Malaysia..hotter, more humid. Kuala Lumpur…what a fantastic city! The streets are so clean! There isn’t trash littered in every nook like in Indonesia. Also, people aren’t staring at us because we’re white.
We chose a convenient location to stay in. Bukit Bintang is a centrally located area in Kuala Lumpur. Major attractions are all less than a mile away. KL is such a walkable city! Most importantly, our hostel was one block away from the famous “Jalan Alor,” an entire street devoted to restaurant and hawker stands.
There were Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Cambodian restaurants. There were stands that sold satay, dim sums, fruit juice, fresh sugar cane, coconuts, and ice cream. Two long, very long, blocks of food. Needless to say it was difficult choosing a place to eat. Employees from the restaurants would stand in the walkway and shove menus in your face to entice you. They’d rattle off five dishes they served to catch your attention. It was constant shouting and conversation from the hundreds of people having their meals. The food at the stalls were very cheap: $0.50-$3 depending on what you bought. It was harmless bouncing from one to another to try as much as we wanted!
“Fried” ice cream. He poured cream onto an extremely cold plate and scraped it thin multiple times. When the cream was paper thin and frozen he scraped it until it curled and put it in a cup!
Traditional Banana Leaf meal. Ours were filled with a fish and vegetable paste. Super delicious!
So many satay options!
Beautiful pork-filled dim sums
Shopping is huge in Kuala Lumpur. We’ve stumbled upon several malls, one of which was devoted completely to technology. They’re curious places though. This IT mall, for example, had the same ten stores on all eight floors. I’ve noticed Kuala Lumpur is also obsessed with selfies. Some of the IT stores had advertisements plastered wall to wall boasting they were the selfie experts. I’ve also seen a 15 meter tall panda statue using a selfie stick in a mall courtyard. I went shopping one evening at a mall near our hostel. Like the others, it was several levels of fast-fashion clothing.
I swam through the crowds and jam-packed stores, but nothing caught my eye. I realized I was shopping for unique Asian styles, but everything I saw were things you’d find in your local Forever 21 or Express. I loved admiring the Japanese evening gowns, though.
We put on over 20,000 steps a day in KL. We walked to the Petronas Towers which are overlooking one of the most magnificent city parks. The sidewalks through the park are two-laned, one for walking and one made out of track material for runners. There are beautiful gardens throughout, a huge children’s playground and pool, as well as a stunning water fountain at the base of the towers.
The KL tower is near the twin towers. It’s the seventh tallest telecommunication tower in the world.
At the bottom is a free shuttle you can take to the entrance. This tower is also surrounded by lush greenery. We bought a ticket to go to the sky deck.
It was hazy when we stepped out onto the deck, but the panoramic view was still jaw-dropping. We had a nice view of the Petronas Towers and the mountainous terrain surrounding the city. It was the first time being in a sky box. My stomach lurched when I first looked down.
Chinatown was a short walk from the KL tower so we headed there after the sky deck. As soon as you enter the famous “Petaling Street,” you feel as if you’re in a strange world.
The street is covered with a curvy, glass awning. Probably a hundred hawker stands line the street selling you knock-off handbags, sunglasses, souvenirs, and much more. Our heads were glancing right, then left, then right, then left. So much to look at! We were set on finding food, and we really had to dive deep into the environment to find some. The first hint of food was actually in a tiny alley we just happened to eye out. Behind a thin pathway between two stands was a narrow, darkly lit alley with tables and chairs. Locals were serving up soup! Yes, even the narrow alleys housed another world. We actually settled on eating in a food court. It reminded me of the food stand areas at county fairs. The entire perimeter was lined with restaurants. They had large posters of the food they offered, and you’d just walk up and tell them what you wanted. Food runners were busy bringing dishes to the tables. They barely looked up. It was a busy place with people constantly coming and going.
We’ve also had some tasty dishes in Little India. We’ve honestly been eating mostly Indian food here in Malaysia! There is a large Indian population here, so it’s easy to find authentic Indian dishes everywhere. My favorite Indian meal was in an alleyway restaurant. Luckily they had photos of what they offered (only 5 dishes) so I just pointed to what I wanted. I’m doing my best to try as many different dishes as possible, but it’s hard when the menu is in another language and you don’t recognize the same dishes from place to place. So far everything, yes EVERYTHING, has been quite tasty. The biggest difference from my diet in the US is that I’m eating far fewer vegetables and a lot more rice. Dishes loaded with vegetables are rare. It’s mostly meat and rice smothered in sauce. They also serve a lot of fried food.
The cheapest foods are from street stalls. One day as we were walking around KL we stumbled upon a market outside the National Mosque.
A bowl of noodle soup with beef cost $1.25. They had bowls and bowls of the ingredients dished up. You picked the one you wanted and the worker would pour a ladle of broth in. We ate up a tiny hill next to it with other market goers.
Another fun area of KL is the Pesona Botanical Gardens. These gardens cover a lot of ground and is free, so we walked for hours in there. Not everything was labeled though, so we didn’t always learn the names of some of these magnificent plants!
It started pouring rain as we walked but we found shelter in these cool “Bamboo Tree Forts.”
There are a variety of free museums in KL, as well. We explored the National Textile Museum, and we marveled at these bark wardrobes and traditional formal wear.
We stated in KL for about a week total. A highlight was the big Thaipesam festival, which deserves its own blog post!