The cultural difference in a place makes an adventure more real and interesting, there is a lot more to talk about because everything is different!
The perfect place for a two day break between flights! Kuala Lumpur is a fast growing city with a strong tradition with street markets and colonial buildings in between skyscrapers! This is a city that will not let you indifferent to its cultural diversity!
Walking around the city, you will see that it is a very noisy city, KL is the capital city of Malaysia and for that reason is very vibrant and full of life!
What to know before travelling
The traffic in the city is simply chaotic, one of the reasons for this is that there are more cars in the city than the actual space for them to move around! Hehe Visiting the city, we tried to walk as much as possible but sometimes it’s just too far to walk! The transportation is a bit difficult to understand because the tube, tram and the different lines are managed by different private companies. Therefore, to use one and/or the other you will need different tickets and sometimes you have to walk a bit to change from one line to another in different stations. This made us only use the tube once or twice and when we didn’t have to do a lot of changes!
One of the things you must know is that the journey from the airport to the city takes around one hour, which is not a problem when you arrive to the city, but on the way back to the airport have that in mind! If you have hold luggage and to check in, please allow yourself an extra hour because you will have to wait in three queues (to check in the hold luggage, security and to check out of the country where they stamp the passport) before you can reach your gate, where there will be another queue! If you are think “oh dear, did they make the flight?” the answer is “almost!” Taking into account that we left the hotel with three good hours before the flight, there was not much time to spare. Maybe, if we knew this beforehand, we would have left four hours before!
What to see
- Petronas Towers
The tallest building in the world between 1998 and 2004, with 88 floors, these twin towers have 452 meters tall! Each tower was built by a different company and they were finished just one day apart! The tour to the towers takes about 45 minutes, you can visit the world highest bridge (170 meters) on the 41st floor and also visit the 86th floor with the observation deck! I think that we secretly have a “thing” for tall buildings, maybe because there is no better way of seeing a city if not at the highest place! I strongly recommend to do the tour at sunset because you can enjoy seeing the city at day and night!
- Batu Caves
One of the most impressive places that I have visited, with a golden 42.5 meters’ tall statue at the entrance, Murugan, son of Shiva, the Indi god of war! Behind him, there are 272 steps that will take you to the main cavern where the lord’s six abodes are craved into the walls, further ahead, there is a second cavern, which holds the temple of Valli Devanai, his wife. Oh! Almost forgot to mention that there are monkeys here! They are cute but they still everything, there are some rules that you should know when encountering monkeys! Don’t look them in the eyes (it is taken as a challenge), don’t carry water bottles in your hands because they will get stolen and same for plastic bags! Unless you want to have a more direct contact with the monkeys, these are the things to be aware, don’t expect them to be friends with you though! I would recommend visit the Batu Caves early in the morning, first because is not so crowded and second the later you leave it the hotter it gets and I don’t think it’s a good idea to climb that many steps with such high levels of temperature and humidity!
There are three ways to get to the Batu Caves
Taxi is the easiest and most expensive way. You can get a taxi from anywhere in the city and to come back you have several taxis waiting for tourists! Or if you rather you can negotiate with the taxi driver that will take you from the city and for some extra money he will wait for you and bring you back.
Uber is cheapest then the taxi but not so easy because you need internet to request it! This is what we did on our way to the Batu caves. We had internet at the hotel and was easy to order an Uber that took us there and the plan was to use 5min of roaming internet and order an Uber to bring us back to the city! Our plan only failed because of a small detail, the Batu Caves are 20 minutes away, on the outskirts of the city and the internet is not so good. Basically, we needed more than 5 minutes as the interned speed was slow or inexistent and all the money we had on our phones was spent and even them, we didn’t manage to book anything! Therefore, we resorted to the third option of how to get to the Batu Caves!
