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Last day tour of Kuala Lumpur.

sunny 33 °C
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Today we had a lye in and then decided to try and see the remaining sights of the city. We called for some water because it was seriously hot today and then went to fuel up at a hawker station in China town. Chelsea had chicken and rice, and Liam had char siew pork and rice. Both came with a chilli dip and a watery broth. We ordered two coffees expecting to get the sweet stuff with condensed milk in that we have come to secretly love but instead we got plain super strong black coffee which was actually quite nice.

We then set off in search of some temples, we first came to a Hindu temple, Sri Mahamariamman Temple. It is one of the oldest Hindu temples in KL and has a tall tower with hundreds of colourful sculptures of Hindu gods. Outside the temple there were several makeshift stalls selling fresh flowers threaded onto strings and candles for worshipers to offer inside the temple. A tour bus then arrived full of visitors with cameras in hand so we moved on.


Next we came to the Buddhist Sze Ya Temple, Which was extremely busy with worshipers as it was Sunday. Inside the place was filled with scented smoke from the vast amount of insense sticks that people were using to pray. Lots of people were walking around the temple whilst waving the sticks and praying. In the doorway there we could see dozens coil lanterns with cards in the middle that we're wrote on, we think they were prayer's but we are not sure.


We then made our way further uptown to see a mosque, Masjid Jamek. It is supposed to be one of KL most picturesque mosque's, sat among palm trees in the middle of the city. Unfortunately there must be some renovation going on at the minute as it was surronded by solid metal fencing not letting anyone in. We had to settle for a few snaps from a distance.

Our next stop was the National Mosque, Masjid Negara, one of Southeast Asia's largest. It was a fifteen minute walk in the opposite direction and once we got there after tackling several main roads, we were a little disappointed. The Mosque is large but we expected it to be grand and very ornate, instead in covers a large ground area and apart from sitting in a large courtyard and a large turquoise 18 point star dome, it is underwhelming. On the sign entering the mosque it explained that the building was originally built to house archiving but was then renovated into a mosque. We imagine that inside it would be beautiful but at the time we turned up it was closed to non-Muslim tourists.

Across the road from here there is the old train station for KL. A impressive building made up of Islamic arches and spires. It is attached to the present day train station and there's now a hotel within it. There is some amazing Islamic architecture around this area of KL and it was well worth the walk.

To get away from the traffic when then ventured into a large park area that contains an aviary, orchard garden, butterfly house, lake gardens and several museums. We got a drink, plum and lime which we both hated. It must have been sour plum and lime because it was extrememly sweet but somehow also really salty and neither if us could drink it. We walked around for a while until we could not take the heat anymore and went into the the orchard garden. The orchard garden was beautiful and relaxing and there is a vast amount of different orchids on show and a gift shop where you can buy your own. We had a stroll around and sat on a bench watching a group of young people take photos of each other posed in front of different types of flowers.

We then walked back through the busy streets to our guest house. After walking fifteen minutes in the city when you are wearing suntan cream and insect repellent you are like a dirt magnet. Your legs and feet become grey as the dirt sticks to you so we were desperate for a shower.

Tonight we decided to celebrate our last night in KL by visiting the Skybar. It was slightly raining when we left our guesthouse but after ten minutes we were caught in a serious downpour. We had to take cover for at least twenty minutes hoping it would clear, but it just seem to get worst. When there was finally slight ease up, Liam ran to the nearest shop to purchase an umbrella, while Chlesea waited under cover. By the time Liam bought the umbrella and come back it had stopped raining.

On the way to the skybar we called at a street that we had been told was good for street food, Jalan Alor. It is in the Golden Triangle area that we visited the other day We were a little disappointed by the street as it has become commercialised for tourists. We both had mediocre noodle dishes.

We then carried onto the Skybar. The Skybar is floor 33 of the Traders Hotel that sits opposite the Petronas Towers. An exclusive bar with a beautiful view. The bar has a swimming pool in the middle and booths round the outside overlooking the skyline. All the window seats when we arrived were reserved or taken, so we sat near the bar and ordered our drinks, a beer and a Tom Collins cocktail. After ten minutes we were asked whether we wanted to move near the window and got a perfect seat with a spectacular view, which was really lucky. We sat for ages sipping our drinks and admiring the view.


