Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur

Published: February 6th 2012
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Day 1: We landed in Kuala Lumpur in the middle of a heavy rainstorm and deplaned in the middle of the tarmac and had to walk about 50 yards to the terminal. After customs I made my way to the buses to get a ride to the Sentral station downtown. This was my first time in a Muslim country. A lot of the women on the bus were wearing headscarves or burkas. They were the lucky ones because they crank the air conditioning up and it felt like 40 degrees in the bus.

My first impressions of Kuala Lumpur reminded me of a Latin American city. In many regards it reminded me of the nicer parts of Mexico City. There were tons of skyscrapers that lined the valleys. The Petronas Twin Towers towered over most of the surrounding buildings, but the KL Tower gave a great view of everything as well. Kuala Lumpur is very modern. The infrastructure consists of large roads, tall buildings, and a light rail/bus system. It was far more than I was expecting. Some of the buildings looked a little run down, but for the most part it felt pretty modern. I stayed at the Sheraton,
Bringing down the templeBringing down the templeBringing down the temple

If only I didn't cut my hair!
an unbelievable hotel for just 3000 points/night (or 1600 pts + $30).

After checking in I went straight to the concierges lounge where I ate and drank for free. A few of the people in the lounge were from Philadelphia so we talked a bit about traveling. These guys were traveling pros. One of the guys had been to 58 countries and the other to about 80. I have some catching up to do!

After gorging myself I went to my suite. It was amazing and I took the occasion to take a long bath. Another good perk was getting some US channels on the TV.

Day 2: The first thing I wanted to see were the Petronas Twin Towers. They were only a few blocks from my hotel. They’re big, but not as big as I expected. However, inside there is a mall that was one of the nicest I’ve ever seen, if not the nicest. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to the top or the bridge because I wasn’t there at 7:30 am to get a ticket and apparently they sell out early.

After checking out the towers I went to the market. On the way I met a tourist from Argentina named Josephina and we walked to the central marketplace and had lunch. After lunch I headed through Chinatown and did a loop that included seeing the old train station, National Mosque, and the colonial district. I was able to take a tour through a museum that sat on the grounds where the British turned over the country to the Malay people.

I was pretty tired from the walking, humidity, and sun so I decided to head back to the hotel, rest, go to the gym, and hit the concierge’s lounge for more free food and drinks. I saw the guy from Philadelphia, David, and we had a great conversation about traveling, world politics, and society. After we solved the world’s problems I headed back to my room to watch a little TV before I headed to bed.

Day 3: The morning was dedicated to catching up with people online and making a few phone calls on Google voice. I headed out again and went to the KL tower to get a great view of the city. My ticket included the admission to the observation deck and a “flight simulator” game – which turned out to really be a Formula 1 video game.

After having the girl shut my game off in the middle of driving for no particular reason, I headed to the ‘Hop on - Hop off’ bus stop. Sometimes when I’m in a city for a short period of time it’s best to take these kinds of tours because you can go at your own pace and see the main points. One of the highlights was seeing the palace where the king lives. It was a huge complex with a golden dome.

After touring all day I went to church at St. John’s Cathedral. The mass was in English and it was packed. When I got back to the hotel I headed up to the concierge’s lounge and tried to book my ticket for Phuket, Thailand for the next day. I’ve had some issues with AirAsia accepting my credit card and of course my booking did not process. And, their call center closed about 30 min earlier too. If you travel using AirAsia, have a couple credit cards ready!

Day 4: I’m finding that traveling at my own pace has a drawback when making travel arrangements. After being on the phone for about a half hour with the booking agent at AirAsia, I decided I would just take my chances and head to the airport and try to book the flight in person. I made a hotel reservation for Phuket in Patang, packed my bags, and headed to the airport. Luckily my new friend from Philadelphia had booked a limo and offered me a free ride. It worked out perfect because I had exactly enough Malaysian Ringgit to buy a ticket to Phuket and lunch for us. AirAisa’s website is horrible. It takes a few tries to understand how it works if you don’t want to pay extra for a seat selection or travel insurance. It asks you about five times. Then at the end it’s hit or miss as to whether it will accept your credit card.

What AirAsia lacks in a practical functioning website it makes up in kiosks. I was about to buy a ticket in about three minutes and was on my way. Unfortunately, I had to show up to the airport about an extra three hours earlier than I normally would. But it gave me time to update my blog. Next stop – Phuket, Thailand!

Additional photos below
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What the cabin looked like when I entered. Luckily it was the A/C

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