Kuala Lumpur: Exploring

When we weren’t eating or shopping, we spent the 5 days in Kuala Lumpur exploring the city!  We were there over Thanksgiving (you can check out our itinerary and our stops in Beijing and Phuket on the way to Kuala Lumpur) and as it is generally the case in November, it was hot, humid, and rained at least once a day. We didn’t have too much of a plan other than meandering in the general direction of the main sites. We generally don't plan out every single detail when we travel but like to have time to get lost around the city and really explore the culture and hidden gems.

 

Colourful building row in Kuala Lumpur

 

White and blue mosque and apartment buildings in Kuala Lumpur

 

Shopping street in construction in Kuala Lumpur

 

Stopping by the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, there was a bit of a communication breakdown on what to do with our shoes. As with all temples, you are not supposed to wear your shoes. Not wanting to leave our shoes randomly on the street, we found a tiny shoe deposit where you can leave your shoes and they are being stored safely. The temple is fairly small, but is the oldest Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur with ornate architecture and the beautiful Raja Gopuram tower.

 

Raja Gopuram tower in Kuala Lumpur

 

Raja Gopuram tower in Kuala Lumpur

 

Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur

 

We continued our self-made walking tour to the confluence of the Gombak and Klang Rivers and the Masjid Jamek mosque as well as the Sultan Abdul Samad building, the former offices of the Colonial Secretariat. The architecture was breath-taking and we couldn't get enough of it.

 

Masjid Jamek mosque in Kuala Lumpur

 

Masjid Jamek mosque in Kuala Lumpur

 

Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur

 

Kyle in front of Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur

 

Stairs in Kuala Lumpur

 

Stairs in Kuala Lumpur

 

We liked the historical buildings so much we came back at night to see them again!

 

Masjid Jamek mosque in Kuala Lumpur

 

Masjid Jamek mosque in Kuala Lumpur

 

Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur

 

Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur

 

One of the most popular daytrips from Kuala Lumpur is visiting the Batu Caves. The journey was a pretty reasonable 1 hour by train from our hotel. Unfortunately, it was raining almost the whole day but that didn’t stop us from having fun!

 

Bettina and Kyle in front of Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

 

The Batu Caves were formed within the limestone hills 400 millions years ago, but it wasn’t until the 1890’s that it became a place of worship. We walked up the steep and slippery 272 steps to the top, and I can personally verify that there are in fact 272 steps.

 

Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

 

Stairs to Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

 

The walls of the Batu Caves are partially covered in trees trying to grow towards the light. It was quite the unique sight.

 

Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

Bettina and Kyle at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur

 

One item we did not plan in advance was heading up to the observation decks on the Petronas Twin Towers. Having seen them at night from the THIRTY8 dining experience, we wanted to see them in daylight also.

 

Petronas towers at night in Kuala Lumpur

 

Petronas towers at night in Kuala Lumpur

 

You have to reserve times in advance as it is quite a popular destination, however when we were in Kuala Lumpur, the weather was fairly cloudy for most of the trip, and so we didn’t want to book our tickets for the towers on a cloudy day. We ended up booking our tickets the afternoon before our our last day in the city, once we had taken a look at the weather forecast and were pretty confident it would be nice. For once, we picked the right day and were rewarded with amazing views of KL.

 

Bettina and Kyle in front of Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

 

Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

 

View from Petronas tower in Kuala Lumpur

 

Bettina and Kyle at Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

 

When viewed from above you can really get an appreciation for the sheer expansiveness of the city and the incredible ongoing growth with all of the new construction projects and cranes poking through the skyline.

 

View from Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

 

View from Petronas towers in Kuala Lumpur

 

Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? Or would you like to go? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 


 

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Kuala Lumpur: Shopping and Eating

On day 5 of our Thanksgiving trip (we spent day 1 flying, day 2 in Beijing, and days 3 and 4 in Phuket), we finally made it to our destination, Kuala Lumpur! We arrived very late in the evening and the city almost seemed deserted as we made our way to our hotel.  After a late-night flight we were very happy to receive an excellent check-in experience and were pleasantly surprised by our room! Being able to have a luxurious and relaxing stay at the JW Marriott Kuala Lumpur was one of the primary reasons why we had chosen KL as a destination, so it had better be nice (see how we booked our trip and our full itinerary here)!

