We only had three weeks to explore Malaysia but we still hatched plans to search for wild orangutans in Borneo as well as hang out in Kuala Lumpur and visit the Perhentian Islands. As is typical with plans, however, ours went awry when we fell in love with Borneo and couldn’t bear to leave; as such we ended up with just a couple of spare days to take in the sights of Kuala Lumpur – here’s what we got up to.
After struggling with the dirty, chaotic and disorientating cities in Indonesia we were on guard when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. It was pretty clear from the moment we picked up a map in our hostel however, that Kuala Lumpur was going to be a much easier nut to crack; the main attractions were clearly labelled and looked easily accessible judging from the train lines and the free bus route. It was quick and easy to take the train out to the Batu Caves and it only cost us £0.80 one way! Here we climbed the steps lined by mischievous macaques (somewhat warily after our terrifying experience at the Monkey Forest in Bali) and took some snaps of the huge caves.
As we explored the city we found that Kuala Lumpur was just the right mix of Asian and Western influences for us. While China Town, for instance, was more hectic and crowded with its maze of stalls and tanks of toads waiting to be slaughtered, Bukit Bintang was almost London-like with its wide clean pavements, glittering lights and sparkling malls. As we wandered the streets we gazed up at the towering Petronas Towers and marvelled at how at home we felt in the city.
We felt so at home in fact, that we hardly took any pictures of our time in Kuala Lumpur, in fact, we both commented that we hardly felt like tourists at all – it was like we were taking a few days off from really travelling. One strange side-effect from our time in Malaysia that we did notice, however, was that we seemed to become more western while we were there. We ended up spending an awful lot of time in malls and even went to the multiplex cinema a couple of times, which are things we almost never did in London. I’m ashamed to say that we even gorged on junk food a few times. By the time we left Kuala Lumpur we were well and truly ready for our next adventure in the wilds of the Philippines.