Two lazy days in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

We wake to an eerily quiet day in Kuala Lumpur. The city has been shut down due to a political demonstration that will take place today. It’s a good excuse to avoid public places and take it easy. The online news reports that most locals will stay home and maybe catch a movie to avoid the rallies. We decide to do the same.

Housekeeping comes to our room at 12:30pm so that’s when we finally get up. We watch The Accountant at Gold Screen Cinemas Pavilion. 

Downstairs at Pavilion is a massive Christmas display. At home thise who are overly politically correct try to dissuade us from celebrating Christmas in schools and shopping centres for fear of discriminating against Muslims but here Muslim families are quite happy to take photos of the children with Santa and to ride the Christmas themed merry-go-round. I think perhaps we’re creating unnecessary division at home. Rather than minimise Christmas, why not add Ramadan to our calendar like we do with Lunar New Year. 

We wander through the covered walkway to Suria Mall at the Twin Towers for a massage and dinner before catching Hell Or High Water at the Suria TGV cinema. You’re not supposed to bring in outside food but I had a hankering for M&Ms so we smuggle a packet in our pocket. They’re checking bags and taking items off people so we are lucky. 

On our second day we take it easy again. Our flight will depart at 11:10pm. We check out about five minutes before the midday cut off. The monorail takes us to the NU Sentral Mall where we watch Shut In at the Gold Screen Cinema. That makes for movies in three days. 

We’re both traveled out so eat McDonald’s for lunch before catching the bus to the airport where we laze in the movie lounge until our flight. 

Here’s some random photos from our last two days in Kuala Lumpur. 

It’s been an awesome trip. We’re ready for home but are looking forward to our Holland and Belgium trip at Christmas, just five weeks away. 

Phnom Penh to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

The tuk tuk driver rouses himself from his slumber. It’s the slightly rude man who took us to the market last night. He’s probably just worn down from his labours in a hot and hectic city. To him we’re probably rich foreigners who sleep in a bed rather than a hammock strung across a tuk tuk. We’re not a prospect for repeat business so he doesn’t have to care. It’s understandable but still unpleasant. I resent having to pay him at the end of my ride. If he’d been friendly I would have given him the last of my Riel as a tip (about $US1.50 on top of a $US7 fare). But I don’t. I take them home because I cannot bring myself to encourage his approach. 

The streets of Phnom Penh are now less alien than when we arrived. I no longer feel as anxious as I did just twelve days ago. I had read so much bad press about Cambodia and its people. So much that turned out to be so untrue. Our bag was not snatched. Our pockets were not picked. Our belongings were not stolen from our guesthouse rooms (we didn’t stay in dives though – we paid $12-$25 per night for places with excellent reviews). I don’t know why I read up so much. Usually I don’t. Perhaps I’d lost my touch being back on our large island continent for ten months. I wish I hadn’t and I won’t in future. 

We experience the last of our Cambodian snow. That’s what Tony called the dust kicked up by traffic on the gravel roads outside Battambang. Next time I see snow I hope it’s the real stuff in Belgium or Holland at Christmas.

Airport officials make us reprint our boarding passes. Ours have bar codes but don’t look like the airline ones. Flexibility will take a little while to ease into officialdom here. 

It’s a short flight to Kuala Lumpur. Forty minutes over Cambodia, forty minutes over the sea and forty minutes over Peninsular Malaysia. Our captain plays tour guide. He clearly loves his job and it passes the time for us. 

We’re both quite tired and have both picked up stomach bugs in Kampong Chhnang. So we have a lazy afternoon in our room then catch a movie.

We eat at a local restaurant.

And have a short walk around our hotel before calling it a night. 

Kuala Lumpur stopover day 2 (Malaysia)

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The world is already awake outside our window but it’s still quiet. Kuala Lumpur is not an early riser, though nor are we. It’s probably already 8am by now and we’re not even thinking about going outside. There’s a 12pm checkout so why rush. And Paul is a night owl so I just know our best laid plans of an early bedtime will go out the window later today.
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It’s 9:30am by the time we sit down at Pak Ngah’s soup stall in the Pasar Chow Kit (Chow Kit Market). A friendly, modern and thoroughly organised young woman stands piling bowls of noodles and beef ready for customers. It looks so fresh and the beef soup (sup daging) base is bubbling away in a massive vat. There’s no stock cubes here, just big hunks of meat simmering in water (and probably some spices).

