Kuala Lumpur

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September 8th 2022
Published: September 17th 2022
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After 3 long years the day finally arrived – we're finally off overseas again!! We arrived in Kuala Lumpur via Singapore late in the evening. After we worked out how to catch the airport express train, we made it to our hotel centrally located in the shopping district of Bukit Bintang. The next day we ventured on foot to the Petronas Towers to take photos and to pay for tickets that I had booked online. Kuala Lumpur reminds me of any Asian capital city – but I couldn’t help but compare it to Bangkok. A slightly condensed Bangkok with less traffic but equally as cosmopolitan. We explored the grounds of the Petronas and took photos, and later walked around the Pavilion shopping mall that is near our hotel and treated ourselves to pints of European beer. That evening Bill found a local restaurant nearby that had good reviews so we had a Nasi Ambeng for dinner – a platter of rice, curry, eggs and other condiments and pickled delicacies and of course sambal!

The next day we went to the famous Batu caves just 30 odd minutes train journey north of KL. Home to Hindu shrines, the Batu caves are formed on a limestone hill. The shrine is dedicated to Lord Murgugan – the statue is 42.7m tall and covered in 300 million litres of gold paint and greets visitors at the base of the giant staircase. We started our visit in the main temple complex, and then climbed the 272 stairs to the main cave. Steep but worth every step ( and good preparation for our Mt Kinabalu climb!) Along the way monkeys were hopping and climbing past, very much used to tourists. We walked around the 400 million year old caves in wonderment, taking photos and soaking up the atmosphere. It’s fortunate (selfish tourist for a sec) that there weren’t many tourists there as I can imagine pre-pandemic it would have been 3 or 4 times as many people! As we descended the stairs we saw many more monkeys, and what was cute but quite sad at the same time we’re monkeys eating thoughtless people’s rubbish eg. Plastic bags and bottles. After the caves, we went back to the hotel and I had a swim to cool off and that evening we took a long walk to the restaurant De Wan 1958 by celebrity Malaysian Chef Wan. I discovered this restaurant on an Uncle Roger video. Uncle Roger is a fictional funny character ‘typical middle aged Asian uncle’ by Malaysian comedian Nigel Ng and by far one of our favourite You Tubers.

The next day we proceeded to discover Chinatown. We walked around Petaling walking street and went to the Guan Di Chinese temple and lighted some incense. We tried to go to the Sri Maha Mariamman Hindu temple but unfortunately it was closed for prayers. We then tried to walk to the Masjid Negara (National Mosque) but unfortunately it started to rain and we were due to go to the Petronas Towers. We hurried back, had a quick rest stop at the hotel and power walked to the Petronas Towers. Built by a petrol company, the Towers are tallest twin Towers in the world. First stop was the sky bridge that links to two Towers on the 41st floor, and then the piece de la resistance the observation deck on the 86th floor. As it’s all indoors the views are a bit obscured but nonetheless impressive. After the Petronas we had a leisurely stroll back to the hotel and stopped for a drink along the way. Then I had a wonderful full body Balinese massage at the hotel. We then had a late dinner at the Pavillion shopping centre.

The next day, and our last day in KL, we departed VERY early at 5am to our Sky Mirror tour. We got picked up and whisked to Kuala Selangor which is about a 45 minute drive outside KL to the coast. It was still dark when we arrived! The Sky Mirror is a sandbar that appears in the middle of the Straits of Malacca and the photographer tour operators use neat camera trickery to capture a mirror effect with the water. Its often compared to the ‘Salar de Uyuni’ (salt flats) in Bolivia due to the sky mirror effect but it is just a sandbar ! After a choppy 20 or so min ride out to the middle of the ocean, daylight broke and we were standing in shin-deep water wondering how this ‘mirror effect’ will play out. But the waters receded, and dozens of tour operators set up their photography ‘studios’ ( big wooden planks and umbrellas!), smoothed and levelled the muddy sand and poured around extra water. Then was our turn to get photos taken – the photographer used my phone and her camera trickery to capture our photos and mirror effect – she even used an Eiffel Tower and Godzilla prop by having the toys up really close to the cameras it looked life-size! After about 2 hours out at sea we took the powerboat back to shore where our driver was waiting and we were back in KL by about 10.30am.

Afterwards we went to Masjid Negara (we found a shorter walking route from the nearest MRT). What we didn’t realise the day before when we tried to visit was that there are designated visiting hours (whereas earlier we were just avoiding prayer time). The National Mosque is a huge complex that was completed in 1965 and has a capacity to seat 15 000 (inside and outside the prayer hall). We got free tour there as well and the lovely guide showed us around the mosque and explained the ins and outs of Islam and religious significance of the various structures, and also pointed out the nearby landmarks. While architecturally modern, its still a wonderfully ornate Mosque with a 73 m high minaret that reflects beautifully in the large pool of water and ornate hand tiled pillars and walls which where done by master tilers from Morocco. Later that evening we went to the KL tower – now this is THE observation point in KL. Standing slightly shorter than the Petronas Towers at 421m, the observation deck is outside and we went at night so the whole skyline was glittering with lights! There is even two glass bottom ‘sky boxes’ there so you can spend a short while viewing the city beneath you! We then took a walk to the Havana bar which we found via google search - to our surprise there was a huge bar street which Google failed to show us! So we discovered bar street on our last night – and there was a food street district the next street over! AND it was not only the street we walked down the day before to get to Chinatown the day before but also the next street over in our local Bukit Bintang area! Oh well, we will be back KL and all the more reason to comeback and explore! It was a full and exhaustive day for our last day – next stop Langkawi!

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