If Carlsberg did cities it would be Kuala Lumpur. I’m not saying it’s my favourite city but it is just so easy and so slick.
In direct competition with Singapore for being the major hub of SE Asia in my opinion KL wins hands down. Singapore is boring and just too clean and really needs to get a personality.
When you land in KL if you are coming in on a budget airline like we were you will land at LCCT which is the low cost carrier terminal. If Carlsberg did airports it would also probably be LCCT, it has loads of fat boy Western Restaurants, free wifi and is ridiculously easy and efficient. Apart from the simply awesome airports in Borneo it really is about as good as airports get.
KUL is a city that not only has a cheap and efficient subway system it also has a monorail which connects the main parts of the city. It is very cheap and kids get on free, well they don’t technically but I didn’t get stopped once as Charlie and Abi ducked beneath the barriers.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of the predominantly Islamic country of Malaysia. But it is a different Islam to what we see in the West, I think in the West we see Middle Eastern Islam, well Malaysian Islam is very different, women dress freely and I didn’t see a single Burkah, alcohol is sold widely and I even saw a shop selling Pornos in the huge Times Sq Mall. That said Muslims in Malaysia are governed by Islamic law and can expect severe penalties for breaking Islamic law. On the other hand tourists are afforded complete immunity and are not expected to follow Islamic customs.
In my hotel there was a Subway and a 7/11 on the bottom floor, both were 24hr and I grabbed a beer from the store and was sat munching a Subway club throwing back the beers no problem. If the UK wants to know how multiculturalism works come to KUL.
We only really had one day in Kuala Lumpur before we jetted up to Saigon. So we went to Batu Caves. The biggest caves in the world were reached quite easily from Titiwangsa monorail station and then either bus U6 or Express 11 to Batu. The cost was 1.50MYR (there are 5MYR to £1) We asked the driver to kick us off at our stop and 20 minutes later we were there. As you walk through the gates toward a huge mountain the first thing you notice is the massive golden Buddha, which also is the biggest statue in the world. The second thing you notice is what looks like the steepest and longest set of stairs in the world.
About a month later and in 34 degree heat we got to the top, I had lost about 3 stone in sweat and both kids were trying real hard to make out to each other they weren’t even tired, the reality is they were both knackered.
The caves are enormous, absolutely huge. But for us that wasn’t the highlight, the monkeys were! Hundreds of them. We were walking along and Charlie thought it might be a good time to let me know that his balls had yet to drop by giving out a high pitched scream. I turned quickly and saw a monkey walk past me like it owned the place with a 2ltr bottle of water in its hands, it wasn’t until I looked at Charlie that I realised that was our bottle of water it had just stolen from Charlie.
We spent a while in awe at the beauty of the caves, suddenly I saw all the monkeys racing towards us, it’s difficult to imagine but there must have been two hundred running right at us, I held Abi tight to me and got my ninja kick ready. It quickly became apparent that they were running right past us. I turned to see that someone had opened a packet of crisps. As I took photos of all the monkeys Abi noticed Charlie was missing. I got worried instantly and called him. I heard this little whimper “I’m over here” I looked and could not see him. Basically what had happened was Charlie had run for his life, I am not joking he had sprinted about 100m for his life and was literally out of the caves. I called him to come back and he gingerly came back. Abi saw this as the perfect opportunity to take the piss out of him – I never let on that she had squeezed my hand so hard in fear she had almost broke it.
That afternoon we hit the mall and did some serious shopping in one of the world’s biggest malls. Rolex watches were 2 quid and it really did have some fantastic bargains.
Late that night we headed to PETRONAS Towers to see them lit up (see the photo) they, for me and the kids still remain one of the most amazing sights in SE Asia.
Then it was bed as we got ready to head up to Vietnam the following morning on the 9.15 Air Asia to Saigon.
For more info on Kuala Lumpur check lasts years entry where i wrote extensively about KL and Malaysia.