We both agreed we would much rather have come to the Skybar that have gone up the Petronas Towers, since form the Skybar we can actually see the towers themselves. The bar itself had a relaxed atmosphere and was really glitzy,a real luxury and the perfect way to end our trip to KL, and the best night we have had so far. None of the guidebooks we have bought mentiion this bar, probably due to budget, but we would urge any visitors to KL to see it for themselves, it is truely amazing.

We have decided that we are not really good at backpacking as we like our luxuries too much, that being said we are managing to keep to budget.

Tomorrow we have finally decided that we will go to the Cameron Highlands for three nights, more or less half way between KL and Penang the Cameron Highlands is a hill station further inland. Slighty more rural we are hoing to see some tea plantations and maybe go on a couple of small treks through the jungle.

P.S. We enjoyed skyping Auntie Shelley and Cat tonight, and will Liams mum please check her email haha.

Posted by Chelsandliam 16:00 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala malaysia lumpur Comments (3)

Kuala Lumpar, a Hindu Extravaganza

sunny 32 °C
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Today has been the best day yet in KL. We had quite a lazy morning, did not leave the guesthouse until around 10:30, and went straight for breakfast. We went for Roti again as at the minute we just can't turn it down. This time Chelsea had Roti with egg, which she says is similar to an omelette.

After breakfast we went to the 'bus station' to catch the bus to take us to the Batu Caves. We say 'bus station' as really it's a merger of three streets, the buses just seem to pull up and park wherever they can so when we first got there we spent a good ten minutes walking up and down to see if our bus was already here. We couldn't see it so decided to stand where the streets merge until we saw it and then follow it to wherever it parks up. Luckily we only had to wait around another ten minutes.

When you board the bus you don't pay the driver which we can't get used to. You just sit straight down and then another person comes and takes you money and gives you a ticket. Then a third person boards the bus to check everyone has a ticket and puts a little rip to show he has seen it. It's all a lot more complicated than it needs to be.

The journey to the Batu Caves took around 45 mins and took us through some other parts of Kuala Lumpur we would have otherwised missed. The city is vast, there are so many people and on the outskirts there were some quite deprived housing estates.

When we finally reached the Batu Caves we were amazed as we thought it would be slightly more rural, but the city goes right up to it. We got off the bus and walked in through the entrance and the first thing you see is the giant gold Murga statue that guards the caves. It is really impressive. The next thing you notice is the sheer amount of steps, and how steep they are, that take you to the cave system. Another suprise for us was the resturants and gift shops that are within the grounds (there is even a gift shop in the cave).


There are 272 steps on the way upto the caves, what makes it more interesting are the monkeys that hang around and jump up and down the steps after food that people may have brought them. Inside, the caves are well worth the climb. They are huge open spaces and there are several shrines and temples throughout. We had to trust most of the photo taking to Chelsea as Liam's camera battery ran out after we had been there about ten minutes and he had not brought is spare. Once we had navigated our way back down the perilous wet and slippy stairs we went for a much needed drink. We were enjoying relaxing watiching people come and go to the caves until we were attacked by a wasp and so were forced to leave.

Getting back to KL was easy we just caught the same bus from where it dropped us off outside the cave complex once a nice girl informed us we were on the wrong side of the road. We headed staright back to the guesthouse as our plan for the night was to go Little India and see the night market that they have on the first and third Saturday on each month.

The market was manic, there was at least a mile of blue tents leading up one road with other stalls branching off. There were hundreds of people slowing moving throughout looking at all that was on offer. Stalls were selling everyhting from Saris and headscarfes to convincingly good fake football shirts. The food stalls were immense. We were suprised by the variety of food available, aswell as all your indian cuisine there were, kebabs, fried chicken, desert stalls, and countless other things we did not recognise. For tea we finally settled for kebabs with naan breads and salad, followed by a grazing of Inidain nibbles as we made our way through the rest of the stalls. The market was one of the best things we have seen and done since we have been here.

