Enjoying KL with a day trip to Malacca

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March 24th 2015
Published: April 25th 2015
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Monkey relaxing with towers in the backgroundMonkey relaxing with towers in the backgroundMonkey relaxing with towers in the background

Taken at the top of the Batu caves
Leaving the perhentian islands was a somber occasion. We could have easily stayed longer here to snorkel and enjoy the private beach we found on the final day.

However after catching our boat across to the Kuala Besuit jetty and walking to the bus station, our moods instantly picked up when we discovered we had booked a night bus that was not only spacious with reclining seats, but it also had wifi!!. Bonus. This was luxury for us and we were overjoyed. Needless to say after uploading a Myanmar blog and finding out we got voted blogger of the week (thanks RENanDREW) we slept very well, all snug and overly stretched. The journey took 8 hours and cost 57ringgit but would have cost 45r if we booked it when we arrived at Kular Besuit jetty and not on the island. Oh well.

One thing we hate about night buses however is getting dropped off and not knowing where we are or more so how to get to our hostel. On top of this is the issue with bus drivers working together with taxi men by dropping us off outside of the city so the taxi drivers can overcharge us to get to our destination in the city.

Myanmar was notorious for this. We always refuse to be done in by this little trick but it was so easy to fall into this tourism trap and get off a stop earlier. Always leaving us with a huge dent in our egos as we always intended to avoid it, sometimes meeting people who did but we failed to avoid it ourselves.

This situation however was rather different, we were dropped off at the BTS bus station and it was just a simple train ride to KL central then the monorail to Bukit Bubtsng. No hustling taxi drivers trying to provide overpriced journeys, just an easy cheap connection to our hostel. I guess some cities are not that bad after all. KL is one of them.

One of our first impressions of KL was centred on how devolped it was. The skytrain and other transportation means was both affordable and easy to navigate. Next of all was the amount of malls we passed by with many familiar high street and high end designer stores within. We felt like we were back home but with even more choice!!

During our stay here, though we were tempted to shop until our hearts were content (well P more so) we decided to see what the city had to offer. Starting with the tourist attraction; the Batu caves via a simple train connection. The Batu Caves was a complex of caves, one that was at the top of a series of stairs and held many hindu statutes and small corners for worship. We enjoyed visiting this site but for us the attraction was mainly climbing the many stairs (that must not be used for exercise!! according to some sign) and the crazy monkeys we met at the top. These monkeys were very michevious stealing bottles of water, food and any other edible item they could get their monkey hands on.

Whilst up there, we got slightly creeped out as we bumped into a guy who initially asked Chris to take his photo and pulled P into it unexpectedly. We noticed afterwards that he did this to most western women there.

Forgetting this guy, we enjoyed our time here taking pictures trying to combine both the monkeys the impressive views of the city and the Patronas towers in one shot. Nailed it.

Next stop was to explore some of the religious sights and attractions the city had to offer. We caught the train back to the centre and walked to our next stop. China town.

Arriving in an area with narrow streets and street vendors selling mainly fake goods meant for tourists we were unimpressed. We then took a stroll down Kasturi walk and to the central market nearby. We expected to find some traditional stands possibly selling food and home items but were disappointed to see that it was another tourist attraction selling mainly souvenirs. We did however walk through an arty area with lots of beautiful paintings and portraits, with many artists using narrow workshops to complete unfinished works. Some of the pieces here were captivating.

Next; The Masjid Jamek mosque; one of the oldest mosques in KL and then the nearby Sultan Abdul Samad Building (originally a British Administration office and a Superior Courts Base but it is now a Commination/Culture centre). We marvelled at both buildings and were struck by their beautiful designs and symmetry.

Being exposed directly to the sunlight in this city was dehydrating and exhausting so before we went to
Artist studios at the back of central marketArtist studios at the back of central marketArtist studios at the back of central market

Seen so much amazing work here
any more sights we stopped for some food and drinks.

