There we go! We leave Laos, the heart quite heavy, for our next adventure: Malaysia. We start in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Change of scenery in this capital city, mix of modernity and traditions. But what can you do in 3 days here? We tell you everything!
The discovery of Chinatown in KL
As we stay at the entrance of Chinatown, why not start our visit there? Let’s go for a first day discovering the city’s main Chinese temples, Petalang street and its “souvenirs” market. The neighborhood is also home to a Hindu temple (after all it is also Asia even if not chinese). It looks like the one we had visited in Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. The atmosphere is very typical. We do not know what Malaysia looks like yet, but this area gives us a rather traditional image. We quickly understand that it is a melting pot of many cultures.
We are rediscovering what a McDonalds is. Yes, we apologize but it has been two months and we have only been eating rice and rice noodles… Therefore you will allow us a meal at the Golden Ark restaurant before continuing our discovery across the river, near the beautiful Masjid Jamek mosque. It unfortunately is under construction at the time of our visit, so we have no nice pictures to show you. But it’s an opportunity to do a bit of teasing and make you want to go there and judge for yourself. 😉
In the footsteps of colonization
Then we go down on the other side, along Merdeka Square, the place of the independence of the country. The Sultan Palace is located just accross the street. It is a wonderful mix of Eastern and Western styles with the bricks. A few buildings remains in the neighbourhood, symbols of colonisation: the Anglican Church, the “club” buildings, these places where rich business men meet each others, drink expensive whiskies, etc.
We arrive then at the corner of the square, at the City Gallery. As we have not done many museums up to now (it’s not really our thing), we decide that it could be interesting. And indeed, we are not disappointed!
We walk between models of the towers of the city, then reproductions of its iconic buildings. The highlight of the visit remains without doubt the promotional video that we watch at the end in a large dark room, with a Kuala Lumpur 3D model in front of us. The neighbourhoods and buildings light up as we watch the video. Anyway, I took a great lesson of city branding and marketing. They probably have different budgets in “Kuala Lumpur Metropolis”… 🙂
A green city?
For our second day, we want to see the “green” side of the city, which we was sold yesterday at the City gallery. We’re heading to the natural reserve KL Eco-Park (also known as the Bukit Nanas Reserve), in the heart of the city, surrounded by the towers of the financial district. The city is also the only one in the world to have a natural rainforest in the city centre, and it is one of the oldest forests in the city. It’s an opportunity for us to climb on the walkways that allow is to walk in the middle of the canopy. Appointment with birds, monkeys and tropical plants. It’s great to offer this kind of ride! At the top of the innovation, there are signs with QR codes all along the way that give you more information about the flora and fauna that you can see.
The Park is that huge that we get lost in the bamboos paths, next to Kuala Lumpur Tower. But eventually we manage to come out on the other side, in the heart of the financial district, at the foot of the famous Petronas towers. There are many employees properly dressed with suits and ties. We decided to go to the adjacent Park to enjoy a beautiful panorama on the twin towers, symbols of the economic power of the country.
A walk in the bird Park
To finish this nature day as it started, we head to the bird park of the city, which has the biggest Aviary in the world. We make a short stop at the garden of orchids just before, but we are not overwhelmed, orchids being mainly in pots, the one next to the other. It’s like a large Botanic shop, except that we meet our first varan. I don’t see it immediately, but Mister does he tells me: “Move!”. You can imagine that I did not move until I know what is going on. When I turn my head, I am not asking anymore and move forward. And this is just the first one we meet… 🙂
So, we go into the Park, divided into several areas. As it is a bit late, we miss the snacks but not a problem, we enjoy watching animals and discover species that we did not know about, such as the giant Hornbill, a big toucan with a huge horn on his beak. It is in the parrots’ aviary we spend the most time, as I find myself, nanny of small multicoloured parrots. I didn’t know that they were milk lovers, until they creep up me on drinking the small cup that I hold in my hand… They look hungry!
We continue our walk towards the lake where the Flemish roses, pelicans, herons and other species rest, when we see a couple of varans just below us. It is ironic to see them in a park full of birds. It’s like we put a lion family in the middle of gazelles, in the heart of Peaugres safari park. You can imagine the carnage in the food chain? But no, our two varans have their nest next to the water and take the opportunity to go to swim, while birds fly in all directions above our heads. We continue the visit and we realize that these animals are not very happy. Ostriches literally snapped the feathers on their backs, while the peacocks, who usually have a long tail behind them, have only a few little feathers left. It’s a little sad, even if they don’t look mistreated.
The Batu cave
Located a few kilometers from the city, you have to take the subway/train to join Batu cave, home to a Hindu temple. We’re impressed as soon as we arrive, by this great golden deity statue which opens onto a long stairs leading to the temple hidden in the cave. You may have the impression that it is crowdy. We can tell you that it is nothing right now; we have seen pictures where the stairs are literally full of people. It takes 2 h at that time to get to the top, at the entrance of the temple.
We first meet monkeys on our way to the cave. Once inside the cave and near the temple on the other side, monkeys are legions. Tourists buy small bags and give them food, which makes them quite aggressive. They would come directly into our backpacks if you were not watching them.
We walk around the Hindu temple in the middle of the mountain before we go back. That’s when Mister sees a sign pointing the Dark cave, with a lovely photo of an enormous spider. OMG!
As he wants to explore the cave, we go for a tour with a guide. Equipped with helmets and lights, we’re going into the cave. The guide explains the kind of wildlife that lives here, including cockroaches, bats, snakes and a monstrous spider that I absolutely do not want to cross. We move forward in the complete darkness and regularly turn off our lights to try to see these friendly little insects. I have to admit that I am delighted when we arrive to the end of the pathway, in a spot with natural light, and even more when we finish our visit where we started. What a pity, we have not seen the famous spider! Shame… 😉
These first four days in Malaysia are gone very fast. It’s both weird and nice to find a real city, even if Kuala Lumpur is in full transition. On the one hand, it has huge glass buildings, and on the other hand, some neighborhoods are still traditional. We are now booking our first bus to go to Penang island in the North West of the peninsula. Will the buses be more modern than those of Laos? We will find out in the next article… See you soon!