My decision to go to Kuala Lumpur was combined with uncertain expectations. I was curious about Petronas Towers, but this is just Kuala’s cliche. I never thought that my love for the city will be so exorbitant I will put it on my list of places where I would like to live. Besides that I fell in love with that made-of-concrete-and-glass cliche at the first moment, I liked in KL (as locals call it) much more than this.
Kuala Lumpur as an affordable city
Kuala Lumpur is metropolis in one of the most developping countries, but we are still in Southeast Asia. The combination of those two means that not everything is cheap, but your wallet is not bleeding. I bet there are still hidden places where you can eat, drink, or do shopping for a few ringgits. Public transport, hostels or lunch in local bistro are in contrary to European capitals very low. The ride from the airport to central station for 3€, or single ticket with the commuter train for 50 cents. But you’ll pay the price on tourist attractions. Who‘s the best money machine on seven letters? T-O-U-R-I-S-T.
Two airports in one
Big cities usually have one airport for classic airlines and the second for low-cost companies. And maybe more airports for other purposes. The great thing about Kuala Lumpur is they have KLIA1 and KLIA2, and they are next to each other. So when you landed with Emirates on KLIA1 and you need to go on the flight with AirAsia from KLIA2, there is no need to stomp through the city.
GO KL buses
Pink buses with the GOKL sign are Kuala’s specialty which I liked from the very first moment. It is network of buses currently operating 7 routes for free. Each of the lines has its name and different route, but there are common bus stops where you can transfer. Intervals are 5-10 minutes and depend on the traffic. If you are travelling alone like me, this is the perfect way.
Petronas Towers, Menara and other picks
Petronas Twin Towers with Suria shopping centre and KLCC park were the best spots where I spent most of my time. I would never think that I will fall in love with two identical skyscrapers connected with removable skybridge. When you are looking at those glistening twin towers while listening to Michael Jackson’s song „We are the world“ through whirring singing fountain, you wish this moment never ends.
Petronas Towers and Menara KL (or KL Tower) are the best spots for enjoying views. Twin towers are not perfectly visible from Menara because one tower is covering the second, but the skydeck is awesome! Petronas Towers have skybridge and from the top of the tower you can see the twin tower and Menara. If not both, go at least to one.
Under the KL Tower is also Upside down house. Literally. I didn’t know about it during my stay in Kuala Lumpur, but if you’ll be here, why not to visit?
Bukit Bintang is modern neighborhood with shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, and bars. If you want to be in the beating heart of the city you should look for the accommodation right here.
One of the busiest touristic places is Batu Caves. It’s hinduistic temple out of the city center. It is also terminal stop of one of the KMUTER trains so it is easy to get there. If you have time, do not hesitate.
I had hostel in china town close to Pasar Seni where one of the GOKL routes started and RapidKL train had its station. Across the road was national mosque with the most beautiful calling for prayer – slow, mysterious, sad, like ballad. I’m not expert, but the prayer seemed very different than elsewhere.
Perdana botanical garden, aquarium and bird cage
Those yearning for a piece of nature I would recommend jungle in the middle of KL called Perdana which is botanical garden. There are ponds, fountains, exotic flowers, thematical gardens, bamboo house, a lot of paths suitable for sports, and from one secret place is nice view on Menara and Petronas Towers. There is also rambunctious bird cage.
In KLCC park you can visit different world – a life under water. Funny was when they offered me a photo they took, but the price was higher than the admission fee. I just laughed and turned away to leave. I can take horrible selfie by myself and for free.
Eat in bistros where locals eat. No restaurants, no European meals. Who is afraid of having digestive problems, I think that these canteens with plastic tables and chairs, and greasy uninviting kitchen are the best choice. Overall, they are cheap. Where locals eat there’s tasty food.
What was the KL’s people like?
First day I felt a bit constrained. Indigenous people in Kuala Lumpur almost disappeared over years. You see mostly people with Indian origin and they are not as shy as Southeast Asians, so it‘s normal they stare at you since you are the only white person far and wide. In Europe you merge with crowd, but here you are noticeable like a square peg in a round hole.
Anyway, people were polite and this is important. When I asked for information I got answer in English with a smile.