2011 South East Asia

2011 South East Asia #6 Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur

The flight from Krabi Airport left sometime around lunch and I landed in “KL” a few hours later. I remember the immigration process was smooth and that I read some signs telling arrivals that hippies was not allowed in Malaysia. Getting from the airport into town was easy. I had booked a hotel not too far from Petrona Towers. First day I was a bit tired so I only took a short walk around the neighborhood after checking in to the hotel. I spent the evening researching the Batu Caves which was my grand plan for the next day.

Getting there was easy, from Sentral I took a komuter train on the red line to the station called Batu Caves. Taking the train there cost me about 2 or 3 Malaysian Ringits, which equals 0.4-0.5€. going there with some kind of travel agency would become very expensive I had learned from my research. When I arrived the first thing I saw was this huge green and gold statue, and then I saw more and more of them. I saw temple like structures everywhere. And a set of stairs that looked both long and steep. Suddenly someone bumped into me, turns out to be a Japanese girl trying to catch everything in one picture. We started talking and decided to keep each other company for a while. This place is full of different Hindu temples, and we’re not even inside the “cave area” yet. At one such temple we witnessed what I guess was the end of a ceremony. I always feel uneasy around religious places like this since I don’t want to be disrespectful to the people worshiping or do something that would be disrespectful to the religion but here it seemed like for a small fee the gods and goddesses could would turn a blind eye to tourists false moves.

There is also something called the Batu Garden in this area. We were about to enter when a guy came out telling us not to, it’s just a restaurant to which you pay an admission fee and you get to see some kind of performance and then there is some shops inside as well. We decided not to go in there then. After having walked around the outside for a while I longed to walk up the stairs and into the caves but the Japanese girl was hesitant since she both was afraid of heights and was claustrophobic so we decided we should split up. Right below the stairs the gigantic golden statue of Murugan (a Hindu diety) is standing, reaching over 42 meters above the ground. And so my ascent begun up the giant stairs. It was really hot despite being a bit cloudy, I was happy I had bought a large bottle of water earlier. Reaching the top of the stairs demanded some sweat but I made it. It was way cooler inside the caves. And filled with even more temples, or shrines is maybe a better description.

It’s a pretty impressive place, Batu Caves, and after having walked around and looked at everything I could I decided it was time to leave. So I headed for the train station again, paid the ticket and went on board the train. There I started talking to a guy named Duncan (from New Zealand) and soon another guy joined us, Marcus, from Australia. It’s funny how you meet people all the time when you travel alone. Anyway, we decided to go back to Sentral together and then go to China Town (or Petaling Street) and check it out. It was about lunch time anyway and there was supposed to be very good food available in China Town. I remember the food indeed was very good, I had some kind of chicken curry and a beer. We had a look around and then decided we should meet up again later in the evening and have some beer. Turns out Marcus and Duncan’s hostels were in the Bukit Bintang area, which kind of is a bit like Kuala Lumpurs equivalent to Khaosan Road in Bangkok.

Hours later we meet up, and even more people from the hostel where we meet joins in. We are a merry bunch now and heads out to town to grab something to eat. We end up in some small restaurant somewhere in Bukit Bintang. Nothing special, just a nice place to hang out. Later in the evening some of us decide to go to Petrona Towers to try to catch the light up building on photo. So here I am in a taxi with a guy from New Zealand, one girl from Hungary and another girl from Germany, 4 people that just met. I like how the backpacking culture brings people together. We arrived at Petrona Towers and I managed to get a decent shot of it. It’s at times like this that I wished I had a better camera and was a better photographer. Well, I have a better camera now than I had back then, but I think I’m still as bad as photographer! 😉

When done taking pictures this funny little guy approaches us and wants to sell us “real Rolex watches”. I doubt Rolex does this kind of street business so I declined the offer. When no one wanted watches he picked up iPhones and Android phones out of his pockets. A versatile man no doubt. When he understood we did not want to buy anything he walked away and brought his business to some other tourists who where there doing the same as us. Taking pictures of the towers. When done we started walking back and passed a shopping mall with a Marvel Comics store in it. It was quite nice to look at all the things in there but I didn’t buy anything.

Around midnight I felt I had had enough for one day so I decided to walk back to my hotel. It was not that far away and it was still warm outside. Walking back I started to think maybe I should move on, go to Borneo instead? Borneo was the main goal of my trip to Malaysia. Said and done, back at the hotel I booked my flight and booked a hotel that seemed nice, with it’s own golf course mind you. The next day I checked out and headed for Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, the AirAsia terminal for my flight to Borneo.

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