asia · Malaysia · Travel

Our Four Days in Kuala Lumpur – When I Temporarily Gave up Travel to be Becky’s Full Time Carer…

If you are a current follower of my blog then thanks for sticking around and I hope you’ve been finding my travel pieces interesting, if you followed me for whisky and beer reviews then I must apologise for falling behind on that one but I have some great whiskies and beers in the bank ready to review soon.  If you’re a new follower to my blog or have just stumbled upon this post then welcome to all things relating to travel, beer and whisky.

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We’re currently two months into our travels around Asia, we’ve already ticked off a few places (Beijing, Haerbin, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Khao Yai National Park, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son, Pai and Kuala Lumpur).  A few days ago we arrived in Bali, spending a few days with Balinese friend in his hometown of Sanur near the beach.  Today’s post is going to be about our short time in Kuala Lumpur.

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There are plenty of things to see in Kuala Lumpur, well, so I have heard.  We had a bit of a problem in Kuala Lumpur, a problem which started a good distance away.  After returning from our motorcycle trip around Thailand’s famous Mae Hong Son Loop Becky started to feel ill, she was achy (which we just though was a result of being on the bike so long), she had a headache, was feverish and these symptoms continued to worsen – due to this illness Becky spent the majority of our stay in bed and I needed to take care of her, this meant that the amount of Kuala Lumpur we saw was pretty limited.  By the way, if you haven’t read my two part piece on Thailand’s Mae Hong Son Loop you can find them here and here.

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When we first arrived in Kuala Lumpur the taxi driver told us that there are two reasons people come to Kuala Lumpur, the first is to eat and the second is to go shopping; neither Becky nor myself has any interest in the latter but we both really like to eat.

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We stayed in the area of Bukit Bintang which is home to Jalan Alor, a famous food walking street where you can find a lot of Chinese food, Thai food and barbecue but surprisingly a confusing lack of Malaysian food.  I don’t know why, but in the Bukit Bintang area you really need to look for Malaysian food, even the receptionist in our hotel said we would have to go to another area of the city if we wanted to eat good Malaysian food, regardless of this you can find and abundance of one of my favourite Malaysian street snacks, satay, these meat skewers are cooked on an open charcoal grill and served doused in a rich and oily peanut sauce garnished with a few slices of red onion and cucumber.  Satay, albeit simple is one of the most delicious readily available foods you will find in Kuala Lumpur.

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Pork satay

The second best dish I got on Jalan Alor was the barbecued lamb covered in Malaysian spices.  I was looking for some really good spicy food and I heard from people that Malaysian food is super spicy and I was told by a local that this lamb is really spicy, it was delicious but the spice level was mild, it also didn’t help that despite there being no queues it took half an hour to receive the food after I had paid, so I would say this is good but not good enough to justify the wait.

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Malay barbecue lamb

Curry mee is not for me, one of Malaysia’s favourite dishes is curry mee, this dish is usually made up of chicken, green beans, noodles and deep fried tofu in a creamy coconut curry sauce, I had this in two separate places and each time I found the flavour to be bland and not at all worth the effort to remove the small amount of chicken meat from the bones and cartilage.

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Curry mee

The absolute worst meal I had in Kuala Lumpur was surprisingly their most famous dish, nasi lamek.  Malaysians eat this dish any time of the day, is it perhaps the most popular dish in the country, I thought it was pretty shit to be honest, perhaps my pallet isn’t used to the flavours.  As you can see in the photograph below, nasi lamek is made up of a portion of steamed rice, deep fried small fish and peanuts, a piece of fried chicken, a couple of slices of cucumber and a little serving of sambal (chilli paste sauce).  The tiny fish were super fishy which I didn’t really like, the piece of fried chicken was cold and dry, the best part of the dish was the steamed rice mixed with the sambal, the cucumber slices takes the silver medal.

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Nasi lamek

One of the best things I ate was also the cheapest, for the equivalent of about 40p you can get one of these indian pastries from a guy selling them from his street stall just over the main road from Jalan Alor just by the Swiss Hotel, they are filled with curried chicken, vegetables and a slice of boiled egg, they are really good and you can’t argue with the price.  The guy asked me where I was from and after I told him I was English he said I probably won’t like these as they are very spicy and if I didn’t then there was no charge…not only did I like them I went back for more later on.

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Indian pastries filled with spicy curried chicken, vegetables and a slice of boiled egg

What trip to Kuala Lumpur would be complete without seeing the world famous Petronas twin towers, designed by an Argentinian and built by Korean and Japanese companies, these monumental towers are most iconic structure in the whole of Malaysia.  Petronas oil company generates most of Malaysia’s GDP so it’s not surprising these buildings look so awesome.

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Taller than the Petronas twin towers, the KL Tower has been mostly overlooked.  The KL tower is supposed to provide the best viewing platform of the city.  We didn’t go up either the Petronas tower nor the KL Tower and for most tourists or perspective tourists this might sound like sacrilege, but I will be frank, I have been up enough tall buildings and forked over outrageous entrance fees for the privilege and it’s something I am not willing to do anymore – at around £17 to go to the top of the KL tower, I think that is outright extortion.  The more you travel around SE Asia the more you realise that people love to fuck tourists over, from the street sellers all the way up to local governments.

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At the foot of the KL Tower is a free and beautiful area to explore called the forestry reserve, this green gem in the middle of the city offers picturesque walks through a little patch of actual jungle in the concrete jungle of Kuala Lumpur, complete with rope bridges suspended 15 metres above the ground you can also get a good perspective of the city from above the canopy.

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The area of Merdeka Square is really beautiful, British government buildings during the colonial rule, Merdeka Square is now also known is independence square, a lasting memorial to Malaysias freedom from British rule.

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As we spent quite a lot of time in the hotel, Becky feeling sick and me looking after her we didn’t really get to see all that KL had to offer, I would have really like to visit the Batu Caves but we didn’t have the time.  We did do a bit of walking around the Bukit Bintang area and found a few decent places to photograph.

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Hope you’ve enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more 🙂

Until next time

Matt

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