KL With KL

Overview

Population: 1,768,000

Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

10 MYR = £1.79 £1 = 5.58 MYR

Time Zone: GMT +8

26th – 28th Nov

Kate was very excited to be visiting a city with the same initials as her. So excited in fact we both went straight to our room and slept.

Once refreshed and ready to explore we went to get lunch on a market street across the road from the hostel. This street just so happened to be Petaling Street, a rather famous bustling marketplace in the centre of Chinatown. Having spent the previous three weeks in English speaking lands with English menus of largely Western food we eased our way into Asian food at a hotel restaurant.

Nasi lemak kampung and tricolour fruit juice

After lunch we felt less refreshed, despite our napping. Perhaps it was something to do with the 5 time zones we had travelled through. So we went back to our room to watch a film on Kate’s Kindle.

We gathered up some more strength later on to go find the Little India night market which is only held on Saturdays. The first few stalls we came to were all selling the same assortment of cheap sportswear, but we ploughed on with faith. We turned a corner and it was the same load of Premier League football kits. Our faith was strong because we turned back and went down the next street to find hundreds and hundreds of stalls as far as you could see. We stopped at a stall selling Jackfruits to give them a go.

Much nicer than durians

We carried on for a bit but it just seemed to go on forever. I made do with a couple of chicken satay sticks, steamed buns and a bandung juice (bright pink super sweet Indonesian specialty). Kate was not totally ready for going back to Asian food so plumped for the nearby McDonalds instead.

The next day we started pretty early. Turns out going back a few time zones really helps for prompt sightseeing. After our complimentary breakfast of coffee and toast we thought we would start with the central market, which was not yet open. So we trekked across to the national museum.

There were four exhibits spread over two floors with a climate change exhibition in the central area with someone dressed as a penguin high-fiving all the kids. The main exhibits were based around the history of the country spanning ancient, human settlement, colonial and modern day Malaysia. It was pretty good and a nice way to avoid the rain if nothing else!

After the museum we ambled back to the central market.

I was expecting a shouty atmosphere with all the traders selling their fish and veg. Turns out it’s a rather sedate affair with souvenir shops and brand name cafés. We had a nice lunch though and I got myself a t-shirt.

We wondered around the local area a bit longer. Having not seen a temple in weeks it was high time we visited one.

And across the street there was another one!

From here we found a coffee shop before trying out KL’s free bus network to get to the business end. We found the bus stop, got on the bus and four stops later we were at the base of KL Tower.

The free bus network is relatively expansive and we probably didn’t make the most of it in our short time in KL but it’s something that makes travelling so much easier. Having experienced so many variations on how to pay your bus fare, it’s one less thing to worry about, so you can focus on getting the right bus in the right direction to the right stop.

KL Tower is a 421m tall structure built on a hill. It looks out over the slightly taller Petronas Towers (452m) but because of the hill the altitude is higher. And it’s more central. So your view us supposed to be better.

There are two different viewing galleries to go to, one slightly higher than the other. But with a huge price difference we figured we would stick to the lower one.

We walked from there to the Petronas Towers with the intention of going up that too. Even if the view wasn’t as good it boasts the world’s highest two-storey bridge.

We got there, went into the lobby and found the ticket office, only to discover the next ticket available was in three hours time. We decided to forego the wait and just look at the towers from the pond in front of them.

We then headed to a craft beer bar called Taps for a drink with the intention of heading back after one. Unfortunately the rain started up and as the road became a river we decided it was best to stay put and eat. And have a couple more drinks.

Back at the hostel we needed to sort a couple of things before we went to bed, one of which was to print out our train tickets for the next day. We were directed to a nearby hotel which had apparently printed something for a guest the previous day. In those 24 hours however they had seemingly stopped this service as we were not permitted to use their printer. I instead trecked down the road to our hostel’s sister hostel which kindly printed our tickets for free.

The next day we got our breakfast down quickly and awaited our taxi to the station.

The hostel

Explorer’s Guesthouse is right in the heart of Chinatown, a few minutes walk from a bunch of KL’s best attractions. Our double room was lovely; the aircon worked a treat and it was super quiet. Part of the reason for the quietness was probably the complete lack of windows but that worked in our favour for daytime sleeping. The staff were nice, the breakfast was nice, the facilities were clean and it did everything it needed to.

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