Sunday, 7 June 2009

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur can basically be boiled down to one thing, The Patronus Towers, apart from the towers I really wasn't that impressed with the city and found the whole place very dull indeed.

KL was not on my original itinerary when I left the UK back in February and those of you how pay close attention to my blog, which I think is just one person (Hi mum), you may have noticed "Malaysia" appear in my itinerary written across the top in the blog header. Coming to KL was a last minute decision really and I brought the flight just 2 days before I left. It wasn't I had some time to kill while I was out in Asia as I quite easily could have stayed anywhere I'd been an extra few days. It was just I often hear about Kuala Lumpur and thought while I was out here I may as well try make the trip there. The flight was only £60 from Bangkok so didn't break the bank and that also allowed me see a bit of Malaysia as well. I somehow needed to make my way down to Singapore to fly out to Melbourne on the 10th and while going to KL was the most logical route there it was also a fairly inexpensive route as well.

As it was such a last minute decision I really had no idea what KL had to offer other than the towers. Therefore I hit up my man back home Prent who has been to Malaysia a load of times. The guy came up trumps and everything he suggested was on the money, especially in terms of where to stay. I feel a carer within the tourism industry maybe your calling Prent.

While we were here we met up with Becky again. I lose track of what I have said about Becky on this blog and cant be bothered to go back and check but basically we met here in Vietnam, met up with her again in Cambodia, saw her at the full moon party in Thailand and now were meeting up with her in KL. Was always good to see a familiar face who you know you will get on with.

I was styaing in Chinatown again, so there was the usual collection of cheap clothes shops, tourist nick-nacks and nice cheap Chinese food and electonics shops. I have a theory about chinatowns and how eventually once they are in every city in the world, or the "pawns" you could say are in place you could say, they are going to attack to turn these Chinatowns into Chinabases and then from there they are going to take over all the cities in the world and change the name of this planet from Earth to Planet China. This shits happening you just gota open your eye's to it maaaaan.

That night we went out for a massive meal with a load of people from the hostel and sat on a table on the streets on Chinatown sweating our faces off with the KL skyline in the background. After the meal we headed off out and about round KL. Malaysia is a prodominatly Muslim country and it soon became apartent there wasn't a huge amount of bars and clubs aorund and those that were sold drinks are ridiculous prices, almost Tokyo prices. So we weren't out for long also I wasn't going to be there long so wanted to be able to see as much as I could rather then spend half the day in bed with a hangover. However one of the ferw plcaes we managed to go was this Regga bar just out of Chinatown. It was real busy, mentally smokey and as about a regga as Bruth Forsyth. The only thing Regga about it was that there were a few pcitures of the late great Bob Marley on the wall. The place did suck a little but was nice to get out and see a bit of KL's night life.

The first day out and about in KL the first stop was obviously The Patronus Towers. I had seen them eliminated at night as we drove in on the bus and it was an awesome sight. They just looked like 2 huge glowing bars of energy shooting up into the sky. I am not sure if it the fact they seemed to illuminate it with white light but the towers really do shine out over the city. I was looking forward to seeing them up close and going inside as I had seen them so much over the years and just generally love sky scrapers, especially when they are the world's 2nd tallest building. It was mainly just a photo opportunity really, taking the usual jokey ones where you make it look like you are holding them up and things (yawn). Spent a little time inside the shopping centre and then decided that I would come back at night to get some more photos of them at night. The one annoying thing about the towers though is that you can't go all the way to the top. What's that about? Why build the (at the time of construction) the world biggest building and then not let people go all the way to the top to really appreciate how tall they are!? Didn't make any sense to me.

As I couldn't go up The Patronus Towers we headed over to KL tower instead. I am not sure what it is used for but it was one of the tallest towers in the world as well and gave a great view of the city. Possibly better than The Patronus Towers as looking out from the KL tower you could see The Patronus Towers as part of the cityscape. The view from the top was great and gave me a better impression of the city I was in. I realised in Tokyo I like being able to get to a high point in a city so that I can look out over the whole things and get a better impression of the city I am in and have tried to do it everywhere I have been so far, budget permitting.

The fun at the KL towers doesn't stop there though! When you buy your ticket for the tower you are also entitled to 3 other attractions of your choice. Like a ride on a pony in the car park, a go on an F1 simulator, a small Zoo, it was a blast...kinda.

While I was there something was bugging me about KL and I couldn't put my finger on it. I eventually realised that the place was just lacking the buzz of many of the big cites I had been too so far. While walking the streets I did not feel the sensory overload I had experience in cities like HCMC, Bangkok, London, Paris and Tokyo. It wasn't a very fashionable city and there was a complete lack of the trend setters I would see elsewhere, the architecture was fairly standard (not including the towers) and it just seemed to lack the cutting edge, "ahead of the game" vibe I had got from previous cities. A Part of me wondered if maybe I was getting bored of cites? This question was answered a few days later when I arrived in Singapore, it blew my mind, the place was amazing, confirming that it wasn't cities I was getting bored of, it was just KL wasn't that great.

There isn't really anything wrong with the place and I am sure you would have a very pleasant time there if you went, but I feel that's all is would be "Pleasant". Not bad, not good, not fun, not mind blowing, just pleasant.


  1. Hi Rob, good on you!!I'm Lili and wouldn't to pass this without to leave a comment for you when I saw you've been in Japan...Also it reminded me a lot of things such as the pictures in Nara, Kuala Lumpur, sneaks photo's and so on...Actually, Angela and I just started to create our blog about the culture about the Japan. I've lived in Australia for 7 month if you need some information about there, don't hesitate ok. Good lucky on you trip...See you soon Mate...

  2. Cost of drinks in Malaysia is ridiculous compared to the cost of accommodation in hotels in Kuala Lumpur.