Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur for Slow Travelers: Scratching Beneath the Surface

We arrived in KL by awesomely spacious, super comfy bus from Georgetown (35 ringgit), where ‘spacious’ was an understatement. The 4-hour bus ride seemed like a breeze with lazyboy-style seats with tons of leg room and loads of space on either side, since there were only three seats per row. Starting off like this, we were keen to explore Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s bustling capital.

Kuala Lumpur Accommodation

Being a big city, with us not wanting to shop around too much, we booked a room at a boutique hostel called Suzie’s Guesthouse, in Chinatown. We paid close to 60 ringgit per night for the two of us, with breakfast included in the price. Clean place, nice staff – highly recommended.

Similar to Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown offers the most options for budget travelers. There are countless inns and guesthouses, but we found it harder to navigate the accommodation landscape with online reviews. While Suzie’s Guesthouse was great, our second guesthouse turned out to be sub-par.

The following days we spent exploring the city. Getting around KL was easy, since the public transport is relatively cheap, and there are also free city center buses called Go KL. These operate four routes and include the most hyped up tourist sites. If you prefer to walk a lot, do note that if you come here during rain season, you should be ready for showers of epic proportions. If the sky in these pictures is any indication – the weather might change from blistering sun to s tropical downpour in a matter of minutes.

Beautiful clouds right before ask all hell broke loose
Beautiful clouds right before all hell broke loose

One of the most memorable sites were the Batu caves, which included 275-ish stairs you have to climb to get there. Inside is a Hindu temple (which saw a lot of action while we were there size it was during the Hindu Deepavali festival), and there are also many cheeky monkeys that might steal more food than what you intend to give them. Apart from the shrine cave,  there is also a dark cave, where you can do a guided tour through the protected ecosystem, home to bats, rare spiders, and other cave crawlers.

Stairs leading up to Batu Caves
Getting ready to climb those stairs 😯

Of course we didn’t miss the Petronas towers –  which actually look pretty awesome. Of course, you can go up to the top – but that would defeat the purpose of having a picture of the skyline WITH the towers in it!

Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
Very tall and very shiny

For those who are into shopping – opportunities are endless in KL’s multitude of shooting malls. From low-end to couture, there is nothing money can’t buy in areas such as the bustling Bukit Bintang.

Get a Bit of Urban Oasis in KL’s Parks

If you’d like to escape the busy streets of KL, exploring the parks in the city is a top-notch idea. The park next to the Petronas towers is a locals’ favorite for evening runs, and the bigger park near the National Mosque hosts beautifully landscaped meadows, gardsen and even an animal sanctuary!

Take a stroll through the gorgeous botanical gardens,  located just minutes away from the National Mosque
Take a stroll through the gorgeous botanical gardens, located just minutes away from the National Mosque

Kuala Lumpur Food Stories

Foodwise, Bukit Bintang also has a myriad of restaurants and hawker stands. Similarly to Georgetown, many street stands have tables with hot pot, but you can also dine a la carte if you want. Dishes in Bukit Bintang street stalls and small side street joints were around 5 euro.

However, my favorite place was actually the market next to the National Mosque. The food there was very tasty,  with diverse options and a great value for money (the two of us got full there for a mere 12 ringgit, or 3 euro!).

Market before the prayer finished,  versus after.
Market before the mosque got out, vs after.

As you can see, this is the place to be after prayer – the place went from empty to jam-packed in a matter of minutes. Even so, however, you won’t spend too much time waiting in line, since there are just so many different options. The martabaks (pan-fried wraps made with super thin dough) here are filling and tasty, and the fruit shakes and iced shakes hit the spot!

Delicious malay food from a mall food court
I don’t remember the names of the dishes, but I do remember that everything tasted great 😀

Apart from eating out at a market, mall food courts are suprisingly a fantastic option. We went to one with a friend of ours and did not regret it one bit. Look at all the variety!

Final Words on KL

Kuala Lumpur offered us beautiful architecture,  relaxing parks and gardens,  and tasty and cheap food.  So,  all in all – very enjoyable. While quite similar to Singapore,  KL felt a little bit rougher around the edges in some areas – which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’d say three or four days are enough to experience the city but if you have more time than that,  you will definitely not be bored – there are plenty of museums,  markets and gardens that will I keep you occupied for hours!

Natural vs.  man-made
Natural vs. man-made
Amazing colors,  courtesy of the sunset
Amazing colors, courtesy of the sunset