Blog : Malaysia - Kuala Lumpar
We took a pretty cushty ride on a bus from Singapore across the boarder i to Malaysia and up to the capital, Kuala Lumpar. The bus was business class style with fully reclining seats big enough for a person and a half with individual tv screens and millions of movies... It was only a six hour journey as well! We spent thirteen odd hours on a big standard greyhound to sydney!! We arrived into a bus station outside of KL, so our first challenge was to navigate their transit system - half NYC metro, half tube, called the LRT or something similar. We stood in a queue for literally 45 minutes with front and back rucksacks i in the sweating humid air, all feeling a little grouchy, only to find that it was not a Q for tickets on the train line we wanted so we had to start all over again at the automated ticket machine... Little blue token in hand we swiped into the turnstiles and managed to navigate the train lines and successfully switch to get in the centre of town.
The journey took about 40 minutes and we did get quite a few funny looks at our backpacks!! But pulling into our station Majsed Jamek or something like that, kate spotted our hostel from the window, The Reggae Mansion. It had been recommended to us by loads of people so we were looking forward to somewhere clean and with a good atmosphere! We were not disappointed when we walked through the front doors, security guards, a swanky reception, a resturant, guest court yard, in hour travel agent, the works... A distinct lack if reggae music but i could live with that!! Our rooms we pods once again and yessss kate and i had bottom bunks, no more ridiculously steep ladders to climb and no more no place to throw all your stuff! We were in a mixed six bed dorm to begin with, we usually only book two nights or so in one place in case its awful, but we didnt even see our 'neighbours' hardly at all! As we arrived early evening time and hadn't eaten since our Singapore maxwells breakfast we were pretty hungry and the hostel restaurant did western food which we were pretty excited about! I had a spicy tuna pizza which was so nice, the pizza itself probably wasnt but just the feeling of knowing what your going to get when you order and that you'll like it was nice! No stress, no decisions! The girls went for a drink at the rooftop bar but i fell asleep in a bit of a food coma at about 9pm and slept all the way through to the morning. The girls found out that Swedish House Mafia would be playing a one off gig in KL on our last night, as part of their last world tour together an at about three in the morning booked us all tickets, so we were all pretty excited in the morning, espesh when they told me!
The hostel did free breakfast which on the first morning was pretty nice albeit a bit weird... Watermelon, roast potatoes with lardons and spicy spaghetti with egg - an odd mix! And did get weirder throughout the week, just baked beans and watermelon anyone?! Once wed gotten up, eaten, showered and had a cheeky sunbathe on the hostel roof terrace (overlooked by a million and one other buildings!) we went for a bit of a wander, to check out the area we were in... We found the famous Petaling street market, in the heart of china town and had a stroll down some of the main parts... There was more fake designer stuff than i think ive ever seen before... Closely packed together racks and racks of Ray Bon sunglasses, Folex watches and Lewis Vitton handbags. It was crazy! What i hadn't realised was that Malaysia is a Muslim country and walking to Petaling street wed come through part of little india and being in a short baggy dress just isnt that much fun and I've wanted some big hobo Ali baba pants for ages as when i spotted a pattern that i liked i decided to give haggling a go... She started at RM60 i at RM20 and we ended it at RM35 - a bargain at £7!! And i popped then on straight away and felt like the ultimate traveller! We also came across a little fruit stalk, selling bags of pineapples, mangos, apples and load of stuff id never heard of for about 20p so we had some watermelon for our lunch which was nice and then as is always the way we found a little food court that looked alright and so so busy for a late afternoon feed. We went to the 100% vegetarian stand which had a bit of a help yourself buffet going on. I had some curried chickpeas and fried veg, curried cabbage and some kind of tofu something, all of which was alright slathered with chilli oil. My whole lunch came to less than a pound!