The train is the cheapest option and definitely the simplest, there is no price negotiation and will take you straight to the center of KL! There is only one thing you should be very aware in public transportation, there are women only carriages where man cannot enter! These carriages have an outside pink signage (very big). As expected we (me and Ricardo) got in to one of those carriages and we sat down, until a lady called me and said that Ricardo could not be there because the carriage was only for women! We were so surprised and embarrassed with this situation that instead of leaving the carriage and entering back again in a carriage with no signage, we ran through the train until we saw men! XD
- Dark Cave
On the side of Batu Caves you can find the Dark Caves, where you can take guided tours to see / listen the wild life in the caves. There are two types of tours, the cheapest where the guide goes through several chambers explaining all the differences, what animals live there and how to protect the caves. The more expensive one, apart from showing everything that the first one does, allows you to climb and crawl a bit deeper to other chambers! I think there is no need for me to tell you that the caves are dark and if you knew me personally. You would know that I hate dark places! It took Ricardo about 15 to 20 minutes to convince me to go in! Before we went in I was made very aware (by the posters at the entrance) what type of animals would be waiting for me in the cave, rats, bats, spiders, centipedes and to finish it off, snakes! The combination of a dark place and these animals that are not on my top 10 made me drag my decision! But I DID IT!! At the entrance, you get given a safety helmet and a flashlight which you can only point to the floor because bats are very sensitive to light! It was a very interesting and scary tour, especially when everyone turns off their lights and the group is surrounded only by darkness, but I would totally recommend it! This for me was more than just a tour, it was about facing my fears!
- KLCC Park
This park covers 20 hectares full of trees and almost looks small asit stands just next to the Petronas Towers! Every night after 8pm the lake symphony fountains play in front of the Suria KLCC!
- Suria KLCC
A Shopping center that has a bit of everything and not only has international brands but it also supports local brands, making it very special.
- Aquaria KLCC
In the basement of the KL Convention Centre you can find this impressive 90 meter underwater tunnel with a large variety of aquatical animals!
- Little India
As soon as you come near this part of town you realize that you are entering in a little bit of India. This is a well-known place for its street food, however even if you are not interested in the food you must not miss this place! A very colorful street, all the shops are traditionally Indian and there is a bit of everything, from the traditional clothing to vegetables that we have never seen before, so interesting! The area is called Brickfields and to get there I advise you to get a taxi or the tube (like we did) being the nearest station KL Sentral which is a central station where most lines stop!
A well-known place for bargains, this is where you can find a bit of everything from herbs to imitation goods! As soon as you get there you soon realize that you are in the right place, the remarkable entrance with the arcade and the balloons typically Chinese! Has I said previously we tried to mostly walk to most places and this one, I think, was the one that tested how fit we were with an average of 28ºC! To get there from the Petronas Towers is a 45min walk, we had a map and a Sat Nav and we still had to ask someone for directions, who kindly took us there.
- Sultan Abdul Samad building
Built in 1897, it was the first public building in Malaysia which, later, influenced others across the city. This building is situated in the Merdeka Square with its massive facade and its coper domes that shine in the sun making the building even more magnificent! This is only a 10-minute walk from the Chinatown!
Where to eat / drink
- Lot 10
This is a shopping center that you should not miss and eat there! This shopping center encouraged famous hawker food to open an air-conditioned food court on the minus one level! The result could not be better, good food in the most relaxed place and on top of that, it is nice and cool!
- Jalan Alor Street
The street that has more food to offer in KL, open from 5pm until late every night! You can sample pretty much every Malay-Chinese dish, these are the places that make me want to travel, know new things and taste the different flavorful food! Totally recommend the litchi juice, typical and delicious! If you decide to get an Uber (like we did) or a taxi just be aware that there is a LOT of traffic, but when we are on holiday there is no rush, right?
- Heli Bar
With a 360 degrees’ view over the city, this is a bar on a helipad! Unfortunately, when we got there we had to pay a minimum to consume (me and Ricardo are not drinking people) and we decided not to enter!
Please arrive from 18:00 to 21:00 so you don’t have to have to pay this minimum to consume. It’s open every day.
Directions: Bukit Bintang 34th Floor, Menarakh, Jalan Sultan Ismail.
- Sky Bar at Traders Hotel
A bar with a privileged view to the city and Petronas. With an energetic vibe, might be one of my favorite places in the city! The pictures speak for themselves!
See you soon Kuala Lumpur!
Have you visited Kuala Lumpur, did you like it?
Thank you for reading, feel free to leave me a comment!