Happy Travel Tuesday! I’m coming at you from Beijing today… surprise!
In case you didn’t catch my last Facebook update, I’ve scrapped the rest of my Malaysia travel plans to fly back to Beijing to be with my family in the wake of my grandfather’s passing and to celebrate Chinese New Year with them! I also happened to find last-minute super cheap tickets (and also, thank you 10-year visa!), so that only further convinced me that Beijing is where I need to be. It is at these times that I feel incredibly blessed to have the freedom that I do.
I’m thrilled with this change of plans, even though I am nowhere near done with Malaysia. I spent three weeks in Kuala Lumpur and I feel like I’ve barely even begun to understand the country/city. Before I start to write more in-depth posts of my Malaysia experiences so far, I’d love to share what a typical day was like for me. (And it’s been a while since I’ve done a Day in the Life again!)
Kuala Lumpur is the first city I traveled solo in. It feels a bit weird at times but I definitely cannot say that I don’t enjoy having my own bed. ;) Upon waking up, I often find myself sprawled out diagonally across the entire bed.
When I get out of bed to start my day, the first thing I do is slide open the curtains to let the sunlight in. A chaotic view of Kuala Lumpur city center greets me. The view from my high rise apartment is wonderful, but I’ll save that for further in the day.
I make my way to the adjoining bathroom with trepidation. I’ve already found a few baby cockroaches in there (they come up the sink drain) and I dread the day I open the door to find their mother. No matter how modern or high up the apartment is, roaches are just a fact of life here. I fling open the door and scan the entire bathroom before making sure it’s safe to enter. Phew… all clear today.
Would you believe me if I said that the thing I was MOST scared of about traveling alone is that there would be no one to kill cockroaches for me??
But anyway… since I slept in pretty late, I just get ready to go out and search for some food. Usually I’ll take an Uber somewhere (as it’s cheap and I’m too lazy to walk), but since I want to take some pictures for this post, I brave the heat and walk today.
The Airbnb I’m staying in is in a secure new high rise, with a guard shack and gates. Next door to it is a row of worn old residences. This juxtaposition of complete opposites depicts Kuala Lumpur perfectly. The city is full of contrasts and surprises.
I head over to Lot 10 for lunch. The Lot 10 mall is one of the oldest buildings in this area and it is really ugly. But its basement food court – Lot 10 Hutong – is probably the best one in town.
CL (a Kuala Lumpur native) tells me that when it was constructed, they invited all the most locally-famous eateries to set up a branch in Lot 10 Hutong. As a result, you can get many of Kuala Lumpur’s “best of’s” all under one roof (albeit all in a slightly poorer version).
Today, I decide to get the Penang fried Kuey teow made with duck egg. I forgot to make a note of the stall’s name, but it’s in the back right corner. I also get a fresh guava juice to wash it down. I love the fresh fruit juices in this part of the world!
After lunch, I’m ready to go back to the apartment. The street traffic is all jammed up so I decide to just walk back as well. It’s actually not too unbearably hot, but boy is it humid and before long, I’m coated in a sticky sweat.
I stop at the Seven Eleven on the way back to grab a Magnum bar. Just one of the reasons why I’m loving KL: Magnum bars are only $1!
The first thing I do when I get back is to jump into a shower to rinse off the sweat. Multiple showers a day is kind of a necessity here. And then the afternoon is spent working indoors in the air conditioning. It is just way too uncomfortable to be exploring outside during these hours.
For dinner, I take an Uber to one of the many, many malls in this area. (By the way, Uber rocks here and is by far the best way to get around.) There is a famous food street across the way from my building, with a ton of street stalls. But why sweat it out outdoors sitting on a plastic chair on a dirty sidewalk, when I can dine in comfort in air conditioning??
I go to Pavilion as it’s one of the best malls in the city and has endless dining options…. everything from food court to upscale restaurants, from local Malay to international.
Hanging out in malls is pretty much a routine habit now. It’s what the locals do. But don’t knock at spending time in malls! Malls in Southeast Asia are designed to be hang-out centers for people of all ages. They provide a very much needed reprieve from the constant heat and there’s always more than enough dining options to choose from. And the shopping is also cheap!
I decide to treat myself to a sit down dinner at Madame Kwan’s in the basement food court level. This is a Malaysian restaurant and is generally considered to be a pretty good one by locals.
I was a little nervous to spend my days alone, but I’ve found that I quite enjoy my own company and have no qualms about dining alone at a sit-down restaurant. Usually I read a book on my phone while eating. It’s nice to get this time to yourself. But thank god I have a phone for company! I honestly don’t know what I did to pass the waiting time before I had a smartphone.
After eating and walking around Pavilion a little, I Uber back to the apartment. After another quick shower to rinse the inevitable layer of sweat off, I throw back the curtains to reveal the glittering KL skyline. This is my favorite part of the day!
I make myself comfy on the bed next to the glorious floor to ceiling window and watch the buildings light up while the sky gradually darkens. The KL Tower is beautiful all lit up in blue and purple tonight (it’s different everyday!). And the constantly changing colors of the Swiss Garden Hotel canopies cast their light shadows through my window. I pass the rest of the night cocooned in my little room on the 18th floor with the metropolis of KL sprawled out below me.
Not a bad way to end a day!
Total cost for the day: 45.20MYR, or US $10.80 for food, and about US $2.50 for Uber. I’ve found KL to be an extremely good value travel destination!
Have you been to Kuala Lumpur? How did you like it?
***Happy Travel Tuesday! Unfortunately internet is a little slow and frustrating here, so I’m not sure how active I will be in the next week given the internet situation and family events. I apologize in advance!***
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