We arrived in Kuala Lumpor after an exceptionally easy 1 hour flight from Kota Bharu, excuse the flashpacking just this once, the plane was only a fiver more than the 9 hour bus! AirAsia, we salute you.
A short bus ride brought us right into the center of town where we quickly boarded the skytrain and headed for the golden triangle, a notoriously cheap and exciting place to stay. In our usual fashion we jumped out of the train station and headstrong we ploughed into Kuala Lumpur in what we thought was vaguely the right direction, loosely aided by the lonely planet guide. Turns out the signs weren't that great in KL, little did we know this was only the beginning.
We stumbled across the main backpackers area in Chinatown soon to find that everything was fully booked up till 11am the next morning. Luck clearly was on our side however as this very kind traveler pointed us in the direction of a place he stayed in for 4 months, the Bintang Guesthouse. Free tea and coffee, kitchen facilities, free internet and a little box room with no windows welcomed us with open arms. Perfect!
As per usual we decided just to get out and walk around for the day, try and take in as much of this new city as possible, it was the south of the city we decided on first; botanic gardens, Chinatown, Central Market and Little India were on the cards.
Gardens were miles away and closed, we kind of walked past little India but fortunately found some saving grace with China Town and Central Market. We've seen a few China towns along these travels but i think Adam will agree, this one beat them all. I've also discovered that Adam is drawn to watches like flies to a fresh one and with Chinatown housing the most incredible array of "100% genuine copies", he was in his element. A few hours later we'd managed to lighten Chinatown of a few watches, wallets and pens and general rubbish. What a place though, combined with Central Market we decided it was a female consumer utopia.
I will mention that trying to find the gardens, trying to find Chinatown and trying to find every other place we went in Kuala Lumpur was not easy. Actually, i dont even think its finding the places thats the issue as much as getting to them is. KL has to be one of the most pedestrian unfriendly cities on earth. They just dont care, no walkways, no bridges over motorways, no signs, no maps its ludicrous. Adam insisted on telling me how his "mental compass" was exceptional and the Hall family were renowned for it! I have to say, he didn't disappoint that many times, although that is coming from someone who has one of the worst senses of direction ever!
As per usual when Adam and i get to a major city, the next day we woke to overcast skies and rainclouds. We managed to get about a mile from the Petronas Twin Towers when we were reminded of Asia's monsoon season being slap bang in the middle of July. Needless to say we got rather wet before a brief stop in the Petronas towers (it was Monday and the Skybridge was closed) and we headed on our way again to the KL tower, the 4th largest building in the world.
The KL tower is supposed to have one of the most amazing views from the top and with an entry fee of RM30 you would hope so. As fate would have it the guy at the bottom told us you couldn't see 10ft from the tower in these conditions and it was pointless going up. Shame.
Kuala Lumpur for me was actually rather disappointing. I can see how as a brief stop over for some retail therapy it holds a superb mix of Malay and western cultures and offers some fantastic shopping for one on a slightly different budget to us. Still, another fantastic city visited and one i would definitely recommend to those in maybe a different situation to us.
Singapore, here we come.