Kuala Lumpur (KL) is a major hub in Southeast Asia with travellers inevitably stopping over in KL in-between Asia and Australia or between countries in Southeast Asia. Spending a few days in this marvellous city is highly recommended, as it amalgamates all the positives from several different cultures - Indian, Chinese, Thai and Malaysian - and snowballs it into a uniquely positive city that one can’t help but be enraptured by.
Climb up Batu Caves for a great view of KL
Waking up early is a must in Kuala Lumpur, as the city starts its daily routine with the rooster’s calls. From wherever you are, head down to KL Sentral and catch a half-hour train that costs 2 USD to the Batu Caves where the entry is free and the views are majestic. Getting there before noon is highly recommended, as the sun hasn’t risen fully and the humidity hasn’t set in fully yet. Have a small snack or your lunch at any of the delicious South Indian restaurants directly opposite the staircase to the caves, but first walk up the caves to work up an appetite, as the food might make you too lethargic for the steep stair climb that are well worth it for the view.
Discover subtle beauty of light in darkness within the Batu Caves
The caves are situated behind a massive gold Buddha stupa that takes up a majority of the view, but once inside the caves, you’ll be engrossed by the subtle beauty of the darkness complimenting the little light that filters in through the holes in the ceiling. Watch out for the chickens that roam the cave, but otherwise spend as long as you can walking around the cave and the temple that’s situated deep inside.
Petaling Street is your place for all kinds of food!
Next, make your way to Bukit Bintang and either hire a rickshaw or walk the fifteen minutes to check out one of the world’s tallest towers in Petronas Towers. They’re hard to miss, as they tower over everything in view. Head back towards the station but stop over on Petaling Street.
Located next to a fancy mall in Bukit Bintang, Petaling Street is lined with restaurants on one side and snack stalls on the other, offering you the opportunity to walk down the street sampling oddball goods from deep-fried pigs feet to cassava juice. Walking around the district checking out the massage parlours, the expat bars and the street-side vendors will work up your appetite to eat at any of the restaurants that wait at your beck and call as you have a gander at their menu while deciding if it fits your budget or not.
Explore KL Sentral for hidden delights
KL Sentral is usually the first stop in Kuala Lumpur for most tourists due to its centralised location and direct train from the airport (10 USD and takes around thirty minutes). The best time to explore the area outside KL Sentral is at dusk when the golden hour is upon the city and the vendors are trying to make as much money as they can before the end of the day. Little India is just around the corner, a few minutes walk from KL Sentral, and is one of the most genuine, miniature versions of that remarkable country one can find. Spend your evening there roaming the streets, working out what exactly is going on and get engrossed by the endless people-watching available.
From KL Sentral, the brightly lit streets of Chinatown are only a subway stop away and the streets are littered with stalls selling odds and ends that are surprisingly useful to the average traveller. From knock-off designer clothes to authentic Malaysian jewellery, one can find the exact gift they’ve been looking for in these stalls. When you get bored of shopping, sit down at any of the dozens of restaurants, tucked away next to the stalls, with an ice cold beer and watch as the other tourists go about their business while the locals sit around, waiting for the next customer to come by and sample a look at their goods. Polish up on your bargaining skills though because these stall owners don’t budge easily from their “fixed price” rates.
Kuala Lumpur is an eccentric mixture of a variety of cultures.
Kuala Lumpur is a must-see for anyone visiting Malaysia or South-East Asia, as it’s relatively safe, even after dark, and it’s an eccentric mixture of a variety of cultures that somehow has created its own. Dinner, drinks and a little shopping in Chinatown can fill up your evening, but for a genuine Malay experience, Petaling street in Bukit Bintang - the tourist hot-spot of Kuala Lumpur - holds all the aromas and sights that wake your senses up to the Malaysian capitals uniqueness. Where Chinatown can be a tad bit drab and generic, especially if you’ve spent a significant amount of time in Southeast Asia, Petaling Street offers all the authenticity that one can feel is missing in Kuala Lumpur.
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