Kuala Lumpur


Malaysian Mayhem

Kuala Lumpur

Flying into Kuala Lumpur the flight was packed with men from Nepal. There were only a handful of women travelling, most of whom were foreigners. I was unaware before but after speaking at length with some local people I found out that the regular flights to Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur are often filled with Napalese men heading to work with foreign permits. Many of whom can’t afford passports have much paperwork and hoops to go through. Once in the foreign country they must work illegally so most often they are exploited and get underpaid.

The two gentlemen beside me were making a lot of noise and very rude. I felt bad for the airline staff who had to ask the same people numerous times to get off their phones so the plane could take off. After drinking their way through four bottles of rum for $28 US dollars and each eating a meal and buying additional food and water I figure they either must be well off or just have no ability to manage money.

I was happy to arrive in Kuala Lampur, the flight was only a few hours from Nepal to Malaysia so I did not get much sleep. Within minutes it was obvious I was in a developed country. Air condition throughout the airport, technology everywhere, normal vehicles, street lights shining outside I did not feel uncomfortable. I took a bus towards the city centre for 10 MYR (3 MYR is about 1 Canadian dollar).

A Canadian friend I made in Kathmandu recommended staying at Reggae Mansion. There is a rooftop bar and it supposedly has a good atmosphere. I walked past two McDonald’s. I did not have any fast food in Nepal. As I walked through Chinatown at 0600 am on a Friday the city was bustling and getting ready for the day. People cooking street food and selling packed lunches, the traffic was building up. Kuala Lumpur has many similarities to many big cities I was unsure what I would find myself doing for four days.

I booked into a dorm room with four people, two Dutch and a Welsh guy. We ended up taking an Uber to the Petronas Towers and watched the water light show, checked out the KL tower but decided it wasn’t worth the 95 MYR to have a view. We went back to the hostel and had some drinks, and some more drinks and then took another Uber down to  Changkat Bukit Bintang. It is the central bar area where things are happening in KL. We ordered thirty beers between six of us with no problems and bar hopped around the area. We ended up dancing at a nightclub. The DJ played three or four Drake songs back to back and I was loving it! The drinks were expensive so we ended up heading back to the hostel early to keep the party going on the roof. My portion of the four Uber rides we had taken throughout the day cost 5 ringet (less than $2 Canadian).

Despite the low cost of transport the alcohol prices were very high and offset my budget significantly. I spent way more money in Malaysia than I would have liked. No regrets as I had a phenomenal time partying the night away for 3 nights straight. After being in Nepal a country that sleeps it was nice to find a city that doesn’t sleep and the party keeps going until 0500 am or 0600 am.

I took an afternoon and visited Batu Caves. I was impressed with the monument out front but the actual caves and enjoyed the visit. Though they were an insignificant size compared to the caves I explored outside of Bogota, Colombia last year. There were just under 300 stairs to get to the top, it was nice to get a bit of exercise. I have set some goals for exercise but have been having a hard time finding motivation. The monkeys at the Batu caves were aggressive, grabbing bags out of people’s hands, taking bottles of water and milk and drinking them. Fighting with each other for pieces of coconuts. They were all over the place, small, big, young and old with so much personality I could sit and watch them live and play for hours.

I became good friends with many people throughout my time here. Tillman from Germany, Calvin from the Philippines and a bunch of friends and I had some particularly fun times drinking, partying and socializing. We got the party going dancing with friends and playing different drinking games through the night. He’s headed to Bali, Indonesia and has spent three months there surfing. I will meet up with him again in a few weeks once I get to Bali.

I went to the Skybar with a few friends, we only went for one drink as it was 42 MYR for one pint. The view of the Petronas twin towers was great but there was a minimum 500 MYR spending for a window seat.

Most of my experiences in KL were fun but many were one time activities I will not do again. I anticipate I will have to fly through Malaysia again as it is a big hub for transportation in the South East Asian part of the world but will not spend more than one night in the city. It is too expensive for a backpacker on a budget. From what I have gathered the cost of the city doesn’t reflect that of the rest the country. The local people were much less friendly with tourists in comparison to Nepal and many other Asian countries. The Malaysian people outside of the city in the rest of the country are said to be friendlier and warmer to travellers.

I bought a cell phone off a man from a street corner store. Because my phone is locked to a Canadian network and white listed it would cost me 190 MYR to have it unlocked. I was only able to find a used Samsung smartphone for 200 MYR, with a new Samsung J1 mini costing 285 MYR I figured it safest to get the warranty and new battery for $28 Canadian more. I will be able to avoid costly taxis and exchange contact numbers with other travellers much more easily.

After stopping at McDonald’s for a Big Mac I took the fast train to the airport. Bound for Yogyakarta, Indonesia I am meeting up with Chris and Pat my cousin and friend from Ottawa. We will spend a few weeks travelling together. Three years ago I met up with Chris in Vietnam and we backpacked through Cambodia and Thailand. I was flying with AirAsia, the flight was about $50 Canadian. The air conditioner on the plane was broken so we were delayed for about an hour and a half. It turned out to be pretty beneficial as the wifi was better than I have had thus far into the trip.

I am excited to arrive and explore Indonesia, the fourth most populated country in the world. The beaches and the surf are among the best in the world.

China town lit up at night (Malaysia, 2016).
China town lit up at night (Malaysia, 2016).
Water light show at Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur (Malaysia, 2016).
Water light show at Petronas Towers in Kuala Lampur (Malaysia, 2016).
View from the skybar in KL (Malaysia, 2016).
View from the skybar in KL (Malaysia, 2016).
View from outside of Batu Caves (Malaysia, 2016).
View from inside Batu Caves (Malaysia, 2016).