Kuala Lumpur – the best attractions. Been there, done that.

I said more articles will follow and I meant it!! Even though it took me almost 2 months to gather my forces. 2020 will be more productive (at least I hope).  After 5 amazing days spent in Hanoi , we hopped in a plane with a new destination: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to discover the best attractions. I always wanted to visit this city for some unknown reasons. I needed to scratch it out of my map, to say been there, done that. 

A little bit about the city

We started the adventure with open minds and eager to discover more, not knowing what to expect. Kuala Lumpur is a city of contrast from all point of view: from its residents (Malay, Chinese and Indians living peacefully together), blended culture and cuisine to architecture. If I were to describe it, I would say it’s one of the futuristic cities you saw in movies like Blade Runner or Cloud Atlas. Imagine flying cars, flashy skyscrapers, dodgy Chinatowns and corner streets. Now replace the flying cars with modern suspended trains and you get KL. 

We planned a short stay, only 3 full days, but in my opinion it was more than enough. I read various blogs during my research and everybody was highlighting how you would need to come here more than once.

I disagree. If you are only planning to stay in KL and not have day trips to other cities, 3 days are just ideal to see the main best attractions. By this I mean it was enough for the “touristy” things we did in our short planned stay. If you wish to discover more and immerse yourself in the city life, a longer stay will give a very different feeling and experience.

This was our itinerary for the three days we spent in Kuala Lumpur, covering all the main points of interest. The order is random, so you can mix and match however is better for you. We tend to combine the spots in close proximity to each other to avoid wasting precious time. I will not focus on food as I didn’t personally have the best experience with the Malay cusine. The Chinese and international dishes are not worth being mentioned as they can be found everywhere. 

      Petronas Twin Towers 

We started the city tour with the this, as expected. The Petronas Towers are now the symbol of the city and one of the best attractions in town. They are the tallest twin buildings in the world at 451,9m and they dominate the city’s skyline.  I always loved skyscrapers since I climbed my first one in Shanghai, despite my fear of heights. We decided not to climb this one, but rather admire their beauty and Islamic motifs from the KL Tower. However, we still spent 30 minutes for pictures in all the positions. I managed to crack my pants open by doing that and it was totally worth! We also had to fight with the Chinese tourists for a better spot. They are ruthless!! 

KL Tower

The KL Tower is not that far from the Twin Towers. The imposing building is huge skyscraper stading tall on top of a hill.  It has a really awesome 360 degrees panorama over the entire city, a great view over the Petronas Tower. More than that,  there is a bonus a skybox, made all of glass where you could step for pictures. Let’s just say all my fears were triggered and I didn’t really enjoy it.

Canopy walk

Right at the bottom of the KL tower you can find the KL Eco Forest Park . It is the oldest piece of rainforest in the world, right in the heart of the city. There are some bridges built in between the trees so you can walk above them. Also, you can explore the park from below, but careful as you might encounter some centipedes, scorpions or snakes. I’m just saying…

Chinatown- Pangolin street

From all the Chinatowns visited, this was my least favourite. There is nothing nothing special about it. You can find merchants with fake luxury brands, few food stalls, all ending in a regular street. Not sure if I missed something but didn’t like it at all. However, this can be found in all the touristic guides as one of the best attractions, the reason why we went there.

Central market

It is mostly filled with souvenir shops, handcrafts and other decorations or clothing items. You can also find some nice restaurants at the top level. Again, there is not much to do or see here, but you can try to eat small dishes from the vendors outside. We had a very tasty warm coconut dessert. I recommend this place for the souvenirs as they are very cheap and good quality .

Tip: buy the souvenirs inside of the market and not outside, as the prices are lower.

Batu Caves

It is easily one of the best attractions. You can find this beautiful site just outside of the busy KL. The place is dominated by the huge golden Hindu statue of the Indian deity Lord Murugan. There is a very colourful and beautiful temple right at the entrance, dedicated to the same deity. Be prepared to climb the 270 rainbow stairs to reach the caves. Also, keep  your camera close to snap pictures of the cheeky moneys you will encounter on the way there. Also, since it’s a natural cave, there is a lot of humidity and water dripping from everywhere, making it quite slippery…just as a heads-up. Once you get over this, you will find one more beautifully decorated Hindu temple where acolytes come to pray.  Definitely worth the climb.

Tip: don’t book through an operator as they will overcharge you for this. Plan the trip yourself, either by public transportation or Grab (which we chose and got there in 20 min, for a cheap fare). There is no fee for the entrance in the main cave, so not worth paying for an official organised tour. Also, it can be done in max 2h, no need for half day tour. Go there in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat. 

KL Aviary Park

It is the largest aviary park in the world. I was a bit sceptical regarding this, as I’m not a big fan of zoos. However, even though it’s a closed space, the birds roam free around you so you can meet storks, ibises and tones of peacocks everywhere. It was a quite nice experience.

Kuala Lumpur Aquarium

We included it in the itinerary to kill some time and to escape a massive thunderstorm. The same as with the park, I am against them. The only thing I want to mention about it is the educational aspect. The employees were educating the kids and parents on how to reduce the plastic waste that ends in the ocean and how not to eat shark fin soup in the Chinese restaurants. I believe it’s a really important message that needs to be passed while learning more about our oceans.  

Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque

The main mosque in the city and what used to be the symbol of KL before the Twins came in the picture. Though it not very big, it definitely has its charm. We were lucky enough to have a free walking tour inside and were told about the history of the site as well as details about the Islamic culture (in case you didn’t know, Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country).

Shopping centres and malls 

I believe there is one mall every few meters. You can find from the super modern one with high end brands to the more traditional ones, specialized on something – electronics, textiles and so on. What we liked the most about them were the food courts where you could find all the restaurants you wanted with food from all the corners of the world. So you can shop till you drop and then recharge your batteries in the same spot.

Conclusion

All the articles I read, praised this city. We met people who travelled there for 8-9 times and were planning to come back. It’s a city that has lots to offer for all the different tastes and that promises to develop into a super modern metropolis.

Personally, I didn’t connect that much with Kuala Lumpur. I loved the contrasts, the mixture and the futuristic aspects of the cities but I can’t say that I can’t wait to come back. Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy I have been here, and I experienced it, seen its best attractions. But, as I said in the beginning, been there, done that. I believe 3 full days can be enough to visit all the main points of interest, try the local food and get to experience a bit of the busy local life.

Until the next one.

AlexD

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