Kuala Lumpur: Selamat Datang to Malaysia

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August 4th 2007
Published: August 15th 2007EDIT THIS ENTRY

I left you all recovering from the second full moon party of the tour, the final goodbye to Thailand (well I have been here 3 times in 6 months) so it was finally time to split as Australia approaches. With two weeks to waste, it was time to move on to Malaysia, coming here for no real reason apart from not having to spend all this time in Singapore. So back to Hat Yai (the place bombed as late as last year *5 times* by separatists) so that I could cross the border and split the 15 hour trip to Kuala Lumpur.

All I can say is the Malays know how to travel in style. Its the first real VIP bus I had the luck to experience and it was the cheapest too! The seats were so big they could only fit 3 to a row and looked more like the lazy-boy chair out of friends....awesome.

So 8 hours later and I was here, in a whole new country that makes the "visited countries map" look more and more like a phallus. Its the last country on mainland S.E. Asia that I will visit (apart from Singapore that is,
KL TowerKL TowerKL Tower

4th Tallest communications tower in the world...just so you know :)
but it used to be part of Malaysia anyway), and so far has proven to be the most developed. The conditions of the roads are incredible compared to Malaysia's other S.E Asian counterparts. Its as if I was on a highway back home, I haven't seen this many expensive cars in the half year I have been traveling.

On first impression Kuala Lumpur looks pretty amazing too, full of skyscrapers, sky trains and spaghetti junction like roads full to the brim with cars and people. Its not much unlike Shanghai or Hong Kong, especially since the city comes complete with its own bustling China Town and Little India which are the main spots for backpackers. On first glance I couldn't help but be impressed by every little thing that I have been deprived off when I was in the rest of Asia, 24 jam service on just about everything(...erm, jam means hour here), a totally roman alphabet, Top Shop, BAGELS with cream cheese, giant pretzels + dip (mall under the petronas....all I say is wow). It was pretty comforting, especially since the whole country has come to life celebrating its 50th year of independance from British colonial rule. Festivals
KLCC Shopping MallKLCC Shopping MallKLCC Shopping Mall

Found just under the Petronas Towers
took part in the streets, banners were hung on just about every wall, people seemed busy, souvenir shops were bustling and the radios were buzzing with advertisements celebrating the exit of the Brits.

Its a nice city and moreover pretty easy to navigate which is a bonus. In my opinion the people here are a lot more friendly too which is awesome, more chilled out. When I asked the taxi to take me to the hostel he said it was a mere five minute walk, where as in Thailand I'm sure they would have said it was far away, charged me 100 baht and taken me around the block 16 times.

Accomodation here is just as expensive as Bangkok and thats for a very basic dorm, I stayed at the Grocers backpackers hostel is pretty sweet since it has a nice common area where I met some crazy characters, notably James (Sweedish), 2 french guys whose name I could never pronounce and a Malay business man who from his stories sounded like he should be pretty well off although the clothes he wore proposed exactly the opposite. No judgement.

When it came to exploring though for me KL turns out to be the same as any old city, I mean unless you like to go shopping the choices are pretty limited, especially since beer is expensive to start with and more so when bought in a bar! There are quite a few tourist attractions, namely the Petronas Towers, KL Tower, the Batu caves, but in my opinion its nothing much to brag about. Don't get me wrong I think seeing the Petronas by night is incredible and should not be missed when coming here, but I couldn't really be fussed to wake up at 7 am to que up for 5 hours for a 15 minute tour to the 44th floor (which is only about half way up). And the thing is if you don't que its unlikely you will get a ticket as they sell out really quickly! So seeing them from the outside was the closest I got. They dominate they sky and can be seen from pretty much everywhere, and you can navigate throught the city by just seeing where they are at any given moment (like the sun tells the time 😊). Cheaper than a taxi thats for sure. As for the KL tower which gives the best skyline view of the city would be another sight I missed...again due to sheer lazyness. I guess the 6 months of traveling is finally taking its toll, but there is no way I'm gonna come home just yet, especially when there is one year in Australia to be had!! There are some pretty chilled out places though where you can easily just relax, take in the view (and the smog) and listen to music, one such area is the park near the parliament buildings where you can see some pretty awesome Malay/Muslim style architecture.

Food is pretty cheap here too, with the main influences coming from China and India due to the massive number of minorities, but I have to say food in KL wasn't the amazing dining experience I was expecting. Its pretty bland compared to that found in China, and Indian food is missing something I just can't quite lay my finger on. Even the backpackers you meet here ain't quite as interesting as I have met elsewhere...its probably just not the season, or maybe it's because I was in a city again and it reminded me of being back home.

The nightlife scene isn't anything to brag about either, in no way comparable to that found in Thailand despite the fact KL seems more developed. The Reggae bar is the only one worth noting which can be found in Chinatown, but after that unless you're into GO GO bars there is nothing much to do but stay up in the guest house with the few people that come and go.

I was told that to get a better experience of Malaysia it's definitely worth moving out of KL post haste and moving on to the more rural areas, the coast or even the Borneo side, but since I don't have much time before the flight to Australia it meant I could only really visit one more area. Melaka was suggested and duely noted, there is no way I could spend more than the 3 days I did here. Onwards to Melaka for some hopefully better times. All I can suggest is they make beer cheaper!!!!

Peace and Love

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Additional photos below
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The PetronasThe Petronas
The Petronas

Man they are huge! Amazing when seen at night
China TownChina Town
China Town

Jl Sultan

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