1) Take a bus and make friends with other travelers.
Denny and I took a bus from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. On this bus we met two other English teachers teaching abroad, Jillian (Canadian) and Rhonda (Hong Kong), who we met up with twice on our stay in Kuala Lumpur. Their acquaintance was a divine appointment and made Kuala Lumpur that much better. Meeting other travelers makes backpacking that much more fun. (It definitely made my bus ride seem faster.)
Below is a picture of when we took a pit stop for food on our six hour bus ride. We crossed the Singaporean and Malaysian border and the pit stop didn’t have a foreign cash exchange. Our Singaporean dollars were worthless so we basically had no money. So it’s about 10pm at night, my stomach is growling and the man on the left, who I had a conversation with earlier on the bus saw we had no food. He offered to buy chicken nuggets and fries, 2 batches for the four of us to share out of the kindness of his heart. His generosity blew my mind. Nuggets and fries never tasted so good.
The interesting thing about this man is that he works in Singapore on a shipping boat away from his daughter and wife who live on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. He visits them every holiday he can, meaning this visit was during the Chinese New Year.
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur around 11 pm. We got off the bus and took in the sites while trying to find a restaurant.
2) Try the local cuisine.
I had the dish on the left (fried rice and some chicken) and Denny had the dish on the right (Tom Yum Soup). His dish destroyed him. It was super spicy. Westerners be careful on ordering spicy food.
If you like sweet desserts than try the Kuala Lumpur signature dessert, shaved iced with a sweet (Cherry or Maple) syrup. I personally didn’t like it because it was too sweet for me, but I haven’t tried anything like it before. My shaved ice was a lot similar to the ice berg that cut the Titanic, hard and not breakable.
3) If you’re young without children or a backpacker I highly recommend you stay at this hostel.
(That is how they spell it)
The hostel is ran by a mother and son who are super friendly. The place is clean and located in the center of Kuala Lumpur. The hostel has a lot of character which brings more flavor to the Southeast Asia backpacking experience. Below is a picture of our room. We rented a private room because well, I am married.
The hostel’s upstairs are the living quarters. It’s designed a lot like a doll house where there is no ceiling in each room but a cloth draped over the room in place of a ceiling. If you would like to feel like a doll for a night, than sleep here. It makes for a captivating hostel experience. I personally enjoyed it for it’s uniqueness.
The picture below is a view our hostel’s room onto the street of Kuala Lumpur. It made for interesting people watching.
4) Walk the streets and take in the culture.
It’s FREE and this activity allows you to get a taste of the real Kuala Lumpur.
Tip: If you want to experience an Asian culture than walk.
Why? You see the daily living and witness things you couldn’t have seen so easily in a flying vehicle. Plus you get healthy exercise.
Below are pictures from sightseeing by foot:
A street corner under construction.
What the dinner hour looks like in Kuala Lumpur. The Asian culture loves eating picnic style.
A mother and child sitting on the street.
An apartment in Kuala Lumpur.
What the massage parlor street looks like at night.
If you don’t know, massage parlors at night in the Asian culture are another word for brothels. This street during the day is family friendly but at night, it’s a different scene. During the day my husband and I had received a normal massage. At night the women who work the massage parlors, don’t even solicit to women because it’s a different market. I don’t know these women’s stories. However, the likely case is that many of these women were sold into this business to pay off their father’s debts from the countryside. Slavery is active. Please pray for the Asian culture and support the fight on slavery. [A21 Campaign is another non-profit that fights sex-trafficking.]
5) Visit the Petronas Towers at night if you like the touristy spots.
The view was great but it wasn’t a blow-my-mind away cultural experience like the Batu Caves. The Petronas Towers did surprise me, the bottom section is a mall and yes that includes a food court ( The food court does have a Mexican Restaurant.)
In the beginning of the tour we had a “vapor light” welcome presentation given to us by a robot. It was pretty neat. You can pass right through it too.
This is what the crosswalk bridge that connects the two towers inside looks like.
A view from the top floor of the towers of the musical fountain that lays at it’s bottom.
6) 5 Stars: Visit the Batu Caves (You won’t regret it! )
The statue below was near the entrance to the caves.
At the Batu Cave’s grand entrance stands the tallest statue of Murugan, a hindu God. The caves which are made mostly up of limestone are reported to be over 400 million years old. Today the Batu Caves serve as places to worship because it has many Hindu shrines.
To reach the Temple Cave you must climb 272 steps. I personally did not find the steps to be difficult. It seemed like a piece of cake compared to Mountain Taishan.
The picture below is of a man carrying goat milk to give as a gift to one of his Hindu God’s.
What it looks like once you get to the top of the Batu Caves. If you climb those second flight of stairs it will lead you to the wild monkeys.
In the Hindu religion fire is considered sacred. In the picture below I captured Hindus burning paper to their gods.
The monkeys were a lot of fun to see. The day before we visited the Batu Caves a person was attacked because the monkey accidentally got electrocuted and freaked out. Tourist in general complain that the monkeys bite. Personally we didn’t have a problem; we used our noggin. I kept my distance and I didn’t feed them.
They were so beautiful to see running around not caged.
7) Leave earlier to make your train.
This is my last piece of advice so you can have an enjoyable stay in Kuala Lumpur. We were taking a train from Kuala Lumpur to Buttersworth, Malaysia. Being in a foreign land, not knowing the language or the land can make finding the train station difficult. We didn’t use our noggin to the best of our abilities but the legs that God gave us. Denny and I traded backpacks and ran as fast as our legs could carry us to the train station. (The photo below is me running with my camera trying to keep up with Denny; him wearing my backpack.) Least to say, we were drenched in our sweat for 24 hours. Because it was the Chinese New Year, there wasn’t any sleeper cars available so we slept on the train in a seat. Let’s say it was an eye opening backpacking experience traveling to Buttersworth.
If you are going to visit Kuala Lumpur you only need about 2-3 days to see everything. If you have been, is there anything you would recommend that is worth seeing that I didn’t mention? If you haven’t been, then what from my experience looked interesting? (Why?)