Leaving beautiful Malacca behind and bound for the bright city lights of Kuala Lumpur in Southern Malaysia – haven’t visited this city since 1989!
If you need a taxi when you arrive at the bus station, be careful not to take the blue “Business Taxis”. These are much more expensive than the usual taxis and drivers can be quite rude when you politely decline the ride.
All major bus stations are accessible via the Light Rail.
Expect to see hectares of Palm Oil plantations on the trip from Malacca to KL and through most of the country.
This is extremely sad as all the natural vegetation and perhaps once jungle-like scenery has disappeared to this destructive crop, which leaves behind all its inhabitants orphaned or killed.
This is 2014. Having travelled to Malaysia back in 1989, I’ve seen many not-so-great changes on this trip, which I’ve written a post on: Modern Malaysia. The mighty dollar reaps everything in sight throughout SE Asia.
Wander the streets of KL in the sweltering heat and experience the many free sights, architecture, and museums.
As with many large cities, many paid sites are also on offer, if you have a lot of cash to spend. Although, when on the road for an extended time this is not always viable.
Wander through gorgeous Merdeka Square (Independence Square) for its opulent architecture and grandeur surrounds. With more of an Arabic flair, the architecture is very different to Asian architecture.
Colonial architecture merged with middle-eastern flavours produces stunning architecture.
Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
The Kuala Lumpur City Gallery (free entry) next to the square offers respite from the heat. Information on KL’s history and future development is detailed in the museum.
A separate glassed-room at the museum houses many wood craftsmen, which painstakingly create model sculptures of just about anything.
Some of these workers have been crafting models in the museum for over 20 years…such dedication.
Spend a little money at the gift shop and take an unusual and original souvenir home, instead of the cheap souvenirs on offer at the markets and on from street stalls.
National Textiles Museum
Still in Merdeka Square, take a stroll and take delight in the World Costume Dolls exhibition and coolness of the National Textiles Museum (free entry) – also offers respite from the steamy outdoor ambience.
One of KL’s significant heritage landmarks, the museum also houses exquisite traditional textiles and technology. The doll exhibition is an added bonus.
Bukit Bintang is a great area for finding cheap eats and also, for taking intriguing photographs.
The multi-cultural Little India and China Town are also in this District. A plethora of brightly-painted temples, shrines, coupled with a great bustling aromatic atmosphere that entices the senses, this area never disappoints.
China Town offers many budget accommodation options and backpacker gigs.
The Jalan Petaling area is wonderful for street market stalls, which sell almost everything and bursting with locals and tourists.
You know when you have arrived to the street as there are two large Chinese arches on either end of the street welcoming you. As this is a pedestrianised, there’s not a worry of being mowed down by a vehicle, so you can shop or eat in comfort.
Haggling is expected here so don’t be shy and jump right in but keep it friendly and always smile. The stall owners love a good friendly barter and the smile helps to break the ice. Pick up many counterfeit clothing items and watches, if you so desire.
As expected, the area hosts loads of food stalls and restaurants, which serves many delicious dishes such as the local Assam Laksa – one of my favourite spicy noodle soup dishes.
Of course, Petronis Towers is a must. This towering structure is an amazing and famous piece of architecture that seems to dwarf everything in KL and the landmark building is visible from many areas in the city.
Building of the towers commenced in 1994 with the grand opening finally in 1999.
It is expensive to go up to the Sky Bridge, which is perched between the two towers. This connecting bridge is 170 metres (558 feet) above the ground and just over 58 metres (192 feet) long, and weighs 750 tons.
Sadly, I haven’t too much to offer on sights in KL as not too much exploring in this cool city. Most of my time is spent indoors in bed with food poisoning, so sight-seeing isn’t high on the agenda.
The taxi ride from the Bersepadu Selatan bus station to the Ceria Hotel (Bukit Bintang) sets you back about RM25 plus an extra charge of RM2 for each bag. I’m not sure why there’s an extra charge for each bag – just the way it is in KL.
Both the Ceria Hotel and staff are excellent.
A very modern and clean hotel, fitted with IKEA furnishings, and stayed here twice for its location and service. I would definitely recommend this hotel as it’s great value-for-money.
The Ceria is a five-minute easy walk to the Imbi Monorail Station and a ten-minute walk to the Hang Tuah Monorial, which is a junction for the light rail. Both train systems are inexpensive, efficient, and you can travel everywhere.
In addition to the excellent food stalls and restaurants available throughout the Jalan Petaling flea market area and as I was sick a lot of the time during my stay in KL, I only mention a couple of eating haunts.
The Pavilion Shopping Centre
On 168 Bukit Bintang, the Pavillion is your best stop for great eating haunts in this massive mall. Hosting an excellent food court downstairs, enjoy cheap and very good Malay or regional Asian food at this mall. Western food (pizza, pasta, bread) is also on offer but more expensive, of course.
Frequent this food court several times times – savour the Hot Plate, Hot Pot, and vegetarian dishes, which are delicious and very reasonably priced.
Rasataura (Berjaya Times Square)
This restaurant offers the best ‘Set’ breakfast of Roti Canai Telur or Mee Goreng around.
Breakfast is served with a choice of coffee or tea. Very good service at this restaurant. Dinner meals are a little pricey.
Meal price tip
The ++ displayed on a menu is a 10% Service charge and 6% Government tax.
These charges are on top of the advertised meal’s price in the majority of restaurants and hotels throughout Malaysia, so keep this in mind when ordering your delicacy.
Having heard so much about the beauty of the Cameron Highlands, it’s time to leave sweltering KL by bus. Heading inland for the coolness and greenness of the hills, but also to indulge in a little of the famous tea grown in the Cameron Highlands.