Kuala Lumpur


Our journey to Kuala Lumpur (KL) was another online pre-booked coach, so we got a taxi from our hotel and travelled the 10-minute journey with ease this time, thankfully the weekend traffic issues are no problem here during the week.
The bus was due to leave at 11am and arrived at the station on time, we boarded and got our seats we booked at the front and set off down towards KL. I had read that this road was a lovely scenic route, so was looking forward to it. However, the first 90 minutes were on the most winding road so far on our travels, not helped by a crazy driver who took the sharp turns with speed, overtaking on blind corners as the bus shook from side to side as we hurtled down some lovely countryside.


Once we got out of the Cameron Highlands, we hit the highway and soon after that, we stopped at a roadside local restaurant for a 30-minute break. I was peckish, but didn’t really fancy some of the curries, rice or noodle dishes that they had, but seen some fried chicken so got a couple of bits of that and it must be said, it tasted lovely. 
We set off again and 4 hours after we departed, we pulled into the bus terminal at Kuala Lumpur Sentral. This is a large hub which connects to various city transportation methods from which you can pretty much get anywhere in the city, hence why we chose this location. We had booked an Airbnb which was in a building called Sentral Residences, which was pretty much right next to the hub.

Our host had arranged for a friend to pick us up in his car and take us to our apartment, which I found a bit strange being as its next door, but the reason for this was soon to become apparent.
Around a week before we were due to arrive, Sadie received an email from the host to advise us that management has become very strict about Airbnb, and that she would have to meet us before we went to the apartment.
So, after trying to find Lee the driver for about 20 minutes, we found him and he took us into the basement car park to get to the apartment. On the way up in the lift to the 26th floor, he was explaining to us how the access card worked the lift and where we could go with it. He said we needed to enter/exit the building from the 2nd floor, and there was a walkway to the station which we should use, and not the lobby. This kind of made sense at the time, so we got into our apartment and Lee briefly showed us a few things and left.


The apartment we had was lovely, 2 bedrooms – one with an en-suite bathroom and a huge bath, walk in shower and toilet which had a fancy heated seat which washed and blow-dried you after using it! We had a huge open plan living room, dining area and sofa and an amazing view over the city. We unpacked and then went out to explore the route from the 2nd floor to the station, which also had a mall attached to it. The route to the walkway took us past the garden area, then out into a business centre. However, we noticed on the door that this closed at night from midnight – 6am, so we began to wonder how we would get home if coming back late.
After messaging our host, she explained we could use the access card to get to the lobby on the ground floor, but if any of the security stopped us in the building, we had to tell them we worked for a company called Netcracker Technology, and give a different apartment number on the 10th floor, and not to show them our card! It was all a bit secret squirrel; however, we did notice a couple of signs up on the entry doors to the complex basically stating that management had decided that the apartments should not be used for Airbnb purposes and anyone found to be doing that would be refused entry. 

It all started to make sense now, and with security patrolling the building and manning the entry/exit routes, it wasn’t long before we got stopped whilst up on the 55th floor checking out the rooftop infinity pools. Our cover story worked though, and that was the only time we got questioned over the 5 days, as they got to know our faces.
Anyway yes, the rooftop infinity pools, with their stunning view of the other side of the city including the KL Tower and one of the Petronas Towers too. There was also a gym, sauna and steam room, but surprisingly we didn’t use them whilst there.

 

That evening we got some cash out, but earlier that day the ATM pulled a wobbler and the funds came off my account without issuing any money, so thankfully the 2nd attempt worked and eventually the earlier funds got reverted. We then did some shopping for supplies for the apartment, and then went to Outback for a steak which we both were craving.

The next morning was an early rise, as we had to go to the station to meet our other guest. As some of you reading this will now know via Facebook, we had our awesome friend Jane Williams coming over to spend time with us in KL and then onto Tioman Island too. It had all been kept hush-hush, and apart from a couple of close friends, no one knew she was coming. We were so excited to see her, so as her train from the airport arrived, we watched her walk through the turnstiles and then ran towards her for huge hugs and there were some tears too.
We took her up to the apartment and then once settled, we went out to explore KL and got a taxi to the KL Forest Eco Park, which has several nature trails and a forest canopy walkway. After following a few of these trails (and getting a bit lost coming out into a building site), we went for lunch at a nearby restaurant and then decided to go to see Merdeka Square, a historical site with lots of old colonial buildings. 


Myself and Sadie had also taken several selfies of us during the day, with Jane strategically placed in the background, and these were posted on Facebook. We had a laugh as no one spotted her in them (bearing in mind it was a secret), and we wondered how long it would take anyone to notice!
But on the way there, I got a notification from Revolut that my card had been used to withdraw cash from an ATM at KLS, which was where I had used it the previous day. Panic set in as initially I thought my card had been cloned, or used fraudulently again (like in India), so we scrapped our plans and went straight to the actual bank I used in the station. After explaining the story to 3 people, I had to complete a report with them to investigate, and I had also notified Revolut who also looked into it.
We all went back to the apartment to chill, and thought it would be nice to go up to the pool for a swim, and Jane posted a pic of the same view I did the day before. I also took a pic of the 3 of us and posted that we found her in our pool… well that let our friends know for sure!


