Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: A Shoppers Delight
Trip Start Jul 28, 2013
76Trip End Feb 06, 2014
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Kuala Lumpur - Welcome to the city of clean organised chaos. Not as clean as Singapore or chaotic as Bangkok but a nice mix somewhere in between. Getting from the airport to downtown was an hour bus ride followed by a 15 min taxi ride to China Town. Bags on backs we walked up the pedestrianised street of Jalan Petaling in search of our less than desirable but incredibly affordable hotel (£12 - bargain). With our time in the city limited, and Sam having been here before, our belongings were literally thrown into the box room, faces splashed, deodorant sprayed and off we went on Tour de KL - Bridger style.
The street of Petaling is China Town's heartbeat. A pulsating hum of everyday life where Chinese lanterns float in the sky as they're stretched from pillar to post. Makeshift walls of sunglasses, trainers and handbags line the street. Stalls are choked full of all things Cath Kidston who appears to be the new favourite kid on the block for knock offs along with brightly coloured Ted Baker bags. Michael Korrs also packs a presence.
With eyes kept firmly on the ground we skipped through and made our way to Menara Tower, the world's fifth tallest telecommunications tower at 421m. One thing I will never get used to or like is humidity and the feeling it gives of almost swimming through the air. By the time we arrived at the tower we were a hot sweaty mess and grateful for the industrial fans which greeted us on arrival. Stepping into the lift we zoomed up to the viewing platform, 276m above, where we soaked up the brilliant views across the city of KL and look longingly at the swimming pools scattered below.
Spotting an ominous dark cloud on the horizon we made a dash from the Menara Tower to the Petronas Twin-Towers, stopping off for a thirst quenching and much missed Magners along the way. Stepping into the Petronas Towers was like walking through the wardrobe and into Narnia's world of wonder. A multileveled world of wonder encompassing all things pretty and completely unnecessary for a backpacker. In the centre of which stood giant sparkling tree giving us our first proper taste of Christmas.
With the rain pouring down we explored the rows of shops and food court. On spotting a break in the weather we ventured outside to stroll around the pond and fountains. Craning our necks as far back as they would go we looked to the heavens to get a full view of the two towers. An engineering and architectural masterpiece.
Stopped off for a beer at a good ole English pub. After we'd had enough of eavedropping on expat conversation and discussing the merits of living in either Bangkok, KL or Singapore we ventured back inside and saw a movie. Captain Phillips starring Tom Hanks. Very good if you ignore all the American over the top bravo. The highlight for me was the selection of popcorn available - Satay, Caramel, Milo Chunk Special, BBQ or boring original. Taking a step back into my childhood of Lolly Gobble Bliss Bombs I opted for the caramel and wasn't disappointed. A reverse dessert if you will as on our way home we called into a side street China Town restaurant for a proper meal which was fabulously cheap and offered superb people watching.
Before flying out the next day we walked to the Central Market. Operational since 1936 it's a wall to wall under cover market. Clothes, bags, souvenirs, serving plates and bowls that I could have bought a dozen of but somehow I miraculously escaped without one purchase.
Starting our trip out to the airport our taxi driver to the bus terminal was a funny man. For the 15 min journey he kept us entertained by imparting his words of wisdom upon us.
His thoughts on Malaysia
"You get out of this city. People lazy. Like fisherman. Just sit and fish. No good."
"Haha look at that fat man. He so fat no way he get such a beautiful lady. He lazy too. Must be rich."
"How many wife you have?" "Two" says Sam. "Ahhh two is good. I have three. No good, you end up having to feed yourself. You go to A she tell you to go to B. You go to B she tell you to go to C. You go to C she tell you to get out. So I end up having to go out for dinner. Think I need to find forth wife".
"You need fresh fish. Old fish boring. Fresh fish good. I have many hormone so need fresh fish daily."
"Your wife in back. She older than you yes?"
Once again, lucky I wasn't the one in charge of tipping!!! Not that that mattered as when Sam handed him the money he returned some of the change, kept some for himself and simply swatted Sam away when he queried the non intended tip. Luckily for him we were somewhat bewildered and laughing too much to argue.