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Tomorrow is our last day in KL, we have enjoyed ourseves, probably more than we thought we would after the great time we had in Melaka. We are still not a hundred per cent sure where we are going next before making our way to Georgetown, Penang for Thursday.

Posted by Chelsandliam 16:00 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala malaysia lumpur Comments (6)

Exploring Kuala Lumpur

sunny 30 °C
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Today we got up nice and early to see the Petronas towers. We caught the train/metro and got there promptly to find out it costs 80 ringitt to go up to the bridge (our guide book states it s free). We were dissapointed with this but since we are tight and that is two nights stay somewhere we decided against going up and had a walk around a mall attached to the towers and a nice park in the tower complex.

The towers are amazing. Looking up and them you almost can't believe how high they are. You get a really good view from the park which is really nice itself. It has fountains and walks through big jungle trees and is framed by a skyline of huge shiny skyscrapers. Whilst walking in the park Chelsea was accosted by a demanding American couple, "would you consider taking some pictures of us for our Christmas cards to send back home" in a broad American accent. After we had a long and bossy photo shoot with them stood in front of the towers and they had a picture they liked we were allowed to carry on with our sight seeing (but not before they we got them to take a photo of us in front of the towers). We then went into the mall right below the towers. It is the flashiest mall we have ever seen, full of Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany, Tag, Armani, Louis Vitton etc etc. After a brief walk around looking at all the things we can't afford we decided to head towards the Golden Triangle, a part of KL where all the super-malls are and have some lunch.


For lunch we went to a cafe that specialises in bannana leaf curry. It was a selection of different curries with rice, dried banana, some stuff we didn't recognise and popadoms, all served on a big bannana leaf rather than a plate. It is one of the things to try when you visit KL and we can see why.


After our feast we carried on exploring, we called in another mall and walked down a very busy street full of market stalls, shops and massage parlours, which constantly hassled you for business. It is amazing here how fast the city can turn from glitzy sky scrapers and posh hotels to extremely poor areas, run down and dirty with lots of homeless people. You can even get the two extremes in the same street.

At the end of this street we came across another mega mall called Times Square. The christmas decorations in the malls were amazing, really over the top and super festive, we loved it. Attached to side of a hotel the times square mall has ten massive floors full of shops, it has your usual cinema and foodcourt but it was so big it even had a theme park with a roller-coaster inside. The roller-coaster is a full size actual roller coaster which whizzes around the fith floor of the mall, it is so bizzare that a mall is so big it can easily house a theme park. We walked around the giant mall for a while and then decided to go to the pictures to watch The Hobbit. We know its not particularly cultural but we wanted to see it so we went for it haha.


We then came back to our guest house got washed and changed and went out for some tea and a wander. We walked through Chinatown, through all the manic stalls selling fake bags, clothes, shoes, watches, you name it they sell a knock of version of it. We went for rice and roast meats, duck, pork and chicken with a chilli dipping sauce and a strange watery broth. We then Shared a big bottle of tiger beer and sat for an hour watching people walk past and browse the stalls.

Chinatown here is quite unlike the other few we have seen, it is a purpose build area full of tourist shops and cafes. It is not particularly small or quaint like the other ones we have seen. We have not ventured into Little India yet, tomorrow we hope to go to the Batu Caves and then a night market in Little India. Despite our initial impression we enjoyed walking around the city today and are looking forward to tomorrow and Monday.

It was nice to talk to people on Skype tonight and see what is happening back at home.

