Pit Stop: Kuala Lumpur

There is a tinge of bewilderment whenever I say “Kuala Lumpur”, I just really think it’s quite a cute name for a place (by now, you have enough proof of my eccentricity). Aside from curiosity and being nonplussed on the mystic shadows that lurk behind this city, it was more of my personal vehemence to go somewhere not Chinese.

It started with enthusiasm and ended up with slurs, jeez, it took me 8 days to memorize the address of the hotel I’ve booked and the district names of the cool spots I was dreading to go. The “Jalan” word (means street) instantly became a favorite. It was a rough start yet sprinkled with frenzy. The stupor was uncontrollably brimming, and all that’s left for me was to sneak out from work and brush everything off my way.


I have an opaque notion on Malay culture, and the single chunk of  verifiable truth I have carried with me since 2nd grade is them being one of the ancestors of Filipino race. So before this blog transforms into a sparkling cocktail of historical information that  nauseates with too much babble, I’d better swim off that tub and spearhead to what I aim for: a travel dossier.

 

Snippets of what you should know. . .

 

 

Point of compass

The capital and apparently the biggest city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur can be found at the center of Selangor, on the western region of Peninsular Malaysia. The whole country is located on Central South East Asia, with the near-by Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. There are about 6.5 million Malays inhabiting in KL’s 243 square kilometer land area and about 1.8 million of them are in the city center. It is rated as an “Alpha World City”, being the finance, business & economic center of whole Malaysia. 

 

Currency 

 

Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)

1 MYR = approximately 0.32741 US $

1 MYR = approximately 13.40 Php

1 MYR = approximately 0.41 SG $



Getting there

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) is on the Sepang District of Selangor. About 50 international airlines cater in this airport since its opening in 1998. They also have the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) for travelers on budget airlines. Taxi and bus bays are stationed just outside the terminals for easy access towards the city.




What you need to get in

Their Visa policy is one of the most flexible in the world because over 80 countries can get through their borders without any visa requirement. Travelers from US, UK, Australia etc. are given 90 days while Filipino and Singapore citizens can get up to 30 days of stay.

For more information about Malaysian Visa, please click this site:

Malaysian Visa Requirements 

 

 

Gastronomic Gratification

 

One distinct taste on Malay cuisine is curry. Just like Indians, they incorporate this spice in almost every dish they have. Affordable and cheap, two of the general, music-in-the-ear description of KL food, which can luckily be found in every corner of the city. Here are the famous delights you can enjoy during your visit:


Nasi Lemak
– The National Dish of Malaysia, it is a small platter of coconut rice (Nasi) with fried chicken and anchovies. It usually comes with boiled egg and peanuts, making it a fusion of strong flavors and texture.




Malaysian Satay – Skewered and grilled piece of either beef or chicken, this is probably the most popular street food in KL. It’s a perfect hunger buster especially if you’re traveling on a budget. What makes this special is the peanut sauce that brings flavor in every stick.

 


Curry Laksa – A bowl of rice noodles in curry goodness that can be sprinkled with just about any protein rich topping like bits of chicken, shrimps or tofu. With a touch of lime, there’s no denying that the aroma alone is appetizingly good.



Spots never dare to miss. . .

 

Petronas Twin Towers

An unmistakable landmark that is truly Malaysia, this used to be the tallest building in the world & is located at the central business district of Kuala Lumpur. It is home to giant international companies such as Bloomberg, Boeing and Microsoft. With an architectural height of 451.9 meters, the developer spent over 1.6 billion dollars on construction & the building was inaugurated in August 1, 1999.


The busiest and biggest shopping center, Suria KLCC could be found at the ground level of the Petronas Towers for the visitors’ shopping pleasure.

 

 

KL Menara Tower 

A few meters walk from Petronas Towers is another must-see high rise structure in KL. The Menara tower was constructed in 1995 and is mainly used for communication & broadcasting purposes. It stands 421 meters high and showcases an observation deck for tourists and restaurants for some relaxation at a high point.

For 18 MYR, you could get on the observation deck and take a panoramic view of KL with it’s skyline and busy avenues.

You can use one of these binoculars to get a closer look of what’s below the tower especially during night time when the city is being illuminated by light. From this point I was actually able to locate the hotel where we stayed during our trip (Maytower Hotel in Jalan Munshi).


 

 

 

Genting Highlands 

A surprisingly foggy weather will welcome you in an altitude of 1800 meters with just about 1 hour away from the heart of KL. Commercially known as Resorts World Genting, this is the only place in Kuala Lumpur where people can gamble legally. There are casinos and of course, amusement park for kids that has 50 thrilling rides and different restaurants.

On a normal day, temperature ranges from 5-10 degrees C, and when the rains pours, expect a zero visibility in the area.

If you’re seeking for a more adventurous tour, try the cable car that can get you to Genting in about 15 minutes. The view is breath taking during the ride as you take a peak of downtown KL.

 

 

 

Batu Caves

Just 13 kilometers away from north of the city, Batu Caves is a Hindu shrine made up of limestone. It was estimated to be around 400 years old and is made up of tiny caves and temples. Outside stands the highest golden statue of a Hindu buddha called Murugan, which is 42.7 meters tall.

The very steep climb when going inside the cave is made up of 272 steps so brace yourself for some bone-breaking exercise.

Monkeys can be seen just about anywhere in Batu Caves waiting for some food to be tossed at them by the religious people visiting the temples.

Just one of the tiny temples that can be found inside the Batu Cave. This is where Hindus offer prayers and flowers to their gods.

 

 

Bukit Bintang

The shopping and night life district of KL city center, this long stretch of malls and bars is the perfect breather after an exhausting day of tour. Unwind on the cheapest bars in town and indulge on a shopping spree on their biggest malls.

 

 

Globetrotter Tips

Unless you know by heart all the “Jalan” and the abbreviation they use for every district and train stop, it would be a cinch getting around KL. I have tried utilizing their train and all I did was cuss continuously for I know this was not meant for me. However, taxi cabs are numerous, the only problem with these drivers (most of them Indians), they offer a fixed price for one trip although there are stickers on taxis encouraging passengers to ask for a metered ride. They consider haggling as illegal on taxis, but you can’t blame tourists in doing so because these cabs charge an incredible high price, most especially if you try to take one during rush hours.

Bukit Bintang may offer the best brands when it comes to shopping, but if you want to shop plus have fun, head on to KL Chinatown along Petaling Street. They have night market where you can buy souvenir of all sorts at a bargain price. Remember, in places like this, haggling is definitely a way of life.

Perhaps one of the most vibrant people you’ll ever come across with, Malaysians have their instant smile flashed whenever you meet them. Conversation and language will never be a problem because all of them are somewhat English speaking. You won’t experience difficulty in understanding if ever you lose your way for these people are tourist oriented and so welcoming.




 

Globetrotter Rating

A rate of 8 is what I am giving for Kuala Lumpur. Only a few places in the globe offers a travel with ease in all aspects, with ludicrously cheap commodities and tourist attractions. Every penny will surely be well spent, while you exigently expose yourself to pure Malay culture that is incomparable. This is a rich nation, accumulating most of their wealth from their Palm tree industry and of course, their people, in a cheery environment you can beyond question grow accustomed to. 

 

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