THINGS I LOVED:
» Extremely Friendly People: We thought that Cambodian people were outstandingly friendly. The people who ran our hostel were so friendly, helpful and even shared their candy with us. The people who worked at the museums we visited were incredible and we even met a middle-aged man in McDonald’s (yes, I finally had McDonalds two months into the trip) who drove us in his car to Mardeka Square. Everyone was so friendly!
» Walking Everywhere: Other than that ride, a train ride out of town to Batu Caves & a taxi ride we took in the pouring down rain, we walked everywhere we went. It felt so good to stretch our legs, see the city on foot and to save all that transportation cost!
» Coffee Buns: Our hostel was right outside of the Chinatown market and every-other-day I found myself eating a coffee-flavored, butter-filled roll from the jolliest market-stall owner I’ve ever seen. These are perfect for breakfast or dessert and are best served warm so the butter is all sorts of melted.
» Markets Galore: We found ourselves either the Chinatown market, the Central Market or Little India Market daily. There were snacks and sweets, home decorations, clothes and jewelry to be seen around every corner.
» Diversity: I loved feeling like I was in a truly diverse city. We stayed in Chinatown, visited Hindu temples, toured a mosque, ate Indian food in Little India, sipped American craft beer, and this was all within our walk-able area! It felt really great to be surrounded by so many different cultures and experiences at every turn.
THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE:
» Daily Rain: This was fun to laugh at & run through the first day, kind-of cozy the second day because I used it as an excuse to drink tea and write, it was something to avoid the third day and by day four it was just annoying. On day 5 we were stranded under a bathroom pavilion near the hibiscus garden (which we never got to see) we decide to finally try to walk because it wasn’t letting up and we ended up taking a cab back to the hostel and waiting it out, which was most of the day.
» Spicy Food: Neither Stacey nor I are fans of spicy food. In fact, I would say that it hurts to eat spicy food. I in no way enjoy it, and it seemed like most things that I tried were quite spicy. So hot & spicy lovers, look no further than Kuala Lumpur.
We stayed at Raizzy’s Hostel a few doors down from the Sri Mahamariamman Temple. It was $8.82 per day, which is a bit pricy, but it did include breakfast (toast with jam and butter), drinking water and tea & coffee 24-hours a day. The staff was helpful & friendly, shared chocolates with us and told us how to do things cheaply even when they had advertised prices for themselves. It was also perfectly located. We walked to the Chinatown Market, KL Tower, Taps Beer Bar, and everywhere else from here! It was perfectly located. Its only con was iffy wifi, but if you’re out and about that doesn’t affect your days as much as your evenings.
TOP THREE SITES / EXPERIENCES:
» Islamic Arts Center: I really loved visiting this museum because there were so many interesting pieces of Islamic Art. There was an exhibit of photographs from a Muslim community in Venezuela, an exhibit on the ornate weaponry, beautiful examples of Qur’ans intricately designed with geometric patterns, tile patterns, models of different mosques around the world and more. It was so interesting to learn more about a culture and a religion that I’m honestly not all that knowledgeable in. Plus, the building itself is stunningly designed.
» Batu Caves: Batu Caves is, from what we heard, one of the most important / popular Hindu sites outside of India. It’s free to visit, but if you don’t have your legs covered and you can rent a sarong for 3MR. You climb up a large set of steps, dodging macaques and looking into tiny shop filled with Hindu trinkets. (Of course, we both couldn’t resist buying one thing.) Going up into the caves was beautiful because they sky is bright blue and there are green vines hanging down into it. Birds fly overhead as you see the simple, but pretty, Hindu Temple inside. This was a 20-30 minute train ride from the KL Station right near our hostel and cost 4MR round-trip.
» Observation Deck of Kuala Lumpur Tower: This was something that I was frustrated about when we got there and the price was 20MR more than their website said. I begrudgingly paid the extra money and went to the top. It was really beautiful. We went a little before sunset, which I think is the perfect time to go. We got to watch the sky turn blazing orange and yellow and then watched the Petronas Towers light up the sky. It was really beautiful and going to the top of a building is something I hadn’t done in a long time.
KUALA LUMPURISMS (“oddities and culture shock):
» People Running Into Me: I had mentioned in my “Let’s Get Real” post that I liked my personal space, which is very true, but this went beyond that. I can’t tell you how many times when someone passed me I got ran into so hard that it actually knocked me to the back or the side, with no apology. I really don’t like my personal space invaded even when it’s a small bump, but this, to be honest, just pissed me off. The worst was in the airport, I was standing perfectly still and a lady walked by and ran into my pack so hard it almost knocked me over! Craziness! And again, no apology or excuse me is needed, apparently.
» Toilet Options: We’re not huge fans of the squat toilet, but we’ve come to terms with using them… However, I’m here to tall you that someone is. There are options in Malaysia. Often there were three squat toilets and one western toilet in a bathroom, and the only time there was a line for the western toilet is when Stacey and I took turns waiting for them. It was just something we didn’t really expect.
» Choose Your Location Wisely: My one big tip is to choose your location wisely. We opted to stay in Chinatown and everything we went to was only a walk away. The longest walk we had was 30 minutes and felt like a breeze coming back once we knew our way. It was the perfect location for us. So, look at what you want to do and see and choose your accommodation around that to seriously cut down on transportation costs.
KUALA LUMPER WAS OUR ONLY STOP IN MALAYSIA, BUT IT WAS GOOD. IT FELT NICE TO “HAVE A HOME”, BEING STATIONARY FOR OVER A WEEK. I LIKED BEING IN A BIGGER CITY FOR A TIME, TO VISIT MUSEUMS, TO SEE TRAFFIC AND TO GET TO HAVE THAT EXPEREINCE OF LOOKING DOWN ON A BIG CITY. I WISH WE COULD’VE SEEN MORE OF MALAYSIA, BUT KL WAS STILL REALLY GREAT.
WITH LOVE, FROM KUALA LUMPUR