Posted by Chelsandliam 16:00 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala malaysia lumpur Comments (5)

Nested in Kuala Lumpur

all seasons in one day 33 °C
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Today we got up bright an early, but not before getting woken up by our friend with the prayer call. We got up so that we could get to Kuala Lumpur in good time and hopefully find somewhere nice to stay. We checked out of the Monkey guesthouse (not before having a group photo with andy), which we very much enjoyed staying in and made our way to the main square in Melaka to find a bus stop to get us to Melaka's main bus terminal. This is where we came across our first problem as we could not find a bus stop. We waited around the tourist information centre to see if they could help us, the place opens at nine and it was nine twenty but being Malaysia, it was still closed. We decided to walk to the nearest hostel to ask them who directed back to the square, luckily this time we saw some people waiting an assumed it must be for the bus and went to join them.

Thats when we met a very strange Indian fellow who decided to take a shine to us and sit with us asking us questions in very broken english and repeatedly touching and examining our white skin. After a while we tried to ignore him as he started shouting but he would not go away, he tried to get a young asian girl to take a photo of him with us, thankfully she refused. He carried onto pester us for a good ten minutes before something else must have got his attention and he wandered off.

We caught the bus to the main terminal without any other problems and got straight on another one bound for Kuala Lumpur. As from our journey to Melaka, we didn't pay alot for the trip so we didn't get alot on the bus. There was no where to put our rucksacks so we had to cram them in the little footroom there was, and again very little in the form of aircondtioning. Needless to say we fell asleep again in the heat. We didn't miss much though bar motorway and jungle.

This is when we came across our second problem. We noticed that the bus was pulling in to a bus station quite a way outside central Kuala Lumpar. We had planned to go to the central station and knew where to go from there towards the places we wanted to stay. At first we thought it might be a stop along the way but then everyone got off so we knew it was the end of the journey. We looked at the maps of Kuala Lumpar we had in our guides but the place was not any either of them. After asking at the information desk we were told we were a bit out of the center and would have to catch the train to where we wanted to be. The train thankfully was easy enough to figure out as it is similar to the underground with coloured lines showing you different routes and stops.

Once we finally made it to Kuala Lumpur centre, we managed to get in the guesthouse that we wanted after seeing it online in Melaka. It is called Birdnest and is in Chinatown. It does not have any dorms so we are in a double room again with air con for 10 pound a night, The place is clean and quirky (there are two pet iguanas and a cat called Jackie) there is a good communal area and the guesthouse provides free tea, coffee and WIFI. The guy who ones it seems a character and he has already provided us with a map and drawn on all the attractions we might want to see.

By the time we had checked in our room it was 3pm so we just went for a walk around the area. Kuala Lumpur is very different to where we have been so far. Way more hectic than Melaka and no where near as clean cut and organised as Singapore. We walked down the main street in Chinatown, there are stalls on everyside, some selling food, other souverniers but mainly knock off clothes and handbags. Every ten yards someone tries to sell you something or pesters you to look at there stock.

To get away from this we went to look around Merdeka Square or Independant Square, named after when Malaysia became Independant from Britain. There are some amazing buildings surronding a large grass area that was formerly a cricket ptich, and there are some giant rain trees scattered around. We went into the Kuala Lumpar City gallery, which sits on the square, to get out of the heat and because it was free. Inside there were several scale models of the city, which also showed future devolpment including a building to start next year that will be the second tallest in the world. We also got out first glimpse of the Petronas towers in the distance.


We came back to the room with the intentions of going back out but Chelsea became unwell. She slept for a good couple of hours before coming round and we mananged to grab something to eat from a street nearby. We had claypot chicken rice, which is chicked and rice cooked over fire and embers in claypots, with a side of steamed spicy squid and some tasty greens that included beansprouts, but could not tell much more than that. We then wondered back through Chinatown on the way back to the guesthouse, at night it is closed off to cars so more people cram and try to sell you stuff, aswell as the stalls at the side they go in the middle creating two narrow walkways.

Our first impressions of Kuala Lumpur are mixed, it has alot more character than Singapore and judging by where we have been today the food is going to be awesome. But it is also extremely busy and not very clean. That being said we have ony seen one small part of it, we will have a better idea tomorrow as we are going to see the Petronas towers and hopefully go up for the view from the skybridge that connects them.

Posted by Chelsandliam 16:00 Archived in Malaysia Tagged kuala malaysia lumpur Comments (4)

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