I spent two nights in KL and got a sense for the city. (I’ve got rules on if you can say you’ve been to a country. You must stay overnight, outside an airport. And I grant myself one exception, I was only in Northern Macedonia (FYROM) as a day trip. Maybe someday if I take an around the world cruise, I’ll modify the rules.)
My 10 second review for a friend was:
Good cheap food. Great shopping. Lots of construction until 2020. Everyone speaks English.
My more detailed review:
KL is a mix of old and new. Poor and lavish. Hot and cold. Spoiler KL is close to the equator so it’s generally hot. But public spaces have great AC, so there were definitely times I was cold.
I was so, soo excited to have ethnic food. It is possible to get tired of Italian food, but after more than a year in Italy, I needed a break. I went on an unsuccessful quest late the first night for dim sum. In the process, I learned that dim sum doesn’t just mean dumplings. It can also mean small plates, like tapas or mezze. I tried ostrich! I’ll give it another go because I didn’t like the consistency in a hot pot. Luckily the scallops w/broccoli and teriyaki chicken were more than enough and tasty to boot.
I didn’t have much of a plan for KL (by choice) and enjoyed wandering and backtracking across the city. TIP: If you navigate with google maps on transit lines pay attention to the colors not the names!
I got a bit of late start yesterday because I wanted to watch the Caps play. (Hockey at 8am is a nice change from hockey at 2am!) Then if was off to Lot 10 Mall. I’m not a shopper. And on this trip I don’t have a lot of space in my bags (which is a good way to save more than just baggage fees, because you have no space for stuff. Read my
rant about stuff post about downsizing here.)
The food court was a sensory delight. Colors, smells, tastes. Not great wifi down there so my FB Live video is available on YouTube. The food court has tons of options but I elected to go to the top floor for sushi, and yummy sushi was had.
I did make my way back down to the food court to try a durian cream puff. Meh, didn’t spit it out, didn’t love it.
Shopping, Culture and Art
Next stop the Central Market. Another FB Live video. If you’re looking for cheap tech accessories or Asian apparel this is the place. There is a ton of junk available, but also some lovely options. Just depends on what you want. All I really wanted was a magnet, for the collection. Inside, I happily discovered a used book store a picked up a paperback for those times when my battery runs out. TIP: Walk through to get a sense of what’s available, then go back to the places you like. In the annex building are a couple of art stores and found a painting of KL that wasn’t framed (they will almost always take it off the frame for you).
I saw Captain Marvel at. It’s a good flick. Has an awesome girl power soundtrack and a good teaser in the credits. (I didn’t stay for the second teaser and didn’t miss much.) Time for the advice/warning, toilets in Asia may be a squatty potty (not happening with my bad, in need of surgery hip) and western sit style. The two sit styles I looked in had footprints on the seat from people turning a sitty into a squatty and neither had paper or tissues, just a bumgun. I preferred my bumgun from Kuwait where you could adjust the water temp and spray or not, vs the hose type ones here. TIP: Take a roll of TP, smash it flat, put it in a waterproof zip bag and put it in your pack/purse.
Even More Food and Culture
Final stop of the day was the Alor Night Food Market. And yet another FB Live. (Should I switch to YouTube or Instagram Live?) Here was happiness. Here were dumplings. The colors may look fake but they aren’t. I tried two different vendors and both were good. Nothing compared to my favorite dumpling place in Tel Aviv. I gave durian another try as a deep-fried sweet treat. Still meh. But the deep fried pineapple was delish as was the fresh cane sugar water with lemon. 7 dumplings, 2 fried fruits and a drink was $11 total.
Then on the walk back to the hotel was some supercar spotting.
Morning was for Petronas Towers. I couldn’t come to KL and not go. It’s pretty and impressive and very busy. If you want to take the tour you can book in advance (3-7 days) or get up and stand in line at 6am. I did neither. The mall attached to the towers is full of VERY upscale stores (Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, et) but the restaurants are much more reasonable. I had to wait 30 min for the sushi place to open and think this might be the first time in my life I’ve had sushi 2 days in a row. And that includes 10 days in Tokyo.
Time to Go
Back to the hotel and a Grab (like Uber) to the bus station. The main bus station is amazing. Clean, organized, and every ticket counter can sell any bus ticket to any location. It was much bigger than many airports I’ve been to. I opted for the bus to Singapore instead of a flight. The flights were 2 hours and 15min and the bus 4.5, but the bus was $10. I used to hate the bus. In the immortal words of Samantha from Sixteen Candles, “I loathe the bus.” This one has the best seats but the tradeoff is bathroom, wifi, and power outlets. I wrote this while on the bus!
Follow up on the bus ride: It should have been a 4.5 hour trip but turned into a 10 hour saga. Not quite the worst I’ve ever had (that was a 2hr bus ride in Germany/Austria that turned into a 16-hour slog through multiple avalanches…hmmm buses crossing country borders doesn’t seem to work well for me…)
I didn’t want to overschedule myself and am glad I didn’t. Wandering (and traveling) isn’t about who sees or does the most. It’s not about who has the most Facebook or Instagram or Twitter followers. It’s about learning and enjoying the journey.