“I don’t know if you’re familiar with Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You step outside the hotel and you’re soaking wet within 10 minutes.”
I just left Malaysia behind and arrived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. I didn’t write nearly enough about my time there, mostly because I was feeling totally out of it and was generally done with pretty much everything and anything for a good part of the time there.
Again, I know that sounds totally weird being on “permanent vacation”, but when you spend a lot of time in your normal, busy life back home really feeling the futility of your own existence, having all the time in the world isn’t necessarily a recipe for feeling better.
The novelty wore off a bit, I think. Continuously experiencing new things means your brain is busy processing new input, so you don’t have time to be sad or grumpy. I lived off this for almost a whole year before my brain got so used to new input it started diverting power back to old thought processes.
Don’t worry, this wont be another super-depressing post about feeling the meaninglessness of life. I can already sense my own objections here, my mind is saying “get the f… over it already”… I do actually need to plot down some of the stuff I did in Malaysia too. Before the Azheimers kicks in 😛
My first few days in Kuala Lumpur I jumped on the Hop On, Hop Off bus. It’s my go to thing if I feel a bit lost and I need to get around and just start seeing stuff. The HOHO in KL takes you around A LOT of sights and I just got off at random stops a bit haphazardly with reasoning like “Little India? I bet they have food, I skipped breakfast”, “Malaysia’s national mosque… sounds like… something I wanna see? Yeah, it’s something I wanna see, shit-the-bus-is-leavingggg!” and “National palace huh? I like palaces!” (That was before I learned it’s only open like three days of the year and I wasn’t getting in… but hey, got some nice photos from the outside *lol*)
A trip to Kuala Lumpur is not complete without seeing the towers. It just isn’t. Arguably the biggest tourist attraction in KL, the Petronas Twin Towers are the tallest twin towers in the world and stand at an impressive 451.9 m (1,483 ft) from top to bottom. They used to be the tallest structure in the world, but were surpassed by Taipei 101 (Taipei World Financial Center) in 2004 (this was itself surpassed by today’s record holder, Burj Khalifa, in 2010).
I had only seen the Petronas in pictures and being a fan of cityscapes and architecture and was really eager to see them, which is why this was my first order of business in KL. The towers are truly impressive and incredibly beautiful. I rounded the corner and looked up and was stunned. Now, like I said, I really love stuff like this – I have always preferred cities and civilization, museums and history to hiking the mountains for days on end. Don’t get me wrong, I love hiking too, if I can spend 10 hours in a national park forest looking at nothing but nature I’m pretty happy, but I will always come back to the cities and the people. I need the vibrance and the soul of a densely populated place.
My point is that when I am awestruck by towers and city lights try not to let my description hype it up so much you get disappointed when you get there. I’d hate to be the reason people are underwhelmed…
The towers are intense though. I saw them often while I was in KL (mostly because my “local mall” was the KLCC Suria (inside the tower building), and they were equally impressive night or day, but I would recommend going to see them twice so you get the full experience.
I ended up doing a poll on Instagram to see if I was being completely stupid if I decided not to pay to go up the towers, but most of my friends agreed with me that it was pricey for what you get. Having just been up Burj Khalifa I decided I had been up enough towers for a while so I skipped the “15 minutes to view the view”.
I guess the name says it all, it’s just like other Chinatowns and “Little [insert country name]”, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a visit! I loved Little India in KL for the friendly people, the colours and (last, but not least) the food. I actually got off the bus because I saw a cool monument (the Torana Gate) and because I skipped breakfast so I needed to find sustenance.
I managed to take an inordinate amount of pictures of the impressive “Torana gate” – “a torana (a type of gateway) in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. The gate is a gift from the Government of India to Malaysia, as a mark of continued friendship between the two countries. It was influenced by Hindu and Buddhist architecture of the Indian subcontinent.”
Right next to it is a super cute fountain decorated with my favourite animal, the elephant. It was completely devoid of the standard artsy, minimalistic colouring palettes too, looked more like a child’s colouring book. Totally awesome.
As an added bonus, my breakfast was about $1 worth of street food. So tasty! I told the woman selling it to keep the change (about 40 cents) and she put an extra samosa in my bag ❤
KUALA LUMPUR BIRD PARK
The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is enormous and holds an inordinate amount of peacocks… They’re everywhere. I initially thought all the birds where loose under the big net that covers the park, but of course they are not. There are cages with specific birds in them, probably to make sure they’re easy to spot for visitors… I get the logic behind that, but I still wish it wasn’t so. The cages are never going to be big enough for the bids. They’re birds. They can fly. They should be able to.
NATIONAL MOSQUE AND NATIONAL PALACE
The National Palace (Istana Negara) was, unfortunately, just a blipp for me. I was there on a day it’s not open (which is most days), but I hopped off the bus anyway and spent about 20 minutes in front of the gates (that’s how long it takes for the next HOHO-bus to come), taking pictures of the buildings through the gates and giggling at the poor guards having to deal with an absolute ONSLAUGHT of predominantly Asian tourists wanting t take pictures with them (they were apparantly not allowed to react to this, which made for the standard hilarious shots).
The National Mosque was better, mostly because I was actually allowed IN 😉 There were these two older, Muslim women who gave out cape/covers to the female visitors and I got my slightly oversized, light purple, pink hoodiecover-thing on like a pro before heading up the shiny, stone stairs.
The mosque itself is not too impressive, not like f ex Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Dubai or the Blue Mosque in Turkey, but I liked wandering about and getting a feel for the place. The atmosphere is typically relaxed and volume is low – people are quiet and respectful and some are even asleep in the main hall, while others are studying. It doesn’t feel completely alien or anything and it’s not a mindblowing experience, but I quite like taking in the architecture and atmosphere of places like these, despite not being the least bit religious myself.