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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia rocks!

MALAYSIA | Monday, 11 January 2010 | Views [3949]

Malaysia turned out to be a place I WISH I planned to stay longer. Kuala Lumpur is a modern metropolis, where I felt like I was simultaneously in India, the Middle East, and China all at once! The signs are written in Malay, Chinese, English and Arabic, or some combination of at least 3 languages. There’s a strong Muslim presence with women in stylish, colorful shawls covering their heads. Men in turbans and Aladdin hats make their way around among the falafel and dim sum shops. Just outside of the city, there’s lush tropical forests, with waterfalls, caves, monkeys and huge butterflies. Farther out, there’s the wild wonders of Borneo, and dense, undeveloped rainforests with native cultures from centuries ago.

Me and Phil had a blast in KL. This was mostly due to our friend, Lavi, who’s from there and welcomed us into her home and showed us a great time, making sure we ate at least a 30 courses of meals a day. Her friends also embraced us with much Malaysian aloha. They took us out clubbing, and to some of the best restaurants, to the caves and to swim in waterfalls. Even though the airport is really far from the city, Cassie insisted on driving us there on our way to Australia. Another friend, Raj heard that we recently got engaged, and he gave us a goodie bag with chocolate, nuts, frosted mini donuts and a milk candy, which we were instructed to feed each other, in order to bring us luck and happiness in our future marriage. He put this together for us before he even met us! We had some great laughs and adventures with them, and I already can’t wait to go back.

We got to go visit the Batu caves, which is a Hindu shrine set inside a huge cave. There was many statues paying tribute to Hindu Gods, like Ganesh. Inside the caves, there’s an assortment of semi wild, semi domesticated animals, ranging from pigeons to monkeys to roosters and cats! One monkey tried to steal my water and cashew nuts I was holding in a plastic bag, but Phil stomped his foot and it scampered off. The temple had a HUGE golden figure (who I mistook as a 50 foot Buddah at first) at the base of a massive staircase which had me dripping with sweat after climbing to the top in the high humidity. The cave was a massive, impressive cavern with stalactites hanging from the ceiling, which was punctuated with natural skylights. Monkeys swarmed the walls with their loot plundered from tourists, including one who held a full bag of curry which dripped down the walls as he tried to get away from the others in order to eat it all himself. At the base of the Batu caves, there’s a dodgy little Indian restaurant where they had hair oil on the table which I’m sure people have mistaken for hand sanitizer or condiments, due to the pump dispenser and color.

The restaurants in Malaysia were amazing. Lavi knew all the best places, and we had some of the best Indian food of my life. There’s something called Banana Leaf cuisine, where instead of being served on a plate, you get a huge banana leaf, and then endless food is served to you on there. It was 5 Malaysian Ringit for all we could eat vegetarian food- that’s about US $1.50. We rounded off the meal with a flat buttery spongey bread called Thosai (HIGHLY recommended- you can get it plain, or stuffed with onions or curry potatoes), a few curries (chicken, fish and lamb), some Kueh Kueh (vegetable curry puffs), fried chicken, spicy curry soup, and for dessert, an Appam (a crisp, buttery pancake that we dipped in sweet coconut milk).

One of the best restaurants we hit up is a place called:

Restoran Sri Grand City

61, Jalan Dato Mahmud

46200 Petaling Jaya

Selangor D.E.

Tel: 03-7957-3158

For 6 of us to enjoy the feast mentioned above, it came out to a grand total of US $20.95!!! For everyone, not per person. The food was ridiculously good and cheap, and the kicker was a huge sign near the register that read, “Absolutely NO TIPS accepted”!!!

We got to go to the Kenyataan waterfalls, just outside the city. We went swimming in cold, clear water surrounded by a pristine forest. To celebrate the Friday afternoon, and kick start the weekend, our new friends brought a bottle of vodka to the falls, so we did shots in the water to warm up. According to Raj, “life’s too short to not enjoy the weekend from Friday through Sunday, so let’s do a shot to start the celebration”. In the bigger waterfalls, we swam again, only this time, I felt nibbles on my legs- the same kind of fish they have in the fish spas lived in the pool! Some of them were pretty big, so I had to keep splashing around to keep them from attacking me! We got to sit down in one part of the falls which had rocks, and the falling water created a Jacuzzi effect. When we were all nice and far from the banks of the waterfall and stream, a pack of wild monkeys descended upon our food, and stole our potato chips! They ran off with them up into the trees, opened the packages and ate them, throwing the empty wrappers down afterwards. Phil chased them away and threw rocks at them, b/c they kept creeping back down to steal more! After about an hour, the sky got really dark, and it started to pour rain, complete with thunder and lightning. We ran back to the cars, and when we were picked up from the side of the road (we got to wait under an umbrella while the guys fetched the cars), the car got stuck! A group of Indian guys ran to our rescue, and helped push us out, despite the wheels kicking up water and blasting them in the face with mud! They were so nice and willing to help out, despite the mess they were when we spun off.

Another friendly local Malaysian guy came up to me and Phil in a pub, and asked us where we were from, and told us, “Welcome to Malaysia” (we got so many “welcomes”!!! from strangers we encountered) then sang and dedicated a Michael Buble song about missing home to us on the karaoke mike, AND then sent the bartender over with a pitcher to refill our beers! The bartenders at a fancy club at the top of a hotel gave me and 3 other girls another round after the bar closed because I told them I loved Malaysia so much and was having such a great time.

Hospitality and warm welcomes were the theme in Malaysia, and we really enjoyed our 5 days there. The city was clean, modern, friendly, and had really good food and people. We definitely plan to return someday, and branch out to the countryside, in order to see more of Malaysia and discover why their slogan is “Malaysia… Truly Asia”.

Tags: asia, batu caves, food, kenyataan, kuala lumpur, malaysia, monkeys, muslim, waterfalls

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