After an enjoyable but frenetic trip around Borneo, we arrived back in Peninsular Malaysia ready for the next five weeks of our trip. Over the next thirty-five days, we plan on travelling North through Malaysia into Bangkok.
Our first stop was the modern capital of Kuala Lumpur, which is known worldwide for its food and shopping. Whilst we were able to squeeze in a bit of fine dining, due to a full backpack and empty wallet the shopping will have to wait until another trip.
Due to its accessibility as a major Asian hub, Kuala Lumpur is very much on the beaten track when it comes to tourists, and the main activities are very well known. A few notes below on how we spent our five days:
We stayed at the excellent ‘Birdnest Collective Café & Guesthouse’, based in Chinatown. We managed to get a double room with en-suite for less than AUD$30 a night which was a great deal. This included breakfast on a hippie style roof terrace which was pretty cool.
Food in KL is driven from the city’s three main influences; Chinese, Indian, and Malay. On one of the evenings we did a food tour, which took us to a local restaurant out of town featuring each of these three cuisines, which included a number of dishes to try in each restaurant.
As we timed our tour with Chinese New Year, our final dish was the very colourful ‘prosperity toss’. This is a traditional cantonese dish, which includes raw fish (to signify abundance throughout the year), lime (to signify luck), pepper (for wealth), and green radish (eternal youth). The oil is then poured over to encourage money to flow out in all directions.
Our location in China Town also meant that we were near to the popular food street of Jalan Alor. We were expecting this to be full of Malaysian food but it seemed that most of the restaurants were either Thai, Vietnamese, or Chinese. Nevertheless, we still got a good meal here.
Unfortunately, as with Borneo, alcohol was very expensive. Our cheapest pint was MYR20 (AUD$6) but in most cases the cost of alcohol came to more than our food. Malaysia is a muslim country, and alcohol is heavily taxed everywhere, so we may have to wait until we get to Thailand to get a reasonably priced beer!
Reaching into skyline of Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) are the Petronas Towers, which are visible from most parts of the city. A good place to view these from is the nearby park, which was a good place to chill out in the shade for a few hours and get away from the humid midday heat.
We also spent a half day at the nearby Batu Caves, which are handily located just a half hour train away. The Batu Caves are a series of caves located at various points up a set of 272 stairs. Three quarters of the way up, we did a forty-five minute tour of the Dark Cave (MYR35), which was a good opportunity to learn about the history of the area and see some of the cool limestone formations which have formed inside.
The Batu Caves are somewhere that we are glad to have gone to, but probably wouldn’t visit again. The whole area felt a bit too touristy and was very crowded. In addition, there were quite a lot of monkeys loitering around at various places on the staircase helping themselves to people’s food as they went past which we found to be a bit unsettling.
There are hundreds of articles online saying how good the Batu Caves are, and whilst the statues are impressive, having visited the Dambulla Caves in Sri Lanka three weeks earlier, we found this to be a much better experience.
We had a good five days in KL, which was enough time to see all the sights and rest, ready to move on to the Cameron Highlands. As it’s a direct flight from our home in Queensland, Carissa is already making plans to hit the shops here next time…