Kuala Lumpur – in a blink
Short stay – 3 nights
When: 24 January to 27 January
Accommodation: 4 star hotel, in a 2 bedroom apartment in a private wing. The hotel was only 100 metre walk from Kuala Lumpur central railway station.
Kuala Lumpur was a must for us. We wanted to see some sites and we were looking for cheap flights to Beijing. As this city is a major flight hub, we secured a great deal on a direct flight. Still in holiday mode, this accommodation was booked and paid for in advance to surprise the family. Site seeing was not exhaustive with only a short list of destinations we wanted to see and plenty of relaxing to be had.
We felt extremely spoilt in our hotel, able to select great quality Malaysian and Western food for consumption by the infinity pool, six stories above the street chaos below, in one of the three restaurants or in our room. When we weren’t hitting the pavement and braving the heat, we were enjoying the luxury of our accommodation.
In contrast to Singapore, Malaysia is noisier, dirtier and busier. Similarly, the rail system is advanced, on time and simple to navigate and we needed easy access to the main railway station due to the limited time we were visiting the city. Breakfast was not included but a short walk in the direction of the closest shopping centre, above the rail network, meant choices were abundant.
- Batu Caves – catch the number 2 KTM Port Klang Line direct to Batu Caves and walk to the bottom of the steps. There are 324 steps up an extremely steep set of stairs to the first entrance of the caves. Along the way there are many worshippers taking gifts on their heads and walking bare feet. The heat makes this trek all the more challenging. We visited one week before the annual Thaipusam Hindu festival and so there was a lot of preparation underway. 2015 was the 125th anniversary of Thaipusam in Batu Caves, a very colourful spectacular for the Hindu followers. Interestingly there is also a network of cave attractions just preceding the grand stair way. Take time to explore and learn about the mythical avatars and read the plaques below the seven foot high figurine displays as they introduce each avatar in scenes that display both the relationship between each of them and their unique qualities. There is also a small cave network full of snakes of all varieties, large strange looking fish and spiders, here you can have your picture taken with a python wrapped around you.
- Bukit Bintang – this well known shopping district has all the high end merchandise in state of the art shopping complexes and markets tucked in lane ways in all directions. There is a range of Indian items on offer in the markets but also plenty of fake ‘originals’ all good prices. We chose to spend time in the market place and then ate at the hawker food street.
- Petronas Twin Towers – it might not be the tallest building in the world but it is impressive. The shopping centre within provides a welcomed retreat from the heat.
- Petaling Street Chinatown – the wares in this shopping strip are a blend of Malaysian, Chinese and Indian products and the least welcoming of all Chinatown’s we had visited so far. The people are nice but some of the male shop keepers can be rude. The food here did not live up to our expectations.
Top picks when eating out:
- Nasi Goreng – Indonesian or Malaysian versions are the same spicy delight that leaves you desperate for a cold drink.
- BBQ pork wonton noodles – the best was in Bukit Bingtang.
- Satay sticks – these are cooked on the side of the road in many carts and are a must.
- Laksa – a dish you cannot go past when in Malaysia.
Malaysia’s heat made walking around the city almost impossible. Short distance strolls outdoors during the day was only made possible due to the frequency of shopping centers. Eating in Malaysia is easy and cheaper than Singapore and shopping is the same. It is welcome reprieve from the prices in our previous destination.
Shopping, although nearly non-existent for us as we had nothing we needed, we enjoyed spending time comparing prices and taking mental notes of items we may need to acquire during our trip.
Best experience as voted by the entire family:
- The hotel – especially the infinity pool and food
Worst experience as voted by the entire family:
- The heat. The air was thick, the traffic and noise was constant but the heat is the one thing that drove us to seek shelter.
- We ate the delicious chicken burgers at our hotel because they were irresistible.
Would we go back?
The Malaysian people are nice, helpful and there is no real language barrier to speak of. If you say thank you, terima kasih, you will be greeted with a huge smile and a soft sama sama, your welcome. We would all visit Malaysia again but next time we would venture into the districts and islands, such as Penang. We visited Penang nine years ago and would go back.