The Malaysian Flag at Merdeka (Independence) Square
So here we are; Malaysia. We have been looking forward to this leg of our journey for awhile. This is the 14th country so far in the last 3 and a half years and it is a bit different. Other countries in SE Asia have religions that we are unfamiliar with, however there is no dodging the fact that you have entered a country that is predominately Muslim. From the layout of the grocery stores, to the hajibs, burqas (ladies), taqiyahs (men) on peoples’ heads, to the calls to prayer periodically throughout the day. Only about half the population is Muslim but because it is different to what we are used to it comes across as very noticeable.
You know things have changed when you glance up at the clock. To be fair, this was in the National Mosque. All the other clocks we have seen use what we would call conventional digits.
On one of the train lines in Kuala Lumpur, two of the six cars in the train are designated for ladies only. One of those things that just catches your attention.
Before we arrived here we had made arrangements to rent an apartment for the two weeks of our stay in Kuala Lumpur. This has been a great decision as it places us in the middle of the city with easy access to shopping and transit. This apartment cost us $600CDN for 14 nights.
We have been in this pool nearly every day we have been here. It is great cooling down and being able to look over the city and reminisce about the sights you have seen. Yes, those are the Petronas Towers in the background. The tallest twin towers in the world.
We were able to celebrate our 29th anniversary in the restaurant atop our tower. Fantastic.
We have eased into the sightseeing here. Partly because we are not under a time crunch, but also because of the heat. It is HOT here. I know, not a lot of sympathy from people and I am not looking for any. I am just stating a fact. A cool day here is 32C and that is before factoring in the “feels like” humidex which usually adds another 4 – 7C.
One of the Hop On Hop Off buses we took around the city. (79RM/$22CDN for 48 hours) In most cities we have used them it is always a challenge to get the seats in the open air on the top level. Not here, it is so hot everyone eventually comes inside.
Islam is the national religion of Malaysia so a trip would not be complete without a visit to the National Mosque.
Karen in her borrowed gown and hajib.
Myself in the borrowed gown. A bit warm with your normal clothes underneath.
The Mosque apparently has a capacity of 15,000 people. Thankfully it was nearly empty when we were there. The people were very welcoming and open in letting us wander about. They did ask that we didn’t go into the main prayer hall, which I thought was more than reasonable.
A hidden gem was the Bank Negara Museum. A history of currency in Malaysia as well as an excellent art gallery focused on Malaysia. And it is free!
Couldn’t resist getting artsy with the staircase in the Bank Negara Museum.
In addition to the Bank Negara Museum we also visited the National and Police Museums. All three are definitely worth the time and are either free or cost 5RM.
Just a sample of the beautiful flowers throughout the garden.
The observatory in the gardens has a miniature stonehenge to help understand some of the history of astronomy.
After taking in the Botanical Gardens we started focusing more on attractions where we could enjoy air conditioning. These two Canadians were starting to have challenges coping with the consistent high temperatures.
Though the Batu Caves didn’t have air-conditioning they are caves. As well, we visited them first thing in the morning so we avoided the high temperatures and the crowds.
At the base of the Batu Caves you are greeted by a 42.7 metre tall statue of Lord Murugan and 272 steps before you can gain access to the caves. It is one of the most important Hindu shrines outside of India.
There are plenty of monkeys on and around the stairs as you climb up. They make a great excuse to stop and catch your breath as you watch their antics. As well there are an abundance of colourful figures to check out.
The main cave is huge, with a number of smaller alcoves off of it with shrines and altars. We were fortunate to be there when a service was being performed.
Looking into the caves from just to the right of the entrance.
The shrine at the inner most portion of the caves. There is a hole in the ceiling which allows for natural light to come in.
There was no wondering why there was an abundance of pigeons here. As we arrived we watched this fellow feeding them on a large scale.
On the observation deck in the KL Tower. Incredible views.
The KL Tower appears to glow as the sun sets and the lighting is turned on. It was very nice being able to relax in our rooftop pool and wait for the light to be just right before hopping out and getting the photo.
It was fun watching this street transform everyday from a normal roadway to an all encompassing street market every night
We never had much of a light show from Mother Nature at sunset, but the city provided it’s own show for us.
The tallest twin towers in the world and the symbol of Kuala Lumpur. They truly are breathtaking structures.
Looking NW from the Sky Bridge on the 41st floor. If you follow the double line of blue away from the building, where it ends is where the previous photo was taken from, just for some perspective.
Looking SE from the Sky Bridge you can see the Lake Symphony Fountains and some of the construction going on in the city.
In the reviews of the Petronas Towers you see a fair bit about your time being limited on the Sky Bridge, but seriously people, yes the view is spectacular but do you need more than 10 minutes here. It isn’t that big. They do an excellent job of orchestrating the flow of people through here. At no time did I feel rushed.
After the visit to the Sky Bridge you head up to the 86th floor Observation Level.
The one thing you start to see as you get higher up and can see further is the pollution. Still an amazing view though. The cost of accessing the Towers is 85RM ($25CDN) and booking ahead is highly recommended.
From the Observation level you get a different perspective of the KL Tower and Tower 1 of the Petronas Towers.
We have certainly enjoyed our time in Kuala Lumpur and would recommend it to others without hesitation. The pace, for us, was a little slower and less chaotic than most other major Asian cities we have visited. It actually reminded me a bit of the pace of things back home in Calgary. We’ll leave you with a short video of the colourful fountain display at the base of the Petronas Towers. This takes place every night of the year.