My Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) City Break
As mentioned, in 2016, I left the snowy and freezing cold Montréal winter for hot, humid and sunny Thailand. After less than a week in Koh Phi Phi, my travel companions (and friends) Olivia and Louise (who happen to be sisters) and I flew to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. We were ultimately trying to get to Indonesia and found that a 48 hour stop in KL was the most time and cost efficient way to do things. Our alternative was a flight from Krabi to Jakarta and then a 12 hour train ride to Yogyakarta… needless to say, I was not down. So we took an Air Asia flight from Krabi to KL and arrived near midday (once you factor the hour and a half bus ride from the airport to the backpacker area, which happens to be in Chinatown).
We checked into our hostel (probably one of the worst places I’ve ever stayed at in my life, but it cost less than $10 CAD per person per night) then headed out for lunch. We stopped at one of the street stalls in Chinatown and had delicious spinach noodles and wonton soup (yes Olivia and Louise, I remember what we ate that day for lunch 😛 ). Afterwards, we continued to walk around Chinatown and ran into a bunch of different Chinese and Hindu temples.
After that, we jumped on the nearest sky train and headed towards the downtown area, to catch a glimpse of the world renown Petronas Towers. As we were on a budget, we didn’t even bother checking the admissions to go out. Instead, we walked through the park at the feet of the towers and saw them from a variety of different angles. To get back to Chinatown, we decided to walk (it was a very long walk, in my opinion. Close to an hour?). And, for dinner, more wonton soup 😀
The next morning, we opted for the free Heritage walking tour of KL. The tour started off in a museum of KL’s history (back when the British used to rule) and took us to a variety of nearby sites, all dating from when the British were in town. TBH, the tour was a bit of a drag and definitely too long (close to 3 hours). It felt like sitting through a 6-9 p.m. class that you have to take in order to get your undergrad degree. Personally, I think 1.5 to 2 hours tops would have been perfect and sufficient. Alas, I am not the tour guide.
Once the tour was over, we hopped on a train and headed out of the city, towards the famous Batu Caves and its giant golden Hindu statue. Once you get there, there are hundreds of stalls and vendors, selling anything from jewelry to candies. The statue is very impressive and imposing and sits at the foot of the cave’s entrance. The trek up to the caves is tedious (I’m not in the best shape of life) and don’t forget to watch out for the monkeys! Always watch out for the monkeys. As well, don’t forget that entrance to the caves requires women to have their legs covered (so no short shorts or short skirt). I always travel around Asia with at least one pair of elephant pants, which you can usually buy in almost all of the main cities for less than $5 CAD a pair. Once you’ve made it to the top of the stairs, take the time to walk around the caves; there are temples and statues inside as well. There’s also something called the Dark Cave, which we decided to skip, as we had enough with the Batu Caves.
On our way back, we skipped the Chinatown stop and tried to find the Thean Hou Temple. Wow, what an adventure that was. When we got off the sky train, we could see it in the distance and it didn’t seem to be that far away. But when we started to walk towards it, we got lost several times, hit some dead ends, hit a highway and best of all, a hill (because it sits atop a hill). Don’t ask me how, but we finally managed to find this enormous Chinese temple, fully decorated with red lanterns and ready for the Chinese New Year. We walked around, inside and out and exhausted, opted for a $5 CAD taxi ride back to Chinatown. Once again, we had dinner in Chinatown and another early night, as the next morning, we were flying off to Yogyakarta in Indonesia!
UP NEXT: a quick back track to my foodie highlights from Thailand!
*All photos are my own (or taken by someone with my device)