Kuala Lumpur 2012

View of Kuala Lumpur from Menara KL

View of Kuala Lumpur from Menara KL

Over the Easter Break We (Sarah and myself) ventured to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We had always talked about going to Kuala Lumpur to see the sites and to experience the diverse mix of cultures that the Malay, Chinese and Indian people bring to Kuala Lumpur, so we jumped at the chance to visit such an interesting city.

Monday 2nd April

We flew from Manchester airport with KLM to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol boarding our connecting flight (also with KLM) almost immediately which was good because as much as I enjoy travelling, I hate hanging around at the airport, it always feels like you’re just wasting your time. I also dislike flying, not because I’m scared of it, mainly the tedium and the person sat in front that always insists on putting there chair back.

Tuesday 3rd April

After an exhausting 12 hour flight from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol we arrived at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Once we’d recovered a little and found something to eat & drink we headed to the KLIA Express which takes you directly to KL Sentral Station for RM35 (£7.50) each in around 20-30 minutes. From there it was a quick hop around the construction site to the Monorail (KLM) and on to IMBI (15mins) and our hotel the Royale Bintang (just 2 mins walk from the station). After a bit of a rest we took a walk around the local Area of Bukit Bintang to find something to eat. We ended up at the food court in the basement of Lot 10 (one of the many many shopping centres) and got some good local food all for just RM30 (£6.50) for two including drinks and a side of Wantans. Then it was back to the Hotel for some much needed sleep.

Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers

Wednesday 4th April

Woke up early as we hadn’t quite adjusted to the time difference yet. We decided to take it easy so set off to see the Petronas Towers (currently the 3rd tallest skyscraper in the world). There is an air conditioned raised walk way and tunnel that runs all the way from the Pavilion KL shopping centre right to Suria KLCC shopping centre which is right at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers. We didn’t go up today, but thought we would go up later in the holiday instead, there is a nice park out one side so we took a bit of a stroll around that and had a quick bite to eat whilst admiring the many other skyscrapers there was one particular building that looked like it could have been from Gotham City (pic).

Later in the afternoon we took the Train from Hang Tuah (a 5 minute walk from Imbi KLM) over to Masjid Jamek to visit China Town and do a walk from the guide book that took in all the main sites, but we quickly realised it was neither use nor ornament, so we made our own way instead. Head south and right next to Masjid Jamek Station is Masjid Jamek (Jamek Mosque) (pic) a red brick mosque built in 1909. Squeezed in-between the buildings of China Town you almost stumble upon the Sri Mahamariamman Temple (the oldest and richest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur founded in 1873 the current structure was built in 1968). We then made our way over to Jalan Petaling the site of China Towns street market and picked myself up some cheap knock off sunglasses as I’d left mine at home before heading back for something to eat.

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Sri Mahamariamman Temple

Thursday 5th April

Hornbill Restaurant

@Hornbill Restaurant

First up today was a visit too Muzium Negara (National Museum of Malaysia) just a stones throw from KL Sentral Station it’s a little tricky to get too with all the construction that was going on but after taking a short cut through the Hilton’s Drop off area we managed to find our way. Entry is just RM5 (£1) and in the museum you will find an overview of the history and development of Malaysia right up until the modern day, there are many impressive artefacts to see and it gave me the opportunity to learn some of the background too the development of Malaysia.

Exiting the rear of the Museum we headed over to the Islamic Arts Museum also very tricky to get too as there are no sign posts to help out the tourists, there are lots of twists and turns as well as being vey hilly. Once we made it to the Islamic Arts Museum we were impressed by the large collection of Islamic architecture from all over the world, there are also good collections of textiles, metal work, ceramics, armour and much more.

After a couple of hours there we headed over to the Hornbill Restaurant next to KL Bird Park, the food is very good and not expensive seeing it is just about the only place around to get anything to eat. KL Bird Park is quite nice for a walk around although quite expensive for its size at RM48 (£10) you could easily spend a couple of hours there though, we had a light shower of rain and some thunder so decided to make our way back before we got a proper soaking. Later that night we went to the Teppanyaki restaurant in the Pavillion food court, I always enjoy watching the chef cook it in front of you.

Friday 6th April

Got up early today so we could go to FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) we had to get the train from KL Sentral to Kepong and the a short Taxi ride to the FRIM Information Centre it’s about a 15min walk from the main entrance. We had wanted to go on the Canopy walk, but unfortunately we had chosen the wrong day as it is closed Friday and Monday. As we were already there we decided to walk the trail anyway the trail is approximately a 1.5km loop and there is plenty of climbing up to where the Canopy walk starts, take plenty of water with you it is very humid in the forest and there was very little breeze to help cool you down. Make sure you come back down the Waterfall Trail it is very picturesque. Thoroughly exhausted we headed back to the hotel for a rest before some more Teppanyaki this time at Berjaya Times Square.

