Kuala Lumpur – A Sizzling Fling

Kuala Lumpur - central business district

Kuala Lumpur – central business district

Kuala Lumpur (KL) is hot, damn hot! As soon as I stepped off the plane, the humidity slapped me right in the face. But it’s not just the weather that’s scorching; it’s the food, the atmosphere and the shopping! After spending just over a week in Japan, I headed back to the land of Oz via KL, with a whirlwind five day rendezvous in this vibrant metropolis.

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From Osaka, I landed in Malaysia’s capital just after midnight. In a lame attempt at stepping out of my comfort zone, I didn’t bother organising transfers from the airport to my accommodation.  But gallivanting alone on a train or bus to my hotel, at such an ungodly hour, in a foreign country, was far from what this ‘precious princess’ was normally accustomed to. So I opted for the easiest mode of transport available, a taxi. I’m such a badass – NOT!

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Kuala Lumpur – Old Railway Station

Kuala Lumpur - Old Railway Station

Kuala Lumpur – Old Railway Station

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Kuala Lumpur – Independence Square

An hour later, I was dropped off at a Sheraton hotel, but NOT the Sheraton Imperial where I was actually booked in. Slightly seething, I embarked on a second cab ride and by 3am, I finally arrived at my accommodation. At that point, KL was sizzling, but not for the right reasons. I got my knickers in such a knot I was more than a little flustered! Ok, in hindsight, it’s not like I was ‘banged up abroad’ and the incident was far from the crazy shenanigans of a Lonely Planet episode, but it wasn’t quite the beginning I was expecting.

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Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)

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Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)

I’ve never travelled alone. I had every intention to spread my wings during this trip, to loosen up and be an ‘adventurous’ tourist. The aim was to immerse myself in the customs of Malaysia, get lost amongst the sights and sounds of the city, and the hustle and bustle of the crowds. However, after the initial setback upon my arrival, I settled for my usual habit of an organised city tour to explore KL. Oh, I know it’s a bit cowardice and anti climatic, but my obsessive compulsive tendencies steered me away from any impulsive meanderings. So much for winging it!

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Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)

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Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)

Regardless, the two city tours I did were an ideal way of experiencing the highlights of KL, or at least the tip of the iceberg. Both tours were great for first time visitors like myself. Each excursion was at a laid back, relaxing pace, just the way I like it, lasting 3-4hrs in duration. The first tour focused on the central business district (CBD) of KL, which revealed a patchwork of modern skyscrapers against the charm of historic buildings and landmarks. In fact, it reminded of home (i.e. Melbourne) in some ways, where the beauty of traditional architecture is blended together with contemporary structures.

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Kuala Lumpur – The Malaysian National Monument (Tugu Negara)

King's Palace

King’s Palace

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King’s Palace

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King’s Palace

The tour involved a quick stop and photo opportunity at the following sights and tourist attractions: Kings Palace, Central National Museum, Parliament House, National Monument, National Mosque, Old Railway Station, Independence Square, Sultan Abd, Samad Building and lastly the incredible Petronas Towers.

Royal Selangor Pewter Factory

Royal Selangor Pewter Factory

 The second tour included a visit to a Batik Handicraft Centre, the Royal Selangor Pewter Factory and a Chocolate Boutique for a chance to purchase locally produced souvenirs. BatuCave was the height of the day’s journey where I slowly ascended the steep 272 steps to the limestone caves, home to sacred idols and statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Despite walking at a snail’s pace, surely I got a work out that day! I was soaking in sweat, the heat was sweltering! Along the way, I passed several cute but cheeky monkeys scavenging for food. As you enter the caves, you’re greeted by a few snake charmers, who were more than enthusiastic at wrapping a snake around your shoulders for a pretty penny or two. Certainly not for the faint hearted!

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Petronas Towers

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Kuala Lumpur – National Mosque

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Kuala Lumpur – National Mosque

 Although the Sheraton Imperial is located on the outskirts of the CBD, it’s just a short monorail ride into the heart of the city. Luckily, the hotel is surrounded by major shopping strips which kept me occupied on my last day. KL is perfect for a little retail therapy. The best thing about the fashion is that the clothes fit me. Good things come in small packages (that’s what I keep telling myself). Pants, skirts, and tops were tailored to my short stumpy stature. Sadly, my shopping spree was limited to a handful of items as my suitcase was already jammed full. So much for going berserk and maxing out the credit card!

Batu Caves

Batu Caves

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Batu Caves

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I wasn’t brave enough to try Malaysian delicacies or food of the more exotic variety dished out by nearby restaurants or street vendors. I’m such a pansy at heart, but I can’t stomach an ordeal of ‘Delhi Belly’ or ‘Bali Belly’ or ‘Lumpur Belly’ in this instance. However, I did sample some local cuisine each night at the buffet dinner served by the hotel. Curries, laksas, tom yum soup and like the weather, the food was scorching hot!

