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The joy of a big city
Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), March 20th 2011

Once in a while it is a great pleasure to visit a big and modern city where all facilities are available. Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, is such a city. Especially when you visit a city like this after travelling for months and months in countries where facilities aren’t that readily available, it is like entering a paradise. With facilities we mean things that are normally easy available in the west. Think about well stocked supermarkets, dentists, a hospital for a regular check-up, but also a cinema, good internet connections, shops and a terrace to watch people and enjoy a cup of coffee.

When we are in Kuala Lumpur, we normally stay in the area called Bukit Bintang (Bintang Hill), in the heart of the city. The area is well connected by monorail (a sort of elevated metro) and all facilities are available. It is a modern area with many shopping malls, supermarkets, coffee joints and restaurants. We stay most of the time at the hotel called Replica Inn, a budget place in the higher price category. The place is very clean, central and all rooms have hot showers. Opposite the hotel, there is a laundry service where they wash the clothes very well. And that is nice after months of washing the clothes at low-quality laundries in India and Sri Lanka. There are also a lot of restaurants in the area. We love the Indian places with the lunch buffets where you can fill your plate for little money. But we have to admit, we also visit Subway once in a while. This American sandwich joint doesn’t make the best sandwiches in the world, but they are good enough for us to come back once in a while.

A good mug of coffee at Starbucks

In the morning we also eat bread. We buy it at the supermarket and spread them with jam. Once in a while we substitute the jam with fish or cheese to get some of the healthy ingredients of these products. During the day, we stroll through the city or chill out on one of the terraces in town. The terrace is a great way to watch the world pass by and enjoy a good cup of coffee, as far as possible in Malaysia. Most terraces also have free wifi available, which makes it possible to check the email, read the news, Skype back home, do some bank transactions or just browse the internet. And in the evening, we often go to a so-called food court, a big shared terrace with a lot of small restaurants around it. These counter-restaurants offer simple but good and cheap meals from around the world. But again, we have to admit that we also visit the McDonalds once in a while. After months and months of rice, we especially admire the French Fries of the Mac, despite the fact that we eat them salt-free.

Hawker stalls in Bukit Bintang
Also the shopping malls of Kuala Lumpur are an enjoyment. During this stay, we were looking for a new photo camera. And that is something we wouldn’t buy in India or Sri Lanka because you will never be sure if you bought a genuine one. But here in Malaysia you do not have to be afraid of being ripped off. Most shopping malls have authentic brand store like Apple, Canon, Sony and often also Samsung. These places offer the newest models, but not for a cheaper price than in the west. So, it has no use to come to Malaysia for good deals. Also clothes are readily available in Malaysia. For cheaper cloths you can visit the shops in the older mall or in China town (also for fake ones), while for real brands you have to visit the newer malls, where all big and famous brands have stores available. But be warned, the Asian sizes aren’t similar to the western ones. Most people are short and thin, which makes it difficult to find a variety of Western sized cloths. It can be quite frustrating when you buy a small shirt with an ‘extra large’ label in it. We especially enjoy the shopping mall in the famous Petronas Towers, the beautiful silver-coloured twin towers which is the landmark of the city. The mall is huge, has a big variety of shops, and has undoubtedly the biggest bookshop in the country. The towers are built next to a green park, which is a great place to take a break, like the locals do.

So, we really enjoy being in Kuala Lumpur once in a while. Besides Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur is one of our home towns in Asia. We know the place quite well and we love being there. We visit the city on a regular basis thanks to Air Asia, one of the fastest growing airlines in the world. This price fighter has its main hub in Kuala Lumpur and is for that reason an important transfer place for us. We used Kuala Lumpur to fly to/from Borneo, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan and Sri Lanka. The big question is if we will visit Kuala Lumpur once again. If so, we will definitely look forward to that visit.


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