2-day stopover in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog

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KL Tower with Petronas Towers in the back

The first thing for every addicted smoker after a long flight is to step outside the airport and light one of those deadly cancer sticks.

But before I am able to reach the relieving smoking territory of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport about a dozen of Kuala Lumpedians (Kuala Lumpurians, Kuala Lumps, what are they called?) are assailing me trying to foist a taxi upon me, rob me or do I don’t know what sort of kinkinesses to me. It takes a while to shake them off and reach the safe exterior where I can finally have a smoke. After that I’ll just stay put for a couple of minutes inhaling the hot morning air and reordering my orientation.

Then I consult the next money exchange and hope that 50 Euro is sufficient money for two days in KL.

Old Kuala Lumpur Town Hall

Meanwhile I’ve managed to get rid of 34 alleged taxi drivers but tired as I am I give in and follow my kidnapper. He takes me into a dark parking garage where he opens an old Toyota. I am about to get in as I realize that the steering wheel is on the “wrong” side. My abductor smiles impishly as I’m walking around the car.

After my initial scepticism I soon begin to “trust” my driver. His name is Simon and he drives to and fro the airport twice a day and normally makes his living with car dealing, as he says. I soon regret my request to put on some music because what is tootling out of the loudspeaker sounds like caponised and stoned techno teletubbies.

On the way from the airport to the city (about 60km) Simon even stops so that I can buy a bottle of water.

Kuala Lumpur

He drops me off right in front of my hostel, the Red Palm, and offers me a sight-seeing tour (“cheap cheap”) and a return ride to the airport tomorrow (“discount discount”). I nod friendly, take his name card and assure him I’d call which I won’t.

 

Finally I'm here. The Red Palm Hostel is as beautiful as I remember it from the pictures of the hostel's webpage and the owner, although still looking dozily, opens the door for me with a welcoming speech.

In my dorm four people are still snoring • probably sleeping off their hangover. Relieved I fall into my squeaky bed and am finally able to find some sleep myself.

Old Town Hall

I reawake at noon and make use of the mingy bathroom. Back in my room I meet Gary from Ireland who has been through four weeks of Thailand which obviously left its mark on him. Gary gets out of bed, takes a shower, walks straight to the kitchen and opens his first Tiger beer. He is wearing a rainbow-coloured poncho. He says he makes music and films and of course he’s into painting as well. I’m sure he’s about to tell me he likes soft drugs. He’s smoking small, strong cigarettes without filters and after every drag he spits out pieces of tobacco like a trophy.

After spending some time on the couch of the hostel’s lounge in the direct wind of a turbo-fan I finally decide to go for a little walk in the outside world.

I start heading straight for the KL Tower which I reach half an hour later close to a heart-attack.

Petronas Towers
The heat is devilish. Slumping down on a bench I wait for my heart beat to calm down and then I take the lift up to the tower's observation deck. The view is gigantic with the Petronas Towers dominating the skyline. After spending half an hour at 300 metres I take the lift back down and climb inside a taxi which brings me to Meroeka Square (or Independence Square). Having arrived there a homeless guy approaches me immediately. He tells me he sells self-made city maps and in the same breath confides to me that he suffers from tuberculosis. He wants to earn some money “the legal way”. The importunate beggar insists on being dirty by showing me his filthy hands and feet. Being close to tears I give him 5 Ringgit which seems to satisfy him. His final recommendation is not to go up the Petronas Towers but the MayBank Building. He says he knew somebody there who’d let me up on the roof (where he would probably rob me and throw me off the building).

After considering this for a while I leave him and start walking to a nearby park. On the way a mosque raises my attention and being a blissfully ignorant tourist I walk onto the polished and holy marble ground.

walking here with your shoes on is strictly forbidden ;-)
Suddenly a loud and hectical whistle reaches my ear. I turn around and see a man running towards me fluttering his hands frantically. The words coming out of his mouth don’t sound like his usual Sunday prayer. Like in a bad comedy I’m innocently pointing at myself thinking “you can’t mean me, can you?” He jerks to a halt just centimetres before me and inflamed with rage points at my shoes. I blush immediately and take them off as fast as I can. Then I try to get out of there as quick as possible. After running a few hundred metres I turn around and to my horror the friendly man is still standing there cursing hell on me.

 

After this • let’s file it under “new experience” • I walk back downtown and get lost knowingly, just to see where I end up. I end up at a Burger King which is simply pathetic.

After eating I hail a taxi back to my hostel and am not sure whether my driver is blind or just able to drive blindfolded.

Kuala Lumpur town hall

The lounge of the hostel is full of backpacker dudes watching stupid films in a city with so much to see. The male backpackers I’ve met so far were all outgoing but also a bit, well, let’s say off-the-wall. Females on the other hand are mostly quiet and absent.

