Kuala lumpur is a city with a spectacular skyline and incredible street food.
I recall when I was younger, my family and I would always watch the 7:00 pm news, which was sparsed with intermitent breaks. During these breaks, various advertisements were constitently aired, one such rather magical advert was the one based on tourism in Malaysia. It was alluring to say the least. “Malaysia truly Asia” was the main anthem which was left resounding in my head after each advert. Showcasing beautiful resorts, breathtaking views and delicious multicultural cuisine, I made a grand wish that I’d one day get to visit this country and experience it all. Last year my wish finally came true, in a certainly different way.
While looking for flights to Bali, I noticed that most flights had a transit in Kuala Lumpur, so I opted for a two day transit in KL before heading on to Indonesia for my summer vacation. I basically just wanted to see the Petronas towers for myself, as I’m sure most people do, which is why Kuala Lumpur is the 6th most visited city in the world. There are plenty of other reasons why tourists flock to this city, such as, the fact that it’s a shopping haven, the diversity in culture, the incredible food and there’s quite a bit to see, among other reasons.
How to get there
My friends and I arrived at KLIA terminal 2 at around 2pm and took a 45 minute bus to the city center. It was the cheapest option as it cost only MR18 ($4). There are other transport options such as the airport express which costs MR55 ($13), an Uber taxi which will set you back MR70-89 ($17-22) ; quite an affordable option if traveling in a group.
Where to stay
We stayed at the Sunshine Bedz hostel situated right in the heart of Bukit Bintang shopping district. It’s quite close to both the Pavilion and the Walkway, which leads to The Tower and Petronas Twin towers, and a short walk to the bar street, street food market and nandos restaurant! The hostel is very affordable, only MR30 ($7) a night so budget travelers would love this place. It’s also a great place to meet fellow travellers, offers free breakfast and arranges awesome nights out for party lovers.
For those looking for a more private stay, there are plenty budget and luxurious hotels as well to choose from. Many worldwide hotel chains are situated in the city.
Petronas twin towers
After some much needed rest, we went exploring Bukit bintang and the Pavillion area.
A short walk got us to Suria KLCC, which is the base of the famous Petronas towers. We were fortunate enough to have gotten there just in time for the light show, it was really quite splendid. Suria KLCC also has a variety of stores to shop from, food courts and a cinema.
Afterwards we decided to get something to eat, it’s no surprise that we ended up at Nando’s and splurged a bit. Nandos is a restaurant that I absolutely loved going to when they still had a branch in Nairobi, so finding it again (after ten years) was really great! Try their grilled chicken and mango sauce if you ever find yourself in their restaurant.
Set out in the outskirts of the city are the Batu caves, a half- hour drive by Uber, which only set us back MR25 ($6). Batu caves consist primarily of Temples and cave formations. The temples hold significance to the Hindu religion and the limestone cave formations are dated to be about 400million years old. As we arrived, we were greeted by the magnificent 42.7 meter tall gold statue of Lord Murugan and then ascended up the steep 272 steps to the top.
A few tips; dress modestly as it’s a holy place, and watch out for the monkeys as they can be very sneaky. I remember a couple of them stealing foodstuffs off inattentive tourists, stealing candy from kids’ hands and even grabbing water bottles and sunglasses. So its highly recommended that tourists keep all foodstuffs and liquids in their bags at all times. It’s also strictly prohibited to feed the monkeys.
We decided to try out the dark cave guided tour. It costs about MR35 ($8) for adults, $7 for children, it was an experience and a half, imagine being on the set of a thriller movie, or horror movie.
The dark cave is home to bats, which are crucial to the survival of the other cave inhabitants. The guano(bat droppings) is a source of nutrients to cave dwellers. Its also home to the rarest spider in the world, trapdoor spider.
What to eat and nightlife.
Street food shawarmas, shisha bars, coconut ice-cream at the food market, the market is also a haven for durian and fresh young coconuts lovers.
- Malaysia has strict laws about alcohol so drinking out is pricey, however, each person is allowed to bring 1L of alcohol into the country (can be purchased at duty free in KLIA).
- KLIA is abit far from the city, about a 50 minute drive to the city center so ensure you have enough transit time.
- Entry into Malaysia is Visa free for alot of countries, including Kenya.
- Modest dressing when going to religious places is recommended.
- Other places to visit during this transit period can include :
- Visiting the Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Learn about culture of Malaysia at the National museum.
- Shopping at Central market
- Exploring the seaworld at Aquaria KLCC
- Viewing Kuala Lumpur city from the Menara Kuala Lumpur tower
My next blog posts will be all about my trips to Bali, and it’s extraodinary islands!