We left the Cameron Highlands on the very bendy road to the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur. Our time in the city was split into two halves with the first three days being just me and Chris getting our bearings with the city and then we were joined by my mum (hello mum!) who flew in from Manchester to join us in Malaysia for two weeks and spent her first two days in the mad city of Kuala Lumpur.
When me and Chris arrived we were straight on the tram system to find our way to a nearby guesthouse, having left England being more than baffled by London’s underground system and then getting familiar with Bangkoks sky train system, Kuala Lumpur’s under and over ground network seemed a bit confusing to start with but we soon got to grips with it. I think. We headed out to lunch and got caught in a tropical thunderstorm just as the call to prayer was megaphoned round the city, a bizarre experience which we enjoyed from a bustling Indian restaurant. After a quick stroll round the touristy central market we couldn’t wait any longer and made our way toward the Petronas Towers! We decided to walk there in an attempt to familiarise ourselves with the city, no doubt we went the longest way possible but we made it in the end and sat looking up at the towers in amazement. They sit as the tallest towers in Kuala Lumpur although we couldn’t help but imagine the Burj Khalifa at the side of it and how small the towers would seem in comparison. Oh Dubai! We admired from the front by the water fountain display, strolled through the huge mall that sprouts around the towers and then admired from the gardens at the back. Dark set in and we got to see the lights flick on and watch the towers transform at night. Deciding not to brave the walk back we hopped on the LRT (sky/ underground train) and dined in Chinatown under the light of all the Chinese lanterns before calling it a night after our jam packed first day in the capital.
Our second day in the city was spent doing more of the same, although we picked the “Times Square” of Kuala Lumpur to investigate this time, aka Bukit Bintang. It’s a place of more huge malls, food centres and water fountains but was still equally exciting to explore. We dined in Chinatown again then headed back to Bukit Bintang to see it lit by neon signs at night as we enjoyed a drink in a little bar. The next day we did even more exploring, this time of Merdeka Square, the sight where the Union Jack flag was taken down and the Malaysian flag raised as a symbol of the countries independence. It’s a lovely green cricket square surrounded on all sides by ancient buildings designed by a British architect in Islamic/Gothic style (or so the museum says.) It’s such a pretty place and in parts makes you feel you have escaped the madness of the city as there are few people and no traffic is allowed. Nearby is the Kuala Lumpur art gallery which we had a wander of, showing different exhibitions of old Kuala Lumpur and the future plans for the city. All very interesting, especially the 3D model of the city which was displayed under a light show.
As the rain set in for the afternoon we relaxed watching a film (‘The Campaign’ it was a bad choice) before heading out for some food and another browse round Bukit Bintang. We stumbled across a hectic food street lit by Chinese lanterns with restaurants on either side where we got hassled every step of the way to look at menus etc. After looking around we made the walk back to our place and called it a night. The following day we moved guesthouses and spent the day doing jobs such as laundry and writing the blog before setting off to the airport to collect my mum! It goes without saying that we were both very excited to see each other after me being away for nine months! There were no tears, just lots of smiles and hugs. It was late by the time we got to the hotel so we all headed straight to sleep, especially Mum after her 16 hour journey.
We tried to ease Mum into Kuala Lumpur, which wasn’t an easy task as its a huge busy city with all sorts going on. Firstly we showed her the Chinese and Hindu temples, Chinatown and the main market before retreating to Merdeka Square to escape the hustle and bustle. After a quick stroll around we made our way to the Petronas Towers with takeaway boxes and made ourselves an Asian picnic. Mid picnic we were interrupted by a group of people giving out free samples of sun cream, we kindly accepted the sachets and in return had to have our photo taken holding up little signs. You may see us and our picnic on a billboard near you one day. The afternoon was spent napping after a busy introduction to Malaysia’s capital and we dined under the Chinese lanterns yet again for our tea.
On Mums second day it was her birthday! We decided to explore Batu Caves for the occasion so hopped aboard the train which took us an hour out of the city. We were expecting huge crowds, package tours, queues and a bit of annoyance but surprisingly we were greeted by hardly any people. This made it a much nicer place to explore. Although the place had few people, it had many monkeys! Cheeky ones that would pinch people’s food and drink, knock the glasses off people’s faces and sit in the way on the staircase up to the caves. The staircase was a big one and at its foot was a huge Golden Hindu statue standing guard. We climbed up and had a look around. Disappointingly the cave has been developed and a lot of it is concrete and staircases but it’s still a huge cathedral like space colourfully dotted with little Hindu statues. On our way out we made the mistake of purchasing some bananas which led to monkeys flocking in our direction from all directions, we’d learnt in India that the macaque monkeys don’t like water so one squirt from our water bottle and they left us alone. Pesky things! Back in the city we sampled some street food in the form of a bag of delicious 50p potato samosas. For Mums birthday meal we headed to Bukit Bintang and enjoyed some beers and a tapas inspired feast which left us all very sleepy!
We’d recently found out that Liverpool would be playing Malaysia in a friendly football match at the end of July, however we’d be long out of Malaysia by this date. Eager to watch some football and go to a match Chris did some research and found out that Malaysia and Palestine would be playing in Kuala Lumpur on the day we planned to leave the city. Not quite Liverpool but a lot cheaper! Chris stayed behind in the city for an extra night to watch the match whilst me and Mum made the journey to our next destination of Melaka. Chris would join us the following morning. He tells me that the match was good and that he enjoyed seeing some football- and thanks to Mum being around I got out of having to watch it with him! Winners all round.
Until next time! Unable to add Flickr links at the moment, hopefully we’ll get them sorted out soon.