Most people have a layover in Kuala Lumpur at some point. I’d heard mixed reviews, some saying it lacks that defining buzz of a capital while others really like it. I liked KL but compared to other big cities it did feel like something was missing, I can’t quite put my finger on it. Although I was only there for two days so it really wasn’t long enough to gain proper feel for the city. What I did love though was the huge cultural diversity that can be seen, smelt and tasted down every road. Wherever you go you it feels like you’re in several places at once. It’s also a really cheap and easy city to get around with the metro taking you to all the popular spots.
I stayed at Reggae Mansion hostel which I’d recommend for its awesome views from the rooftop bar. It’s in a very central location and only a five minute walk from Chinatown. The dorms have pod style beds with a lamp, plugs and curtains which is always a welcome change from old metal bunkbeds!
Alcohol in Malaysia is really expensive compared to other SEA countries, but that didn’t stop me drinking a few too many beers on my first night. I blame it on the Aussies I met at the bar! I didn’t have time to waste a morning nursing a hangover so I was up and en route to Batu Caves by 11am. There’s a metro line from KL Sentral that takes you straight to the entrance of the caves in fifteen minutes.
Outside the cave is a giant golden statue of Lord Murigan, the second largest statue of a Hindu deity in the world. The inside of the the cave is equally impressive with a huge opening in the rocks and there’s an impressive amount of space inside. The temperature inside the cave was much cooler, especially after climbing all those stairs! There are two parts to the cave with some steps that lead to an outside area surrounded by rocks and trees. The light shines down beautifully from here but my amazing camera skills make it difficult to see in the photo.
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a really colourful area surrounded by red lanterns. There are loads of places to eat and it’s also great for shopping with a busy night market. Like most markets, prepare to be hounded with stuff to buy.
The highlight of my time in KL was visiting the National Mosque of Malaysia. I’ve been to many churches and countless temples but I’ve never been inside a mosque. The National Mosque is absolutely stunning. Everything is very structured and geometric and it’s just very pleasing to the eye. The floor is super shiny too so there are reflections all around. The quietness of the mosque made it feel like a safe haven tucked away from the busy city.
This room was my favourite part of the mosque. It’s a dome-shaped room which must be perfectly symmetrical. A water bath runs around the edge of the room and because of the way the light enters, a gorgeous reflection of the water ripples projects onto the white walls. It was so tranquil.
A twenty minute walk from the mosque and a five minute walk from Chinatown is Jalan Raja Rd. This area is very grand with colonial buildings including Sultan Abdul Samad, the National Textile Museum (free entry) and Merdeka Square.
Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the famous Petronas Towers but they looked amazing from the hostel at night. I’ll just have to save them for next time. I’m sure I’ll be stopping over in KL again in the near future!