After a shower and freshen up we went back out of the hostel in search of dinner and ended up back at the same food court, although we did notice that the food had been standing out all day with no covers on it and when we were eating the girl spotted a lot of rats about the place which sort of put me off a bit and i did attribute the s***s i had all the way through the night to this dinner. Thank god i hadn't had anything with meat in it!! On the second night we went back up to the hostels rooftop where the bar was open and i cashed in my 'free welcome drink', a G and T obviously! Im English darling and forty five... The drinks were ridiculously cheap, RM10 each which was £2 and they did a promo that night whereby if you brought an I LOVE REGGAE MANSION vest top for RM15 you got two free drinks... It didn't even make sense, but i wasn't complaining, i wanted one anyway! And all three of us wore ours with pride all night, whilst we did strawberry and mint Shisha (thanks Moxie for the mint tip!) playe card gamesband sipped our drinks looking out over the KL skyline. The Petronas towers looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland, all twinkly and lit up!
We were late getting up the next day and i think the girls both missed breakfast. I sat with an American girl and we briefly made small talk, recognising that we were both suffering a bit and needed to be left alone to grump! But after a bit of breakfast i felt a bit more alive again, i think the Shisha had given me a bit of a headache, and i was ready to head out... The girls were going to take a little longer to sort themselves out so i decided to be brave and go exploring on my own for the morning. I caught the train to Bukit Bingtan, the shoppingy area as, the same as Singapore, KL is famous for the number of shopping malls they cram into each square mile of city! On the train i met the American girl again from breakfast, who was going in search of contact lenses as shed run out and said shed come to the Pavilion mall - where i was heading (the most famous). It was nice to have company on the short walk to the shopping centre from the train station as it did feel a little sinister - maybe because i don't really like the whole person carrying a massive snake so you can have a picture or being hassled by street vendors selling complete s***! Whilst the girl, i cant remember her name - generally when someone says their name out here my mind seems to go completely blank and i never ever can remember it! - got her contact lenses i had a wander round the first mall wed come to... Not the Pavillion, but another ginormous one called Fahrenheit 88. There was a cool phone stand that did stick on covers, so not the actual plastic cases but more like a thin sticker with a pattern in it... They looked cool and in Asia they're crazy for any kind of phone decoration and for RM20 (£4) i thought it was worth it... They stuck it all on perfectly and it covers the front sides and back so maybe it may give it a but of protection, when i just throw it into my beach bag!! Although in the time it took to buy it and have it installed id lost the American girl so i had to carry on solo, although felt pretty fine in the middle of the shopping centre...
I found myself a new toothbrush which came in a plastic case and its own toothpaste, so i don't have to put mine in Kate's wash bag which now having been permanently damp from wet toothbrushes smells like armpit! So a big triumph purchase there! And also wondered around the maaaahoosive food court underneath the pavillion shopping centre, which had soooo many shops and international designers and brands but with the same price tags as the UK :/ the market was much better for cheap prices! I ate a Popiah, like the ones in Maxwells (spicy chinese pancake with onion and peanuts) and it was delish, just what i was after... The food in this food court was one or two ringgit more expensive (20p) but it was like eating in Westfield shopping centre, everything was clean, the food properly cooked freshly in front of you and i fully trusted the meat and everything in there - probs more than you can say for tesco at home at the moment!
