Kuala Lumpur

It was our second time in Kuala Lumpur, but this time it was only our entry and exit point in Malaysia, as our target destination was Penang. Still, we spent a bit more time there this time around, than in our previous two day stay. We arrived via the KLIA’s terminal 1, and took the KLIA express to KL Sentral – a bit expensive but very convenient, we even checked in our luggage at the Malaysia Airlines counter in KL Sentral on the way back. 

We also stayed at the same place we stayed in before, at the Corus Hotel along Jalan Ampang, just a few strides from KLCC and the Petronas Towers. Though Corus no longer has a clear line of sight to the towers, due to other buildings that rose up on its surroundings, the hotel is still as excellent as it was the last time we were there. Price was good (it’s hard to find a hotel with that price and standard anywhere near KLCC), service was good, and location almost unbeatable (you can almost walk right up to it from the KLCC LRT station, and right infront is the terminal of Aerolines buses, if you’d like to go to Singapore or the other parts of Malysia after, like Johor or Penang).

As in before, we went around mainly in the “Golden Triangle” area, the busy commercial hub of KL which encompasses KLCC and Bukit Bintang, the renowned shopping street. I initially thought about the Batu Caves, but no longer found it appetizing after our trips to the cool hills of Penang and the Temples of Phuket just a few days past. I couldn’t think of anything worthwhile to do on the Genting Highlands either. So with the agreement of the group, I just settled for a slow and easy stay in KL.

Unlike in our previous visit, where we just saw the Petronas Towers, this time we went inside, to the skybridge and the viewing deck. The fee is a bit steep at 85 MYR (around 20 USD), but the view is good, and these are the kinds of things that you would do only once. The number of people able to go up per day is tightly controlled though, so best to go there really early in the morning to get a slot.

One of my unexpected finds, in our random wanderings around central KL is a short street called Changkat Bukit Bintang. It’s a branch off the Bukit Bintang shopping street, on the way to Jalan Alor, the famed street food haven of KL. The street is lined with bars on both sides, the type that, I my mind, caters more to western expats who like to have their booze outdoors in the tropical weather (whereas most Asians I know would seek airconditioning).

And then of course there is Jalan Alor, the street food stretch of central KL. I wasn’t able to go here previously, so this is another “first” for this trip. The sight of Jalan Alor is quite astonishing – a whole street lined with open air restaurants from side to side, and end to end. The choices are mind boggling. And surprisingly, it’s not a pedestrianized zone, despite having dinner tables encroaching almost to the middle of the street. Cars regularly squeeze for space in between tables and hordes of pedestrians.

Coming from Penang though, I found Jalan Alor a bit undewhelming by comparison. The variety is there, but I find the cooking in Penang much more flavorful, and the price difference is quite substantial. That’s not to say Jalan Alor is expensive, in fact far from it, but it just made me realize how much of a bargain I was getting back then in Penang.

* We were in KL in April 2017


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