but in relation to malls, wanting to be the best, the metro system, having things of wonder and the general ethos of "the taller the better"

The city is extremely modern always undergoing renovation to make it bigger and better The flag is their pride and joy, and rightly so, but is also everywhere, on every lamppost, but they are thick and held in place which hurt when you accidentally walk into one while avoiding the throngs of people on the pavements(!)

Escalators are pot luck, they rarely work and for some reason take up a lot more energy to climb than regular stairs!

If you head to KL go to dunkin' doughnuts and get a water between 5-8pm and you get a free doughnut, why not!

What would we do differently:

Stay at a different hotel, KL is renowned for the cheapest 5 star hotels but as we couldn't afford those it was out of the question even still, but would stay there if money permitted. Perhaps tried Malay cuisine but as this is largely Indian and curry based we skipped based on our previous experience!

Thefts: 0

Near misses: 0

Fallouts: 0

Additional photos below
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