The final must see on our to do lists was the Patronas Towers, the tallest twin structures in the world. They stand at 452 meters tall and interestingly have a strong islamic influence in design with 5 columns on each tower representing the 5 pillars of islam. Another thing we did not know was that they act as the headquarters of the national oil and gas company Patronas.

Given the size of them it was really difficult trying to incorporate ourselves with the towers in one picture but after playing around with our camera we think we did it. We passed at the opportunity to go up to the view-tower as unlike previously they now charge a hefty fee for the views.

For food in KL one evening after walking around a little we stumbled across Jalan Alor and what a lovely surprise this was. By day this is a regular street but by night this is a bustling street full of street food on both sides fronted with plastic chairs and selling food from most south east asian countries with a good section of sea food. Wow. Finding it on the last night was disappointing but we made use of it either way and settled on something a little different, a burrito each.

Whilst in KL, due to the close proximity to Mallaca and no real desire to stay there overnight, we opted to visit the town on a day trip. Mallacca was founded in the 14th century and is remarkable for rich history still evident today with the Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch and British all having control of this town at some point.

We enjoyed strolling the quaint little streets here in the small area of the old town, taking in the colonial houses and visiting the many churches including the one perched on top of the hill. It had a feel similar to the old town in Penang, and maybe we would have loved it more if we stayed a little longer, but to be honest we were satisfied with our day trip here.

As we have mentioned earlier, one thing KL is good at is building malls. One mall of interest for us was the Berjaya Times Square Mall as within its confines was a mini theme park including a full sized roller coater. We couldn't believe our eyes when we saw it. It was located in an open space from the 5th floor upwards, and was huge given that it was indoors. Not really wanting to try it out we watched as the roller-coaster roared by and commented on how this would never happen in England.

Before we left KL we decided to visit the Patronas towers for one last time to take some iconic pictures of the towers glowing in the dark. Paired up with Rae, an american girl from our hostel we visited the sky bar, ordered a bottle of beer each and were quite taken back by the cost (around £14 for 2 beers). We were not impressed! Especially as you are paying for the views but there was no outside terrace to take in an un-interrupted view of the Patronas. Not all was lost however as we enjoyed our beers each others company and the a taste of the high life.

Malaysia overview

Exchange rate used 5rm to £1

P's favourite place; Penang activity/sight; the trail in Cameroon highlands

Chris's favourite place; Penang Activity/sight; finding art muruals

Favourite hostel; Sunshine beds in KL. Good social atmosphere/areas, came with breakfast and centrally located (next to skytrain and within walking distance to the Patronas towers/jalan alor).

Food; loved the food and the variety. Although being served cold food at times did suppress our appetites. Price tags varied depending on whether you could find a local food place or not.

Transportation; for us (maybe we didn't look hard enough) was a lot more expensive than expected. Especially the Cameroon highland-Perhentian connection. We also found the whole choose you bus company first strange, with many different bus companies leaving at the same time and operating the same route. In the uk many transport are centrally localised; one office and not so much choice for the same route.

Overall impression; we liked Malaysia especially the food, ohh the food and the mix of cultures and religions. Not one place left us with a bad feeling although the price of transportation led to a quicker exit than anticipated. We found most places we visited established in terms of tourism which left us wanting to seek the less established places and wanting more culture.

Average Costs; avrge £38 between us per day.

Additional photos below
Photos: 43, Displayed: 28


Busy market streetBusy market street
Busy market street

Many counterfeit goods here

27th April 2015
Looks like the weight of the world is on his shoulders

Those eyes!
I have often wondered what these monkeys were like before they had to adapt to urban life. Those eyes are so amazing - brilliant shot!
27th April 2015
Looks like the weight of the world is on his shoulders

Those eyes
Thanks guys, We both find monkeys intriguing. But like yourself after being here we started to question to what expense these encounters were having on them. They clearly reside here now instead of in the wild because of the fact the tourist feed them.
27th April 2015
The famous Patronas towers were even more impressive at night

Iconic photo
Keep on travelin'

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