Stomachs satisfied we return to our room to pack and check out. We leave Paul’s bag with reception so that we can wander the streets unburdened.
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At Merdeka Square there are marquees and people everywhere. We’ve arrived at a scooter and motorbike drag racing show. Who knew there was such a thing. Young and middle-aged men tinker with hotted up scooters and sales people show off big Japanese bikes that seem impossibly large for the traffic and style of riding that is generally done here.
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But the real action is down on the road in front of the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Here bikes with engines roaring (believe me, the engines of these little bikes roared like full sized Grand Prix racers) tore up the strip on a quarter mile track.
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Leaving the excitement of the drag races behind we enter the Music Museum. It’s free but holds a good display of local musical instruments and information. It also serves as a few minutes relief from the heat outside.
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Next door to the Music Museum is the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery. I join the other tourists taking photos at the I heart KL sign because it just wouldn’t be polite not to. Inside the gallery there are modern works by local artists and a batic display in a courtyard. But the real piece of interest here is the massive diorama of Kuala Lumpur and the information film that goes along with it. If you are in the city and have had a wander around, this is definitely worthwhile. It certainly gave us both a greater appreciation of the places we’ve been and the places we want to visit. It also shows the vision of Kuala Lumpur to become a major business and tourism city – apparently 300 new high rise buildings will be constructed over the next five years.
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Leaving Merdeka Square we cross under a road bridge where we start to notice we are entering the Muslim heartland of the city. Gorgeous geometric works of art adorn the underpass.
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The Masjid Negara (National Mosque) is currently closed to non-Muslims because it is 2pm. It is only open from 9am – 12pm, 3pm – 4pm and for a short period in the evening. I actually feel it is good that a place of worship is reserved for it’s respective faithful during prayer times because sometimes it must be difficult for people to pray / worship with hundreds of tourists milling around. I certainly know I’d be distracted if I wanted to go to Mass on Sunday (not that I have in a long time) while tourists dressed inappropriately flashed their cameras around. We will return on our way home to check out the interior and make do with looking at the exterior and its many geometric patterns.
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The disappointing thing about being in the area of the National Mosque are the inappropriately dressed backpackers we see all around. It’s disconcerting to come across this in such a conservative country. I’m not saying women should be covered or wearing a headscarf if they are visiting this city but to wear skimpy shorts that leave nothing to the imagination is barely acceptable at home in Australia and is quite offensive here in this land. It’s only a few weeks ago at the F1 that some Australian men were arrested for wearing speedos so why would anyone think it’s okay to wear shorts that barely cover the private area. It gives Westerners a bad name when they travel to conservative countries dressed in this way. Yes, sure, be a feminist but when traveling to conservative countries it’s important to remember that most of the population here won’t ever get to see our countries and our diversity. The only thing they know about Australia, America, Europe or the United States is what they see on television and the tourists who visit their cities. The message this clothing sends is that Westerners have low morals – a falsehood that cannot be explained away by words given the clothing some of us choose to wear. I think the key thing to remember is that as travelers we are ambassadors for our home cultures. What is the message we want to send?
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Not far from the National Mosque we visit the Museum of Islamic Arts. Entry is relatively expensive for tourists (14.85RM / $AU5) but the museum is a brilliant opportunity to learn more about the religion that dominates this part of the world. The museum houses a large collection of artifacts. There’s a fourteenth century embroidered map of Mecca from Northern India, many gorgeously gilded prayer books, a frightening amount of ivory and a weapons collection just to name some of the displays. We pass over an hour in the museum taking it all in. A more dedicated museum-goer could pass even more.
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There’s only one thing to do after all this sight seeing – eat a late lunch. We decide to check out the stalls and food courts over near the Petaling Street Markets and are not disappointed. We end up with an odd mix of Malaysian nasi goreng (fried rice), Indian tandoori chicken and garlic naan, and Chinese pork rib with white rice. As you can see from my face, I am enjoying the food here in Malaysia along with the cheap cost of purchasing it (this whole meal including drinks was about 25RM / $AU8).
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It’s late in the afternoon and we still have to collect Paul’s backpack and make our way to the airport. We have an early flight tomorrow so will spend the night at the Tune Hotel KLIA2 instead of making an early commute. Along our walk we come to the Pasar Malam Kuala Lumpur (Kuala Lumpur Night Market). Being a Saturday afternoon it’s busy here and you can buy almost anything you can imagine. We still have a fortnight of carrying our bags in Cambodia so restrain ourselves but who knows what happens on our way home. Paul isn’t frowning in this photo either – or I don’t think he is.

