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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Written on: Wednesday October 15th, 2008

Well, I made it back to KL.  The last time I was here, in 2003, I was just passing through from Maldives, en route to Phuket.  We had only a three hour layover, but I desparately wanted to explore.  That didn't happen and I've been longing for the day I would return to properly explore the city.  Today was that day!

I got in early and humped it from the Pasar Seni LRT stop to the hostel...even treated myself to an individual room instead of a dorm.  After a few hours napping and catching up on emails, I enjoyed a lunch of curried squid and set off to see at least one cool thing today:  the KL Tower!  This is a telecommunications tower that stands 421m high, making it the fourth highest such structure in the world.  Since it rained during the entire walk to the tower, I questioned whether or not I would be able to go up to the observation deck.  But before long the skies cleared and I travelled the 276m to the deck (in only 15 seconds, mind you!).  Yes, Mark, I thought of you, and how you always like to go to the tallest spot in every city you visit.  And you would have liked this one.  Towering above (most of) the city, excellent views rewarded those of us who waited out the rain.   In fact, this was a phenominal vantage point to take in the nearby Petronas Towers, which will be discussed shortly.  As evening hit, I hoofed it back to the hostel and hunted down an Irish bar, as I had a strong craving for fish and chips.  Here I met Phil from Ireland.  We proceeded to share a few pints and some friendly banter throughout the evening, making for a fun conclusion to my first day back in Kuala Lumpur.

The next day I explored around town a bit more.  It is so different here compared with Singapore.  It is much more crowded and significantly busier and dirtier .  There is a large Muslim presence intermixed with a significant Chinese and Indian population, making the city center a fantastic place to visit places of worship.  I stopped at the Masjid Jamek mosque, the Sri Mahamariamman Temple and the Guandi Temple all within a few minutes walk of each other.  Spending some additional time at the central market and Merdeka Square made the stroll complete. 

The next stop was the one I was most looking forward to: the Petronas Towers.  This is the tallest building in the world!  Two massive twin towers that peak at 451.9m above ground shimmer boldly against the Malaysian sky.  The towers themselves have a unique design concept, based upon Islamic influences.  There are five tiers on each tower that represent the five pillars of Islam, and the floor plans emulate an eight-sided star, which is often seen in Arabic and Islamic artwork.  The area is clean and well organized, with a massive shopping complex in the base of the towers that thrives upon the never-ending supply of tourists visiting the structure.

The next day I allowed the GPS to take me where it wanted to.  I plugged in a few caches and started the walk to parts unknown.  I sweated my way through small city parks, a butterfly garden and plenty of tropical rainforest, complete with many curious monkeys swinging down from the canopy to try to get a glimpse of any treats that I may be carrying. I ended up at an absolutely gorgeous park (Lake Gardens) and war memmorial (the National Monument).  This is just one more testament to the wonderul world of geocaching.  There is absolutely no way I would ever have seen this had it not been for caching!  I managed to find one cache and score a few new coins before heading back to the city center, once again in the rain.

With that, I'll be heding to the jungle tomorrow for a few days of exploration.  Although I would like to trek deep into the bush, I'd rather not do it alone.  So unless I get lucky and find at least one other adventurer tomorrow when I board the bus, I plan to join a tour, which means more people and less animals.  Oh well, at least I'll be in the jungle.  It's been a while since last time and I am really looking forward to it!




From Elizabeth on Oct 18th, 2008

It's surreal to see photos of places the two of us watched endless hours of on the travel channel! Crazy!