Last year my boyfriend and I made a trip through gorgeous China. From crazy Shanghai and Beijing to the small mountain village of Xiahe. It was amazing and we still look back on it with a huge smile on our faces. The last days were reserved for Hong Kong, but this was not the end of our trip. We still had one stop ahead of us, because on our way back to Amsterdam we had a long stopover in Kuala Lumpur. This Asian capital was never on my travel list, but still I was happy that I could visit it now. The circumstances were far from ideal. This city sky was covered in thick clouds, it rained and there was even thunder. Moreover, I had sprained my ankle the day before when I hiked the Dragon Back in Hong Kong. The result: my foot was swollen. So the ambitions were not too high. Our mission was getting a taste of Kuala Lumpur. In this article you will read if we succeeded.
Petronas Towers: check!
One of the things we really wanted to see in Kuala Lumpur were the Petronas Towers. With a 452 meter height this is one of the highest buildings in the world. Because we only had a short stopover we chose to save the view for another time. You have to buy a ticket for a fixed time and we could not afford to wait around for a couple of hours. Instead we head to the shopping mall under the Petronas Towers. Not to do some shopping, but to eat. On the fourth floor there is a food court. A perfect opportunity for us to explore the Malaysian cuisine. We sat down at Little Penang Café and ordered Laksa (curry soup) and Ais Kacang. This last one was obviously my choice. I love desserts, and this one was very special. You get shave ice with syrup, peanuts, red beans, corn and jelly cubes. Yes, that is an unique combination I had never seen before, but somehow I liked it!
Hiding from the rain at Merdeka Square
In the Malaysian history Merdeka square is one of the most important squares of Kuala Lumpur, because this is the place where Malaysia became independent. Merdeka square is probably a very beautiful place on a sunny day, but when we arrived here the rain poured out of the sky. I caught a brief glimpse of the domes of the Sultan Abdul Samad building, but that was it before I had to get inside. We sought shelter in an underground shopping mall. Here we immediately bought some cheerful umbrellas. It is a shame, but maybe some other day we can really explore Merdeka square.
I know what you’re thinking. After four weeks China you might want to skip Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. And that’s exactly what I didn’t do. I like colorful neighbourhoods, and Chinatown is very lively. Under the red lanterns there is a big joyful market with a collection of fake bags and t-shirts, but there are also some Chinese products like moon cake. Moreover, Chinatown is more multicultural than you think. For instance, there is an Indian temple called: the Sri Mahammariamman temple. This is the oldest Hindu temple of the city with a gorgeous entrance gate. This gopuram (a south Indian monumental tower) is covered with layers with small statues that tell old myths and legends. A true eye catcher!
Eating out in Little India
And we stick with the Indian vibes, because we ended our day in Kuala Lumpur in Little India. This is a colorful area with atmospheric lightening and arches along the roads. Especially at night this area really lights up. We sat down for a typical south Indian banana leave meal. With this dish there is no plate. The big leave is your plate and everything (rice, curry, vegetables) is put on it. Just stir it together and eat it with your hands, or ask for utensils (what we did). This meal was so delicious and it reminded me why I have to go India soon. The food is so good! And when the bill came, we also were reminded how expensive China was and how cheap Malaysia is. Wow, we have been missing out!
And then our hours in Kuala Lumpur were up and we had to go back to the airport to catch our flight to Amsterdam. Kuala Lumpur surprised me and especially how multicultural it is. Still, this city isn’t really high on my travel list, but I would love to visit it another time. Until the next stopover KL!
Practical tips for a stopover in Kuala Lumpur
- A good way to get to the city from the airport is with the KLIA ekspress. This is a non-stop high speed train that connects the international airport with the centre of Kuala Lumpur. It is a bit expensive, but it’s really fast. A one-way ticket is 35 RM (=7,54 euros*).
- If you only have a couple of hours to spend in Kuala Lumpur, consider taking the hop on hop off bus. This way you immediately come across all the highlights of the city. Normally I hate this touristy bus, but because I had a badly sprained ankle it was the only way we could see the city. A ticket is 45 RM (9,71 euros*).
*Prices are during my visit in 2015. Always check the current prices.
Have you visited Kuala Lumpur?