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Is Kuala Lumpur worth visiting?

While Thailand looked like nothing we’ve ever seen before, Kuala Lumpur felt a bit more familiar in some ways and completely different in others. It’s undeniably a huge city with skyscrapers and fancy shopping malls and cars, but you can also find a lot of shacks made of corrugated steel plates and corroded and manually patched cars.

After a month of heat without a drop of rain, we welcomed rain in Kuala Lumpur walking without an umbrella or any rainwear. In fact, thunderstorms there were the most impressive ones we’ve seen so far. Huge bolts of lightning and the rain so heavy half of the city literally disappeared behind it. I am quite obsessed with thunderstorms, so I’ve been watching every single one and took some epic photos and videos. That’s something I definitely love about Kuala Lumpur.

Batu Caves

The most known tourist attraction in Kuala Lumpur are Batu Caves. It’s a Hindu religious site most known for its’ colourful 200+ steps and monkeys around it. It requires some stamina to climb those stairs and heat makes it even more difficult. We had to take a few breaks for a drink and taking pictures of monkeys jumping around us. I was amazed seeing some delivery guys (I think) carrying a basket of food and water bottles up those stairs, we barely did it without any extra load! We hoped to get some rest from heat inside the cave but to our surprise, it’s very humid and still very hot inside as well. We boiled in our own sweat and it wasn’t pleasant at all. There’s even another staircase inside the cave but we decided to skip that one. The cave is massive. Here and there are religious (I think) sculptures that are very colourful and quite interesting. Around Batu Caves (before you go up the stairs) you also can find a lot of stalls with some souvenirs, food and drink, henna tattoos etc. All well above the price closer to the town centre. Plus, a line of taxi and grab drivers right at the entrance/exit that are nothing but annoying with their constant “Taxi, taxi? “. Was it worth it to go there? Maybe for a workout, yes. Otherwise… Naah.

Other places worth seeing

Generally, Kuala Lumpur has a very modern city feeling. One of the tourist attractions there are Petronas Towers and shopping mall Suria KLCC. Twin towers are always crowded and the number of tickets sold every day is limited, so we skipped it. Around the towers, you will also get bothered by some people selling lenses for phones or saying they will take a picture for you for a price of course. Very annoying and not for us. Suria shopping mall… huge, with a great range of stores selling everything you may want. Lots of brand shops but you can also find some smaller sellers, usually closer to the top of the shop. Basically, we noticed that those most expensive and most fancy shops are on bottom floors and the higher you go the cheaper the stores are 😉 weird, but it’s just our observation. What is actually fun and impressive next to Suria though is Symphony Lake Light and Sound show. The show is free and showtimes are 8 pm, 9 pm and 10 pm daily. There are apparently over 150 unique animations and it’s beautiful and impressive and definitely worth seeing.

We also went to a famous Chinese Petaling Street Market. It definitely has a Chinese vibe. You can get there nearly anything dirty cheap, but you need to be very careful when buying “brand” items because most of it is counterfeit. It’s a completely different league comparing to Suria but honestly, I liked it more here. There’s also a lot of different and super cheap street food. What annoyed us (as usual) were shop keepers trying to sell us whatever they have in their stall. It was enough to simply look at them briefly and they were all around you.

The most photographed place in Kuala Lumpur I think is Sultan Abdul Samad Building. It is stunning. Although there is quite a lot of tourists in front of the building, you can walk around it to see sort of gardens(?) which are very peaceful and beautiful. For nature lovers next to Suria is a very nice park with lots of weird and unusual trees that we’ve never seen before. It’s a nice fresh breath in a busy city. Loved it. Another nice park is KL Forest Eco Park. It’s like walking through the jungle in the middle of the city. There are many different trails including bridges hanging among the trees. We spent there about 2 hours or more just walking around. The last thing that I recommend doing in KL is walking into a random small street and see what happens. We found a few really cool places and some small Buddhist temples that no tourist guide even mentions.

Trash

At this point, I already got used to seeing trash nearly everywhere. It is still shocking that people don’t care about their environment. I’ve seen trash next to a bin which was completely empty. Is it really so difficult to put it to the bin? What is worse I’ve seen people throwing huge rubbish bin bags to the river and it horrified me. Those rivers smell like sewers already and it’s only going to be even worse if they don’t change something in their attitude.

Final thoughts

Kuala Lumpur didn’t wow me, didn’t surprise me even much. Comparing to Thailand Kuala Lumpur looked pretty normal to me as if I were in some big European city. Even some buildings looked familiar. I liked the weather there. I will always remember those heavy rains and thunderstorms. By the way, the city is well prepared for the heavy rain. They have huge storm drains along every single street. Those drains are covered and make sort of pavement. That makes walking much easier than in Thailand. Sometimes tiles in it are broken so you need to be extra careful to not fall into it though.

The whole city looks like under construction. And I mean the whole city. No matter where you looked you could see building cranes or building sides. I am not sure if there’s a market for all those skyscrapers but who am I to justify such investments. Although I did see a lot of abandoned buildings or even abandoned construction sites and that makes me think there’s something wrong about this. Anyway, you will see cranes everywhere. That’s for sure.

Quite scary warning signs. That’s something I’ve never seen before and I am not sure if it’s legal in Malaysia to shoot someone for entering private property, but I am not going to ever test that, that’s certain.

Another thing that is not actually surprising anymore after Thailand are huge cockroaches. I mean HUGE! It ruined me a whole night sleep when something woke me up in the middle of the night and it was this huge insect crawling on my face! Yuck!

Where are people and rubbish there are rats. We’ve seen a lot of rats running around the city, especially at night. Lots of them, but it wasn’t a surprise to us. Just saying for those of you that are scared of them.

Kuala Lumpur is famous for a mix of cultures and nationalities, but when you look a bit closer it’s not mixed very well. You can easily recognize where Chinese district starts, where Thai or Muslim. It’s very clearly separated. They live in the same city that’s about that.

One last thing that annoyed me a lot was the elevator. More precisely – people in the elevator. No matter where we were if we had to use the elevator, we never could find floor buttons. Why? Because every new person coming to the elevator pushed the button and stand right next to the thing covering it with their body. WTH?


Our expenses

CategoryLocal currencyUSD
Transportation (Plane/Bus/Ferry)91.61
Accommodation1034.65
Taxi26861.95
Clothing871.90201.55
Groceries3,416.52789.77
Restaurant1,206.92278.99
Souvenirs8319.19
Toiletries52.8012.21
Sim/internet23554.32
Sightseeing147.6534.14
Cigarettes1,154.90266.97
Other3,023.98699.04
Total (55 days)3,544.39
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