No sooner had I wrapped up my lessons for the year and I was off to the airport that same evening to take a night flight to Kuala Lumpur (KL) in Malaysia. As a young child collecting stamps (nerd alert!) I always considered Malaysia to be something of an exotic country due to its bright and colourful stamps. The ‘Malaysia truly Asia‘ advert campaign many, many years later did nothing to dispel that theory and I was suitably impressed on my previous two visits; Borneo in 2008 and Penang in 2010.
Having never done anything more than a transit in the country’s capital until this trip we decided to spend a couple of days in KL having arrived in the early hours. Unable to properly check in to our hotel on arrival we headed out straight away to Batu Caves; a cheap and easy 30 minute train ride from KL Sentral station.
Admittedly, the place is a bit of a tourist trap with all the usual things like restaurants, souvenir shops and food vendors. A huge golden statue stands in front of the 272 steps which lead up to the Temple Cave amid monkeys with some fine views of the city stretching out in the distance behind you.
Once at the top, the cave opens up into quite a vast space with various temples and shrines, some unusual rituals taking place and bats flying overhead in their droves or whatever word is used for a collection of bats! It was then that I (thought I) had a eureka moment and realised that Batu must mean bat. However, thats not actually the case as I later found out that batu means stone or rock.
Our accommodation was right in the heart of Chinatown and in the evening we strolled among the many, many stalls selling all sorts of things whilst stopping at various roadside places to sample as much hawker food as we could get through.
Due to the dates we were in town we were unable to ascend the 451.9m Petronas Towers (its closed on Mondays!) which didn’t bother us too much as I’m not such a sucker for the views offered by these massive constructions anymore. The shopping centre within the towers was very impressive not that I wanted to stay there too long!
What I love about KL is the multicultural mix that it possesses including the aforementioned Chinese aspect as well as Indian stuff too. We explored the Little India area on our second day following the Lonely Planet walking tour to an extent which included mosques, street stalls and Colonial buildings.
My girlfriend had never tried a fish spa (below) so we did that in the evening which was great fun and the instant tickling sensation felt on dipping your feet in was far greater than what I remember from my first experience of it in Penang in 2010. It left us at times like a pair of giggling schoolgirls as the hundreds of fish nibbled away at our feet in what is supposed to provide some kind of positive health benefits!