Selamat Tahun Baru!
Kuala Lumpur Travel Blog› entry 4 of 15 › view all entries
Today was another first for me, as I'd never celebrated New Years anywhere other than Perth.
But first up, we jumped on a tour of the suburbs round KL that was run by the hotel. The tour guide was great, and didn't let the ridiculous traffic (much busier than the previous days) get him down. Actually he was so relaxed that he would play his PSP during the traffic jams! We did the tour with a couple of Aussie girls, and it was great to feel like a bit of an expert when we gave them advice on what a durian was, etc.
A couple of the tour stops were a bit dissapointing. Debbie thought we were going to a rubber tree plantation, but instead just stopped at a couple of trees on the side of the highway. But mostly it was pretty good, and we got a look at the city's textile, batik, chocolate (mmmm...) and pewter industries. We also saw a few colourful characters, with the eccentric guide at the textile shop being the standout.
But by far the highlight of the tour was the Batu Caves. A massive cave with 200+ steps leading up to it, a giant gold statue out front, alot of extravagant Hindu statues ... AND MONKEYS! DOZENS AND DOZENS OF MONKEYS!! We even saw one carrying a little baby on it's front. So cute. But their pretty cheeky too. We saw one with a big pack of noodles that it nicked off one of the tourists.
Once the tour finished, we wandered around KLCC for a bit again (ok .. this was because I managed to lose the photos from the day before, so we wanted to get some more shots of the towers). Then Debbie went off to do some more shopping while I travelled across the other side of town to explore Chinatown (the oldest area in the city).
Unfortunately I didn't get to see much of the historical side, because I decided to walk down the main market street, which took up most of my time. Some of the markets I'd been to in Europe were pretty crazy, but this was something else altogether. I had to navigate down a very thin strip between stalls on either side, with everyone shouting out for me to buy their product, and quite a few of them trying to grab me. However I got out of there alive (with a few knock-off DVDs and a watch that ends up an hour slow after only one day - oh well it was only a few $ australian).
Then, after walking halfway across the city to get back to hotel room (to meet up with Debbie) and having some Kenny Rogers chicken for dinner (yes, the country singer! since when does he make chicken?), we headed back out to the towers for the countdown. It was almost 11pm before we set out ... the streets were packed and we had quite a way to walk. It also started to rain and we didn't have an umbrella, but I was too excited about seeing in the new year with such a big crowd to care. After much jostling through the masses we ended up with a prime position right in front of the tower clock by about 11:50pm. A big cheer went up everytime another minute went past, and when it finally struck 12 the fireworks (pretty decent ones) started.
The crowd dispersed pretty quickly afterwards, and we were able to make our way to the main stage where a pile of Malay musicians were bringing in the new year. I was getting into it but the locals seemed a bit non-plussed ... I find it hard to get used to the fact that people hardly clap to show their appreciation here.
Walking back to the hotel, the crowd seemed to get thicker as we got closer (there was also a big stage at Bukit Bintang - near us), and every second person was getting sprayed with fake snow. We managed to avoid it until we were almost at our door. We had to walk through about ten people who were just waiting for people to spray, and ended up covered. Oh well ... all in good fun.
By then it was about 2am and we were pretty much dead. Once again we welcomed sleep with great enthusiasm.