Kuala Lumpur

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August 12th 2010
Published: August 12th 2010
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From Ao Nang we crammed into a minivan full of people to Hat Yai and a few hours later we were off loaded to wait for our bus to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had a couple hours to spare so we walked down the street from the bus station, went to a mall, and then grabbed some groceries. By groceries, I mean the usual: pocky, chips, and some ultra healthy chocolate oat milk and corn milk for an ounce of nutrients. Bus trip days are always the worst for our diet, the further the distance - the worse it gets! We always buy bread and peanut butter for a quick sandwich and a ton of water but never drink it because we might need to go pee at the nasty bus stations, systematic dehydration starts the morning of any bus day.

When we boarded our bus to Malaysia things were looking up already. The buses out here are on a whole other level compared to any of the buses we have been on so far. The seats are extra large, lean back almost horizontal, have leg rests, foot rests, and have way less people on them. The Vietnamese would probably consider this to be quite inefficient as they cram the buses to max capacity and then pull out mini plastic stools for extra people to squat on in the aisles.

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 4:30-5:00am, the bus driver told us Chinatown was just down the street (where the budget accomm’s are supposed to be located) but being still dark out we figured most places would be closed and that we would wait it out a couple hours. So we walked across the street to .... McDonalds. And sat there..... for 4 HOURS. That’s right people. I, Cheryl Williams, sat in McDonalds for 4 hours. We did get a lot of research done with a couple of free refill coffees and free wifi - but most hotels couldn’t tell us any status on their availability before 9am. Before we left Thailand, I read a lot in the Lonely Planet book about how Malaysia is a Muslim country and that you should cover your shoulders and knees at all times. Following the book to a tee, I made sure to do exactly this. So you can imagine my surprise when the sun finally came up and I saw that everyone - foreign and local - were in short shorts, strapless dresses, etc. Guess the rules don’t apply in the big city!

We decided to hit the streets and go door-to-door like we have in so many places now, looking for the best room for our dollar. Chinatown’s hostel situation was a lot crappier in value than most places we’ve been to with the rooms being small and dark and always having shared bathrooms. For 15 ringgits more we opted to stay in an actual hotel with a private bathroom, TV, and a/c. Luxury. Ha!

Binns relatives were in Kuala Lumpur on vacation for part of the time that we were staying there as well. It was really great to see them again, and of course Wonder filled our stomachs so full that we wouldn’t have to eat again until we get back to China. We laughed when we pulled up in our cab to their hotel to meet them for breakfast and the workers rushed over to open our doors and say good morning to us. It was like we were royalty! Their hotel was soooo nice. When we checked out their room we realized that our room could easily fit inside their bathroom AND they had a huge breakfast buffet that we joined in on a couple of mornings too. So delicious!

Our second day there we all went out to Melaka. It’s a small town a couple of hours outside of Kuala Lumpur with a lot historical sites. We rode around town for an hour in rickshaws decorated with flowers and complete with stereo systems until the drivers had nowhere else to take us. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what we all saw: a Portuguese ship, a couple of museums, the Malacca bay, and a fortress to name a few. We grabbed some A/C, lunch, and mouth-watering desserts at a mall then headed back to Kuala Lumpur.

We did a lot of walking in Kuala Lumpur despite EVERY person in Malaysia always saying that to walk is much too far, take the metro, taxi, take something - just don’t walk because it will take you the entire day for sure. We managed to walk to most of our destinations within 20-45 minutes... and with all the extra eating Wonder treated us too, the extra calories burnt were a necessity!

We had planned to leave KL on the 7th but of course when we went to book our tickets to Singapore the bus station we needed was closed for renovations. Even travel agencies around the area would direct us to other stations but no one could just book the tickets for us. We headed to a window stall running out of a 7-11 that was supposed to be able to book us tickets during the renos without having to go further to find neighbouring stations. The lady during the day told us we could book there but when we returned later they had closed for the day. We headed to dinner and decided that we would be staying an extra night to get our ticket situation in order. That night on our walk home the window was back open but this time the guy was so lazy and without checking told us that the buses were all full for the next day and to go book somewhere else. If he didn’t want our money, we were happy to take it elsewhere.

Binns’ relatives left back to Hong Kong on the 7th while we hung out another night awaiting our trip to Singapore. After one last breakfast buffet we said our good byes and headed to a new bus station that we were now sure would be holding our tickets. When we got there we were overwhelmed by the amount of buses leaving to Singapore - every hour of every day by multiple companies. We booked tickets for the next day even tho we could have easily just shown up and been on our way. We spent the rest of our day checking out the Central Market and Petalling street - the markets of Kuala. They had lots of knock-offs for fairly cheap prices, LV/Chanel/Coach/Gucci, etc bags for just under 20 usd. We didn’t buy any, however, deciding that if we changed our mind about knock-offs that we would get them in China.

Only 3 weeks left and we are back in Calgary- it’s crazy how fast the time has flown by!

Additional photos below
Photos: 22, Displayed: 22


14th August 2010
Ya that's right, we rode in one.

rickshaw photo
What a great photo op! Glad you took the chance to ride in one. I see Binns still has his straw hat... thought of you tonight watching the news... flooding in China but I guess you're a ways away from there right now. Take care.. Judy

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