Weird toilets, humid heat, cheeky monkeys, deliciously strange food, crazy drivers and beautiful sights.
We touched down in Kuala Lumpur at 3.45am local time on Monday and the first thing I needed was a toilet. I left Neil at the baggage claim and ventured into the ladies’ room. In the cubical I looked down and on the floor was a hole in the ground with a hose pipe beside it. People talk about culture shock, what about toilet shock?
I wasn’t game enough to use the hose, thankfully there was paper! Neil on the other hand gave it a whirl and said it was, “cold, yet refreshing – like pooping underwater!”.
We bused to the five star hotel – Sunway Putra Hotel – I had booked in advance for Neil’s birthday present in November, something we won’t get to experience again for a while! It was a lovely cure for our jet lag.
After dropping our bags we went into full tourist mode and walked an hour to the Petronas Twin Towers. What an amazing bit of architecture!
Later we meet up with one of Neil’s dentistry school mates Cyrstal Chow and her brother Shaun who played local tour guides and drove us to the biggest Hindu shrine outside of India, the Batu Caves.
Here we walked up 272 steps with many other tourists, monkeys and elderly devoted worshippers who, Cyrstal said, walk the journey everyday. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of.
When we got to the top we entered a massive limestone cave filled with several temples and shrines. At the main temple, Neil and I offered traditional candle lights and a man smeared dust on our foreheads (symbolises mythological third eye believed to provide spiritual insight).
Cyrstal explained that the lights represented enlightenment and were traditionally offerings to the Hindu gods.
After, we went back to the hotel, had a swim on the roof top pool and crashed for the night.
The next day we went to the only remaining rainforest (Burkit Nanas) in the city and did the canopy walk, which was free and absolutely stunning! In the middle of the forest we found the Kuala Lumpur Tower, a 421m high skyscraper. We went up to the observation deck and saw how big the city really was, massive, colossal, huge.
We then ventured to Merdeka Square where Malaysia declared its independence. Opposite was the Sultan Abdul Samad building, the old High Court of Malaysia. On the square were beautiful buildings that reminded us of the Rotorua Museum in New Zealand.
Later we crammed in two temples on the same street – one Indian, one Chinese – and witnessed an entire Hindu worship ceremony, they have so many gods I can’t keep up! Below is the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur – founded in 1873.
We then visited central market and tried several of the street foods like Putu Bambu which is wonderfully delicious green rice flour sweet cake steamed in bamboo and rolled in coconut.
After a few hours of market wandering my feet felt like they were going to fall off, but we happened upon a foot spa operated by Dr Fish. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
We both stuck our feet into a pool of hungry fish who ate our skin! Neil kept saying “it’s so creepy!” While I uncontrollably giggled as my feet were tickled all over.
We then fought our way through the amazing hustle and bustle of the Chinatown markets and then called it a day soon after that.
Our last day in KL was made up of a three hour visit to the KLCC Aquaria (aquarium), which was a little disappointing – we both agreed the one in Napier back home was better.
Then we went for a walk through a huge park, checked out the biggest mall in the city, had a nap and ventured out for some nightlife.
The first stop was Sky Bar, an awesome spot with a pool in the middle, overlooking the city and the Petronas towers, we followed this with a trip to the busiest local food night market, Jalan Alor.
Here we grabbed a huge array of traditional Malaysian, Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese foods, the highlight being Dragon Breath cookies, nitrous frozen strawberry or chocolate bite size pieces that made steam come out your nose when you bit into them.
After we filled up on all the treats we went to the local night club strip – Chankat – for a drink, an awesome end to our Kuala Lumpur adventure.
Today we’re on a bus to Penang where new adventures await. Stay tuned for the next update!