I live in Vietnam. I have a visa which allows me to stay in the country. That visa expires every three months, and often it is necessary for me to leave the country and come back again in order to get a further visa stamped at the airport. This is called a visa run.
I also have a girlfriend. Girlfriends have birthdays, and boyfriends are expected to buy their girlfriends nice stuff on their birthdays.
Thus, when my girlfriend’s birthday closely collided with the need for a visa run, it seemed sensible to take a ‘two birds, one stone’ approach, and book a fun weekend away in Kuala Lumpur!
I’ll write a few more things in the next few days about what it was like, and a few stand out things. But broadly, we had a remarkably good time. I was surprised at the size of KL’s Indian community, the remarkable mix of cultures and religions that occupy the same few square miles, and the modern, clean city that seems so rare in modern Asia.
We stayed in a really quite beautiful (and astonishingly underpriced) hotel, which included an infinity pool, a fully stocked gymnasium and a smashing daily breakfast for good measure. If you’re going to KL any time soon, I would recommend Capri by Fraser, at least until they realize they’re undercharging and bump up the prices.
As I say, I’ll post a few more things in the next few days. We spent 4 days in KL, which is really about long enough. Whilst its a fun city to be in, the touristy diversions aren’t quite enough to really make this worth even as much as a week, and if you find yourself here for longer than that then you might want to consider what else Malaysia has to offer that is within striking distance of this well connected city.
But nonetheless, here are my Top Five Things To Do When You Go To Kuala Lumpur For A Bit:
1. Visit the Golden Triangle
The Petronas Towers are no longer the tallest buildings in the world, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still impressive. Either by day or night, just sitting in the shadow of these awe inspiring feats of engineering is an experience in itself.
If you’re the ‘millionaire’ type, they’ve got Gucci, Armani, Patek Phillipe and a vast range of shops which sound vaguely Italian. We quite enjoyed simply strolling into the Louis Vuitton shop and asking the prices of things.
Then again, if you’re not quite a millionaire yet, they’ve still got multiple outlets for most high street brands, a relief after the strangling lack of options in Hanoi. I was particularly pleased to buy some socks. Simple things, and that…
3. Go to the China Town night market
…of course, there is a cheaper way to be stylish: lie about it, and buy loads of blag gear. (Sorry, scouse slang there. ‘Blag’ means ‘counterfeit’. As in, ‘your shoes look blag’) You’ll find fake stuff in abundance at the Chinese night market. Bargain hard!
4. Eat stuff
We were amazed at how cheap it is to eat in KL. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating in top end restaurants or chowing down on the street, you’ll not spend more than a few quid on a pretty decent meal.
5. Go to the Batu Caves
Kuala Lumpur is very Indian, and visiting these caves, you’ll think you’re basically in India. They’re easily reached on the metro line (bollocks to a cab driver), and its entirely possible to soak up a whole day there, if you loiter.