14th November 2012 03:21
Kuala Lumpur (KL) was a great capital city to visit, as it was small enough that you could walk around all the sights very easily, without the need for public transport. Perfect for the backpacker on a budget!
I stayed in Chinatown, and had the easiest trip to a hostel from the coach so far - it was right around the corner from where I got dropped off. After an exhausting walk of approximately 50 metres, I arrived at Raizzy's Guesthouse and checked into my eight bed dorm. As sad as it sounds, one of the main reasons for choosing to stay here was the fact they had a plug socket right beside each bunk. Those of you with an iPhone will understand why that little perk is so important to me!
Before I arrived in KL, I only really had one item on the agenda, which was a trip up the Petronas Towers. Strangely enough, this didn't actually end up happening due to the relatively high cost, and a very good point I read on a website somewhere. One of the main reasons for going to a place is to get a photo with the iconic landmarks included. It goes without saying, that if you're up the Petronas Towers at the time, you can't really get a great photo with them in! I searched around and discovered a place called the Trader's Hotel, which had a rooftop bar for guests and visitors, with apparently a fantastic view of the towers. Oh, and there was also a pool..... In the bar.....
Obviously the drinks prices were pretty extortionate, but they did at least have a 'two for one' happy hour deal on beers, and the price was still far cheaper than it would have cost to go up the towers themselves. With views like this, I don't regret my decision one bit:
There was also a nice park right by the towers! I give this one an official Luke Park Rating of 8/10. Oh, it was slightly let down by grumpy security guard women who wouldn't let me even go near a section of the park being cleaned to get a better photo, despite the fact it wasn't cordoned off. I thought they just ate donuts all day anyway?
Chinatown was great, I really like going there wherever I'm staying. There's always such a buzz about the place, and Kuala Lumpur was no exception. The popular Petaling Street market was the place to go for all your counterfeit goods, cheap food stuffs and evening drinks. I ate most of my meals here, as the food court provides delicious meals at rock bottom prices. It's also fascinating people-watching, with a hugely diverse array of people roaming the street.
Also in Chinatown, a few doors down from where I was staying in fact, is the very intricately decorated Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple. A very impressive view as you walk past on the street:
At one point during my meandering around I noticed what appeared to be a monk walking towards me in the opposite direction. Nothing out of the ordinary there, you often see them in countries here, but what followed was certainly unusual. He stopped me as we passed, and held out his hand whilst holding a small trinket of some kind, promising good luck should I take it. I vaguely recalled hearing or reading of something similar, whereby a "monk" (i.e. fake scam artist) would offer you a sticker or something small and once you'd accepted the "gift", they would demand money for it. Remembering this story, I politely declined, and we both went our separate ways. I'm convinced that had I accepted what was offered, I would have found myself in a tricky situation. A narrow escape, and one that could so easily have turned out very differently.
Merdeka Square is where the Malysian flag was first raised in 1957, signifying independence from British rule. Very nice buildings around this area, and a national history museum with a very impressive scale model of the city.
A short walk from Merdeka Square finds another treat for nature lovers, the botanical gardens. Another great place to come if you need a hit of calm after a stressful day in the city. Apparently also the place to come for your wedding photos!
Leaving Kuala Lumpur for Singapore was actually really great. Not because I disliked the place, but due to the best coach I've ever been on! The seats were literally like armchairs, and were so wide they only had three in each row, where you'd usually get four. The legroom was amazing too. Possibly the best thing about it however, was the massaging seats. I'd not been on a coach I didn't actually want to get off until now!