We decided to go to Kuala Lumpur first and foremost because we found it to be one of the cheapest places to fly in Asia and where to fly to other countries nearby. Since the tickets were cheap for KL, we started to investigate what else would be done in Malaysia. Many backpackers do not talk much about this country and we had long considered whether we are just staying in KL or we are also leaving the city and explore other parts of the country. When doing some research, it turned out that Malaysia has a lot to offer to tourists. So, we put together a 1.5-week tour plan that started in Kuala Lumpur.
Like in other big cities, we found a place via the Couchsurfing with a relatively simple effort this time. One older British gentleman agreed to offer us a bed in a guestroom. However, as the flight landed at night, we had to spend some hours at the airport, because we did not want to disturb anybody in the middle of the night. So, despite KL’s good subway connection, we took Grab in the early morning (local Uber in many Asian countries) to arrive in the city. The airport is located about 70 km from the city and it took almost 2 hours to get there. What was waiting for us was the room and apartment with all the comforts in a skyscraper on the 24th floor. We briefly introduced ourselves to the owner of the house, Peter and his cousin Jay (who is local), and then we went to have a sleep for a few hours because we had basically missed one night.
After having rested, Peter introduced us to the neighborhood and the local life. He showed where the nearby shopping centers are, the best places to eat, and we got things done that was important for our stay like money exchange, etc. We had dinner in an already familiar place – hawker. Foods were still as tasty as Singapore’s so-called food courts.
Once again, we didn’t have a lot of research done what to do and visit at KL. Everyone knows, of course, the famous Petronas twin towers. Fortunately, we received a lot of suggestions from Peter and Jay, who made it easy for us to get together a couple of days in our tourist program.
First, we went to see Batu Cave. It is a bit out of town, but once again, Grab helped us out of trouble. Since the temperature in KL increased to about 35 degrees at noon, we tried to get to the cave as early as possible. It would not have been nice to go up the huge stairs with the hot sun. Even in the morning, around 9, it was a bit too hot for this and when we reached the cave, we were all sweaty. The marvelous colorful staircase leads to the cave, next to which is the huge golden figure of Lord Murugan. Next to the entrance and inside the cave, there are beautiful colored Hindu temples. But when you walk inside the cave, be careful not fall the victim of the thief’s monkeys. We saw on a couple of occasions when the monkey jumped into the handbag of a woman hoping to get some food. The surroundings of the Batu Caves look like a little India. if only there were not so many tourists there.
We tried to hide from the heat and visited Kuala Lumpur City Museum. This is what Peter advised us because there is an interesting model of the city and a light show introducing it, which gives a good idea of how the city has developed. In addition, the museum is free of charge.
We hoped we could walk around in Merdeka Park a bit, but it soon became clear that we didn’t enjoy walking with such heat. So we took steps towards the central market. On the top floor of the market, one of the most famous hawkers in the city is located, and we had a good lunch there. The market itself was, of course, a sight of its own where you can find art, clothing, and souvenirs from all the Asian cultures around. Of course, there was also a good selection of Nike shoes and Fila sweat suits 🙂
As we went on the market, we ended our first day of city trip there, as it began to rain. In the evening, we cooked to Peter and Jay a very simple and traditional Estonian meal – potato porridge and minced meat sauce. It was nice to enjoy home food for a long time.
The next day, we slept in … or rather the exile. The day’s program was quite long, so we had to figure out what to exclude because of long sleep. Finally, it turned out that there wasn’t much to do, because our plan hadn’t taken into account the fact that we didn’t get into the city’s biggest mosque (because there was a local prayer time) and the dance program we wanted to see was canceled on that particular day. So we had enough time to visit the Museum of Islamic Art, which we really liked and could definitely go to when KL was already here. We were most impressed by the detailed models of all the major world major mosques. It made us somewhat regret that we had to skip Central Asia largely during this journey.
We had left Petronas twin towers as the cherry on top of the cake. It was quite difficult to get a beautiful picture of the towers because of the masses of people who tried to take pictures as well. We met Peter at the towers, who made us a good tour there. We found out that the twin towers are mostly large shopping centers and that the upper floors have office space, most of which are empty. This is because the city of KL had granted tax relief to the companies whose headquarters are located there. So, the companies are registered at this address, but in reality, the company only has a mailbox there 🙂 We didn’t check these facts ourselves, but it seemed quite true. In addition, the Petronas towers also have KL’s opera house, which was supposed to have especially good acoustics.
From the towers, we traveled through underground tunnels and glass pavilions to Bukit Bintang, which is famous for tourists. There are a number of large shopping centers and good eateries – all that one foreign tourist needs.
Once again, we tried to get home before the dark, because public transport was supposed to be overcrowded in the evenings. And in the dark, we were able to enjoy the view from the home terrace, from where the twin towers were nice to see.
Kuala Lumpur was a big surprise for us. We would not have thought that it was such a nice and developed city. It was still cheaper to live there than in Singapore, but one might think it would not be so for a long time because of the rapid development.