Our intention is to have an early night at the airport hotel but we don’t arrive until after 8:30pm and then there’s no wifi in our room so we head over to the airport proper to use the free wifi there. We want to download some maps of Phnom Penh, check the address of our hotel and upload some photos to social media. By the time we go to bed I’m cranky and exhausted with less than four hours until we need to get up for the flight. At least the bed is comfortable and the airconditioning cold.

Kuala Lumpur stop over day 1 (Malaysia)

It’s 4:30am and we’re disembarking from our eight hour red-eye. We’re finally back in Asia – we’ve been gone too long. We explore our options at the airport. The container hotel is fully booked out so that blows a catch up sleep and shower. We have hotel booked for tonight but check in isn’t until 2pm, some ten hours away. What to do? A taxi to the city costs 112RM, a train is 55RM per person but the bus is on 12RM per person so the bus to KL Sentral it is.

The 45 minute bus trip gives us time to sleep some more. We think we’ve booked Flora by Crossroads near the KL Tower. It looks like it’s only a few kilometres away and it’s still early so we set off on foot.

Walking allows us a fine reintroduction to this magnificent city. It’s a visual delight of colour and chaos, a cacophony of scooters and construction, and the ever present smell of cheap cigarettes and pollution.

We find ourselves at a Hindu temple but don’t enter because prayers are in full swing. The outside is brilliantly detailed and the scent of incense wafts through the street.

Behind the temple we follow a riverside cycleway. The homeless sh*t in plastic bags without privacy. It smells and I realise rivers are places of contrast all over the world. The rich buy waterfront views while the poor eke out their survival under bridges. It’s humanity at its core – desirous of pleasure but always at risk of doom.

It turns out we’re not staying at Flora by Crossroads but at Crossroads Hotel. It’s another 2km further up the road in Chow Kit. The lady at Flora organised is an early checkin at their sister hotel for an extra 50RM ($AU17). She’s shocked to hear we walked from KL Sentral and that we want to walk to our actual hotel instead of taking a taxi. But taking a taxi would mean missing out on the sights we see along the way: like this cat on a hot tin roof and our delicious breakfast (cost 5.40RM or $AU1.80 for two including tea and coffee). We arrive at our hotel around 8:30am, check in, shower, wash our flight clothes and lay on the bed for a couple of hours. This is worth every single ringett.

Refreshed but still fatigued we walk to the Sunway Putra Mall to catch Doctor Strange at the beanie (beanbag) cinema. I love the casual seats but they are not made for tall people so it’s less comfortable for Paul. At least we’re continuing our practice of seeing movies everywhere we go. And this time it was in a unique cinema style. The movie was entertaining and engaging too – our 28th movie in less than six months.

We both have or second wind so set off on foot to explore more of what Kuala Lumpur has to offer. But not before I have a bit of shopping centre fun with some of the displays. (That’s how I know I’m feeling good again – I’m being playful and spontaneous).

Paul has seen a reflexology shop on our walk to the cinema so insists we stop. Walking upstairs I can’t help but hope we’re not walking into another front for a brothel. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve been tricked by a legitimate looking sign. The car seats say it all really – as does the television blaring in the corner. The ugly ladies (they genuinely were physically ugly) try to entice us to have more than a foot massage but we strongly decline. Mine keeps trying to work up past my knees to my groin and I push her firmly away each time. We pay for half hour but don’t get any extra foot massage for the ten minutes they have allotted to the happy ending. I don’t begrudge the women their living not judge them. But I do wish we wouldn’t get tricked by legitimate looking signs.

Back on the street we decide to take a random route to the Petronas Twin Towers. Random because we just walk towards them without checking where we go. First there’s the Pasar (Market) Chow Kit.

