In September 2018 I visited Kuala Lumpur. I had been in the Philippines for 3 years and I needed to do a visa run. Although there were many places to choose from, I decided on Kuala Lumpur. I have no idea why I just did. There was no special reason, I just wanted to go to a big city and that’s all.
Kuala Lumpur took me by surprise. After having been in the chaos of the Philippines for so long the country from the moment I entered KLIA 2, seemed so organized and well prepared for lots of visitors.
I met hotel and shop staff that was well informed and eager to advise you or talk to you. I met friendly faces that were willing to point me in the right direction and I was met with efficiency of fast trains, public transport going all over the place and elevated air con walkways to help you get through the hot city from building to building.
Kuala Lumpur is amazing, I loved it from the moment I got off the train in Sentral Station
The diversity of the city and its citizens gives the city a unique vibe. I have been in an area of 50m2 where there were a mosque, an Indian shrine and a Taoist temple and all visitors were doing their own religious thing without as much as blinking an eye or showing any dissonant over it.
For a person that worked in the social domain on projects like integration and assimilation to me that came as a surprise.
Somehow in the Netherlands, every immigrant seemed to think his or her religion is more important and shows great disrespect for others and their religious freedom even for the Dutch themselves who welcome them in so open-heartedly.
In Kuala Lumpur I was kind of baffled by the ease with which all these cultures blended and moved about
There is a lot to do in the city. I was lucky to have booked a hotel right in the middle of Bukit Bintang. And I could do everything by foot. But I loved using public transport such as the monorail and subway. I’m a sucker for public transport, especially trains, so having them been absent in my life for over 3 years I indulged. The Philippines, other than in Metro Manilla, does not have any other form of public transport than taxi, bus, Jeepney, van, multi-cab and tricycle. No trains or subway.
Another thing I loved about Kuala Lumpur was the food. Everything was available, never anyone told me that is was “not the season”, and it was kind of overwhelming to see such good quality of fruits and veggies and loads of meat without bone splinters and fish well cut and prepared and not just drenched in BBQ-sauce, which is very common in the Philippines.
Kuala Lumpur really comes alive at night, as where Filipinos go to bed rather early, Kuala Lumpur seems to have no end to a day. The night food markets are colourful, smell delicious and the street artist makes it fun to hang around and enjoy yourself, while you snack your way through the endless food stalls.
Bukit Bintang is just one mall after another, are great for daytime shopping. The nights are more about food and drinks
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
In the middle of the city is this huge park with botanical gardens and a bird park, where birds are free to move around. They are in huge net-covered habitats and you as a visitor walk among them.
It is a fun place to get a good idea of nature in Malaysia and to even see some monkeys in the wild.
We loved the parrots and the diversity of small birds, signs explain about the birds and the regions they live, and it is so much more fun to have them fly around you than to observe them in cages only. Off course you have to watch out for the poo. Especially in the first ‘cage’, they poo a lot, also when flying over.
The park has over 200 bird species and is an eco-friendly tourist destination within an urban area. The park covers 21 acres of scenic park-like forest area with lanes and paths among the birds and through the different habitats. The park is roughly divided into 4 zones. There are food stops, public restrooms and a restaurant. The giftshops lets you buy nice souvenirs to remember the park by.
The Kuala Lumpur hop on hop off bus stops in front of the park and the entrance fee is RM 63, which is roughly 15 US$ per person.
The park is open from 9.00 am till 6.00 pm.
TIP: There are feeding hours and birds show in every zone at different preset times, make sure you are on time!!
Jalan Alor Night Market
There are many night markets to choose from, and every day of the week there is one in a different part of town as well. From finger food to a la carte it is all available on the night markets.
The typical Malay Satay is a must to try.
The Jalan Alor Night Market in Bukit Bintang and is the most famous one in Kuala Lumpur, therefore also the most touristic one and a bit more expensive than when you go outside the tourist areas to eat.
My visit to Petronas Twin Towers is described here The landmark buildings are a must to visit when you are in Kuala Lumpur. They are difficult to overlook since they seem to be visible from everywhere in the Bukit Bintang. At night they are a spectacle of light and colour when the light show is on.
Your visit is strictly monitored and there are impressive safety measures. You visit the Skybridge first and then move to the highest platform for visitors. The towers close after sunset, so seeing Kuala Lumpur by night is possible.
Go there on a clear day, otherwise, your views will not be so spectacular.
Entrance fee is around 19 us$ per person.
The best thing to do on a rainy day or when you want to escape the humidity and heat of the city is to visit the Aquarium. Behind the Petronas Twin towers and underneath the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, there is the entrance to an enchanting underwater world and an impressive shark tank.
The 90-meter under water tunnel is a transport band that slowly moves you through the fish tank, while sharks swim over your head.
The aquarium opening hours are daily 10 am to 8 pm, you need a good 2 hours to visit. There is a feeding schedule. Entrance fee is around 10 US$.