Destination – Kuala Lumpur

A wonderful city that truly is a melting pot of religions and ethnicities.  If you think the US is the melting pot of the world, I’d argue KL gives it a solid run.  You’ll see a church, mosque, and a temple all in a row with no one thinking twice.  I think I even saw a few share the same parking lot.  The hodgepodge of cultures really make the city unforgettable.  I loved having my first taste of halal food and being fascinated by the meticulous preparation of the dishes as the cooks made sure it was correct.  The people there seem unfazed by all this diversity as well and it shows in their warmth and hospitality.  I truly have nothing bad to say about the city.  

The city is extremely easy to navigate with it’s trains, subways, and monorails crossing the city through an extensive network.  The main sites within the city are easy accessible via public transport.  One word of caution: getting through customs can be a bit time consuming if your plane lands at the same time other large planes.  If you’re arrive midday, expect to be in line at least an hour to get through.  

During my short visit there, I got incredibly lucky in that I found a taxi driver who used to work for a tour operator until he semi retired as a taxi driver.  He was more than happy to take me to all the sites as well as recommend some sites I have yet to see in travel books.  Batu caves, Petronas towers, Brickfields, Chinatown…those were the easy sites.  He then recommended that I should check out the fireflies along a river a few hours outside of the city.  He gave me a flat rate of about $100 to drive me there and back and with a stop to feed some wild monkeys which took about 5 hours total.  

Let me just say this.  If you have the time, this firefly trip is worth it.  It was easily my favorite thing I did the entire 3+ weeks I was in SE Asia.  You go on these small electric boats that go up and down the river and as soon as your eyes adjust to the darkness, you see thousands of fireflies on the bushes along the banks.  It honestly looks like thousands of faint Christmas lights all along the river bank.  Unfortunately taking a photo is impossible because the flash all but kills anything you might see but I imagine a quick internet search should get you in the right spot if you’re interested.  

Foodwise, you really have every conceivable type of cuisine you could hope for.  Everything from a simple Nando’s to street food in Chinatown is plentiful.  You really can’t go wrong.  I found that besides street food, a great place to eat was in the food courts of shopping malls.  Although it was slightly more expensive to eat there, it was a nice break to eat in the AC when it was hot and humid outside.  

Travel Tips –

Come hungry. If you’re in any way adventurous, you will love this food paradise.  The choices are overwhelming in the best possible sense.

If this is your penultimate stop before heading to Singapore, get your shopping done here.  Your dollar will go much further here than in Singapore.

If you need a break from the heat and the humidity, jump inside a mall.  It was explained to me that people go to the malls to not only socialize but to also avoid the heat which is why a lot of malls are actually connected with air conditioned hallways.  These malls have everything from movie theaters, bowling alleys, amusement parks, and eateries.  

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