Then we find ourselves on the wrong side of the river in KL’s suburbs. The juxtaposition of old and new is so stark here. Locals go about their lives as we meander through the streets and lanes on our way to the next river crossing some two kilometres away. And no we didn’t buy any durian – I can’t understand how anyone can eat it.

Crossing the river we enter a massive hive of construction activity. High tide apartments and office towers are going up all around the Twin Towers. We were here in April 2015 and already the area is so different. I can’t imagine what the next five years will bring to KL. It’s already 3pm and we haven’t eaten anything but some fruit I bought at the market. So we settle on the food court for some Malaysian rice dishes. Downstairs on level C there’s an amazing massage place we visited last year so Paul decided we’re going back. It’s genuine, professional and relaxing. 150RM ($AU48) buys 90 minutes of reflexology, back, hand and head massage. That’s good value for us Aussies.

Our day is not over yet though. We watch the fountain show along with thousands of people from all over the world. At a time when the media and governments of the world are focused on encouraging people to hate, it’s amazing to be in a place where people come from all over the world to enjoy the simplicity of music and colour. No wonder our government at home wants to discourage funding and valuing of the arts – because it is the arts that bring all humans together as one. And bringing people together as one is the only thing that can prevent the war that we are on the brink of enduring. So I pray the artists, musicians, writers and other creatives of the world keep on doing what they do to create art, music, stories and other opportunities for humans to come together in awe.

We finally end our day walking back to Chow Kit where we have dinner around 9:30pm at a street stall. It’s no surprise to me that I am asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. We’ve crammed a truckload into our first day.

And we’re off – Cambodia trip 2016

Paul and I tied the knot on Monday night at our Halloween themed, non-government-sanctioned wedding ceremony. I don’t play the divisive and demeaning “commitment ceremony” game. While marriage equality is yet to occur in Australia (not for lack of public support), we don’t need some official government suit to recognise our relationship because 100 of our closest family and friends have (including their own certificate to recognise our union). 

Our wedding was amazing and an incredibly happy event. And I am blessed to have a kindred spirit as my husband. 

So now we’re off on our honeymoon to Cambodia. It’s the first trip where I can leave my laptop at home because I no longer work online. Sure, I now don’t get paid when I travel (I work casually) but boy will it be fantastic to just relax, explore, read and laugh without needing to make time to think. And this also means my 32L pack is half empty 🙂 .

Tonight we fly to Kuala Lumpur, arriving at 4am tomorrow morning. We have two days in magnificent KL before we continue on to Phnom Penh. Stay tuned for some stories from the road.

It’s been 10 months since we traveled together and we’ve both missed it. This will change moving forward, starting right now. 

