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Published: January 6th 2023
We reluctantly left our hotel in Langkawi for the airport and our flight to Kuala Lumpar. It was pouring with rain when we arrived and our senses were assaulted by noise, colours, lots of shops and hoards of people. Thankfully, we had booked a car transfer from the hotel so bypassed the queue. We were given a room on the 19th (and top) floor of the Mecure Hotel with amazing views of the Petronas Towers from the lift area. A quick sort out then a walk to get our bearings, as it had stopped ☔️, and a ride on the monorail to KL Sentrel station to suss out transport and tickets for our stay in the capital city.Dinner at a Chinese restaurant virtually next to the hotel.
Batu Caves, 13 km north of KL, was our destination on 30th. It is a complex of limestone caves guarded by a 42m statue of the Hindu deity Lord Murugan. The 3 main caves contain Hindu shrines and 272 steps lead up to Temple Cave which has been a Hindu shrine since 1890. It is a remarkable place with psychedelic murals, statues and mythical scenes creating Hindu tales. There is also, strangely, a
small area with animals such as Guinea pigs, rabbits, geese and ducks as well as peacocks which are sacred to Hindus. There are also cheeky monkeys which roam free and steal unsuspecting visitors snacks and drinks.
We headed to KLCC in the afternoon to take in our first proper view of the impressive Petronas Twin Towers and we weren’t disappointed 😮Steph found the details of a sky bar in the Traders Hotel opposite the PT so we went for a drink there. We headed back to the hotel and stumbled upon an amazing tapas restaurant called Marta’s Kitchen. We chatted to a waiter who explained that it was set up by Marta who is from Salamanca. The food was amazing and he later introduced us to Marta ….his Mum! She is a real force of nature and started by experimenting with recipes in her kitchen.
On NYE we walked to the old KL train station and onto the Lake Gardens to find the lake. This proved more difficult than planned as several parts of the park was closed as well as a few paths and I was whinging as I had a sore leg 😉 We DID find the lake
though, eventually, and the war memorial which was designed by Felix de Weldon who was also responsible for the Iwo Jima memorial in Washington DC.Then we walked (cue more whinging 🤣) to Merdeka Square, the main city square where independence was declared in 1957.It has colonial buildings along one side and the British used to play 🏏 in the middle. We then got the metro across the city to visit the Menara KL tower and its open observation deck at 200m which has great views over the city. Lots of fun trying to get a selfie with the PT due to the light which kept making them disappear from the photo. We went back to hotel, via a supermarket to buy drinks for midnight, and dinner at Hookie Dookie. We watched the arrival of 2023 from the lift area and, although the official fireworks had been cancelled due to the recent severe floods in the east of the country, there were some unofficial ones and the PT&Menara KL towers had light shows. We toasted the beginning of the New Year with peach and mint chocolate rice wine which were as disgusting as they sound, definitely an acquired taste 😉The best
news was that our pre booked tickets for the PT towers were delivered 👍
On Jan 1st we had a lie in and a late breakfast. This was included in our stay and,again, there was a huge selection of Asian&Western food including an egg station where you could request omelettes,fried or scrambled 🥚😋Then we headed off to the Petronas Towers 😄The ticket included 2 observation decks and a chance to walk on the Skybridge between the towers. Its hard not to be in awe of these iconic buildings, designed by Argentinian architect Cèsar Pelli. They are built mainly in concrete covered with glass then stainless steel. It took 6 years to complete, officially opened in 1999 and retains the record of worlds tallest twin towers. * Fun fact * the Skybridge is not actually attached to either tower so that it won’t break away in severe weather! After our visit we went into KLCC park to savour outside views on the towers again then went on a mission to find food for our train trip next day at a specific bakery.
Next day we went by Grab to KL Sentrel station to catch the train south to our
final stop in Malaysia, the town of Melaka. A very easy process and we had pre booked seats. About 2 hours later we got off at Tampin station which ,although 39 km from Melaka, is the closest. There was no wi-fi and the bus station was a good 15 minutes walk so we teamed up with a couple from Taiwan to share a very old Mercedes taxi driven by Mr Lee. Luckily Andy spoke Chinese but Mr Lee was old school so didn’t possess sat nav or want to look at his passengers phones. Thus ensued an entertaining journey with lots of shouting, arm waving and back seat driving as we neared our respective hotels. Ours was another conversion of 4 traditional shop houses lovingly renovated by a couple over 20 years. It was a real rabbit warren of 92 rooms and filled with Chinese antiquities. We went for a walk along the river to get our bearings and ,although Melaka is a sprawling city, the historic part is quite small. We ate at a Mexican restaurant that had been recommended by a couple we met in Penang and it was fantastic. Owned by Sonny and adorned with incredible artwork
and bright Turkish style lights. The staff were very friendly and the food was delicious 😋 It was nice to have a change from rice 🍚😉
Next day we came across a fascinating cobblers. They used to make the tiny shoes for the bound feet of women. Obviously this practice is now illegal but the third generation of the family still make the shoes as souvenirs. Each handmade pair takes a week to make 😮They also make the traditional beaded shoes which take a month to make! We then ventured via Bukit St Paul, a small hill, to the floating mosque which is built on pillars on the sea and then got a Grab back to the historic area with its crimson buildings a mix of Dutch, Portuguese and British influences. We stopped for refreshments and made it back to hotel before a massive thunderstorm arrived. Water even came in through parts of the roof and when we did venture out the majority of the restaurants were closed. Thankfully, Mamasita‘s was open so we had a fabulous night with great food from their new 2023 menu and the added bonus of live music. We sang and danced to ABBA,
The Eagles, Bon Jovi and Ed Sheeran, to name but a few. A truly memorable and unique way to end our stay in the beautiful and very friendly country 🇲🇾
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