Adventures in Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square

Selamat Datang!!  Malaysia, our first country to be visited during our tour of Asia . . . truly exciting!!! 

Now knowing what we know, although it put a little jam in our schedule, coming to Malaysia first was probably one of the best decisions we’ve made. 

It’s definitely a great place for transition from a country like Australia, and back to so-called developing countries.

Since we were flying here, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital city was to be our first stop in our visit here.

I must say, my first impression of the place was . . . WOW, such organization, clean, and quiet!! 

None of the craziness I was expecting from a country in Southeast Asia. 

It was the complete opposite, actually.  No screaming vendors, no honking cars, no folks hassling you simply because you’re tourists, just the sound of traffic could be heard.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - J&A, in front of the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, at Dataran Merdeka

Quite amazing, really, though a bit disturbing for me at first, being that it’s a capital and all. 

Still, for now, I much rather preferred this than suddenly finding myself back in complete chaos again.

I was also particularly intrigued to see how multicultural Malaysian society is.  While Malays make up the majority, you can still feel the strong presence of the Chinese and Hindu communities here . . . all living in harmony, despite the obvious differences in religion.

Kuala Lumpur is quite the capital city.  As previously mentioned, you have all these communities living together peacefully, and respecting each other’s differences and cultures. 

Oddly enough, though, one thing I still don’t understand and that bothers me a bit . . .

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Dataran Merdeka, The Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Malay is the country’s official language, but no one speaks to each other in Malay, besides the Malays. 

The Chinese and Indians, which make up a pretty large percentage of Malaysian society and born here, speak to one another in their own language or even in English!!

Might sound silly, but for me it doesn’t make any sense being that they were born in Malaysia and that there IS an official language.  

Probably thinking too much into it, but hey, I just couldn’t imagine speaking to other Latinos, born in the States, in Spanish . . . I’d speak to them in English, because that’s the language we learn at school and that’s what’s used in everyday society.  But enough about that!  :)

KL, as it’s affectionately called by the locals, is quite the modern city, with all its high tech infrastructure, technological advancements and comforts; But then, at the same time, still affordable enough for the poor backpacker, like us!!  :) 

Arnaud, unfortunately, was unable to join me during our first day in KL, because he came down with a cold, and was unable to climb out of bed.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Arnaud & sur la place de l'independance, Dataran Merdeka

So, I had to set off on my own.  No biggie, though, visiting the city was particularly interesting for me, considering I hoped deep-down that it’d be a one-day thing and that my Arnaud would be fully-recovered soon enough.

Anyway, I thought I’d feel a bit intimated walking around this Muslim country on my own, but I really had nothing to worry about even though I wasn’t all covered up.  

I got a few stares here and there, but overall, the folks here were very friendly and, again, there was this incredible feeling of tranquility all about.  So, no problems.

One thing, I do have to admit that has played in my favor since the beginning of this trip . . . I’ve been able to pass off as a local in practically every country we’ve be to.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Dataran Merdeka, The Sultan Abdul Samad Building
  And it was the same for Malaysia. 

I had people talking to me in Malay, every now and then; and even had folks talk to me in Hindi pretty frequently enough!  No Chinese spoken to me though!!  I guess I don’t really look Chinese!!

For my first encounter with an Asian culture, I was completely fascinated by the people and architecture in Malaysia.

Quite a change from what we saw in Latin America, New Zealand, and Australia (as far as architecture is concerned, that is!!)  A day hasn’t passed by that we haven’t met fabulous people!!!  Lucky us!

As I’d hoped, Arnaud was up and ready to join me in on the sightseeing action the following day, so off we went.  Very nice visit together, although by the early afternoon, the fatigue and frustration soon hit for Mister Grumpy, so we decided to part ways and meet back up at our CS host’s place.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Dataran Merdeka

Big mistake!!!  We should have never split up!!  Both of us, unfortunately ended up getting lost, while attempting to find our way back home.  

Arnaud got lost for about 3 – 4 hours and well, I, about the same.  It was no fun, at all.  Especially having to get back to a place we hardly knew, and in the dark!!!  No day in the park, at all!