The old side of Kuala Lumpur

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It’s well after 11am by the time we drag ourselves out of bed and down to the bus stop to take what is supposed to be a 20 minute ride on to the Batu Caves. It turns out that the information at the hostel is not quite accurate and over an hour later the bus reaches a terminus about 2km from the Batu Caves. Not that it matters too much. The bus is clean and comfortable, and the trip takes us through random suburbs to see the local way of life in Kuala Lumpur. It’s a side of life we would miss is we were taken directly to the caves.
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At the bus terminus the driver tells us we need to catch another bus to the Batu Caves. That bus isn’t at the terminus and it’s only about 2km to the caves so we decide to walk. This leads to one of those ‘road less traveled’ moments where we see the way people live here when the tourist spotlight is turned off. Tall old apartment buildings dominate the landscape. Washing hangs from windows and mould is clearly visible on the walls; probably inevitable in this moist tropical climate. As always, jungle plants fill every gap that isn’t taken up by buildings or market garden.
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A random pot hangs from a trellis. I don’t know whether it has a purpose or has been hung there to protect it from being swallowed by the greenery that is exploding everywhere. It feels almost Mediterranean.
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Further down the road we pass some trucks parked near the railway yard. I’ve seen trucks like this on the highways but they were moving and I couldn’t get a photo. Here they are standing waiting for work. Much of the truck is built from wood and many don’t have proper doors; just metal sheets hinged to the driver side. It’s weird to look at. When loaded and driving on the highway, these trucks seem to be so overloaded that their seams might burst. They bend out like taco shells and it’s disconcerting driving past them in case they, like a taco shell, might crack. But they must be quite a sturdy machine or they wouldn’t still be using them.
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We arrive at the Batu Caves. I remember them from a previous trip to Kuala Lumpur about a decade ago. On that occasion I had a long 15 hour transit during daylight hours so paid a relatively small sum of money (maybe $20) to join a minivan tour from the airport to all the big sights around the city with the promise of being returned to the airport on time to check in for my flight home. At that time, we had a time limit to race up to the main cave, dodge the monkeys, take some photographs and return to the minibus. So it was refreshing to have more time here now.
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We started with the first cave at the base of the mountain near the station (I forgot to write down its name). Visitors are charged RM5 ($2) to enter the cave and, once inside, it’s obvious why.
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The cave is beautifully decorated with statues telling what must be an important Hindi story. The text is all in Hindi so I couldn’t read it to tell you what it was about. But this large man with the little men around him made me think of Gulliver’s Travels. We are the only people in the cave who are not Indian. Woman look beautiful in their saris while men are well groomed and dressed in conservative clothing. A small child runs around in a gorgeous green and gold dress decorated with bells that jingle every step she takes. It’s no wonder then that she starts to skip and dance a little bit as she moves through the cave.
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Outside the cave a half dozen cheeky monkeys, mostly juveniles, play in and around the water. They are hassling tourists to see whether there is any food they can steal. Every time I turn my back a monkey sneaks up, resulting in me squealing in fright on more than one occasion. One monkey runs along the hand rail, snarls at me barring all its yellow teeth and they running off. I’m just glad that the colony of monkeys is significantly smaller than it used to be. There are probably a dozen in the trees higher up but only about half of them are brazen enough to pester us humans.
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We exit the first cave and make our way to where the main Batu Caves steps lead ever upwards. These are the infamous 272 steps that hoards of tourists climb each day. The good thing for us is that we had a late start so most of the buses have departed and only a few hardy people remain to brave the scorching afternoon heat. The steps are a formidable sight to behold and I am sure we are both wondering how on earth we will make it to the top without dying of heat exhaustion. But we take it one step at a time, which I am sure is part of the lesson this climb is meant to teach.
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At the top of the steps we come to this beautiful decorative piece. I’m not quite sure what it’s made of, maybe died flour or rice. But it’s beautiful and delicate but so bright and lively. The cave itself is underwhelming. There are a few shrines that have long since lost their colour. The soot and grime of the cave have taken over. It is beautiful, though to look up at the hole in the cave roof to the sky way up high. We are so deep in the earth’s crust here that it is awesome. And even here, in this relatively dark damp place, green shrubs are growing anywhere they can. I guess this is the difference between the sub-tropics that I call home and the proper tropics where we are traveling.
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We leave the cave and travel back to Kuala Lumpur Station by train. Of the six carriages, two are reserved for ladies only. Just as I don’t quite know how I feel about ladies’ only gyms, I’m not sure how I feel about a ladies only train carriage. That’s not to enter a debate about feminism etc because those who know my personal history will appreciate I have a unique standpoint on this issue. But, rather, I wonder whether segregating people according to labels only creates greater social division, rather than overcoming it. I thought that perhaps here the ladies’ only carriages are to allow women a space where they can remove their headscarves away from the prying eyes of us evil sex-crazed men but the ladies’ only carriages do not have doors separating them from the rest of the train so this can’t be the reason. Either way, the train gets us to Kuala Lumpur station and we alight into an old colonial building with whitewashed walls and oddly shaped turrets. It’s a grand old building that is now used as the train station and a hotel.
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I’ve read that Petaling Street is one of the main attractions in Kuala Lumpur. It’s not a bad place. By now I’m hot, bothered and quite over things so I don’t really find the markets all that wonderful. That and I’m not very good at spending money. Well not unless it’s on big stuff like a fat bike or airfares.
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Though we do see and smell chestnuts being roasted in a big drum with a mystery black grain in it.

I have to admit that I’m in a foul mood by the time we get through the markets. I’m hot, dehydrated, tired from all the impressions of the past fortnight and feeling a bit sad that Paul’s leaving tomorrow. I’ve reached a point where I simply can’t make any decisions and don’t know what I want anymore. Think over-tired three year old who can no longer use their big boy words and just wants to sit on the side of the road and have a tantrum. Oh, and yes I am admitting to this because this is the other truth about travel that is rarely shared in blogs, films or books. Travel is tiring if you go at it like a bull at a gate. There are times when you feel like you should be out there exploring or doing something big when all you want to do is sit in the air conditioning and cuddle in front of a movie (or with a good book if that’s your thing). But you push yourself and go out anyway; usually at the risk of spoiling whatever fun you started out having.

