When flying from Kathmandu to Bangkok, I had a 14-hour layover in the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, so I made the most of it and got out to see some of the city. I didn’t know what to expect, but I liked it a lot. In terms of actual things to see, Kuala Lumpur really doesn’t have a whole lot to offer, but it’s still a great city. I spent a while wandering around the very modern city center, and it was like being in a tropical New York. Lots of beautiful steel and glass buildings. I imagine that it’s a bit of what Singapore is like.
And speaking of tropical, when I was taking the train from the airport to the city center, I was surprised by just how jungly the landscaped looked. It was incredibly green and lush. The train went over and past a bunch of little streams, and they were the yellow/brown color that I associate with Southeast Asia and movies like Bridge Over the River Kwai or Swiss Family Robinson. After wandering around the city center and having lunch at famous dumpling joint Din Tai Fung, I took the train north to visit the Batu Caves before returning back to the city and then to the airport.
Three things surprised me most about Kuala Lumpur. The first was the heat and humidity (it was around 90 degrees with 90% humidity). I was even sweating inside the air conditioned malls and airport. The second was how easy it was to get around. Because Malaysia was a British colony, English is very widespread both in signage and actual usage. The third was how multicultural the city was in terms of its large Chinese and Indian populations. According to Wikipedia, the city is ethnically 44% Malay, 43% Chinese, and 10% Indian, and it was fun to see those obvious Chinese and Indian influences throughout the city.
Overall I had a great time in KL, and it’s the type of place that I can see myself living in sometime in the future. I’ll undoubtedly be back at some point in the future, not least because there are apparently a couple hundred established rock climbs in the area around the Batu Caves.
[The day was a bit cloudy, so the photos aren’t great.]