Saturday 7th April

Spent the day relaxing by the hotel pool, it was absolutely scorching once the sun had come over the top of the hotel. Made good headway on on my books finishing Jo Nesbo’s Nemeis and Michael Connelly’s The Fifth Witness (writer of the Lincoln Lawyer) both books were excellent. Later that afternoon we headed over to Little India. Again getting off the KLM at Masjid Jamek Station, except head north, there is a street market right next to the station selling food, material and the usual knock off merchandise. We had to cut the trip short as a thunder storm ensued. We ended up back at the Berjaya Times Square this time for some Thai food and a bit of a browse around the shops.

Menara KL

Menara KL

Sunday 8th April

Today is Sarah’s Birthday! so we travelled over to the Menara KL for what are supposed to be the best views of KL (and they most definitely are!) from atop the sixth tallest telecommunication tower in the world and the tallest in Southeast Asia. for RM45 (£10) you can visit the viewing platform and do a view other activities around the base of the tower, but as it was Sarah’s Birthday we decided to go to the revolving restaurant 1 floor above the viewing platform for RM88 (£20) where you get an excellent buffet lunch in . We had to wait until 11.30 for the restaurant to open so had a little time to kill, so we took a stroll around the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve that surrounds the Menara KL make sure you take some bug spray  though to keep the insects away we got quite a few bites that day.

We got a great table with unobstructed views over the whole of KL, the restaurant takes around an hour to do a full rotation, we spent a good 2 hours enjoying everything that was on offer, there is a good selection of food to suit most peoples taste and you are left alone and don’t feel pressurised to eat quickly so you can really enjoy the view.

After lunch we went down to the viewing platform which has high powered binocular points so you can see even more of KL along with labeled images explaining what some of the more impressive buildings are. Back down at the bottom there are several other attractions including a photographic history of the construction of the tower, a pony ride, a cultural village with different variations on traditional Malaysian houses and an F1 zone with several cars and an F1 simulator which lets you race around the Malaysian Sepang circuit for just RM20 (£4.50) for a couple of laps, I thought it would be rude not to have a go and promptly gave my fellow competitors a good spanking!

Later that evening we went to Tengkat Tong Shin if like street food this is the place for you, what is a very quiet and uninteresting street becomes packed along both sides with lots of busy places to eat, filled with tourists and locals alike. We carried on to the Pavilion KL shopping centre, it’s filled with expensive western shops that aren’t really of any interest to us, but up on the top floor there is an area called Tokyo Street filled with lots of different small shops containing all sorts of different things I picked up a Momiji – Coming Soon figure and a Dooodolls -Reddish figure, Sarah also got a Momiji figure. There is also a japanese store at the end of Tokyo Street where everything is just RM5 (£1.10) from sushi moulds to little ornaments and stationery, it’s worth popping into even if just for a browse.

View from Menara KL

View of Kuala Lumpur from Menara KL

Monday 9th April

We made an early rise so that we could get the train from KL Sentral Station to the Batu Caves and beat the heat for the climb up the 272 steps. The Batu Caves have become one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. It is the focal point of Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia. Featuring a 15m (50ft) statue of Hanuman, the monkey god (which I had to see), it is dwarved in size by the fantastic gold statue of Murugan standing at 42.7 m (140 ft) high, it is the world’s tallest statue of Murugan, resting at the base of the 272 steps that lead to the various natural limestone caves the largest of which is known as the Temple Cave. There is a small colony of Macaque Monkeys looking to pinch food from any unaware tourists. The natural limestone caves are really impressive as is the massive statue of Murugan but the small shrines inside did not feel particularly special. For a view extra RM you can visit the Cave Villa, you cross a large Koi Carp pond with hundreds of fish to reach a long passage of caves, which have many statues depicting Hindu stories, there is also a cultural performance, a bird park and a reptile display (both of which that weren’t in the best condition), you can put on a little extra time here but it isn’t something you need to see.

Murugan at the base of the Batu Caves

Murugan at the base of the Batu Caves

After a rest we headed back over to Berjaya Times Square for yet more Teppanyaki  (I know but it’s so good) and to make some purchases that we had spotted on our last visit, before chilling out at the cinema watching Mirror Mirror.

Tuesday 10th April

We were going to make the trip up the Petronas Towers but the price had gone up since our guide book was published and although it was only RM50 (£10) we had already been up Menara KL so decided to save our money for something else. We spent the rest of the day relaxing by the pool before returning to take some pictures of the Petronas Towers and the surrounding area all lit up at night.

Petronas Towers at night

Petronas Towers at night

Wednesday 10th April

Today we have to fly home (boooo) but before that we had time for some last minute shopping, Sarah got another bag. We spent the rest of the day chilling by the pool as we had a long journey back.

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We had a great time visiting Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and got to see so many great places. We’d definitely go back to Malaysia to see more of the country and maybe even Kuala Lumpur again in a few years, it would be interesting to see how much it had changed.

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