Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: High-Tech City Southeast Asian stylez

Petaling Street
Petaling Street, Chinatown.

Kuala Lumpur is one of those epic Asian cities that conjures up a thousand images at once. A picture of skyscrapers and technological forwardness, hot but cool, with the image of the impressive Petronas towers jutting out from it all. We were very excited about Kuala Lumpur.

The flight from Sandakan, Borneo felt like a pause between two dreams. We touched down at around 12:30 AM and immediately noticed the efficiency of Malaysia’s capital city. We were in and out of the airport in 10 minutes (5th and 9th bags off the carousel!). There are plenty of buses that go to and from the airport. The ticket booths are right there next to the baggage claim. We rode with Star Shuttle (RM8) because they were the only one open that went to Puduraya Station which was across the road from our hotel. We chose to stay at the Mayview Glory Hotel (RM77 per night double room, private bathroom, AC, TV), a clean and centrally located accommodation. Across the street there was a Hindu temple where people would light coconuts on fire, pray for something, and then smash them into pieces on the road. Take a seat at the restaurant downstairs for breakfast and just watch! Our Trip Advisor review is here.

Hindu Temple near the Maybank building Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Smash-a-coconut Temple.

We planned to do a few walking tours of the city and found a great website for it. Our first one took us through the city centre to the iconic Petronas Towers. From there we took the LRT to Kampung Baru station and walked through a nice little residential area to Chow Kit station. We then took the monorail across the city to KL Sentral where we did a walk of Brickfields (Little India). It was a beautiful, colourful, vibrant, and delicious part of Kuala Lumpur.

The second day of walking tours took us to Chinatown. Petaling Street, Chinatown’s main drag, is remarkably touristy but fun. The central market is a great place to buy souvenirs and we stopped for lunch at the famous Kedai Kopi Lai Foong for some chicken rice. The chicken was so tender and juicy (see our review here). After our Chinatown adventures we embarked on the heritage trail. The old colonial buildings are fantastic. I highly recommend the National Textile Museum (free entrance). It was informative, with beautiful displays and excellent air conditioning — a nice spot to cool down and learn how the beautiful batiks are made.

Another great spot to visit in KL is the Bukit Bintang neighbourhood. The Jalan Alor night market is a wonderful place to grab a delicious bite to eat. I would highly recommend trying char siu (grilled pork) and siu yoke (roasted pork). If you feel like something a little higher class there are many other national and international restaurants in the area. Berjaya Times Square is worth a peek. It was thrilling – a roller coaster in a mall – ridiculous and totally unnecessary, but awe inspiring all the same.

It’s hard to describe how amazing Kuala Lumpur is. We could have stayed there for a month and still not have experienced all it has to offer. The food is amazing, the buildings are awe inspiring, and the collection of neighbourhoods offering different cuisines or shopping opportunities felt weirdly like being at home in Toronto.

Our next stop is Melaka!