Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

27 Jul

As I mentioned in my previous post, Zest airways is not not very reliable. I made sure to get to the airport well ahead of my 645am departure, even though my updated booking said the flight was 10 minutes later. I was a little nervous for this trip as well because it was my first time traveling alone to an Asian city, let alone a primarily Muslim city. Not that it means anything bad, but I always try to make sure I’m respectful and following the rules of other cultures. I had a general idea of what I wanted to do, but nothing booked in advance. However, I was fortunate enough to book the Renaissance hotel, which would give me all my Marriott perks, including a hotel concierge that could help me call local businesses.

The Kuala Lumpur LCCT, low cost carrier terminal, does not connect to the commuter train which runs straight to the KL Sentral train station, so a taxi was pretty much the easiest option. Right outside the baggage claim I paid 75r for a one way to the hotel, which took about an hour. After freshening up, I bee lined to the concierge in order to plan my stay. While the Petronas towers are great to look at, I didn’t feel the need to queue up at 6:30am to get one of the 1,200 tickets that are available everyday but Monday. Although I now know that tickets are available online, or for a small fee the hotel will buy the tickets for you. I had a laundry list of other options, such as, the Batu Caves, Melaka, Kuala Gandah elephant sanctuary, and the Malaysia Heritage walking tour. I decided to head to the Batu caves via public transport. The MRT subway was comparable to Hong Kong, cheap and clean. The KTM komuter has train cars reserved specifically for women. I rode in these cars to and from the Batu Caves.

Many people on trip advisor say the caves are unimpressive. As you can see from my pictures, I tend to disagree. I’m also guessing many of those people don’t understand how important the caves are to the Hindu culture.

On my way back from the caves, two men, and when I say men I mean man-babies, were in the women’s car on the way back to Sentral. One of them gathered the courage to come over and ask me if I knew where Sentral was, I said “no”, then he asked what my name was and I turned away. He obviously didn’t get the hint, because he asked “Hello?” to which I informed him that he was in the women’s car and not allowed to be here. Clearly non-understanding, he asked if I wanted some nuts, to which I responded, “no, there’s no eating or drinking allowed on the train.” Thus the term man-baby, because he may be a grown ass man, but he certainly can’t think or act like one.

On my way back to the hotel I stopped at the Central Market. This is also where my Eat, Pray, Love walking tour with Be Tourist left from the following day. It’s touted as the oldest market in KL, but according to my tour it was actually relocated from its original spot a block or so away. However, buyer beware, the prices are not very cheap and not all the vendors are willing to negotiate. Now I’m obsessed with negotiating, so I really took my time to troll the area. The first night I met a great couple from Australia. They were truly genuine people and, as always, great travelers. I say great travelers because Aussies have the passion to travel and include everyone around in conversation. Hopefully their next trip will be to NY.

The Malaysian Heritage walking tour ended up being way more than I ever expected. Not only did we eat South Indian food with our hands in honor of the first money lenders in KL, but we also had local fruits, two kinds of roti and coconut pancakes, stingray and clay pot chicken with rice. We walked just as much as we ate, which was perfect because I wasn’t too full, but I also could not digest another food particle. Our guide also took us to three of the oldest and therefore important places of worship in KL culture, Masjid Jamek, a Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman, and the oldest Taoist temple Sin Sze Si Ya Temple. Since its still Ramadan, and therefore prayer is now 7 times a day, we did not enter Masjid Jamek, but the two temples we did enter both had fabulous history and very unique teachings. To cap off the evening, we went to a local pub to get to know each other better as a group. It was great. Together we represented, USA, Canada, Turkey, UK, Norway, Germany, and China. What a great environment to meet new friends. Before I went to KL it was represented to me as a boring city, but I beg to differ. I definitely hope to return and spend more time in Malaysia.










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