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)!
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.
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!
Breakfast in bed anyone?
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...
Entering the Pavilion KL, we were overwhelmed with thousands of Christmas lights, ornaments, Christmas carols, and more.
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.
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.
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.
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!
What about these ones?