That evening we fancied some street food, and decided to go to Bukit Bintang, which is famous for the street food on Jalan Alor, the street entertainment, shopping and nightlife. We went to KLS to get what we thought was the monorail there, but we ended up on a different line and a different acronym, thought we still got there. As we discovered over the course of the 4 days there, KLS has several different systems all going through it, we had the KTM 1 & 2, LRT 3,4 & 5, KLIA, KLIA Express, MRL and MRT... so you can see how easy it is to get confused!
We went for a stroll around the area, and then had some lovely Thai food and then some ice cream roll, which we last had in Phuket. It’s made on an ice-cold plate where they pour some creamy mixture on it, mix in what you pick from a choice of several ingredients (Oreo in our case) and then proceed to spread and chop it all together, eventually forming rolls which they put into a tub and then you can add a couple of toppings. They need to introduce this at UK festivals, it would be a winner.


We also pondered on buying some Durian, the smelly fruit. But we got put off by the hight price tag for something that smelt so bad and we didn’t know what it tasted like. Then we went for a walk round looking for a bar, although it proved harder than we thought, turns out we just didn’t look in the right place. It was then time to head back to the apartment, as Jane was starting to get tired with jet-lag.

We had a bit of a long lie the next morning, then I made scrambled eggs on toast with hash browns for breakfast. It was good to be in a proper apartment whilst in KL, as it meant we could make our own meals and save a few Ringgit in what was proving to be an expensive city and country.
Deciding to go back to where we left off yesterday, we headed back towards Central Market and Petaling Street which are in Chinatown to do a bit shopping. After a stroll round them both, we had some lunch and then Sadie went to get a fishy feet manicure. This proved to be hilarious as she sat on the side of the tank and nearly every fish in there went for a bit!

We thought about doing sunset up on a roof-top bar that evening, but the cloud cover looked unkind to us for it, so we went back to the apartment to get freshened up and then a bit later we went back to Bukit Bingtang, this time on the real monorail!
So it was back to Jalan Alor for more street food, then went to a Chinese Restaurant where we proceeded to order far too much food, Jane had the wrong thing served and after stuffing our faces, I had found a street on Google that had pubs on it, called Changkat, hopefully averting the previous night’s failings!
On entering the street, we were greeted with fairy lights, neon cloud signs and a bit further down the road was closed to traffic. It was soon apparent why, as this street was door to door full of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs all blaring out music, it reminded us of the usual strip of bars in Spain etc.


Every bar we seen had drink offers, 2-4-1, cheap buckets, etc with the staff out on the street trying to entice you into their establishment. We found a nice bar called The Italian Market (TIM) which didn’t have loud music playing and with a decent offer of 2 pints (proper ones) for 30 MYR which is about £5.40 and 2 gins for 38 MYR. We sat there for a couple of drinks and then headed back to the apartment around 11pm.

The next morning, we decided to get up early and visit the Batu Caves, which is one of the most popular tourist attractions in KL. They are about 30 minutes north of the city centre and looked easy to get to from KLS by one direct train there. On arrival at the station, we discovered that due to track replacement work, it was now a replacement bus service to Sental which is approximately half way, then we had to change to a train to take us to the caves. We followed the signs round and out to the bus, and got on board. The bus was about 1/3rd full, however we sat for around 30 minutes until the bus was completely full with lots of people having to stand, despite the fact there was another 2 buses behind ours.
About 20 minutes later we arrived at Sental and after the hassle of buying our tickets and then having to query the cost due to the ticket officer trying to scam us, we got on the waiting train to the caves. But again, the train sat for around 30 minutes will it filled up before leaving, getting us to the caves over an hour later than we had hoped for. 

Batu Caves are one of the most important Hindu shrines outside of India, and it was a Saturday so the place was busy. We went into one cave to start with which was Cave Villa and was opened to public around 10 years ago and features many shrines relating to the story of Lord Muragan and how he defeated the demon Soorapadam. It was all very colourful, however a bit disappointing and especially the steep staircase up the back that led you to pretty much nothing!

Before the steps

We then went to the main attraction, Temple Cave. This features a 43-metre statue at the foot of the steps of Lord Muragan, the tallest in the world. Yes, the steps, all 272 of them lead up to the vast cavern with several shrines and gorgeous views of the 400million year old limestone caves. After a well-deserved ice cream and a look round, we didn’t stay long as we were running later than planned.

