Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Kuala Lumpur

We arrived in Kuala Lumpur early afternoon and boarded what was quite possibly the worst airport transfer bus we have ever been on.  It seems that locals don't like deodorant, nor air conditioning on buses, and don't seem to mind all manner of wildlife sharing the ride. We got off as soon as we could and hailed a cab to our first 5 star hotel of the trip. Our room was on the 18th floor and overlooked the KLCC with views of the top of the Petronas Towers - we felt at home again!

After a proper coffee at Starbucks (thank god there is no more Vietnamese coffee) we found the Buddy Bear Exhibition outside the Pavilion Mall. These bears originated in Berlin about 10 years ago and have since been on a world tour, aiming to promote unity, education and international understanding of each of the 140 countries represented by a bear.

The UK bear was a bit odd to be honest, so here's the American bear!

In order to promote international education and all that, here is another spot the difference for you to have a go at

What could be better than an open top bus tour of KL? We thought this was a great idea - hop on hop off, valid for 24 hours, over 20 stops throughout the city. Perfect, so we bought our tickets.
Except most of the open top buses had one thing we didn't expect - a roof!

The Malaysian Orchid Collection

If anyone is going to KL, here's a tip; don't bother with the bus. It travels slower than I walk, stops miles away from anywhere you may want to go, or right outside the places you don't!

We jumped off about half way round the loop and had a wonder around the National Orchid Garden. I assume that Malaysia doesn't have much of a presence in the Orchid growing world, but the one bed that did have Orchids in was pleasant. We got the next bus, and this bus only had 3/4 of a roof.  At the back was a square of open air, uncomfortable wooden bench seats, in the midday sun and to top it off no commentary, so we went back inside!

Jamek Mosque
Ex National Palace
We slowly went passed the ornate Jamek Mosque, KLs main mosque until the late 1960s, and the National Palace, Istana (Palace) Negara (National).  We were allowed off the bus for 5 mins to take photos but no one is allowed in the grounds.  Only when we got back on the bus did the commentary tell us the palace is vacant as the King moved out a year ago because he didn't like living in the city!

Our next stop was Lake Titiwangsa, apparently a place to provide 'picture postcard views of the city'. After a 20 min hike we found the 'lake' (I guess lake is Malay for pond) and found the one angle where you may just about make a postcard out of the view

Postcard from the pond

Feed me!
Later in the evening we ventured down to Jalan Alor, a small street packed full of market stalls, street food outlets and cafes.

The food on offer here ranged from the pungent Durian fruit sellers (it really stinks but its known as the King of Fruits!!) to chicken feet clay pot specialists (no idea). We played it safe-ish with a busy Malay/Chinese cafe, sat back on the plastic chairs and tucked into a huge pile of satay, nasi goreng, a couple of chicken dishes and a beer or two all for about £15!

To walk it off, we headed to the 421m KL Tower, a communication tower near KLCC.

The Malaysian CN Tower

The next day we decided to venture to the Batu Caves, but decided not to go on one of the many organised tours that depart every morning.  We used the train (£2 return!!) and left KL Sentral at lunchtime. When we got to Batu half an hour later, we pretty much had the place to ourselves!

We were greeted by the world's biggest gold Lord Murugan, a Hindu deity and yet another set of steps to climb!

At the top of the 272 steps, the caves were a little disappointing but I think we were comparing them to Ha Long Bay.

The wild monkeys living on the rocks proved a little more interesting as they came down en masse to scavenge on the food left behind by tourists.

The redeeming feature of the climb to the top was the undoubtedly the view of KL 

And on the way back to the station we played our favourite game!

Yep, you're right - It's David!

Without doubt, the most impressive sight in KL are the Petronas Towers. They are the tallest twin towers in the world and were the tallest buildings in the world between 1998 - 2004 (until Taipei 101 was completed). Built on the world deepest foundations (120m) they were designed using shapes from Islamic art by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli.  Tower 1 is fully occupied by Malaysian petrol company Petronas, whilst Tower 2 is sub let to a number of international businesses.

The skybridge connects the towers at floors 41 and 42, 170m above the ground.  The bridge is not actually attached to the towers due to the sway of the buildings during high winds, something we didn't really want to hear before walking out on to it!

From here, another lift whisked us up another 200m to floor 86 where the view of KL was amazing

View from the top

Tower 2 & KL Tower

Later that evening we had a reservation at the Traders Skybar, overlooking the towers.  The views were outstanding, the drinks were awful and expensive!

Next stop Singapore!


  1. Loving your Petronas Towers shots! They almost don't look real.....quality.

  2. Another factoid of Petronas Towers was that they featured in the film Entrapment with the lovely Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones - remember the robbery scene with Catherine guys? xx