Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Kuala Lumpur: Part 1

After a few pleasant days exploring Singapore, Angela and I took a bus into Malaysia and onward to the capital, Kuala Lumpur. As I write this, we've been in Malaysia for several weeks, and so far it might just be up there with Vietnam as one of our favourite countries. While it doesn't appear to have quite so many interesting, varied sights to see like Vietnam, what it does offer is an incredibly relaxed setting with friendly and polite locals (nearly all of whom speak English competently), and a high level of development (not as high as Singapore, of course, but it still very much feels like a first world country). What's more, Malaysia has by far the best food we've encountered on our trip. Yes, Thai cuisine is nice and all, and there was some good stuff in Singapore, but here pretty much every meal has been a mouthwatering fusion of Indian, Malay and Chinese influence, with dozens of different colours and flavours on every plate. This is probably the only country I've been to where I can honestly say that every meal I had was positively delicious.

As for Kuala Lumpur, well it's yet another big, bustling metropolis with high humidity and too much traffic, and there aren't really a whole host of sights to see either. Yet somehow, we like it. The city is a diverse melting pot of Malays, Indians, Chinese, Arabs and Africans, which gives it a very electrifying atmosphere, as though you're in the capital of the world. It is big, smoggy and fast-moving, but still a pleasant, relaxing place to walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. Also, if you're like Angela, you'll love the shopping here. There are gigantic malls all over the place, and we spent a good deal of time in them.

Our route by bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur.
Leaving the ultramodern cityscape of Singapore behind us.
Afer crossing the Straits of Johor, and passing through a very quick immigration check, we entered Malaysia.
As we headed north to the capital, we passed countryside dominated by lush, never-ending palm trees.
We reached Kuala Lumpur as evening approached, with rush hour traffic slowing our arrival.
Our first view of the famous Petronas Towers.
Getting off at Berjaya Times Square, we found the world's largest capsule vending machine.
After a quick monorail ride we found ourself at the busy intersection of Bukit Bintang, where our hostel was located.

After settling into the hostel, we went out to a nearby Food Street to find some dinner.
Black bean noodles with chicken and tofu.

We spent a few days relaxing and generally doing nothing, then finally forced ourselves out of bed to do some sightseeing. Our first destination was the Petronas Towers.
There was a long, air-conditioned walkway that could take us all the way from Bukit Bintang to the towers, pretty appealing given the oppressive heat outside.
Emerging in a park near the towers.

After taking our obligatory photos with the Petronas Towers, we went to a nearby mall to find one of KL's lesser-known attractions: BREAKOUT. This place lets visitors become prisoners in several themed rooms, having to use teamwork to solve clues and riddles to escape. There are a bunch of these in Singapore but the ones in KL seem a lot cheaper so we thought we'd try it here. We're glad we did, as it was a fun experience, and totally lived up to the unique, gimmicky concept outlined above. It was like a real-life version of a point-and-click adventure game. It was also really challenging, and there's no way we would have escaped were it not for the friendly staff who nudged us in the right direction. 

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but at the end we were given this CCTV photo of us trying to find the correct key to open a door.
We had to hold one of the clues up to a lamplight to warm it up and make some ink disappear, revealing a sentence: "Moonlight will lead the way."
After escaping from BREAKOUT, we went to Merdeka Square, which is fronted by the Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

Near the square is an art gallery with a scale model of Kuala Lumpur.

Passing some city scenery.

Petaling Street in Chinatown.

Not far from Chinatown, we spotted Nando's, a restaurant franchise I knew from back home. It had been so long since I'd enjoyed a good Nando's that we decided to have our dinner there.

Later, we returned to the Petronas Towers to see them at night.

They looked like something out of TRON.

No comments:

Post a Comment