But the worst part about this mishap was the little argument that resulted because of this!

Tensions mounted when Arnaud realized that I still hadn’t made it back, by the time he eventually did; and so obviously he was quite concerned for me.  Just think, little ol’ me was still out there all alone, either lost or who knows what?!!

Anyway, Arnaud and our CS host, Ken, ended up getting into a yelling contest over this, a silly misunderstanding due to the language barrier and cultural differences, no doubt.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Architecture on Jalan Raja Laut

Oh well, what’s a shame is that Ken wasn’t very understanding and frank regarding the whole situation; and even tried to blame the whole thing on Arnaud who was only worried for my safety and didn’t appreciate Ken’s lack of concern for me and even indifference for what was occurring. 

A bit disappointing considering his claim to be a considerate and honest person; instead he only turned out to be the complete opposite.

Still I much rather prefer remembering more so the good moments we spent with him before this incident; although he did not, simply dwelling on a situation that was obviously and equally both parties’ fault.  But hey, oh well, life goes on.

On a brighter note, though, and more importantly back to more interesting things!  ;) 

While strolling around the city, I was taken aback by the temples, both Indian & Chinese, but particularly, by the mosques.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur's High Courts
  It’s hard to describe the feeling felt whenever I heard the prayer calls blasting from the speakers of the mosques around the city.  Really a moving sensation.

As for the landscapes, those are still to be seen . . . soon enough though because off we go to try our luck with hitchhiking in our first Asian country!!  So, wish us luck!!

Après 8h de vol nous voila à Kuala Lumpur, capitale de la Malaisie.

Un pays Musulman et quelle surprise en arrivant : un calme !! Les gens étaient très cool et apaisés.

On se faisait déposer chez notre contact de CS et le lendemain je me réveillais avec une bonne grosse crève.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - KL's Moorish architecture

Donc pour moi la journée était déjà fini, Juanita elle toujours en pleine forme, profita de passer une journée sans son grincheux d’Arnaud.

Le lendemain, je parvins enfin à sortir du lit pour visiter cette grande ville de KL, on peut y voir les 2 tours jumelles, un des plus hautes structures du monde. 

On peut apprécier l’architecture Islamique sur tous les bâtiments, assez nouveau pour moi, plutôt impressionnant !!

Et je reviens encore sur le calme, les gens sont d’une tranquillité, c’est assez déstabilisant, surtout pour une capitale.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Public park near Dataran Merdeka

Je dirais que c’est peut être en rapport à la religion mais vu que c’est le premier pays musulman que je visite, je n’ai pas de notion de comparaison !!

Le temps était maintenant de visiter le pays, la destination était Penang au nord du pays à 500km.  On ne savait pas trop si le stop allait marcher, et il y avait qu’un seul moyen de le savoir, on commença à la station la plus proche de la route du nord. 

Une fille et mère « hindou » nous amenèrent sur une branche d’autoroute où apparemment tout le monde qui passaient par là montaient au nord .

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Juanny at public park near Dataran Merdeka
. . et bien ce ne fut pas le cas ! 

Un Chinois Malaisien nous amena à la case départ en plein milieu du centre ville, il trouvait que c’était le meilleur endroit pour trouver quelqu’un !!

Il faut aussi prendre en compte que les gens ont du mal à comprendre le fait du faire du « STOP ».

Il y a des bus, des trains, des avions, pourquoi faire du stop ?!! C’est très Européen comme manière de voyager !!

Finalement je suis arrivé à convaincre ce mec de nous amener à l’entrée d’autoroute pour éventuellement voyager en stop !

Et comme toujours on pouvait compter sur les routiers, un « hindou » encore s’arrêta.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Fountain at Dataran Merdeka
C’était pour moi les premières fois que je rencontrais ces gens et j’avoue très gentil, sympa, pleines de bonnes intentions.

mazuin says:
So glad you've enjoyed travelling in Kuala Lumpur despite the downside. Your sunshiney personality clearly made your trip memorable! If you wanna visit KL again we can take trips together anytime outside of KL. :D
Posted on: Jul 10, 2011
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