 

Christmas Tree in the Lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

 

We walked into the lobby and were greeted by the most amazing Christmas tree. The presents underneath the tree were real presents and part of an event that the JW organized to support children in need.

 

Christmas Tree in the lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel Kuala in Lumpur

 

The entire hotel was shiny and sparkly. I especially enjoyed the short disco lights hallway on the way to breakfast (which we didn't miss on days 2-5).

 

 

We had five days in Kuala Lumpur, and so were in no hurry to rush and explore the city, given the option of sleeping in the next morning! Because we missed breakfast, the JW was kind enough to let us order anything from the breakfast menu to the room, complimentary!

 

Room service breakfast spread at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

 

Breakfast in bed anyone?

 

Breakfast in bed at the JW Marriott Hotel in Kuala Lumpur

 

Once we got ourselves going to head out into the city we were immediately hit with the heat and humidity. Our hotel’s location in the Bukit Bintang district meant that we were in the heart of the shopping and entertainment district and directly across the street from the Pavilion KL – one of the newest shopping centers in the city.

 

 

Kuala Lumpur loves to shop as evidenced by the well over 200 shopping malls in the greater KL area! With less than a month to go to Christmas, the decorations and festivities were in full swing! We thought we were used to Christmas being a huge deal in the U.S., but we were not prepared for this...

 

Christmas decorations at the Pavilion KL in Kuala Lumpur

 

Entering the Pavilion KL, we were overwhelmed with thousands of Christmas lights, ornaments, Christmas carols, and more.

 

Christmas decorations at the Pavilion KL in Kuala Lumpur

 

Many people do not realize that Malaysia is a muslim majority country, and so out of respect Bettina made sure to cover her shoulder and legs. As she describes, it was the perfect time to wear all of her favourite maxi dresses.

 

Shop Maxi Dresses

 

After shopping for a couple of hours, we were starving again. If you aren’t coming to KL to shop, then surely you are coming for the food! KL has a diverse mix of cuisines available due to it’s placement and history in the region. You can find excellent Malay, Chinese, and Indian food among others. The best part of all is that it’s not hard to find cheap and delicious meals!

Living in the American midwest, shopping center food courts are usually best left as a ‘last resort’ alternative to a proper meal, but not in Kuala Lumpur! Some of the best cheap eats can be found in the many food courts all around the city.

 

Char Kuey Teow at Lot 10

 

We tried Char Kuey Teow in the Lot 10 food court and some authentic Indian food later on.

 

 

Shopping in KL wouldn’t be complete without a walk through Petaling Street in Chinatown.  Bettina managed to test her haggling skills on a couple new purses. Unfortunately, we didn't take enough pictures of Petaling Street so you will just have to believe us when we say that you can find everything from purses, clothes, souvenirs, to food here.

 

Entrance to Petaling Street in Kuala Lumpur

 

 

On our last evening in KL we decided to splurge and go for dinner with a view. The THIRTY8 restaurant is, surprisingly, located on the 38th floor of the Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, where you can enjoy excellent views of the Petronas Twin Towers while you eat.

 

View from THIRTY8 Restaurant in Kuala Lumpur

 

We enjoyed a glass of bubbly and couldn't say no to the chocolate cake! Full disclosure: we saw other guests receive a spectacular dry ice dessert which we wanted as well. We didn't think of asking our waiter what to order and just hoped it was the molten lava chocolate cake that everyone else got. Turns out, we were wrong. If you're ever at THIRTY8, make sure to get the THIRTY8 Signature Cake. You won't be disappointed. To be fair, the molten lava chocolate cake was pretty amazing too.

 

 

Even with our five days in the city, we didn’t even scratch the surface of where to shop and what to eat in KL.  We will definitely be looking to return to try out everything we missed! Do you have any food recommendations for when we go back? Let us know in the comments below!

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