- 30 Jan - 05 Feb, 2021
KUALA LUMPUR A QUIET COSMOPOLITAN
- 13 Jul - 19 Jul, 2019
- Travel Diaries
Jetting off to Kuala Lumpur was no less than a dream come true for us – a family of four. The plan was made in a hassle, just as the Eid holiday season neared.
From the moment we stepped off the airplane at KL International after a seven-hour flight from Dubai, the snappy immigration process was a relief that was direly needed, with cranky children holding on to me like some Malaysian geckos.
It was a night before Eid in Malaysia meaning it was Chaand Raat and that too, without any hullabaloo in the air. The whole city was at standstill at this early hour of the night [11 a.m. is an early hour from a Karachiite’s point of view] and what surprised us more was the fact that it was Eid the following day.
A lot has been written about Kuala Lumpur and I made sure that I read more about this city before I got there but the way I experienced this cross-cultural hub, overcame every read I came across about it.
This South East Asian destination is green enough to make you forget that the world has another colour than different shades of green.
The city has many moods yet it’s static, has different shades of life yet it’s green only, has a very not-so-liberal way of life yet it gives out a very liberal vibe, and last but not the least, sounds very quite even when it makes all the noises about being a cosmopolitan.
The more we traveled across this green city the more we were in awe of its architecture. It is planned very thoughtfully without disturbing nature and gives out a very forest-y vibe with the tall flat buildings looking like mere plantations in the woods.
Based on my experiences, here’s a low down on how to explore this wonderfully quiet city. Read on…
HOW TO GET AROUND
One of the most convenient things that KL offers is its cheap modes of commuting i.e. metro, train and Grab. Though not very fast, but the KLIA Ekspress does cater to most of your travel needs as you roam around the big city. Grab is also getting popular especially amongst tourists. The drivers are professional and friendly. Sharing useful information, Grab drivers make sure that you plan your trip making most of your time and money.
Hiring taxi is not recommended as there are no laws in work to maintain a check on cabs and the cabbies. More often than not, you are at the mercy of the mood swings of the drivers whether they charge you as per what the meter suggests or according to their needs for that particular day.
WHAT TO EAT
In terms of food, Malaysia does not have much to offer to cater to the Pakistani taste buds so it is advised to leave yours at home. The local Malaysian speciality, Nyonya chicken curry, is so spicy that I won’t recommend to have it especially if you have low threshold for the extra spice. You might end up spending on drinks more than the food itself to douse off the fire on your tongue.
Other than that, food courts in the malls are the safest option when it comes to Halal food. In terms of street food, a Muslim Grab driver told us not to have it especially around China Town as it is not Halal even though the shopkeepers claim otherwise.
When in KL, you can have Pakistani food as well [the renowned Bar.B.Q. Tonight has its presence there too]. Even though the closing time is 11:30 p.m., the eatery is so popular that the food is finished usually around 10:30, forcing them to wind up well before time. Some cheap alternatives around also offer good food 24/7.
Other than that, the tried and tested Western food chains do not disappoint either.
SPECIAL MENTION: Healy Mac’s is an Irish pub, less than a ten minute walk away from the Petronas Towers. The eatery serves delicious Irish food and is a fun place, with amazing food, great music, and an upbeat atmosphere.
THE IMRAN CONNECTION
Malaysians seem to be in awe of our newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan. We experienced so many moments of pride whenever we hired a Grab. As soon as the drivers would get to know our nationality, they speak very high of Imran Khan often citing him as a honest, competent, educated and intellectual being who thinks about the betterment of his people and country.
One thing that you should never look out for while in KL is night life. While the city is supposed to be more happening for the cross-cultural status it enjoys, it goes silent [Bukit Bintang and China Town being exceptions] as soon the clock strikes 10. If you are traveling with kids, make sure you have your food by 9 p.m. max as after 10, you are left with a very few dine-in options, the ones that you do not want to eat at.
