Our Kuala Lumpur Experience: Asia Here We Come
The Journey to our Kuala Lumpur Experience
We flew out of Heathrow with British Airways on the way to our Kuala Lumpur Experience, or as we (and everyone else) now calls it KL! The airport was uneventful and we trotted onto the flight hoping to get some sleep. We had booked two seats at the back of the plane. On sitting down, we discovered that there was a large floor space next to the window. I checked to see if I could lie down, I could!! Bonus, sleeping on the floor tonight then. We settled in and watched Rogue One, Greg loved it! I didn’t really get it!! Then a few hours’ sleep.
Arrival at Kuala Lumpur
We landed a little late and were met with a great deal of humidity and confusion. Kuala Lumpur airport is massive, and quite confusing. We did find a local sim to help us keep in touch with home though. At baggage collection, there was a sign advising us to book a taxi prior to leaving the airport so that’s what we did. MYR 85 to our hotel. All good! Step one of the Kuala Lumpur experience = tick!
Fancy Pants Hotel
Our hotel in Kuala Lumpur is a bit of a treat. We have paid for a Marriott hotel using points that we had accumulated during our working years! Hotel Stripes is a new hotel so everything is shiny and new. The staff at the front desk were lovely. Nothing was too much trouble, and they upgraded us so what’s not to love?
The hotel has a pool on the 21st floor, from where you can see KL / Menara Tower and glimpse Petronas Twin Towers too. We found that the weather in Kuala Lumpur at this time of year is pretty predictable so worked our pool time around it. Mornings were spent having a lazy time mucking about in the pool and enjoying the heat. The afternoons spent dodging the rain!
Wifi is free and ok from a speed point of view. The room was absolute luxury for us. And the shower, oh the shower, Greg just couldn’t have a shower without going on about how lovely it was.
I am sure that first up in most people’s mind when they think of coming to Malaysia is food. Our Kuala Lumpur experience was first and foremost about food! I absolutely love Indian food and Thai food and Malaysia food. Wow this part of the adventure is Greg’s equivalent of Argentina steak. My feeling was that there would be lots of vegetarian food on offer and there absolutely was. Yum, yum, yum.
So during our Kuala Lumpur experience we tried:
Malaysian restaurant on The Row, Chow Kit
This restaurant was near to our hotel so day one was our choice. It is a very cute little café, with cool décor. We had prawn in a basket starter, followed by main courses of omelette and nasi something (ie rice). It was lovely and very cheap (MYR 40). Interesting there was no alcohol on sale. Good for us as stopped us drinking!
Sri Nirwana Maju, Bangsar Baru
We found ourselves in the Bangsar Baru area of KL, and feeling peckish we turned to Tripadvisor for advice. We found a recommended Indian restaurant so headed off to find it. First impressions were good and bad. Firstly, there was a queue = good. Secondly the restaurant looked like a bit of a dump = bad. We decided to go with the crowd and wait it out. Our order was taken in the queue. We were guided to our choices to be honest, but as we had no idea that was fine. We then sat down, were served a banana leaf and things just kept getting piled on top. It was lovely food. Again, no alcohol for sale. It cost MYR 40 again, so another bargain meal. The food in our Kuala Lumpur experience is pretty top notch.
Opium, Burkit Bintang
Our third night in KL we went to the famous Burkit Bintang area. The restaurant that we chose was Opium. The food was delicious. I would recommend the curry samosas! The staff were lovely and the restaurant was nice throughout. Unfortunately for us it would not stop raining whilst we were there, but we were dry inside anyway. We went back to Opium later in our trip as we enjoyed it so much, so I guess you can draw your own conclusions from that. The nightly food market in Burkit Bintang is also a must do on any Kuala Lumpur experience itinerary. Lots of fun, cheap food, chaotic atmosphere.
Sky Bar, KLCC
We had heard that this was an absolute must. A bar in the Traders Hotel opposite the Petronas Towers. It was a little bit weird. The bar is around a swimming pool that smells of chlorine and, when we were there, also had a lot of children on inflatables. Prices were also very expensive with poor service. But, you can’t argue with the view.
Heli Lounge, Burkit Bintang
This is the “cool” alternative to the Sky Bar. Unfortunately, again it was raining a lot so the helipad at the top wasn’t open for the first hour or so. The view was stunning though. Cocktails were very mediocre and expensive.
Brasserie 24, Chow Kit
This restaurant was in our hotel and was poor, the food was cold and expensive. We wouldn’t recommend.
BBQ Nights, KLCC
We fancied a curry, well I always fancy a curry but this time Greg was happy to indulge me. Off we went to BBQ Nights (what a terrible name). This is a Pakistani restaurant in the centre of KL. The food was delicious, and cheap. The waiters were all very nice and helpful, sorting our taxi out and talking cricket with Greg.
Malaysian people are soooooo lovely. I am sure I will start a debate by saying that they are the friendliest that I have come across, but they really are. Everyone wants to chat and everyone speaks some degree of English. We have been helped everywhere we have been. I love Malaysians! The people have certainly helped to make our Kuala Lumpur experience very special.
We managed to fit in a few activities, in between sunbathing and eating! Oh, and dodging the rain!
Isn’t it weird how people seem compelled to go up tall buildings. Why?! To see a city? Really, what any old city?
Anyway, we succumbed to this and our first KL tall building was KL Tower / Merana Tower. We read in a blog (sorry can’t remember which one) that we should pay for afternoon tea there. So, we took afternoon tea in the tower. The food was nice, although vegetarian options were limited to scones. The revolving floor really entertained Greg and I as we proved what dimwits we were by being confused every time we went to the buffet that our table had moved. We met a Pakistani couple celebrating Partition Day, who were friendly and recommended other places to us.
Second up were the famous Petronas Towers. A Kuala Lumpur experience couldn’t miss this one out. We hadn’t realised that we had to book so on arrival were told to come back the next day. The view is good, the sky walk is rubbish – just a bridge with lots of people posing. Our highlight was watching two Russian couples posing for selfies and photos. They were hilarious. It was like a sexy tourist board advert. Greg and I tried (and failed) to replicate a few poses!
Outside of Petronas Towers are fountains that dance and light up at night. This really isn’t my thing so I can’t say anything much about it.
We spent a bit of time walking around KL too, managed to fit in a couple massages (very good!) and Greg got ripped off buying sunglasses in China Town due to his foreign exchange conversion. It’s confusing when you are on currency number 13!
All in all, we like Kuala Lumpur a LOT. The people are friendly, the food is great and it feels safe as a place to hang. The downside for me was the lack of walking opportunities. I found it difficult to work out on 4 lane highways how to enjoy a walk seeing the sights, so we ended up in taxis a lot of the time. A big tip we got on this front though came from somewhere who we had been in contact via our Instagram account; use Uber. They have been super reliable and super cheap so actually it hasn’t been too much of a problem.