● For full details on our route, transport info, hotel details, etc, look at our Google Maps page

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Kuala Lumpur

23rd October – 25th October

After one night in Kota Bharu, we took the jungle railway to Kuala Lumpur. A 13 hour journey, this was the long way to get to KL, but the scenery along the way was great.

Bukit Bintang and the Pondok Lodge hostel was our home for the two nights we spent in Malaysias capital – a good location with plenty of cool bars and restaurants nearby (out of our price range unfortunately!). Arriving at 11pm, we crashed out as soon as we got to the hostel, but the following day we headed out first thing (well, 10am) firstly to see the Petronas towers and to go up to the skybridge. It wasn’t our day as the next available timeslot wasn’t until 4 in the afternoon. Ady was ready to give up on the whole thing but Sam suggested getting tickets for the final slot of the day – 6.30pm – so that we could see the sunset and the city by night too.

From the towers we headed down into the Colonial district to check out Merdeka Square, constructed under British rule and given over to the Malay people in 1957 when independence was declared. There is a cricket pitch, a mock tudor house and a …..It was an interesting architectural mix! The weather was extremely hot and sticky and the place was thronging with tourists shipped in by numerous coaches, blocking any chance of a decent photo. We didn’t stay long.

Nearby Chinatown was next on the agenda and timed nicely for a slap up lunch! We wandered through the crowded streets and found a restaurant packed with Chinese Malay people, offering a buffet lunch. The food was excellent and having filled our boots we spent some time browsing the tat stalls for knock off goods, finding some convincing Ray Bans for a ringit or two.

Public transport in KL isn’t nearly as convenient as in Singapore, though we did take a monorail back to Bukit Bintang and passed over a scooter graveyard full of decaying Hondas and more than a handful of vintage Vespas! We hopped off the train to take a closer look (yes,I know this is one step up from train spotting!) and were amazed at how these scooters were just left to rot, when back home, they would be worth hundreds of pounds. So next time Ady wants to refurb another Vespa we know where to come!

Right on cue for our 6 o’clock ascent up the Petronas towers the heavens opened. We got completely soaked and filthy battling our way through the congestion of the Friday night rush hour. It was impossible to take a taxi and there was no direct transport link to the towers from Bukit Bintang – crazy stuff. We just made it to the building for our slot, only to be ushered into a small lecture theatre and sold a load of spiel on how wonderful the Petronas company is.

The view from the top (the skywalk linking the two towers which is as high as the public can go) wasn’t exactly amazing and the dreary weather didn’t help much. The view from the KL tower is supposed to be much better but you have to fork out a small fortune for this, whilst Petronas is free. In short, I guess you get what you pay for! Disappointed we paid a visit to Sushi King and treated ourselves to a feast before hitting the bars back in Bukit Bintang.

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