Hanging out in Kuala Lumpur!
Get it? HANGING out in Kuala Lumpur? Oh you already know by the pictures and title that this post is all Kiran.
Kuala Lumpur is the 6th most visited city in the world. And the reason for that is simple: SHOPPING. KL claims to be a “shopper’s haven” and I can see why. Three months a year, Malaysia holds the Mega Sale Shopping Carnival. Seriously, its a national event. From massive malls to street vendors everywhere, shopping is hard to avoid. Also, any store you find in America can easily be found in KL:
The only problem with that is that if you are two flashpackers with a total budget of $100/day for two people, well you just can’t shop. Yeah sure those Paul Smith wedged heels look super cute…wait $500? I’ll pass thank you.
Scott and I only had a quick 36 hours in Malaysia so we avoided the malls and crammed as much tourist attractions as we could in our small timeframe. We easily got around town using KL’s light rail system. It is very efficient and cheap!
We arrived in the late afternoon from Vientiane and were very tired because I was recovering from a bad cold and Scott had just caught my cold. We decided to take it easy and visit Chinatown for the day. Chinatown in KL is popularly known for the hawker food stalls and bargain shopping.
Chinatown was fun but I didn’t buy anything. I asked every watch vendor if they had a calculator watch because recently I have decided that I really really want one. Unfortunately the best response I got was “If you buy a watch I will give you my calculator for free!”
We were exhausted after a few hours because it was 99 degrees outside and decided to call it a night. At this point Scott wasn’t feeling well and I was enjoying our luxurious stay at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel. It was a great deal for $30 and some hotel points but we definitely didn’t fit in here based on the cars parked right outside the hotel entrance.
The next morning I woke up completely refreshed! Scott was sicker than ever. We had to fly to Manila at 1am that evening and I was really concerned about him surviving the entire day and night. So I let him sleep all morning and afternoon and took a trip on my own to Batu Caves.
Situated in a massive limestone hill, Batu Caves is considered one of the most important Hindu Shrines outside of India and is dedicated to The Lord Murugan. Here is the world’s largest Murugan statue located right outside 272 steps that you must climb to get to the Temple Cave:
I trekked up the 272 steps
The cave was pretty hard to capture using my iPhone (I hope to purchase a new digital camera in China) but hopefully this gives some idea of the beauty at the top:
As a child my parents made me watch an educational TV series called Mahabharat. It depicted Hindu tales and was very educational. As a Muslim girl that grew up on a tiny island in Canada I really appreciate my parents educating me on other religions, even if it was in the form of a tv drama. I still remember stories about my favorite “character” Hanuman:
I really enjoyed Batu Caves because I was able to experience Hindu and South Indian culture. The music, colors, smells and people made me feel like I was in India again
Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit the other smaller caves. But if you ever go visit, reserve a full day to see it all. For me it was time to head back to my sick husband.
I returned and it was time to pack up and check out of the hotel. I had read that there was going to be Holi celebration (Hindu festival of colors) at the nearby temple and had made plans to participate. But then I opened a magazine in our hotel room and read that KL was hosting a hot air balloon festival! The options were weighed and I chose hot air balloons.
We first walked over to the Petronas towers, which were a 15 minute walk away from our hotel. We had some fun taking pictures before it started raining
It started pouring and we ran inside the towers. Apparently there is a high end mall inside! And a grocery store where I was determined to find some chocolate for my husband. Do you know how hard it is to find decent Easter chocolate for your husband in a predominantly Muslim country???
Okay I digress, we took three different train lines out to Putrajaya, located just outside of KL. The balloons were supposed to fill the sky at 5:30pm. We didn’t show up until 6:15pm and I was so worried that we missed the show. Well…. Apparently…. Things sometimes run late in Malaysia. Not only were things running late, but all the balloons never made it up because it was 7:30 and the mosques all around us started their call to prayers. Before we knew it, the loud festival music shut off and people were clearing the fields. But here are some photos we did catch:
Given the circumstances and our tight timeline, we were satisfied with KL. It was time to go the airport for our 1am flight to Manila. We have met people across SE Asia that say “KL is okay” and that Penang, Langkawi and Cameron Highlands are places to go to. So if you ever plan a trip to SE Asia, definitely carve out sometime for Malaysia.