Saturday, 28 June 2014

Malaysia - Kuala Lumpur


Saturday - 28/06

Thailand to Kuala Lumpur

We had an uneventful flight to KL and arrived safely in our third country, Malaysia. Joy forgot to pack our Lonely Planet book for Malaysia - it is currently serving as her laptop stand in SA - so we didn't really know what to expect of this country...we were pleasantly surprised! At the airport we caught the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) Express Train which took us straight into the city in only 28 minutes. We then caught the KL Monorial (much like the Tube system in London) from the main station (KL Sentral) to Pasar Seni where we scouted out cheap backpacker accommodation. Overall, we were very impressed with the rail system - it was both efficient and affordable. 

We quickly grabbed some free tourist guides to kick start the information gathering process

Cruising on the KLIA Express Train

Sunday - 29/06

Admin Day

We found that even though it is a third world country, the city seemed to have all the amenities of a first world country including fast internet! We took full advantage of this and did a full work day (9-5) in order to get the Thailand section of our blog up to date [too much fun and sun in the Thailand had made us slack in this regard]. As a reward for our a hard day's work, we watched the classic animated film, "UP" - love it!

Monday - 30/06

Quota Cultural Day

As we knew absolutely nothing about this country or its history - besides its recent 'up in the air' scandal in the news - we decided we best go hit the National Museum and soak up some knowledge.
Arriving at the Museum after facing the death highway
Joy beside a Monolith from the ancient times
Rox standing beneath a wooden-carved door frame

Inspecting some ancient currencies

The Royal Throne

The lost art of Shadow Puppetry - Rox 'reflecting' on the moment (in the glass)

... in the good old days when creativity shone through in every aspect of daily living.

After exploring the past of the country we moved to the section of the museum that showed 'Modern Malaysia'. We learnt how the country had gained its independence, only in 1957, from foreign occupation and how they had built their own identity since.

Knowledge Blocks - pleasing to the eye and stimulating to the brain

The National Crest - look tigers =) 

The National Flag - accurately depicting that the official religion of Malay people is Islam

The National Flower - the hibiscus is also loved back home

Rox's reaction to Joy's suggestion to use this airline for our next internal flight...
When we first arrived we were unable to identify a 'typical' Malay person and on visiting the National Museum we discovered why. Malaysia is a country much like South Africa in the sense that it was a major trading port and thus attracted people from many different cultures to settle in this area. And as such it has become a melting pot of different races, cultures and religions - the Asian Rainbow Nation.

However, the three main people of the land consist of the original Malay people, Chinese people and Indian people - and inter-mixed versions of each.

The various peoples of Malaysia

Traditional Malay man
The museum made it sound like the different cultures of Malaysia are united by the struggles for independence of the past and their version of 'Ubuntu' is embodied in the word 'Merdeka' conveys a sense of freedom and togetherness.

After we soaked up all the history and felt in touch with the people, we decided to get in touch with some nature and scamper about the Perdana Botanical Gardens.
Joy admiring the big Brazilian nut tree

Mouse Deer

Cooling down in the pond

No kissing in the park!

Dying of thirst but the water was depleted...lion head just take me now!

Kidding around in the playground before getting chased away by the 'park patrol'!

Park Art

Posing in the courtyard before the wedding party paraded in for their photo shoot.

Tiny house on the island                            


BIG lizard hanging out in the park - one of four we saw that day
Navigating the Train System...

Step 1: Buy a ticket/plastic chip
Step 2: Scan your chip and proceed to the correct platform (make sure the train is going in the right direction)

Step 3: Board the train - 15 seconds to let everyone off and get everyone on

Step 4: Find a secure spot on the train and hold on tight (trains reach speeds of 90km/h)

Our last stop for the day was to go into the heart of the city to check out the famous Petronas Twin Towers
It is the world's highest two story bridge and the towers stand an impressive height of 451.9m consisting of 88 storeys.


On our way home from our hard day of culture, we stumbled upon a traditional Chinese tea shop. The lady was so hospitable that she sat us down for a good ol' cuppa. 

She also let us sample some popular 'Oolong' tea and showed us the correct way to brew it.

Hmm...after sampling the deliciousness, we couldn't resist buying a packet

Later we hit the Central Market which was luckily right down the road from our accommodation. We wandered around the market and came upon a Fish Massage Spa. We had seen these bizarre parlours in Thailand but had never been brave enough to surrender ourselves to the hungry fish. The treatment uses toothless carp that suck off dead skin from your feet (or entire body for the extremists) to leave your feet silky soft. After our long day of walking we decided to give it a go. We thought that Joy, with her intense foot touching phobia, would be the tougher customer but as it turned out, it was Rox who has super sensitive feet and every second of the 15 minutes was torture for her!

However, our feet did feel amazing afterwards and now we were ready for our early morning flight to the Borneo side of Malaysia, Kota Kinabalu.