Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur and See Ya Later to Nat

Posted by on May 7, 2013 in Asia, Malaysia, Play-by-plays | 0 comments

BatuCavesIntro

Sadly, after traveling with Natalya for 5 months her time on the road is over. We walked with lions, pet cheetahs and got drank amazing wine in Africa; we climbed mountains and took to the sky in South America and then we balled so hard that people tried to fine us when we got to Singapore. But now she’s headed back to the states to tackle business school and “the real world” while I continue to travel throughout Asia and Australia. Don’t you worry Nat, I’ll continue to hold on to the snickers. Anyway Goose, it’s been a pleasure traveling with you, signed Maverick (actually, knowing Nat she won’t get that top gun reference because she’s probably never seen it…sigh).

Goose

Now that I’ve gotten all of that sappy stuff out of the way I can tell you guys a bit about Malaysia. I happened to run into a good friend from college when I was in Singapore and he is also traveling around South East Asia for some time, so we decided to travel together for a bit.

Our first stop in Malaysia was Kuala Lumpur and thanks to all of the budget airlines around SE Asia it was relatively simple to get a cheap flight to KL the day before we left. As we arrived, we were amazed by the landscape from the airport to the city center which is littered with rolling hills and tons of palm trees. Given that Malaysia is the world’s second largest producer of palm oil it is not uncommon to see massive plantations of palm trees as soon as you leave city centers. Once you actually get close to the city center you begin to see the stark comparison between the rural areas of Malaysia and the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur.

Once we got into town and checked into our hostel, we dropped our bags and hit the town. Kuala Lumpur was put on the map because of tin-mining. Back in the 1970s Malaysia was one of the world’s largest producers of tin and KL was booming. As the tin mining industry began to flutter in the 90s the palm oil business held strong and KL really began to take off industrially.  Many of the skyscrapers that occupy KL now were built in the 90s and as we explored KL it was very hard to imagine what this tin-mining capital city looked like before the economic boom. We made our way through Chinatown where you do everything from getting those knock off Gucci glasses that you’ve always wanted for $2 or getting a tattoo, for pretty much the same price towards bukit bitang, the main shopping and hawker district, to grab some dinner. Hawker centers, as Nat mentioned in our Singapore post, are great places to eat because you can get different food from different regions and all for very very cheap. The most difficult part about eating at a hawker center is figuring out how much food to order. This is a test we failed at this hawker center as we ordered 4 malay dishes and left the center holding our full stomachs.

After eating we decided to walk off some of our food coma, and check out a few of the local sites. KL isn’t known for many historic sites within KL, but has a few new ones like the KL tower and the Petronas twin towers, which you may all recognize from the movie Entrapment. We took a few selfies and then made our way back to the Reggae hostel since we wanted to get an early start in the morning.

Malay_TwinTowers

TT_Selfie

I was put in contact with a Malaysian guy originally from Kuala Lumpur who took us around to different local sites. The first place we visited were the Batu caves which are located 45 minutes outside of the city. The Batu Caves are one of many local Hindu shrines around KL but one of the most popular ones that lie outside of India. It consists of many “cave temples”, essentially Hindu shrines located within the different caves of this massive structure. It was pretty cool seeing all of the different shrines within the different parts of the caves.

YG_BatuCaves

Heath_BatuCaves

BatuCaves

After spending some time exploring the caves we went to FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia) which is a preserved forest area right outside of KL where you can do jungle trekking. We did a short jungle trek which lead to some canopy walks, and I tell ya, it was good getting back into trekking after sitting on a bus for 43 days throughout Africa.

trekking

FRIM_Canopy

We decided that there wasn’t very much to see in the capital city and that it didn’t make much sense to spend another day there, so we grabbed the sweet looking bus (below) and made our way to the tea plantations in the Cameron highlands.

SweetBus

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