18th Jan: I enjoyed my hostel breakfast out on the balcony looking out over the mountains behind Ipoh. I got chatting to a guy who had been staying in my dorm, we booth commented on how we liked the chilled out vibe Ipoh has going on. I was really jealous when he was telling me about travelling to Thailand in the 80s, and how beautiful and different it was back then. I really wish I could time travel. I almost didn't make it out of the hostel because when I got to the bottom of the stairs the metal door was locked. Luckily, there were some keys in reception so I could unlock the door. It took about ten minutes to walk to the station and I waited for my train, which was on time. The train was really nice, very new and clean. However it was bloody freezing. I had jeans and a fleece on and I was still shivering. The train journey took about two and a half hours and after almost getting off at the wrong stop, I made it to KL Sentral. The lack of signage meant that I couldn't figure out how to get out of
the station to get the monorail, some kind bloke working at the station saw the confusion on my face and pointed me in the right direction.
The monorail journey didn't take too long and I was soon in Bukit Bintang. My hostel was a short walk from the station and the staff there were really nice and friendly. I couldn't check-in to my room yet, but I got changed and dumped my stuff so that I could head out. I was meeting a friend at a mall close by so I headed over there. As I left the hostel, I spotted a Tous Les Jours (Korean bakery chain) across the road, so I headed there for a spot of nostalgia and a strong coffee. I got to the mall a little early so had a wander around some of the shops before I met my friend. Lunch was on the agenda and my friend had already made a plan for our day together. Perfect! We headed to the basement, which was filled with restaurants. My friend had already selected one, Madam Kwan's, for us to have lunch at. Madam Kwan's is a local institution. Kwan Swee Lian is the
woman behind this now hugely popular restaurant chain. Since 1977 she has been cooking some of Malaysia's best dishes, street food and 'wok' food, but in a cafe style atmosphere. I was told that she sometimes visits the restaurants, but she wasn't out and about the day we were there. I let my friend do the choosing as she knew what is best. She ordered me a Nasi Lemak, which was really good. It is considered to be Malaysia's national dish. I loved the chicken, rice, sauces and egg. My friend had ordered Char Kway Teow, another Malaysian staple. Her meal was flat noodles with egg, prawns and veggies, she gave me a good helping of it to try and I really liked that dish, too. For dessert, we had Cendol, which my friend had enthusiastically recommended to me. Cendol, which I had never heard of before, is a popular dessert in Southeast Asia. Cendol is a combination of coconut milk, small green jelly noodles, shaved ice and palm sugar. It reminded me of patbingsu in Korea, but nicer, there were no cornflakes on it! It is definitely cooling and refreshing on a hot day. I can see why it
is so popular.
After our late lunch, we wandered over to the Petronas Towers. We did get lost a few times on the way, Kuala Lumpur is lacking in decent signage, just like the rest of the country. We finally found the right spot to buy some tickets and we were deliberating time options, we deliberated for too long. By the time we had made our minds up, the time we had wanted had sold out. The next available spot was in a couple of hours and we didn't feel like waiting and the view looking out over the city wouldn't be as good at night, so we booked some tickets to return the next morning instead. We then took a walk back to my friend's hotel. She was staying in a very swanky establishment, well out of my budget, because she is some kind of special member, there are these buffet events early in the evening, so we headed there for that. There was quite a spread and despite not being too hungry, I helped myself to a couple of plates of food. It was nice to get some legit Western food, as it had been a good
few months. I stocked up on all my faves, cheese smoked salmon, ciabatta and also helped myself to a big glass of red wine, that was delicious! Afterwards we took a walk through a couple of malls in Bukit Bintang. The first one was very swanky, and the second one was more low key. My friend told me hoe this mall used to be really busy, but now a lot of the shops had closed. I was also shown the best place to get curry puffs in the area.
