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Mark's World Tour 2007-08

Day 79: Onwards to KL

MALAYSIA | Wednesday, 23 January 2008 | Views [964] | Comments [1]

The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Wednesday 23rd January

I checked out of the hotel and took the local bus to the Melaka Sentral bus station, just in time to hop on the 11.00 coach to KL. The buses are very comfortable here, and the motorways as good as anywhere else, making the journey to the capital much quicker than, say, India. We got to KL at 13.30, and I found a room at 'Le Village' hostel on the edge of Chinatown; it was a bit shabby and not the friendliest place – definitely a step down from 'The Traveller's Lodge' in Melaka – but it would do for the one night that I was planning on staying in KL. I didn't get the impression that there was a great deal to see, and I had spent more than enough time in shopping malls in Singapore to need to check out what those in KL had to offer.

The city itself is a busier, more crowded and just slightly more run down version of Singapore (and the women aren't as hot either, which is a shame). There were a few things that I wanted to do, like pay a visit to the Malaysian National Museum, but it was closed for a public holiday of some sort. I set off instead for the main tourist office, hoping that they could help me plan out my itinerary for the remainder of my stay in Malaysia. I wanted to visit the hill station in the Cameron Highlands, and also the national park further east at Taman Negara (before making my way up to Thailand), but wasn't sure about the logistics involved in getting between these places.

The Malaysian Tourist Complex is a large air-conditioned building with a lot of useful information. I explained to one of the assistants there what I had in mind, and the she sorted it all out for me in about ten minutes. She couldn't have been more helpful or pleasant to deal with. I was in somewhat of a shock at just how efficient it all was, as my experiences in India of tourist information centres were so poor (think some bloke sitting behind a desk smoking a cigarette). Poor India, it has such a long way to go to achieve a proper, modern tourist infrastructure (not to mention the roads, maintenance of public spaces.....)

Once done there, I happily set off for a walk about, passing the huge 'Twin Towers' (a.k.a. the Petronas Towers) that were once the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world. They actually don't look that tall in reality, but aesthetically they are pretty cool. I wasn't actually in the mood to traipse about town looking at temples I wouldn't have any real interest in, and I could imagine exactly what Little India and Chinatown were like. And what was that I saw in the distance? The KLCC Shopping Mall? Well, I thought, seeing as it's just across the road.....

My main motivation for going into this massive, six floored mall, was to see if there was anything worth watching at the cinema about which I had read in the guide book. It's a truly barren time for movies, at least those that make it to the cinemas that I have been to so far in SE Asia. But, I was in the mood for watching something, so I bought a ticket to 'Sweeney Todd' with Johnny Depp.

It was surprisingly good, I'm not usually a fan of Tim Burton movies, but this was enjoyable; dark in style and in humour, and it was funny in bits too. The only downside was the almost constant chatter coming from the largely young crowd, something which turns me into a complete and utter bear (and why not?). I got the impression that there weren't expecting musical, and there were loud, inappropriate laughs when the characters broke out in song. I found this quite bemusing given the apparent popularity of Bollywood movies in Malaysia. Another pain in the arse was the unnecessary censorship and amateurish editing that carved up parts of the movie like Sweeney Todd himself, but with less skill. So, not only was there some nasty cutting done on screen, but there was also some done to the movie itself (made much more obvious when large chunks of the songs are missing as well). I felt like cutting a few throats myself, I was so wound up. Some people!

I spent the rest of the evening sitting in Starbucks, like the hardcore backpacker that I am. However, the primary reason I was there was to hook up to the free wi-fi, send a few emails and catch up on the news back home (Heath Ledger dead? I wondered exactly how many hilarious Brokeback Mountain-related jokes I was already missing out on).

So, my only day in KL was hardly the most exciting of visits, but it was fine for a stop-over, nothing more, at least in my humble opinion. I was to be picked up by the tour operator I had booked my trip to Taman Negara with the next morning at 08.00, so headed back to the hostel to get some kip.

Tags: Sightseeing




Never mind Heath Leger - Jeremy Beadle has just died of pneumonia. "Good night, sweet prince, and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest..."
Sorry to break it to you like this - I thought you should know.

  Dave Jan 31, 2008 6:46 AM

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