First Stop in South East Asia: Kuala Lumpur
Unfortunately, I had to cut my trip in New Zealand short due to shortage of funds so I booked the first cheapest flight out of Auckland and that happened to be to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It's the international hub for most of Southeast Asia so I just fired to start here and then make my way up north. And you can probably guess but the things I was most excited about was finally getting to eat Asian food and how much everything will be. Although KL isn't as budget friendly as many other places in SEA, it's still heaven compared to what I was paying in New Zealand. I went from paying about $20-$25/night to $7/night. Winning! Food is also about $2-5 a meal. Love it!
What I did:
Eat yummy food
Like many other Asian cities, there are food on every corner and street. Some streets are purely dedicated to food and I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Here are a few things I ate while in KL, and looking forward to more delicious Malaysian food as I keep traveling through the country. Since Malaysia is a huge "stew" as people say because of the abundant of people from many other cultures living here, specifically Indian and Chinese. So far I've tried:
Visit Batu Caves
Only about 40 minutes from the main central station this was the first cave and temple I've visited, which is a good thing because apparently this is not as impressive as many other ones in SEA. The best part were the monkeys! I wasn't ready for them to be right there when you walk in but I guess they are smart animals so they roam around the area where tourists will be to get free food. I bought green mangos for myself but I ended up not eating any of it. They took it all! But I guess it was worth spending the 2MYR because they were so cute!! Then I paid 5MYR to go into the first cave that was filled with all of these crazy figurines. I'm glad I at least paid for this one because I forgot about bringing something to cover up my dress for the templer. The main attraction is climbing up about 300 steps to go into the Temple Caves where prayers and ceremonies still take place. I started to walk up but was abruptly stopped and wasn't allowed to walk up. I wasn't dying to see it anyway since I know I will be seeing my fair share of temples throughout my entire SEA trip. I took the pictures and moved on! It was just about a 4 hour trip so half a day was all that I needed to see it.
Malls on Malls on Malls
I don't think I have ever been to another city that has as many malls as KL. There are literally a mall on every corner, not just shops, but actually multi-story malls with all the same shops. I don't understand where they get all the money and time to do so much shopping. So I have spend a good amount of time in malls because they are even in place where you need to go to such as the Petronas Towers and the main train station. Another reason I go into them is to use the free make-up at Sephora (hehe). I leave the hostel with a bare face and just load up at Sephora. Plus they all have AC so it's a good way to escape the humid hot weather.
Holding my nose through Chow Kit Wet Market
The first day when I arrived in KL, I got in super and couldn't check in until 2pm so I went out and visited Chow Kit. It's a fresh meat, fish, and fruits market. Oh boy, was it a stinker of a place! Obviously I expected it when going to a wet market but after walking around for only about 5 minutes, I had to head out. The smell and the wet floor in my birks was not the best combo.
Counterfeit shopping and food eating in Chinatown
Like many other Chinatowns around the world, the place was filled with stands after stands of counterfeit items, some better than others but still ridiculously fake. But I loved it! I love looking at Prada bags with Gucci symbols on them. Horrifically great. The food there is also amazing. For about $2USD, you'll be able to get a delicious meal of either rice or noodles of all sorts. Definitely a place I went to more than once!
Stare up at Petronas Towers & KL Tower
These are the tallest towers in KL. Petronas is a major symbol for Malaysia because it was built to show that Malaysia is serious about building their economy and be competitive in the business world. It's also a pretty cool looking building. Of course, it was sitting on top of a giant mall. The KL Tower is the 4th tallest tower in the world. It was honestly pretty disappointing. I know if you went up to the sky deck and got a view of the entire city, I would have been pretty neat but I didn't want to pay 110MYK or about $23USD to go up. That money can go towards other things. There are different attractions at the bottom you can visit but they were all really lame. The zoo was really small. The arcade didn't have many games. I honestly don't know what the hype is about...
Eat my heart out in Jalan Alor
Busting at night, it's the perfect place to go for dinner because it's filled with restaurants and food stands selling everything from Dim Sum, which was what I had for only 1MYK a piece, to noodles, rice, dessert, etc. You can please everyone in your group by coming here. Too bad I only went once because everyone at the hostel wanted to eat a this really expensive Arabian restaurant so after they were done eating I went to Jalan Alor on my own to get much cheaper food. That's the way you have to travel in SEA!
Party Party Party and it's Ladies Night, every night
KL has a pretty good nightlife, especially for women! Every bar has ladies night every night and it's legit. You can get as many well drinks as you want! So of course we did the boys a favor and gave them sips of our drink when no one was looking. Hey, backpackers gotta stick together! There's a main street with all the bars and it was conveniently right by our hostel. No excuses not to go out! Another good thing is that bars here open late! I've stayed at until 2am and 3am on the two nights I went out. The terrible part is that McD is right next to our hostel so that's where I've ended up both nights... shame.
KL is a great city to go for food! It has an abundant selection of restaurants, cuisine and small food stands to satisfy all your cravings. Besides that, it's just another city. Although I thought prices here are really cheap, it's one of the more expensive places so many travelers who have been Vietnam, Cambodia, etc all cringe at the prices here, which for me is great because I know it'll just get cheaper and cheaper. Next stop are The Perhentian Islands just off the east coast of Malaysia. I'm going to go for about 4 days to get my scuba diving certification. Super excited for that!