Four Continents and 37,000 Miles in Two Weeks: Exploring Kuala Lumpur

Trip Report Index

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Kuala Lumpur is a city I’ve wanted to visit for a long time, if for no other reason than the iconic Petronas Towers, which are breathtaking. Beyond that I’ve always had pleasant interactions with Malaysians just about everywhere in the world, so I was looking forward to seeing what the people were like.

As is customary for me, I spent the first day just wandering aimlessly with a map. The InterContinental isn’t far from the Petronas Towers, so that was the first stop for me.


View from just outside the InterContinental

The Petronas Towers are just damn impressive, far too impressive to put into words.


Petronas Towers


Petronas Towers

After a conversation with some locals that obviously turned out to be a scam (I’m embarrassed I didn’t catch on earlier), I headed towards the next logical landmark, which is Kuala Lumpur Tower.

While Kuala Lumpur isn’t the most pedestrian friendly city in the world (like Singapore), it’s definitely not as bad as the likes of Ho Chi Minh City. You still had to watch out for the endless stream of mopeds.


Traffic

Getting to Kuala Lumpur Tower turned out to be quite a hike, and with the ridiculously warm weather I probably drank more water than a camel.


Kuala Lumpur Tower

The area around Kuala Lumpur Towers featured a few minor attractions. When you purchase a ticket to go to the top you have the option of visiting one of them at no additional cost. I went with the “Formula One Experience.”


Garden outside Kuala Lumpur Tower

The views from the tower were impressive, especially with the Petronas Towers in the distance. There’s also a restaurant up there, though I wasn’t really hungry so just snapped a few pictures and headed back downstairs.


View from tower


View from tower

Once down at the bottom I proceeded to the “Formula One Experience.” Sounds exciting, no? As it turned out it was literally desktop monitors with cheap peddles and a Mario Kart style video game in cheap Formula One mock ups.

I nonetheless played for maybe five minutes, though the awkward part was that the lady working there was literally sitting right behind me and watching me play, so when I turned my head left she was maybe two inches from my face. Freaked me out for a second, because I had no clue she was even close to me.


Formula One “Experience”

I then headed to Suria KLCC, which I guess is one of the nicest shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur. It had just about ever upscale retailer in a massive multi-story complex.


Suria KLCC


A bit of contrast


Suria KLCC


Suria KLCC


My mom needs to start shopping here instead of “Forever 21”

Outside of the mall was a very nice lake and fountain area with nice views of the city.


Outside of Suria KLCC

There were hours of walking between all of these attractions, so in the end I was gone from about 9AM till 3PM, at which point I was thoroughly exhausted and headed back to the hotel to get some work done and head to bed early.

During my stay at the Le Meridien I headed to the National Museum, which is right across the street, and then the Lake Gardens Park, which is right next to it.


National Museum


National Museum

The park was beautiful and totally empty (there were tons of people working on maintaining the park, though very few other people enjoying it). It would have been a lot more enjoyable if it hadn’t been 100 degrees, but then again, it is Southeast Asia. The park is massive, so I ended up kind of getting lost in it for a couple of hours.


Lake Gardens Park


Lake Gardens Park

At night I was supposed to meet a friend for dinner, though a series of unfortunate miscommunications led to that being rather difficult. I was supposed to meet him at the Novotel, though the cab driver dropped me off at the Hotel Nova. The worst part was that I didn’t realize until walking around for 30 minutes trying to find the place. It was pouring rain, though on the plus side I got to see some of the outside markets, selling both food and kitschy things.


Market


Market


Market

After several hours of walking around we eventually ended up eating at an outdoor Indian/Malaysian food court, which was delicious. I think the total for both of us came out to something like $4USD. Tough to beat that price!

Overall I really enjoyed Kuala Lumpur. All of the major cities in Asia are so different, and Kuala Lumpur is no exception. The people were friendly and it’s a very nice city. Most people speak at least a little bit of English, so it’s fairly easy for someone traveling to Asia for the first time as well.

It’s not a city I necessarily need to return to anytime soon, though it has made me want to explore more of Malaysia.

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Comments

  1. Lovely little glimpse. I’m happy you’ve expanded your horizons, Lucky. Can’t wait for the next installment. 🙂

  2. Is it possible to go to the top of the Petronas Towers?

    Did you notice a lot of security around the towers?

    Thanks.

  3. My mom needs to start shopping here instead of “Forever 21”

    Dude – That is so wrong to say on your blog!

    It was probably your mom who was messing with all your flight reservations! 🙂

  4. Just a note for all: Miss Sixty and Forever 21 are shops for those in the 17-24 age category.

  5. @ rich — It is, though apparently only certain times of the day and a very limited number of tickets are sold. After going up Kuala Lumpur Tower, I figured it would be a waste of time/money to go up both.

    @ Lark — Fortunately she’s not all that good at using the interwebs. 😉

  6. @rich – My fiance and I went to KL last year, and we went to the Petronas Towers our first morning there. Tickets are free, but they’re first come first serve. We got in line about 1/2 an hour before the ticket office opened and were probably about the 150th people in line. By the time we got to the front, we got tickets for 10 minutes later. The sunset time slots are the first to go. It’s definitely worth doing, but you can’t go up to the top – just the bridge connecting the two towers. It’s still really high though. Some great views of KL and the city around it.

  7. Yes but Miss Sixty is owned by Energie so it is much for expensive than FOrever 21 LOL!

    Great report btw

  8. Sorry to hear about the scam! As a malaysian, its pretty embarrassing to hear such stories, especially near the twin towers.

    Glad you enjoyed the rest of your trip though!
    The towers are magnificient, even more stunning at night when fully lighted up.

    hope you would go back and see the rest of the country. Penang is nice, especially if you enjoyed your cheap USD4 meal!

  9. Awesome report Ben…We always stay at the Traders Hotel so we have a view of Petronoas. Also…Al Jazeera is in the Petronas…we got a tour of their offices/studios….You just have to ask…pretty cool! Did you eat at Nando’s inside KLCC?

  10. Hey Lucky, I could see myself going with your hobby for a while – what’s your business model? I am familiar with using reward tickets, but unless you fly on your dime quite a bit, where do all the miles come from?
    Frohes Neues Jahr.
    Matías

  11. @ Matías — If you’re outside the US it’s definitely tougher to do. I earn about half of my miles through credit card sign-up bonuses (which aren’t nearly as lucrative outside of the US), and then the rest of my miles are split between earning miles through flying and taking advantage of good deals on purchasing miles, which the airlines often run.

    If you’re based outside of the US, your best bet would probably be to purchase miles when there are good deals, which US Airways and Delta frequently offer. This would allow you to fly first or business class for about 10% of the retail cost.

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