At just the right moment we discover we are near a LTR station and can take the LTR to the monorail, which will take us to Bukit Nanas near Petronas Towers and the Suria shopping mall. There are other malls but we like Suria best. I’m feeling happy again as we eat hamburgers and fries in the food court. There’s a Canon shop so I can buy a new charger for my camera battery because the one I have with me died. Paul has a chance to do some shopping (he is definitely a better shopper than me – if he weren’t there I probably wouldn’t have opened my wallet wide enough to let the money for the camera charger escape either).

And then we finally find it … the thing Paul has been searching for this whole trip … a place to have a nice massage. It’s not the cheapest place in Malaysia but our 90 minute foot reflexology followed by seated shoulder and back massage combination package is still less than half the price it would be in Australia and sometimes you just have to treat yourself. I’ve been calm and happy again since eating dinner so am pretty much a pussy cat by the time we walk out of the massage shop all rested and relaxed. The tantrum of a few hours ago is forgotten and our day has ended on a high note. And that’s the thing about the bad moments in life. You need to recognise them for what they are (in this case fatigue, over heating and hunger), find a way to redirect your emotions (sit on a train, find some airconditioning and eat some food) and move on (apologising to one’s travel companion is always a good idea too). Oh, and treat yourself to something nice like a massage so that the tantrum becomes merely a small paragraph in the long narrative of the day.

Theme parks, bright lights and random musical acts (Kuala Lumpur)

We’re not quite sure where we want to go when we leave the hostel to catch a free bus into the city. It’s always like this when you get to a new city. We’ve read the “top 10 things to do in Kuala Lumpur” and noted some things that are listed on the hostel wall as “must see” things in this city. But it never quite prepares you for what the day will bring. Nor are we always interested in the ‘must see things’ that other people recommend.
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The bus drops us at Bukit Bintang. I’ve heard this place referred to on some of the recommendations for KL. It’s a big modern area with lots of huge shopping malls. The brands are genuine and the prices similar to at home. Everywhere signs advertise either retail outlets or places to eat. It’s midday so nothing has warmed up yet, with tourists just arriving and locals still at work.
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We wander along the relatively quiet streets (which are busy by Australian standards). There is a stark contrast here between modern and traditional Malaysia. On one hand there are high end shops with lots of gold decor and high price tags. On the other, there are still people walking barefoot and snoozing in the shade by the roadside. It’s like two worlds have collided and both are coexisting somehow in this huge city. You can dine at a restaurant with scary high price tags or eat on the street at a market stall for next to nothing. It’s exciting and overwhelming all at once.
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Our adventure today will take us to modern Malaysia. It starts when we seek refuge from the oppressive heat in the Berjaya Time Square shopping mall. This impressive building has 14 stories of food, fashion and everything else you might like to buy. It also includes a theme park, movie cinema, ten pin bowling lanes, indoor archery arena, pool hall and escape game. Yes, that’s right. Shopping malls here are not just for shopping; they seem to be places of recreation.

