Trip Start Nov 14, 2011
Trip End Feb 28, 2013

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Where I stayed
Furama Bukit Bintang Hotel

Flag of Malaysia  , Wilayah Persekutuan,
Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mary's Impressions:
We decided a change of plan was in order after our trip to India – we needed to slow down and relax a bit after the hectic pace we have been maintaining these past few months. Kuala Lumpur (also known affectionately as KL) was the place we picked.  We had not originally planned to visit Malaysia as part of our Asian travels but the place kept beckoning us as we saw tourists and locals heading towards this place at the airports and bus terminals we passed through.

KL is a modern, clean city where the streets are mostly full with cars, buses and trucks.  There are very few motorcycles.  There is a monorail that brings people across the city to their desired destinations.  It's a city that is still very young and growing.  Construction is throughout the city building skyscrapers and new roadway systems to show the world how much Malaysia as grown.  In the midst of this city is the Petronas Twin Towers, the symbol of new Malaysia.  The city is a mix of people who have helped build this country together – Malaysian, Chinese and Indian.  The multiculturalism of the country is constantly promoted in brochures, signage and videos of what you can find in Malaysia.  The people are open and friendly and it was so nice to relax a bit and engage with people without having to deal with another request for money or misinformation that we received from our last place of visit.  The multiculturism also extended itself to the type of tourists who have come to this welcoming city – Lebanese, Turks, Arabs, Koreans, Japanese, Europeans and more.  It was a pleasant sight to see the diversity of people and cultures all interacting together peacefully.  When you have such a great assortment of people all living and interacting in one place is that the foods from all these great places are also available.  Jeff and I were in our glory over the wide assortment of food options we had at our disposal (we did our best to sample as many as we could – Malay, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, the list goes on).  We were in food heaven!!

KL taking its direction from Singapore wants to present itself as a place where you can see and do many things – the city hosts a number of festivals each year.  At the time of our visit there was the United Buddy Bears Exhibit.  This exhibit that started as an idea by a group of artists in Berlin symbolizes Art of Tolerance.  Each Buddy Bear is designed by local artists from the over 140 countries recognized by the UN.  The designs from each of the countries come together to form one exhibit.  Proceeds raised from the exhibit through donations and auctions go towards UNICEF and other children’s charities (the exhibit has raised over 1.8 Million Euros to date).  It’s message is that the Buddy Bears stand together "hand in hand" symbolising the future vision of a peaceful world.  Each bear stands for the people of the different countries and their culture, yet not for political systems (http://www.buddy-baer.com/united-buddy-bears/idea/overview.html). I had read up on this exhibit and I was so happy to be able to see it in person.  It was a popular site for locals and tourists alike as each person sought out their country of origin’s or favourite country’s Buddy Bear.  I was no different as I looked for the Buddy Bear from Poland (which was among the bears who won honorable mentions) and we sought out the bears from the Netherlands (Jeff’s family’s country of origin) and of course Canada.  We also thought it would be fun to look for each Buddy Bear from the countries we have travelled thus far on our Asian travels (see the photos below).  I kept coming back to this exhibit over and over again as I loved the idea of having artists from around the world participating together in this project of peace and tolerance for all people and cultures.

In addition to touring around the city where we saw the various neighbourhoods that are part of this city’s history (re: Chinese, Indian, Arab, Malay) we also visited the KL City Centre Park and Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens Park.  The KL City Centre Park is in the heart of the city located near the Petronas Twin Towers.  It's a nice oasis away from the office towers as there is a running track and a water park for kids.  There are also nice areas to sit and escape the heat of the city.  The Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens park located west of the city centre is a reflection of the countryside - lush and green jungles.  The park retains many native plants, shrubs and trees.  The park also has butterfly, bird and deer parks.  Travelling through the city, you pick up the eco awareness that exists in the area.  Surrounded by the beautiful lushness of the jungles, the city life is somewhat kept at bay by cooling the city down and cutting down the smog and pollution.  This could account for why the city was so clean – the air was good, very little garbage could be found in the streets.  There is an appreciation of what the earth provides therefore you want to hold onto this richness for future generations.

Not to be outdone by Malaysia’s neighbouring Asian countries, there is shopping galore for the shopaholics.  The shopping malls within the Golden Triangle are very swank – my favourite was the Pavilion a new addition to the shopping extravaganza.  The malls were full of people shopping and passing the time with friends and family.

During our time in KL, it was Jeff’s birthday.  Unfortunately Jeff was a bit under the weather however KL proved to be a good place for him to relax and take it easy.  We were able to hang out by the pool on his birthday day (the water was a bit cool to stay in too long) and we had a fabulous birthday celebration at a Thai restaurant in the Pavilion shopping mall (where you can see some of the other great restaurants they have to pick from – see photos below).  A nice touch was from our Hotel Furama who left Jeff a birthday cake (see photo below) while we were out.  Overall KL was a great place to come and hang out for week.  We were so happy we made the decision to come to this city.  It also piqued my interest to want to explore more of Malaysia.  Another time, another visit – there’s just so much to see and do!!!

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Tomoo on

This has given me the inspiration to visit Malasia. I will fly down from Chiang Mai in nothern Thailand next month before flying back to Japan. I hope there are convenient bus services to visit anoither smaller towns.

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