Kuala Lumpur, the gateway to our Asian expedition.
After an 18 hour or so journey, nearly missing our connecting flight in Dubai, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. This was our gateway in and out of Southeast Asia and a great starting point to ease ourselves in. The capital of Malaysia it’s an old colonial City, the Chinese settled here first before the British used it to impose their imperialism on the area.
Arriving at the airport it’s really easy to take the 30 minute train to the main station. We had glimpses of the Petronas Towers and skyscrapers in the distance while we passed through rainforest.
Our first view of KL was from the monorail, there are several transport options to get you round the City but our hotel lay on this line. We passed Hindu and Chinese temples, Mosques and a church, showing the multiculturalism that KL is famous for.
We checked in to the Park royal which I would definitely recommend. We upgraded to their orchid lounge giving us a more private breakfast area, and free nibbles and drinks in the afternoon and early evening. Plus a nicer room! We had a quick look at the pool and view of the KL tv tower too.
Taking my trusted lonely planet guide to the City we planned our day. It was around midday at this point and we decided to head out of the City for the Batu caves, one of KL’s major sights. We took the monorail back to the station and got on one of the many trains out of the City to Batu. Beginning in 1890 the caves have been a major Hindu centre of worship. They are famous for the 140ft statue of the Hindu God of war, Lord Murugan.
We had half an hour to wait for the train so wandered around the connecting mall, it was huge! Mall culture is massive in KL with various sized places dotted about the City.
As the train set off it started raining, but luckily it had finished by the time we arrived. We started off at a smaller cave off to the left of the station, where a big statue of another Hindu deity Hanuman.
The cave is full of statues picturing various Hindu legends and you can climb up through the limestone formations. The colourful scenes are really fun, but it would have been good to know some of the stories behind the depictions.
Leaving the cave we walked round the cliffs and got our first look at the gold statue of Murugan. Batu caves are also famous for their contingent of monkeys that live around the place, entertaining and tormenting tourists in equal measures. After some dicey moments with monkeys in Cambodia I was a little hesitant to get too close.
We climbed the 272 steps up into the main cave area, passing various sized Macaques on the way, it was pretty humid out here but with a couple of breaks the steps were okay, the scenery surrounding us distracting from the climb.
Inside the caves it was a bit cooler, and the size was impressive, reaching up above us. We wandered through before finding ourselves in daylight once again. The cave had no roof and sunlight poured through the natural skylight.
We headed back down the steps and past the dark cave which we unfortunately didn’t have time for as I had made plans for the evening. Making it back to the hotel we had a quick swim and got ready for an evening out.
Our destination was the famous Petronas Towers, once the tallest building in the world and still the tallest twin towers. It’s a beacon of Southeast Asian development. We walked from the hotel and caught our first glimpse of the tower from a lovely park located at the feet of several skyscrapers.
I had pre booked the tickets to go up the tower, so we checked in for our time slot, and after a brief introduction took the elevator to the corridor between the two buildings.
The views from here were amazing and we weren’t even at the top yet! The skybridge takes up the 41st and 42nd floors and us 170m above ground. It’s designed to slide in and out of the main towers to avoid breaking and give the towers additional support.
We took the lift up to the top, the 86th floor and now the views of the City were incredible, even with the cloud coverage you could see for miles! It was such a cool way to spend our first day in Asia.
After 15 minutes or so up there it was time to head back down. It’s definitely worth doing and I really enjoyed it.
The sun was setting as we stepped out into KLCC park and we wandered around the little lake, finding a spot to sit and marvel as the City transformed around us as night fell. The view of the towers at night is amazing and after being the subject of a few locals pictures and live streams the light show on the lake began.
I loved this moment, it really felt like we had arrived somewhere magical and foreign to Manchester and the UK. I could have stayed there for hours taking it all in, but hunger struck and we decided to go for dinner.
I had read about a few street food places that sounded good, and one was back towards our hotel underneath one of the malls. It was fun walking through these bustling mini metropolis, with the air con you can see why they’re so popular with the locals.
We ate underneath Lot 10 mall, in the food court full of old street hawkers who have been given this space. We got some Korean influenced food with a mix of dishes served to us. It was so good and I couldn’t wait to try more Asian food, after the long flight and day in the humid City we were ready to go back to the hotel. Although I had to get a bubble tea and some ice cream on the walk back.