I can’t help myself. We have to go to the amusement park. I’m sure it’s part of the travel and cultural experience to ride a roller coaster inside a shopping mall. We can hear people screaming with fear and delight so decide to join the fun. The entry is about RM85 ($30 for two people). We start on a ride that is a bit like the WipeOut at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in Australia. It spins and twists us around violently. It’s fun and scary all at once. It’s rougher than any amusement ride either of us has ever experienced. By the time I get off the ride I am regretting the chocolate crepe I ate an hour ago because it almost comes up as I wobble around the theme park trying to gather my composure. We make our way around all the rides, including the roller coaster (which I make Paul go on with me twice).
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The children’s rides are a hoot and make a good break from the dizzying adult rides that leave me wondering what’s going on because I’ve never experienced motion sickness before today. The dodgem cars rock. You can drive in any direction and if you crash, they automatically reverse to get you going again rather than leaving you stuck for the rest of the ride. But my favourite attraction is definitely the haunted house. It’s an extra RM10 ($3.55) per person but so worth it. I am surprised that no one reading this didn’t hear me scream. You walk through the haunted house and there is a scary actor who does what scary actors do in haunted houses. He is so good that he gets me every time even though I know to expect him. Poor Paul is now living in a world of silence because my screaming on the rides and in the haunted house have deafened him. Though I am a bit quieter because I lost my voice.
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We leave the theme park and stop at Pizza Hut for some lunch. It’s already after 4pm and we are starving. Paul’s been craving pizza for weeks so we decide to see how the Malaysians do it. There’s nothing familiar about Malaysian Pizza Hut. Everything tastes slightly different. But it’s pizza and it’s good. I do rate the garlic bread with mushroom and cheese fondue.
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We catch the LRT to Bikut Nanas from where it is only a short walk to the Petronas Towers. I think it’s my first time on a monorail. It is odd how it leans through the bends while you are so high up in the air. It’s almost like being back on the roller coaster but at a much slower speed. The Petronas Towers are really awesome. I’ve seen them once before on a day trip during a layover at the airport about ten years ago but this time they really strike me. We join the throng of people taking photos before walking through to the other side to see the musical lake and city skyline. I love that there are people here from all over the world all mingling and doing the same thing. Middle Eastern women in full burkas with just slits for their eyes mingle with women from northern Asia wearing tight skirts, from Europe wearing trekking shorts and from India wearing traditional saris. Men take photos of their girlfriends and wives posing in front of the towers or fountains as groups of friends take selfies. We might all look different but we’re all doing the same things right here and now, and thousands more did the same things here yesterday and will do it all again tomorrow.
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We wander through the tower complex to the Suria shopping mall. It’s about 5:30pm and the place has come alive. This is where Gucci and Govida reside. Everything sparkles and there is a concierge on each floor to guide lost tourists. I love looking down the floors at the different cultures all colliding like a United Nations conference. Even though I come from a multicultural country, it’s still one in which racial differences are a cause for discomfort so to be here in a true melting pot of people coming on holiday or using the new train to get into the city on a stop over between flights is a treat.
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There’s a movie cinema in the complex so we head up and buy tickets to see The Cobbler. The TGV Cinemas are nowhere near as nice as the GSC Cinemas but the movie is a good watch with some nice laughs. I just love the way the Malaysians will burst into loud laughter at funny parts of the film without embarrassment.
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The movie ends around 9pm, just in time for us to head outside and catch the musical fountains. It’s almost surreal to sit under the Petronas Towers in all their glory while the colourfully lit fountains dance to the theme song from Titanic and others. I just love it. This experience didn’t even make any of the “Top 10 Things to do in KL” lists but is definitely a highlight for me.
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As is the night time view of the Petronas Towers. The structures are totally stunning and I am quite happy to add mine to the millions of photos of these towers was made. The structures are so beautiful that they deserve the millions of photos that are taken.
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We’re exhausted by now so start to head back to our hostel. On the way we pass the Malaysian Tourist Information Centre where a Punjabi festival is being held. Entry is free so we go watch a singer who has come “all the way from India” do his thing. I love Indian music so am quite enthralled. We have our pictures taken by an official photographer, probably to use in next year’s marketing material to say “look, even foreigners come to our festival”. Ironically, there is a stand advertising a function later in the year for investors interested in purchasing property in Australia. One of the guys from the stand comes over and asks us whether we would like information about purchasing Australian real estate. I politely decline his offer of information, trying to say as little as possible so that he doesn’t hear my Australian accent.
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Our hostel is a 10 minute LRT ride from Bukit Nanas and we think we are home and hosed without any more distractions until I head a thumping dance track being played up near the hospital. We wander up to investigate and see that there is a flash mob practicing their moves for an event that will occur here tomorrow. They are quite good and it’s fun to watch. We will end up missing the actual flash mob performance because tomorrow we will sleep in and not leave the hostel until midday (I know this because it’s already tomorrow as I write this post).

It’s days like today that I love most about travel. The unexpected roller coaster ride, being part of a crowd of tourists all drawn to the same location to admire something big and stumbling across random performances that entertain. And, again, it’s after midnight by the time we return to our hostel exhausted but happy.