Kuala Lumpur (KL for short!) was a last-minute addition to our trip itinerary – we were going to go from Beijing to Singapore, then Singapore to India, but couldn’t get a flight we were happy with. So Kuala Lumpur it was! Just a short stop of a couple days, but we did end up seeing a lot.
It was darn hot – flying from Beijing to KL was a bit of a temperature shock! It was around freezing in Beijing and 30-35 C in KL, so a bit of a drastic wardrobe change was required. I wasn’t super into staying at the YMCA, but the location was extremely convenient (right by the KL Sentral station, where the airport train and all the intracity public transportation goes). Walking around was tough, because there were very few sidewalks – you’d be walking along and then it suddenly ends and becomes a crazy traffic-y highway! The monorail was decent for getting around.
There were lots and lots of various eating establishments – the normal restaurants and food courts, but also street food stalls and even restaurants that were pretty much just on one side of the road! We did the touristy thing one day and went to the KL Bird Park, which was actually pretty entertaining. There was a show with performing parrots and such (and a decently cool enough place to sit!).
From there we walked to the Islamic Arts Museum – it was actually a really short walk, but the lack of good signage and the heat made it feel a lot longer. We had a great lunch at the museum, then walked by the Nation Mosque. Unfortunately when we arrived it had just closed to tourists for a couple of hours.
The next day, already sick of the heat, we took refuge in a couple of the huge malls. KL has one (or more, possibly) of the biggest malls in southeast Asia. The malls are around 8 floors, usually with a couple of food courts and just tons and tons of stores. Of course, they’re pretty popular to hang out in because of the air conditioning! We spent pretty much the entire day going from mall to mall – not the sort of thing I’m usually into, but the heat was really too much. Some of the malls are more flash than others – the Pavilion mall is really super upscale with pretty much all designer stores.
Our flight was in the evening on the 7th, so we stowed away our luggage at the YMCA and ventured out a little further. We met up with a friend of a friend just outside KL, in a suburb that was pretty easily reached via the Rapid Transit system – as an aside, KL has a really random public transportation system that consists of three different private systems that don’t intersect. It’s very strange.
Anyway, Regina was really awesome and took us to lunch at yet another huge mall, the Curve. We had Hakka food for lunch, then went for Malaysian dessert. I think it was shaved ice with condensed milk or something, and then variations of fruit and flavours. Kind of weird.
Aside from just the heat, the traffic was pretty nuts and the pollution was quite bad. The vegetation was awesome to look at (super lush!) and it was super easy to find vegetarian food. Mostly it’s the abundance of Indian food that makes it quite simple to find stuff that’s vegetarian! We did eat a couple other Malaysian foods as well – pulled roti, which is sort of like a really stretchy crepe, and pulled tea.
It’s black tea with condensed milk – tasty, but it’s a rather deadly combo of sugar and caffeine!
One last iconic image of KL is the Petronas Twin Towers, which used to be the tallest buildings in the world. You can get a free ticket to go up, but we couldn’t be bothered to get up early and queue for one! Instead we just took photos from the outside and visited the obligatory mall at the bottom.
Of course, KL was just the start of the hot-weather portion of the trip…and I still hadn’t really done much knitting, either. Up next, my first ever visit to India!