Kuala Lumpur | Malaysia’s Delicious Capital City

Going to Kuala Lumpur after Brunei seemed like another world. KL is orders of magnitude larger, immensely cheaper, full of culinary variety, and did not shy away from alcohol sales (it’s banned in Brunei). The differences were evident the moment we took off on our Air Asia flight – they delivered our pre-order duty free liquor to our seats! Getting from KLIA to our amazing Airbnb took about an hour, and shockingly only cost about $12 US using Grab. Our dollars went very far in KL for accommodation too. The Tribeca Suites made us feel like royalty with our 27th floor suite and a 37th floor rooftop infinity pool! Being there almost every day helped Andy progress light years in his swimming confidence.

Having pool access in KL was pretty essential as it gets super hot and humid during the day. We tried to do most of our outdoor activities first thing in the morning or near sunset, which was tricky because there’s so much to do and see here. We really loved the Botanical Gardens- which had tons of well-kept floral areas and trails, one of the biggest playgrounds we’d ever seen, and a Butterfly Sanctuary (one of the few non-free things there). We’d caught glimpses of these Birdwing butterflies while in Borneo, but the ones here landed on our heads!

A bit on the outskirts of the city were the unmissable Batu Caves. It’s easy to get “templed-out” when traveling, but these Hindu shrines and their setting in a mystical cave were simply breathtaking. We were fortunate enough to be there during the Thaipusam Festival, where a devotee carries an ornate structure supported only by piercings into his torso! And watching the monkeys rob unsuspecting tourists of their breakfast on the steps to the top was hysterical.

But the real highlight for us in KL was the food. Endless options of mind-blowing chow, including plenty of Malay dishes as well as those from other regions that we’d never been exposed to (e.g. Sri Lankan at Yarl in Brickfields and Bangladeshi at Roshana Bilash near Tribeca). It sounds funny to say having grown up in mall-centric North Texas, but the mall food courts in KL also had some of the best food we’d ever eaten too! Jalan Alor night market lived up to the hype as well, with fried durian satiating my durian obsession for the day. Tara was a trooper and braved the pungent odors both there at at DurianBB near our Airbnb (where we got to do a delicious sampler platter of 5 different types of durian – yum!).

We weren’t super excited about visiting Merdeka Square in central KL, but felt like we should at least cameo for the historical and cultural significance. What a pleasant surprise awaited us though! They revamped the riverfront area at the nearby Masjid Jamek Mosque and put on a surreal blue light / fog show just after sunset. To top it off, an intense lightning storm rolled in amidst an eerily orange sky – making the river show seem almost alien. Andy talked us into getting a round of Slurpees while we soaked it all up, and all agreed he made the right call 🙂

No trip to KL would be complete though without a trip to gawk at the Petronas Towers. Although I had been here before, we were all staring in awe at how big and futuristic they looked – with the lighting at night providing a vivid backdrop. The whole area around there (KLCC) just kept on giving, including an interactive science museum at Petrosains that kept Andy (and Tara’s 21 year-old brother Christian!) mesmerized for hours. There was also a gigantic playground and freebie wade pool for kids to cool off in. KLCC’s aquarium exceeded expectations as well, with its long moving underwater tunnel- Andy pointed out just about every shark and ray that swam by with great enthusiasm!

As previously noted, the heat can be oppressive in KL. Thankfully, there’s an escape within an hour of downtown called the Genting Highlands that’s easily reached by regular buses. The cool air upon arrival was quite welcome, and got even cooler as we ascended into the clouds via cable car. First stop along the route was a strange temple complex with a haunting series of dioramas cut into the mountainside- hoping we didn’t scar Andy too much! Riding the roller coasters at the summit was a real treat for all too – even on the rides Andy picked for us 🙂

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • MarianneAugust 3, 2023 - 2:22 am

    That is amazing.  What a cool experience for Andy!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Katherine KearnsAugust 3, 2023 - 5:51 am

    Wow! Just wow!!! You guys make every place you describe just one side of heaven! Keep the travels coming!!!!ReplyCancel

Explore the Blog
Read on the Blog

Subscribe here to get emails you won't read!

* indicates required