 

Sitting there among those people I imagine my year to come. Actually I have no clue what's expecting me and right now I don’t really know if this nescience is good or not. What did I do this for? Now I’m here in Malyasia. Me. I hope that this feeling is only present in the beginning and will soon start to become the normal course of life.

To ease my worries I decide to treat myself to some cold beer.

flagpole in Kuala Lumpur

 

First I stroll through China Town for a while soaking up the different fragrances (both good and ill-natured) that crawl up my nostrils from the numerous food stalls at the road side. I walk on till I reach the main shopping street Jalan Bukit Bintang passing luminous advertising billboards, a dozen mobile phone shops, even more massage parlours and street musicians. When my feet start to hurt a little I sit down at a tiny bar next to the road and order a Tiger beer. To cool the guests some water rains down from small pipes and it is indeed a benefit to feel some water on your skin when you have a humidity of fuck-me-I-don’t-know-how-much.

On the table next to me some young guys who I assume to be locals are having a beer as well. When a homeless guy walks by they shout at him but instead of walking away the guy approaches them, plants his feet next to their table and starts staring at the peanuts.

Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
When the guys give him some he chews them in a very slow speed so that it feels like watching a lava lamp. Of course it would also be probable that he just hasn’t got any teeth.

The locals then give the homeless guy a cigarette which he smokes in one minute without knocking the ash off. Naturally he refuses to leave now. This also isn’t unnoticed by one of the waiters who is now trying to lure him away from the bar. He baits him with another cigarette and a half-full bottle of Heineken like a master baits its dog. But it is not until the waiter gives him a half-full pack of cigarettes that the dosser leaves the scene.

After having observed this spectacle I just sit there watching the noise of the big city rushing past me.

Three beers later I walk back to my hostel, listening to a couple of street bands on the way.

Petronas Towers
Hugging my squeaky bed I drop dead within a minute.

 

The next morning. I wake up. Where am I? Oh, right, Kuala Lumpur.

First I take a shower after which I start sweating again while still drying. Then I have a big bowl of cornflakes. I meet Sebastian and Philipp from Germany (Germans seem to haunt me). We have some small talk about itineraries and I realise that talking German can be harder than talking English from time to time.

After watching a NBA final in the box I step outside into the heat once more and get inside a taxi to the Petronas Towers.

man walking on water
Unfortunately the viewing platform is closed today, like every Monday. Therefore I just walk around the towers until I have a stiff neck. Then I stroll through the huge shopping centre inside the towers. Being bored I take another taxi to the Bird Park. The Bird Park was officialy opened in 1991 by Her Majesty Queen of Malaysia, Tunku Bainun (who doesn’t know her???) and has since then been the biggest closed-in bird park in the world. Most birds can fly around freely (closed-in!). The park houses more than 3.000 birds of about 200 different species. From there it’s only a stone’s throw to the Butterfly Park with more than 6.000 butterflies of 120 different species which also fly around freely (also closed-in!) in a simulated rain forest. This is at least what the signs tell me.

 

While watching the huge butterflies suddenly the Flood starts.

Beware of monkeys :-)
Seeking shelter in a little cove inside the park I witness how a wall of water falls from the sky. Half an hour and a trillion cubic metres of water later the rain stops as suddenly as it had started and the heat kicks in again.

 

Back at the hostel I collect my luggage and head for Sentral Station where I can already check in for my flight. A comfortable train takes me to the airport for half the price Simon charged me.

Two hours later I find myself in the plane high above the clouds. Fortunately this time I can stretch my feet since nobody’s sitting next to me. But trying to get some shut-eye I soon give up because a few rows behind me some Ozzies are celebrating their victory at a rugby tournament in Kuala Lumpur.

hello :-)

Shortly before landing in Sydney they clap their hands joyfully encouraging the pilot to fly a little loop. Welcome to Australia…

reikunboy says:
nice blog
Posted on: Dec 03, 2009
jessta says:
Yup, there's the truth about the taxi driver at the airport..Usually I will get the budget taxi right after the departure exit. Safer!!! ;)
Posted on: Sep 17, 2009
strangemystic says:
Irgendwie (ja, irgendwie)sehe ich hier den Ansatz einer erfolgreichen Schriftstellerkarriere. Gruss, D.
Posted on: Jul 06, 2009
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KL Tower with Petronas Towers in t…
KL Tower with Petronas Towers in …
Old Kuala Lumpur Town Hall
Old Kuala Lumpur Town Hall
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Old Town Hall
Old Town Hall
Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers
walking here with your shoes on is…
walking here with your shoes on i…
Kuala Lumpur town hall
Kuala Lumpur town hall
flagpole in Kuala Lumpur
flagpole in Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Petronas Towers
Petronas Towers
man walking on water
man walking on water
Beware of monkeys :-)
Beware of monkeys :-)
hello :-)
hello :-)
inside the Kuala Lumpur birdpark (…
inside the Kuala Lumpur birdpark …
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur
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