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Central National Museum – Muzium Negara

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Central National Museum – Muzium Negara

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Central National Museum – Muzium Negara

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Central National Museum – Muzium Negara

During my downtime, if I wasn’t in the gym, I resorted to lazing about poolside. It was the only time I could tolerate the heat. It helped to have a boozy beverage in hand to cool me down. KL was a delightful escapade, yet all too brief. As I look back and reminisce, it was a short but sizzling fling!

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31 thoughts on “Kuala Lumpur – A Sizzling Fling

  1. Having just recently moved to KL (to live) from Melbourne, I can certainly relate to everything you have said. On the surface it looks easy to get around but you seem to be blocked by no footpaths or freeways, just when you think you have figured out how to get from A to B according to a map. Taking a couple of guided tours was definitely the sensible way to see KL on a short visit. I am slowly learning to orientate myself and understand the various forms of public transport. But this takes time, not recommended for someone just passing through. Hot in KL? Yeah, you better believe it. All day all year round. But, I like the heat, like it better than Melbourne’s winters 🙂 But then I get around in shorts and singlet top…I feel very sorry for people who have to wear business clothes and deal with the heat. Glad you enjoyed your time here, despite your shakey beginning.

    • Totally agree with you. I was expecting KL to be similar to Tokyo…but it’s very different. Yeah the heat hits you. I didn’t mention anything about the rain…when it rains…it pours..thunderbolts and lightning! Putting that aside, the trips was great fun:) Enjoy your time there!

  2. Reblogged this on Sometimes Words Help and commented:
    For those of you who aren’t from this part of the world, here’s a good introduction to the next capital up the road from my Little Red Dot – Kuala Lumpur by The Vibe 101. Right now, the city, and it’s country Malaysia, is getting over the results of the latest General Election. After this tourist excursion, do go on google and read the more substantive bits. Meanwhile, enjoy!

  3. I did not see much of KL when I was there but I had a really nice meal in Bukit Bintang. I made a side trip to Melaka instead and it was worth it.
    Great shots and congrats on your solo adventure in KL 🙂

  4. Sounds like a mad dash but a lot of fun! Love all the pictures. Someone could definitely make a mınt if they could figure a better way of helping us expats navigate the streets while abroad! We too have had our share of taxis and buses taking us to the wrong place.

    • It was great fun! I’d love to go back and explore more of Malaysia, outside of KL. IF only personal tour guides were cheap…it would certainly make life so much easier when abroad. Taxis, buses…oh the joy!

  5. Wow. Seeing your pictures and reading about your encounters reminded me of my 2 weeks stay in Malaysia. The heat, yes quite a scorcher, but because of the humidity, I was loving it for the wonders on my skin, by the time i left.I always describe the heat there as “being in a perpetual steamroom”.

    The food? I loved it immensely, and like you I hovered in the safe zones, NOT buying from street vendors. Did you try the Durian fruit? a national pride but what a stinker. All in all Malaysia was a lovely experience too for me and i would definitely love to do it again.

    Thanx for taking me down memory lane. And congratulations on a lovely blog.

    • The heat certainly isn’t for the faint hearted. I haven’t had a chance to try a Durian. I’ve heard it tastes good, but like you said, it smells awful.

      I too would love to go back. My dream would be to explore more of the resorts like Langkawi or Penang.

      Btw, thanks so much for the wonderful feedback. It made my day. So glad you enjoyed this post:) Cheers!

  6. I’m not the biggest fan of the heat… or summer, yet I spent most of my time in Asia where it gets super hot (especially South East Asia). Can’t really get used to it can you? Great post though, Malaysia looks very diverse, with some beautiful landscapes to.

    • I’m with you. I love travelling to exotic destinations, but it’s the heat that knocks me a bout. The humidity isn’t for the faint hearted. KL is an amazing city. Next time, I’d love to visit Langkawi and Penang:)

  7. I loved KL. Went there with not a lot of expectations – as I didn’t know much about it – so found it a really great surprise! Glad you enjoyed it too!

    Oh and if you do get back to Malaysia definitely do check out Penang! It’s amazing!

    Nice blog too! Keep up the good work 🙂

    • I too thought KL was a great surprise. Can’t wait to go back and visit Penang as well as Langkawi – it’s been on the ‘to do’ list for a while. So glad you liked the blog. Thanks so much. Right back at ya, sending positive vibes your way:)

  8. thanks for the like on my post. i’m a malaysian who lives in japan. i totally agree when u said about the difference between tokyo n kl, the heat and the public transportation. and about the map too! we’re totally behind on all that. but I can promise u awesome stays at penang and langkawi. i used to live in penang for 12 years and I’ve been to Langkawi mutiple times. u can ask me anything 🙂

    • Oh my gosh, I regret not going to Penang and Langkawi while i was there. It’s still on the ‘to do’ list. The heat does hit you, but there’s so much to see and do in KL. I’ve only just seen the tip of the ice berg

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