What do people expect before their first visit to Kuala Lumpur? I expected a really exciting and cultural asian city with beautiful scenery and nearby authentic Malaysian villages. I was disappointed. Kuala Lumpur is a very normal busy city that I disliked pretty quickly, but after a few days the stress of the place wore off and it wasn’t actually that bad. It’s not great, but there’s definitely stuff to enjoy.
- Chinatown sucks. Again. It seems to be that every Chinatown I explore in Asia is rubbish. It might be because they’re real? I’ve loved every Chinatown I’ve visited in Europe, but in Asia they have a much dirtier feel to them. In Kuala Lumpur it’s the cheapest place to stay and people spoke highly of Petaling Street. It sucks, pay a little bit more and go stay in an area that has things. Chinatown has nothing.
- Visit Batu Caves. An hour away there’s a big limestone hill that houses a tiny temple and a bajillion monkeys. Women must wear sarongs (you can hire them there if you don’t have your own). The temple isn’t exciting in any way, but the caves themselves are pretty cool. The highlight though, is the hyperactive monkeys sliding down the banisters and grabbing food from tourists. Don’t even bother taking a water bottle as they’ll just steal it from you and empty the contents on the floor whilst laughing. They’re hilarious, though!
- There’s a forest in the city. The KL Forest Eco Park doesn’t really have anything interesting going on, but there’s a rather high walkway through the trees and it’s free entry so definitely a worthy time-killer. On a nice day there are some pretty cool city views from the top of the trees, but don’t make this place a day out.
- Eat and shop. It’s a big city so these two are things you can expect to do a lot of. Fortunately there are plenty of options in KL for both! The prices aren’t quite European-city-expensive, but they’re quite high for Asia. You’ll find real high quality restaurants and actual, non-fake clothes and goods to buy, though. Most things people advise you to go see are actually just big shopping malls, like the Petronas Twin Towers.
- Take the monorail. It’s really easy to get to grips with and can take you to most places in the city (apart from Chinatown because it’s just that shit). The monorail is cheap and runs really often, plus you get some pretty cool views of the city from up there!
- It’s semi-English. Although they gained their independance quite some time ago now, there are still a lot of English-ey things here. The plug sockets, the fluent English speakers and the general feel when you’re walking around certain parts of the city. I’m not sure if this was a good or a bad thing really, but it is what it is.
Kuala Lumpur is another city that I would advise against visiting unless it’s going to drastically decrease your flight costs. It’s like visiting a big but boring city back home. If you end up having to stay here for a while, I would recommend going to visit somewhere else, such as Georgetown, Penang. I wouldn’t return to KL unless I really, REALLY had too.