Kuala Lumpur is the fascinating capital of Malaysia, housing a surprisingly small population for South East Asia, only 1.5 million people. It’s a city where Malay, Chinese, and Indian, blend seamlessly with modern glass towers of commerce. However, it’s not really the buildings that enthrall visitors to KL as the city is nicknamed. It’s the wide variety of cuisines on offer, whether it’s street food along Jalan Alor or high style fusion at the Petronas Towers.
KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
We chose to visit Malaysia at the end of our first year of retirement travels and arrived in early May 2007. We loved KL immediately despite the high humidity and short daily afternoon showers. The contrast with the crowded streets of Mumbai and Delhi, and the infrastructure built to western standards was a refreshing change after spending six months touring India.
Back then our first stop was the KL tower to get a bird’s eye view of the city, then on to the Petronas Towers and the world-class aquarium in its subterranean levels. Next stop was the KL Bird Park where we admired a wide variety of tropical birds housed in a relatively natural outdoor setting. We walked the streets of Little India and Chinatown, admiring the preserved shophouses along the way and finished up with a long afternoon at the unforgettable Islamic Arts Museum.
We had loved our stay at the Number 8 guesthouse in the heart of the Golden Triangle, but when we looked at the reviews on TripAdvisor, we found the guesthouse had slipped badly in the hearts and minds of travellers and we had to look elsewhere for a place to stay.
After winding up our terrific stay in Vietnam, topped off by a 10-day road trip through the northwestern part of the country, we flew to Kuala Lumpur on Air Asia. We had booked rooms at a brand-new guesthouse called The Anggun Boutique Hotel. To our surprise, the taxi pulled up in front of the Anggun, and we found ourselves directly opposite our former guesthouse, the Number 8.
We had allowed ourselves four full days in KL to show David the sights that we had enjoyed the most during our previous visit. We had a great time at the aquarium but were more than a little disappointed that the number of birds at the KL Bird Park had been greatly reduced. We did manage to walk through parts of Little India and Chinatown despite the fact that David is recovering from gout that tends to limit his ability to walk long distances.
On our final day we visited the National Mosque with its distinctive blue roof and towering minaret, and, as on our previous visit, toured the Museum of Islamic Arts. We were thrilled to see that there had been an extensive reworking of the displays so that we were able to see some more of their exquisite collection.
It was a quick visit to a beautiful city, but we had plans to travel along the east coast of Malaysia, visit the national park Taman Negara in the centre of the peninsula and then fly to the island of Borneo to see Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak. We had taken advantage of a seat sale offered by Air Asia and had booked seven consecutive flights in a very short span of time. We had places to go, and people to meet.