I found my way from Bukit Bintan over to the shopping centre at the base of the Petronus twin towers, to meet the girls at the cinema. I found a sky walk which linked the two areas together so it was nice to walk along it and it was covered and out of the rain, yes thats right, more rain :/ id rather snow back home than humidity and rain! We had wanted to see life of pi for a while in the cinema and were going to go on NY day in Sydney until we found out it cost £22 per person... In Malaysia the tickets were £2 each and unfortunately we weren't that enamoured by KL as a city in our first 24 hours of visiting and with six days to effectively 'kill' before the SHM gig and our flight to thailand, a cheap trip to the cinema whilst its raining never hurt anyone! Life of pi was good too, although the aircon in the seats was far to aggressive and i had to ask starbucks for a cup of hot water to warm me up and then poor onto kates toes when it was a bit cooler to bring them back to life too! We went back to my Bukit Bingtan food court after the cinema to sniff out some dinner - i had the most delishious green thai curry of my whole life... Mum we need to start putting cauliflower, bean sprouts and fresh lime wedges into ours!! To. Die. For. I tried a yam bun on the way home as well for pudding but it was absolutely disgusting. It was like brioche on the outside with a sticky wet bit of yam on the inside that tasted of armpit - not nice :(
That evening we decided to have a quite one as we were planning to A) get up really early and swap rooms as we extended our stay because the hostel was soo nice, it was like a proper boutique hotel you'd pay good money for at home! And B) to go up the Patronus towers the following morning, which meant being in the first cone first served and so we thought 'Free' ticket queue before seven am... A six am get up for us then! It was always unlikely, but after a little bit of late night internet surfing, thanks to a few good blogs we found that no, access to the Patronus twin towers viewing platform on the 'suspended bridge' about half way up was not free and actually cost about £15. None of us would even consider paying that to go to the top of say canary wharf or the BT tower in London, so it and the super early night went out the window. We still managed to do our check out and check back in business though, to get us into the next available dorm - a sixteen bed female one which was also pods, this time with curtains at the ends. I've come to like sleeping in my pod, its nice to have that bit of privacy and a place that is yours that you can dump all your s***! Although i pulled the short straw and ended up having a top bunk, which were about seven foot high and had only a vertical ladder and one handrail at the top to use to haul yourself up with... From going up and down in the four nights we stayed i actually got blisters on my palms, the way rowers do from holding their oars - yes pathetic i know but painful all the same!
The next day we did pretty much the same as we did the day before, got up and wandered through Petaling market again and i brought some bits to send home, post cards and that. we also went to central market which is much more tourist focused, inside, airconned, clean, no hassley hawkersand but mor expensive and less authentic stuff, more souvineers. i did get my Malaysia flag though yo sow onto my backpack. The vibe of central market was summed up for me when as we were leaving what looked like a cruise ship tour group were dropped off! We managed to find the post office as well to post our cards and blimey, i should have waited until Asia to post my heavy shoes and dresses back to the Uk and the postage from here was so much cheaper :( and only takes ten days to arrive! So quick! I paid something like £30 to send 2kg of stuff home via sea that could take up to three months! Crazy!!nWe then rushed over to KLCC, the shopping mall under the towers for some food - i had the most delishious selection of vegetarian curries (another Westfield esque eating place) with a roti and dall... Om nom nom makes me dribble thinking about it, chickpeas, curried cauliflower and potato in a spicy sauce - yummy!! The girls were trying to make the 2:30 showing of Les Mis at the cinema although i wasn't sure i wanted to sit through the aircon and another film. We gobbled our food down but KV found out that the timings were different today and that in fact Les Mis wasn't on until 530pm so we wanted down to the park and small lagoon area which was sort of the garden in the towers and found a nice spot by the water and i finished my vampire book, finally! And the girls caught up on their blogging (it does some times become a bit of a chore as it takes so long, but i know its appreciated and il enjoy reading it back one day!)
530 was a bit of an awkward time for me to break from the girls and go do something as it was just when the city starts to get dark and the trains rush hour begins so in the end i decided i may as well go and see the film. There was no other things i wanted to see in the city and id miss out/not be able to join in the film chat afterwards... Im glad i went though, as les mis was a pretty good film. Jackson looked ridiculously hot in it, i didn't even recognise him to begin with as well! I didn't realise it was going to be a musical all the way through and i found it a bit off everyone bursting into song about stealing loaves of bread and blah blah! On the walk home i did find myself singing everything in a melodramatic tone - v funny and lots of strange looks on the train! None of us had been hungry leaving the cinema, so wed passed on the nice, clean looking good court in the shopping centre and thought wed use our 50% off discount back at the hostel restaurant... When we got there however we found that the money off thing was only valid between 3-5pm (who eats during that time??!!) and so we felt quite resentful paying £5 a pizza when we knew we could have dinner for closer to £1 in the food courts and markets! KV was particularly fuming and stomped out over to maccies! We managed to rescue her just before she ordered though and we went in search of cheap food. We finally came across an indian food court with a couple of people eating in it (normally a good sign?) - in KL we've found its very unusual to eat as late as 930 in the evening, everywhere is beginning to shut up shop, could you imagine that in London?! But anyway we sat down to garlic naan breads and curry sauces and sweet rotis for pudding - carbs at every meal today, so by this time i was feeling ready to be rolled home. The girls went for a drink on the rooftop bar, to cash in their second free drink tokens and have some Shisha and i had some good chats home...missing the boy quite a lot as the count down to seeing him in thailand gets smaller!!
