Open Your Senses in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

KL, as it's known, is bustling with high end shopping, tall buildings, state of the art express train, old and new infrastructure, and organized traffic. It is busy and crowded with local commuters, tourists, and wanderers from 7a-11p, though peak hours are considered to be 7a-9a and 4p-7p.

KL is predominantly Muslim and it's a mixture of cultures, ethnicities, and old and new. The ethnicities in KL include Malay, Indian, Singaporean, Thai, Chinese, and Arabs. There is Little India in Bricksfield (check out the story on line) and rows of businesses owned by Arabs (Arab Street on Jalan Bukit Bintang near JW Marriott).

The city felt safe and clean. I saw security guards almost everywhere I went and some with rifles in bigger establishments such as my hotel. The people were also pleasant and helpful. Although some only responded with a nod or gesture, it was clear they are a group of helpful people.

Where I unpacked for 3 days:

JW Marriott
Shook restaurant has an extensive selection of international foods at breakfast (and I'm certain for other meals too). The hotel room size was more than adequate for 1 person but ideal for 2 people. The hotel is located in Bukit Bintang near the Pavillion and Starhill Gallery. It's accessible by bus and also the hop on/off bus.

The Starhill Gallery sits in between The Ritz Carlton and JW Marriott. The gallery is full of high end shops. In between the 2 hotels are restaurants, a bar, and a stage where performers lay out their talent such as playing on the saxophone.

The Pavillion, about a 5 minute walk, is high end shopping to no end as well. Stores like Prada, Mui Mui, Burberry. I'm certain it's competing against other malls in the area.

Stops Discovered from Hop On/Off bus and GoKL (free bus):

Little India
Shops selling wares, goods, clothes. Pungent small of incense mixed with flavors of spices. Stalls selling flowers. People go about their day, making food, selling flowers.

National Palace
Impressive, massive, speaks royalty. Changing of guards at 12n daily.

Merdeka Square
Flagpole commemorating Malay independence. Across is textile building.

Petronas
Tallest (twin towers) building in the world. Only 500 tickets are sold each day. You have 20 min max to spend on the bridge. Inside is Petronas mall- high end shopping stores.

KL Tower
Tower observation deck.

Chinatown
Array of street food, fake brand wares.

Batu Caves
Sacred, has cool breeze, climb 272 steps to the top, can be a peaceful trek. Rent a sarong for 0.72c or dress appropriately covering areas past the knee and shoulders.

Central Market
I accessed this place from KL Sentral via the GoKL free bus Red Line. I stopped near the KL tower (with the help of a few locals) then walked to the market. From there, I took the GoKL Purple Line to Bukit Bintang (all free). The market has everything from scarves, sarongs, clothes, food, and souvenirs.

From here I visited the nearby temple Sri Manamanamman Temple (behind Lavash Hotel).

Sights of KL

Tips:
Take hop on/hop off bus (MYR 55 for 24 hours).

To Batu Caves: take KTM Kommuter to Batu Caves from KL Sentral (MYR 2.60 one way). Platform 4. Yes, taxi is convenient but experience it by train.

Sensory Experience:
On board the KTM Kommuter to Batu Caves (or any train), close your eyes to hear the cacophony of various tongues. It's an amazing experience to listen but not see.

Alternatively, in Chinatown, open your eyes and ears and let your sensory system take you around the world.

Food
What can I say? It is international: from Chinese, Singaporean, Thai, Indian, and Malay. Each cuisine is representative of their distinct flavor, spices, and originality. However, all foods share a similar spice here and there.

Will I Return?

Not to KL but will use the city as a transit point to the beach or outskirts of the city. Penang is one place I'd like to spend some quiet time. KL is busy and it's a good start to experiencing the country.


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