Finally the time had come to take the trip we'd had booked for months, to see Becky and Kenny in Kuala Lumpur! We excitedly drove up to Fremantle to spend the night near the airport, before our 3am wake up (ouch!) and drive to the airport in Perth. Getting to our hotel in Kuala Lumpur was a dream, with an easy flight and a taxi straight to our destination only costing 80 ringetts (about $25 AUD or £16 or so) and as we drove up to the hotel it was like being in the scene of a film, with bell hops and people to open and close the door even!
We quickly settled into the (glorious- thanks Becky and Kenny!) room and, after a little rest we explored the hotel and the beautiful infinity pool, which looked as though it spilt into the city itself, which we had been dreaming of for months! ("Think about the infinity pool..." we said to overselves over the previous months of hosing down sheep guts....) As per our usual travels, we treated ourselves to a beer (I think I had a cocktail) in the upstairs bar. As it's a Muslim country, alcohol is subject to a tax but this actually only increased the price of the alcohol to around Aussie prices so we weren't bothered. Luckily we hadn't decided to take a dip yet as, just then, a typical rainy season storm hit! The previous view of the entire city and the busy streets below had disappeared and, had we been outside, we wouldn't have even been able to see the hand in front of our face. The light rain came down and the fog continued to obscure our view but the humidity remained, inescapable and stifling.
When we finally entered the infinity pool later, it was chilly but worth it for the picture perfect moment of leaning on the edge, overlooking the built up skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur! Our first taste of real, authentic Asian food came later that evening, as we decided only to stray a short distance from our hotel (just for the first night, as our lack of sleep was catching up with us!) and onto a short strip of bright, fairly western looking restaurants. David ate Singapore noodles, while I ordered Mee goreng from the Malaysian section of the menu (pretty much just very tasty chicken stir fry), and we enjoyed people watching and observing the vast differences in culture within Malaysia itself.
Sadly, we unintentionally fell asleep before Becky and Kenny arrived at about 2am (who can blame us!? After 7 months in hostels and we had the world's comfiest bed at our disposal!) so early Christmas and birthdays had to wait until the morning, where we gleefully unwrapped presents from the UK, and ate the much longed for pick and mix, galaxy minstrels and prawn cocktail crisps (they don't sell them in Aus! I may have mentioned this before but I'm outraged.)
Becky revealed that she had been very organised and booked us tickets to the Twin Towers (Petronus Towers) for the following day, so we planned to go for a look around the CBD via the sky train. The walk to the station, incidentally, provided one of our first views of the many feral cats in KL! There one was, just chilling on a motorcycle, with a creepy look on it's face. Once in the centre, we visited Chinatown, and visited the first of many religious buildings (temples) we would visit during our trip. The first, Chinese temple we visited was called Kuan Ti temple, which was dedicated to the god of war and literature (so google tells me), followed by a trip literally across the road, entering the Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple (after removing our shoes). In this temple, local people were praying to different Gods and making small offerings, such as flowers. The co-existence of the two temples, from different religions, is kind of indicative of KL as a whole, where a whole mass of different types of people live in what appears to be harmony.
After eating Malaysian breakfast (Nasi Lemak-anchovies, chicken, rice...) for lunch, we walked past the ironically named 'River of Life', unfortunately filled with rubbish, sewage and looked more like a River of Death! KL has many clean, touristy, modern areas, which are juxtaposed by very dirty, rubbish and sewage filled (on a hot day...ick...!) areas, continuing it's tradition of contrast. Our luck ran out in the evening as, after a meal in Little India, we got caught in a downpour! Luckily, we managed to avoid the rain, thunder and lightening for the rest of the trip, viewing it from the safety of the hotel more than once, though.
On our second full day, a Saturday, we prepared for the dizzying heights of the Petronas Towers. One of the well kept, touristy areas of KL, we got beautiful views of the whole city from one of the tallest buildings in the world, before heading down in the comfort of a lift to face a more difficult ascent. We headed to that well known photo spot, the Batu Caves (it has a massive gold statue outside it!). Our second day of contrast, as we found it to be populated with small shops selling this and that, taxi drivers bartering for fares, and that familiar smell of sewage amongst the heat! We climbed up the 272 steps with a brick (they were building inside the caves and asked for help!) in trousers, due to it being a religious site, to find tall, damp caves with spectacular imagery, echoing the impressive golden statue at the foot of the caves. However, there was also piles of rubbish, and dirt from the builders, as well as some 'rabid' monkeys! This really felt more of an 'authentic' experience rather than one catered for tourists, which was great to be a part of, and of course we were very proud of ourselves for reaching the top, with a brick (David had 2....!) We ate Chinese Street food in Bintang for our last night, successfully avoiding eaten Dorian fruit (apparently very smelly but very nice... it was banned from our hotel haha!), returning to our comfortable hotel for one last night, ready for the early (and as it turned out, very turbulent), flight back to Perth the next day.
Highlights: local food, seeing the city sights, staying in a luxurious hotel instead of squashed hostels!
Accomodation: Suites by Fraser