On the Friday we were going to The Swedish house mafia gig in the afternoon so we had a pretty lazy morning, sitting in the courtyard reading books, researching places we were heading to next and watching TV... It was a nice chilled day! We went for a little walk around lunchtime although i wasn't hungry so just had some fruit skewers and we came back to the room to start getting ready... We were aiming to leave about 3pm ish as we weren't sure if wed have any trouble collecting the tickets because the card we used to book them was not in any of our names. I packed my backpack as well so it was already for me to pick up and put on my back the following morning as we had to get up early and leave for our flight to thailand! I didn't want to put much make up on it anything as i knew in the heat and dancing around lots of people i would sweat it off, attractive! But as id just washed my hair i wanted to at least try and keep it down for a little bit! I wore my new dress i brought in Singapore, with my crazy Aztec crop top as the dress was quite low but i didnt want my boobs out because it was a little but see through so you could already see my big granny pants in some lights... I figured this would be ok though! In the end the hostel out on a minibus for us all, which left at 4pm and we could take our rum and coke with us, which we couldn't do on the train - perfect! When we got there, to this big water park and hotel complex we were greeted with a right f*** off Q, thankfully the picking up of tickets one wasn't too bad and the guys in front of us had forgotten something they needed so they didn't even look at our payment card or anything, they just wanted to keep the Q moving i guess!
I was starving and nervous about drinking anything else on an empty stomach so we went into the shopping centre and whilst the girls brought beers (no thank you, no bloat for me!) i brought a mini pizza to gobble which made me feel a lot better! When we finally got into the place the whole of the floor was made out of sand which was kinda uncomfortable when it got inside our shoes, al took hers off and spent the whole night bare foot in the end! We spent most of our time in the bar area - you weren't allowed to take drinks out of this "pen". I only had one drink though as ivmd saved RM20 for the taxi home, RM10 for food as i knew id be hungry and only had another RM30 and a vodka oj was RM20!! Expensive!! But the music was good so there was no probs being sober. We danced and shimmed our way to the front if the area our tickets allowed us into "chill out zone" and then very naughtily and i have no idea how none of us were caught (about ten people all did it together!) we jumped over the bar separting the chill out area front the bit in front if the stage, which was great!! More space to dance, less armpit ms to be squished against and closer to the stage!! Everyone we were with a this point sort of went in different directions and in the end KV and i were left with one of the boys from our hostel, but we had a great time dancing and gradually getting closer to the front. It was pretty sweaty and humid still though and i was mopping my brow at every occasion! The heavens opened about five minutes into their set though, which although annoying to be soaking wet added to the atmosphere and really helped in cooking us down! Im pretty sure any photos taken are not going to be attractive though, soaking wet, but hey ho. It was a great night and SHM played some cool songs, some commercial stuff, some new mixes but the best bit was the stage lighting, it was so cool... Flashing images of loadsa different cities! It took a long while to get out of the venue and there was no spectator experience on route other than hustle and bustle! And we thought wed never find Al and would have to meet her back at the hostel, but miraculously she spotted us on the side of the road where we were just trying to catch a cab in the end we managed to persuade a driver to take five of us in his four sweater cab back to the hostel, KVs legs must have been squished! Much to our disappointment, we went via macdonalds on the way home, only to find wed picked the only non 24h one! When we got back to the hostel i had to have a shower because my hair was so horribly matted and wet! I then crawled into bed, it wasn't even that late, maybe about half past 1 in the morning but after two hours of solid dancing i was knick knacked! I pulled myself back out of bed though for my boy so i could talk to him before we weft for thailand and i didn't know the wifi situation! At about half two i went to bed and was up at six am for the next step on our travelling adventure - Thailand!!