Until visiting KL, it was unheard of Duty Free shops with gates locked but KL International airport busted this myth also. The shops are actually closed after 11, including the food joints. And the ones that are open, welcome guests so half-heartedly that they rather starve.
WHERE TO SHOP
Mind you, KL has become an expensive city over the years [thanks to the dollar flight] so it is advised to avoid mall-shopping at all costs and look around for cheaper places. The area of Bukit Bintang is a little cheaper and is full of shops where you can find souvenirs and other stuff. The shopkeepers take full advantage of your tourist status, so you need to be extra cautious.
I found China Town the best place to shop. Not only the items are best in terms of quality but with a little bargaining skills, you are good to go. The place hustles and bustles at night with tourists so I would recommend you to visit during day time when you can explore it while having fun, bargaining with shopkeepers.
PLACES TO VISITPetronas Twin Towers
The trip to KL is incomplete without climbing the Petronas Twin Towers. If you need to save on time and yet want to have a bird’s eye view of the city, then the Skybridge that connects the two towers and highest two story bridge in the world, works well for you. To get the true taste of the city, climbing to the Observation Deck is mandatory.
It is advised to visit the place early morning before it gets too crowded given the fact that it is the main tourist attraction in the centre of the city. Mondays are closed so plan your trip accordingly.
RM 80 for adults
RM 33 for children
Hours: 9 am – 9 pm (closed from 1 pm – 2:30 pm on Fridays)
If you need to take a trip to the breathtaking sights of the 130 million year old rainforest then get to Genting Highlands that is a two way process. First, you need to get to Genting Skyway from where you catch the gondola lift that connects Gohtong Jaya [58 km from Kuala Lumpur] to the Resort Hotel in Genting Highlands.
There is also a separate cable car system, Awana Skyway, also referred to as the new Awana Skyway. Located nine minutes away from Genting Skyway, it connects Awana Transport Hub, Chin Swee Temple and SkyAvenue in Genting Highlands and offers only glass floor gondolas.
The ticket price for Skyway gondolas is RM 10 whereas glass floor gondola ride cost RM 50.
The base stations of Genting Highlands are located approximately at an hour or so drive from KL depending on weather and traffic conditions. The journey is like driving in heavens with picturesque scenery accompanying you throughout.
It’s one of the best places to be while in KL especially if you are traveling with kids. It is suggested that you take the metro. Buy the tickets for Wangsa Maju station and once there, hire a cab that can cost around RM 7.
The zoo is kept in the best of conditions and provides ample space to roam around freely. Other than taking the tram, explore the zoo on foot to make the most of your time amongst the wild life.
The flamingo and bird pond brings you to another world altogether while it’s the roaring Bengal tiger that brings you back to your senses.
If you are running out of time then skip the animal show and River and Marine Life Aquarium.
RM 82 for adults
RM 43 for kids [above age 2]
No matter how magnificent the place is, it is never advised to visit the caves with kids. The long hike to the caves is so tiring for the adults that you feel like losing all the excitement in between somewhere while getting up to the caves.
Located at round 17km from KL, it is a natural and man-made wonder. The monument of Lord Murugan outside the caves features the stunning features of Malaysia’s limestone mountains and religious sculptures of the Hindu faith.
Apart from that there are four main attractions and a limestone hill riddled with caves. Others are Temple Cave (or Cathedral Cave), Dark Cave, Cave Villa and Ramayana Cave.
In case you do not find the energy to climb the 272 steps and if the Dark Cave sounds too creepy, visit Cave Villa instead that lies at the foot of the limestone hill.
- 22 Aug - 28 Aug, 2020
- 01 Aug - 07 Aug, 2020
- 25 Jul - 31 Jul, 2020
- 18 Jul - 24 Jul, 2020
- 11 Jul - 17 Jul, 2020
- 04 Jul - 10 Jul, 2020
- 27 Jun - 03 Jul, 2020
- 20 Jun - 26 Jun, 2020