Pulling into Kuala Lumpur gave me the same thrill of crossing the GW Bridge and rushing down the west side highway watching the skyline from the passenger window knowing that I am home. I didn’t expect to like this city as much as I did. It’s the first Asian city I’ve been in that’s been truly multicultural. The three main groups that you see are Chinese, Islamics and whites. I had two different “trips” in the city. My first three days I was a backpacker and stayed at Birdnest 2 Hostel in Chinatown. The hostel was on the second floor of a walk-up but was designed to look like houses outdoors. Sweden and I shared a double room with a fan. There was no window and with temperatures in the 90s everyday we felt like we were being tortured.
Our first night we went to Nando’s, a UK chicken restaurant chain that basically everyone I’ve met raves about. I had the butterfly chicken breast extra hot. To be honest I don’t understand the hype. The sauce was creamy, not that spicy, and not that exciting.
After we went to Betraya Times Square, one of the many massive malls in the city, to catch a movie. All the movies we wanted to see (and that the theater website said it was playing) were not actually in theaters here. We ended up seeing The Wedding Ringer. I had never seen a preview but it was stupid funny, and perfect for our mood.
The mall had a roller coaster inside, like the mall or America. I got a euro-tart fro yo nearby. It also had a grocery store downstairs where I went bonanza.
The next day we got on the free public bus intending to take it all around the city. We ended up getting off to transfer and never got back on. We stopped at Dunkin and Starbucks for coffee (I miss regular black ice coffee) and then went to Forever 21 in the mall across the street. The Pavillion ended up being a massive middle/upper class mall. We got stuck enjoying the air conditioning and the western lifestyle. After shopping we grabbed a late lunch at Michaelango’s. I had the antipasto and a glass of white wine- my first glass of wine since Laos.
That night we went to Mansion Rooftop, the bar on top of Reggae Mansion. There was a great view of the KL Tower from the roof. We played pool and didn’t drink beer (I can’t keep drinking only beer.) We thought there might be fireworks that night because it was the eve of Chinese New Year but there was nothing. It did start to rain though and we had a dance party outside.
The next day was our official tourist day. We woke up and walked over a graffitied railway tunnel to the Islamic Arts Museum. I wasn’t sure what Islamic art meant but in this case it was mini replicas of the worlds most famous Mosques, old books, jewelry, clothes, weapons, etc. The museum architecture was modern and there was a nice view, but to be honest the museum wasn’t that great even though it’s rated #1 on trip advisor.
Next we went to Masjid Negara, the National Mosque of Malaysia. We had to wear traditional Islamic robes and hijab’s. It was fun to see both girls and boys walking around the mosque in purple robes- this mosque’s color choice. The mosque wasn’t impressive; especially not after seeing the mosque in Abu Dhabi. There was a lot of open walking space and there was the prayer room, which was only open to Muslims. Other than that there was nothing to see and the artictecturhe was boxy modern. Nothing about it felt old or religious.
From there we walked through the Hibiscus and Orchid Park. The national flower of Malaysia is the hibiscus. The flowers were mostly pinks which reminded me of my tattoo. I splashed myself in the fountain which felt incredible- it was over 90 degrees out. We went to the Butterfly park and I found the most entertaining long neck water turtle. He followed my GoPro around even when I forced him into the bubbles jet stream.
We headed back home and stopped for dinner in Chinatown. We had figured since it was the new year that there would be celebrations but instead most of Chinatown for closed. I did managed to find shrimp with broccoli though so I was happy.
We went to Sky Bar that night at Traders Hotel. It’s a rooftop club directly in front of the KLCC towers so it provided the best view for photos. I got a Manhattan (because it was the only bourbon cocktail) and we sipped our drinks next to to pool staring at the view. A local invited us to his table where we sat for the rest of our time there. We danced to old music and sipped on Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks.
At 1am-ish our new friend drove us to Changkat, the bar street. I was expecting a backpacker street like in every other city I’d been so far, but instead it was a clean street packed with big bars. Very western but not backpacker. It was a real going out scene which thankfully we were dressed appropriately for. We went to one bar that was having a ladies night and had two free cocktails.
At 3pm-ish we headed back to Mansion Rooftop. Right away a guy from Dubai started buying me drinks and I my own personal grape/mint shisha. He was flaunting his money (literally wads of cash) in an obnoxious way so I had no problem taking advantage. All in all it was a great night- from high roller rooftop tables all the way back to the backpacker rooftop bar.
The next morning we checked out of our hostel and our local friend picked us up and brought us to Jump Street, an indoor trampoline park. We had to buy special socks with grips, and we paid for an hour access. We started at the Main area which was a checkerboard of regular trampolines. I haven’t been on one since I was a kid but our local was a pro and Sweden has one at home. We jumped here for a while, then went to the advanced section where the springs are bouncier and you can jump into an air bag. Then there’s the section where you can jump into a foam pit. I preferred this landing because it was softer. However, the advanced area was the most fun because here you can bounce the highest. Trampolines are a serious workout.
After jumping we got dropped of at KL Sentral, the transportation hub. I took the subway back into the city and Sweden headed for the bus station.
The second three days of my trip I lived as a resident. I rented a large modern studio in the central of KL right near KLCC. The studio was Golden Triangle Suites by Mondo, part of Marc Residences. I was on the 26th floor and had a kitchen area (only a stove), large bathroom, washer/dryer, and a bed/ living room area with a large flat screen tv. It was everything I hoped for and needed.
The building facilities included two outdoor pools, a gym and a computer room. One of the pools faced one of the KLCC towers.
After checking in I went straight to KLCC mall to shop. I bought the new season of 24 on DVD, and then headed to Cold Storage grocery store. I went nuts with vegetables, and also bought hummus, brie cheese, seafood, and ice cream. I got other stuff as well but I missed these things the most.
In the next three days I made pan fried dory, sautéed Chinese broccoli, Cajun shrimp, vegetable stir fry, and a lot of eggs and toasted toast using only a frying pan.
I spent daytime in the gym and by the pool, and nighttime cooking and watching tv on the couch. I slept in late everyday and took long hot showers with my waterfall shower head. I jelled out to the max and enjoyed every second of it.
Three days past and I took the sky train to KL Sentral, then the Kommuter train to Bandar Tasik Selatan, the big bus terminal. From there I got a bus to Melaka.