19th Jan: I had to get up fairly early, not that sleep was really possible in the dorm room, thanks to one guy walking around with his phone alarm going off in his hand. Dude, why? It's an alarm, it should be knocked off immediately. I helped myself to some breakfast and then headed back to the mall, where I would meet my friend. Since I got there a bit early, I headed to Starbucks for a cold brew to keep me going. My friend and her son soon turned up and we headed over to the Petronas Towers. We took the same route back yesterday, thank goodness her son
has a better sense of direction than us two, as he kept us on the right track. Since we already had our tickets we had some free time at the bottom of the tower to take some selfies of the exhibits there. The Petronas Twin Towers stand 452 metres high and took about three years to build. The towers were opened in 1996, I didn't realise that they were so old. The towers were designed by Cesar Pelli, an Argentinian architect. There are 88 floors. Once the queue for our time slot started forming, we headed over to join that. We had to go through security and leave our bags at the luggage storage as you can't take them up into the tower. At least I could take my camera though. Then we headed over to the lift.
The lift took us up 170 metres to the Skybridge. We exited the lift and we were headed out into the main bit and we were told to wait until one of the other groups had finished. Then we were allowed out on to the Skybridge. The Skybridge has two levels, I think, one for tourists and the other for worker
to get between the two towers easily. We were given ten minutes and my friend's son was grumbling that it wasn't very much time. I think the highlight of being out on the Skybridge was the window cleaner. He was epic! How he can do that job is beyond me. He was in a small cart/buggy thing that transported him around and he was cleaning the windows on the Skybridge. He was a superstar, everyone was taking his photo, me included. He was really good-natured smiling, laughing and posing for photos. I took a walk along the bridge, taking in the views. It was a little hazy outside, so the view looked a little fuzzy in the distance, but it was still great to see the city spread out all around us. I was totally freaked out standing on the Skybridge, you are just so high up and there is nothing between you and the ground 170 metres below. Also I had been told the day before that it is the biggest bribe that wins the building contract in Malaysia, not necessarily the best building company. I was counting down the seconds for our ten minutes to be up. When
the staff started signalling that we could return, it took all my effort not to sprint back. When did I get such a fear of heights?
We headed to another elevator that would take us higher up in the tower. We travelled up to level 86 and were let out there. We had about ten to fifteen minutes there. Even though it was higher, I much preferred it to the Skybridge. It felt more solid and safe. We got some more good views of the city and across to the other tower. I only wish that I had been able to take better photos, looking back at my pictures they aren't up to much. It was really seeing the top of the other tower so close. This really is a beautiful building. I definitely must return to Kuala Lumpur so I can visit the Petronas Twin Towers at night. There were so small exhibitions to look at too, so I had a quick look at them. Soon it was time to descend. The lift back down didn't take long and we were reunited with our stuff. We headed outside to get some photos of the towers from the other
perspective. I'm glad I went up the towers, but I wouldn't be rushing back to do it again.
We were all feeling hungry after the tower, so we headed back to Pavilion mall to get some lunch. We were kind of undecided on where and what we wanted to eat. We eventually picked a place and headed in. After getting seated we looked at the menu, but felt uninspired so left. We headed to the signature Old Town White Coffee instead. My second visit this trip. The menu in this place is extensive. You could eat there for at least a week and not have the same thing twice. We had their Oldtown Nasi Lemak with Sambal Sotong. Sambal Sotong is spicy squid. I really enjoyed this meal, too. Malaysia is definitely a foodie's paradise. I think I could happily live here for the food alone. After lunch it was time to say goodbye. It's so nice to hang out with someone you know when you're travelling. I had decided to go and watch a movie since it was scorchio outside and cinema tickets in Malaysia are so cheap. I plumped for a film called Patriiot's Day, which I
knew nothing about. It turned out to be about the Boston Marathon bombing. I enjoyed the movie and it was nice to escape the heat. After, I headed over to the little mall from yesterday to get some curry puffs for later. I then chilled at the hostel, showering, changing, and re-packing my bag. I liked that there was free tea available as I had a few cups of that with my curry puffs. Around 6 or 7 pm, I took the monorail to KL Sentral to get the bus to take me to the airport. I was off to a new continent.
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