After exploring the delights of Malacca, we were on our way to Kuala Lumpur to explore our last big city for a while. If I’m being honest, I didn’t really know a lot about Kuala Lumpur before we went, other then it was pretty close to Singapore, and that I wasn’t terribly excited by it. After spending 2 days there, it hasn’t really changed my opinion f it at all, although Rich did quite enjoy it.
Malacca to KL is only about 2 1/2 hours by bus, and after finding the bus from Singapore to Malacca really easily and comfortable, we decided to head straight to the bus station and just book the first bus available. Unfortunately, the ticketing services are not centralized and as soon as you walk in you have hawkers from every bus company trying to get you to come to their stall and buy a ticket. We weren’t sure what bus to go with, so we decided to head towards the one with the biggest queue (thinking the more popular it is, maybe the better it is?). After standing there for 10 minutes without moving, we said to hell with it and shuffled one stall to the right where there was only one person waiting. We manage to get a ticket for the next bus, which was leaving in 20 minutes, and it was only 12.5 ringgits (about $4 AUD) each. It wasn’t a bad choice necessarily (as we don’t know what that first bus was going to be like), but it wasn’t a great choice. Honestly, the bus itself was fine – it was clean, it was clearly running well – however, the seats were so close together that we had less room for our legs then we normally do in airplanes, which made 2 1/2 hour seem VERY long. If I was even 5 inches shorter, it would have been fine, but alas I am not. Lesson learnt though – always book buses that are only 3 seats across (usually 1 seat, aisle, 2 seats), or ones that are ‘VIP’ buses, which also tend to have less seats and therefore more room. Long leg problems, am I right?
However squished we were, we did make it to KL, and rather than fighting public transit with our bags we ordered a grab and headed straight to our guest house, Amethyst Love. Great place, although slightly more expensive than others around, and it was just a 30 second walk from the night food markets, which is always a bonus. We arrived in the afternoon and after checking in decided to go for a bit of a wander before getting dinner at the night market.
We were only about a 25 minute walk from the Petronas Towers (one of the main attractions of KL), and by detouring slightly we could walk there through the KL Eco Forest Park. The Eco Forest is one of the only city rain forests in SE Asia, and it’s a little piece of tranquility in an otherwise busy city. The forest itself is situated on a hill, with busy roads and high rise buildings on every side of it, and has a number of different paths to walk. One of the main attractions is the canopy walk, which is – you guessed it – raised platforms in the canopy with bridges connecting them for people to walk on. This is the path we took, as it leads to the top of the hill, and you get a great view of the KL communications tower once there.
The tower itself is 421 m tall and is the 7th tallest (what a claim!) telecommunications towers in the world. There is an observation deck at the top you can pay to get up to, as well as a glass floored box you can stand in to see just how high up you are. Fun fact – the KL Tower is known as the World Base Jump Centre, and it holds a massive event every year for this, so if you fancy flinging yourself off a building, KL is the place! We didn’t go up the tower, but it was cool enough seeing it from the outside.
From there we did walk over to the Petronas Towers, which were the tallest buildings in the world until 2004 (thanks Dubai). They are, however, still the tallest twin towers, at 451.9 m high. They do look pretty impressive form the ground, and although both towers are taken up by company offices, you can go to the sky bridge, which is on the 41st and 42nd floors and connect them both. Again, we didn’t go up at all, but it was pretty cool seeing them from the bottom, and the mall there was all decked out in Christmas finery which is always nice. Of course, our day ended with us at the food market, eating way too much food but it was delicious and I have no regrets.
On our second day we got up and made our way out of the city to see the Batu Caves. The Batu caves are 3 major caves set in a limestone hill with a number of smaller caves off of them, and has a 100 year old Hindu temple in the main cave. Honestly, the pictures don’t do it justice, as even with a ton of people there, it was stunning. You can walk up the multi coloured steps for free; however, as it is a temple, you must be dressed appropriately (they do have sarongs for rent once there). At the bottom of the steps Rich got asked by one of the men working there to take up a box of water with him, which he cheerfully agreed to (although slightly regretted it later as there are a lot of steps). The inside of the temple was beautiful as well, and a lot bigger then expected. After wandering around for a while we made our way back down the steps and towards the train to head back into the city.
During the afternoon we wandered around the central part of the city which has the majority of attractions and historic buildings. Although a lot of the old buildings are beautiful, I found KL on the whole a bit boring. After wandering the markets and the Heritage Trail, we’d had enough and headed back to our end of town to our accommodation and food. Once again we ended up at the food market and were almost rolling back to our beds after we were finished!
The next morning we got up and, deciding there wasn’t really anything else in KL that we wanted to do, headed back to the bus station to head north to Penang. This time; however, we did book a VIP bus as it was jut over 4 hours, and with our own TV screens and a reclining chair with foot rest, it was a much better drive!