After the steps

Deciding to get a taxi to our next location instead of enduring public transport again, we met our Grab driver at the main gate and went on the 30-minute journey to the Suria KLCC Mall. Sadie wanted to visit the M&S here, plus we all wanted to spend a bit of time shopping in a nice air-con 6 storey high mall. Sadie bought a couple of things and I got a much-needed new pair of sandals having had my old ones for over 10 years.
Lunch was at a sushi restaurant, and my first experience of a Yo-Sushi style place where all the plates come around on a conveyor belt and you just pick what you want. The food was lovely, though way too easy to spend and eat too much. Thankfully though, the prices were way cheaper than the UK and we all ate loads of plates and with a drink each, it was less than £15.
The mall is attached to the Petronas Twin Towers, probably the most famous attraction in KL and I had booked tickets earlier for us all to go up them. Our timeslot was 4pm and after some obligatory photos from outside, we went to the ticket counter to start our journey upwards. 


You are put in a group of about 18 people and then given a safety briefing by some weird hologram that has been projected onto vapour. Then you are ushered into a small lift to take you up to the Skybridge that connects the two towers on the 41st/42nd floors. The lift goes up at around 1 floor per second, so it doesn’t take long at all. You are given about 10 minutes here to admire the amazing view and take some pics, then you get in the lift again to go up to the 83rd floor, then change into another smaller lift to go up to the observation deck on the 86th floor.
The views from this floor are breath-taking of the city below, with a couple of telescopes to use, some interactive exhibits and stories of how the towers were built etc. We got about 20 minutes up here to enjoy the views and take more photos, before starting the journey back down to ground level.


By now, having been out all day, we had worked up a bit of a thirst, so we walked along the fairly new sky-walkway that takes you from the KLCC direct into the Pavilion mall back over at Bukit Bintang and headed back to Changkat. Again, we were enticed in by drink promotions and went to a couple of bars called Mangos and Rock Bottom (where thankfully we had some chips and onion rings to soak up the beers), then back to TIM for a couple, then onto The Magnificent Fish & Chip shop for another drink.
So by this point we were feeling a bit tipsy, and the sensible option would have to just went back to the apartment. 


But it was only around 9pm, and we had read online about an organised pub crawl the previous day, which cost 70 MYR (£12) and you got 5 free drinks, drinking games and entry to a club. Sadie & Jane were just going to tag along whilst I was volunteered to participate of course!
We went to the Brix Union pub where they started from to speak to the guy in charge, Saad and he said it was fine to join and no issues with people tagging along, but obviously wouldn’t get the free drinks in the bars. I paid the money and we all got stickers with our names on. There was about 10 people in total and the first drink was a Grey Goose Vodka and Orange, so not too bad a start. We then put in 10 MYR for a tequila shot each, and then went on to the 2nd pub called Gypsy Bar, which was playing cheesy pop tunes and despite Jane requesting some Techno, they sadly declined.


We had about 1 hour in each pub, so obviously this is so you get your free drink and then they hope you spend money in the place. But we discovered it was ladies’ night, so Sadie and Jane got several free G&Ts between them along with my free one, which we had before going to the next bar, Twenty One. This was like the next place, Velvet which both had crap music playing and the drinks were expensive, apart from my free tequila and some fruit cocktail. We played some weird drinking game in the former, which involved putting some lager in a cup and having to drink it then flip it over to land upside down. I managed to do it several times, so got a few small drinks out of it.
We also played a drinking game in a car park, which involved going into teams and passing a bottle of unknown liquid down the line and first team to finish it won. I was last in line on my team and confidently knew we would win, and we did! (Turns out it was apparently Vodka & Sprite)
It was a right mix of people on this pub crawl, some clearly out to try get hooked up, others just out for a social chat and us who were just out to explore new bars which we wouldn’t normally enter. But most of them were friendly enough and it made good entertainment for the evening. Plus, Sadie and Jane seemed to enjoy the tag-along with them both up dancing in most of the bars, plus Jane with her secret service mic!


The last place was a club called The VIP Room, and despite it being about 1am, it was dead and again playing shitty music. I got my free drink, which I have no idea what it was and then we sneaked off with the organiser who showed us a lovely Middle Eastern restaurant around the corner, so we got some food and then a taxi back to the apartment at around 3am!

It was no surprise that we didn’t get up early the next morning, I think it was around 12pm before any of us crawled out of bed, slight hangovers but we had already decided to have a lazy afternoon on our last day in KL which we used to get our laundry done.
In the evening we went to the night market at Bangsar Village to have a look round the stalls, wandered around the mall and got some supplies for our journey the next day. We also went to an Indian restaurant called Sri Nirwana Maju which is highly rated on TripAdvisor and had an amazing meal which was just veg, rice and then whatever meat/extras you wanted all served on a banana leaf. 


Then it was time to head back, finish drying our clothes and we all sat staring out the window for around 2 hours at the most amazing thunder & lightning storm I have ever seen.  It seemed never ending and I managed to get some decent slow-mo videos and some photos too, see link below.



And despite us wanting an early night due to having to get up at 3am, the tumble drier wasn’t having any of it as it took forever to dry our clothes and it was gone midnight before we got into bed.



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