Travels around Malaysia – Part 1: Kuala Lumpur

This is the first in a series of blogs that describes our holiday on the Malaysian Peninsular and the Malaysian portion of Borneo.

Attracting the birds in the capital

View from the tail webcam of an A380Armed with our detailed itinerary from Selective Asia, we board the Malaysia Airline A380 at Heathrow.  The A380 is a full double decker plane, wingspan of nearly 80m about 500 passengers and luggage on board, I fear this behemoth of the skies (but somehow beautiful) will never take off.  Thanks to the webcam in the tail though, I can sit in my seat and watch it do exactly that.

No visit to Malaysia’s capital and most populated city Kuala Lumpur, aka KL, would be complete without a visit to its most photographed landmark The Petronas Twin Towers.  We visited the world’s tallest twin tower building, at 452m high, and the world’s highest double decked bridge (linking the towers) on one of the daily tours.  The tour took us to the Skybridge on Level 41, 170m above street level and to the observation deck on level 86 of the 88 story building, some 360m up for a close up view of the other tower.  As well as magnificent views across KL via floor to ceiling windows, they have plenty of facts and figures available if you’re interested.  As Linda crept closer to the vertigo inducing windows I helped her with a gentle little shove towards the view.  That earned me my first clip round the ear for the holiday.  There are a limited number of tickets available each day, so you can either book 3 days in advance or on the day.  Concessions of a generous 50% are available for 55 years and over, so do ask and check at other attractions too.

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala LumpurLake Gardens is in the South-West corner of the city, where there is a number of attractions including an orchid garden, planetarium and much more but we decided to visit the KL Bird Park.  Claiming to be the world’s largest free-flight Walk-in Aviary with 3,000 birds (I didn’t count them), many are free to roam or fly in the vast (21 acres) net covered park.  We followed a suggested walking route about the park where we saw a large variety of species, a show and feeding times.  The highlights for us were the peacocks displaying their magnificent plumage for the hens and the parrot area.  Here, for a couple of Ringetts you can get a cup of coconut milk and some seeds and be covered in the parrots that swoop in to feed.  Fingers, arms, head, shoulders….they’ll perch anywhere for a bit of the food, great fun.  So that’s how you attract the birds.

We stayed at the very luxurious and comfortable Shangri-La KL and selected a club room, which gives you a more intimate area for check-in, breakfast and complimentary evening cocktails 5-7pm.  Our suite (never refuse a free upgrade) had an outstanding feature.  No bidet but a toilet with on-board personal hygiene. Comprehensive instructions begged me to try it, just the pull of a lever.  The resultant dousing of ice cold water on my bottom had me leaping about 3 feet in the air.  I won’t try that again.

Kuala Lumpur Bird ParkWe used a local guide to give us a morning overview of KL and having the guide and car meant we could cover a lot of ground quite quickly.  Starting at the National Museum, where we gleaned plenty of historical background about Malaysia.  From the discovery of Homo-Sapien remains, to the invasion of the Portuguese, the role of the British and The White Raja.  Then to the Tin Mining which gave prosperity, it was an interesting overview of the region we were about to visit.  They also have the original Sultan’s palace, not much more than a room on stilts, which sets you up nicely to journey to the previous residence of the sultan and his current one the impressive King’s Palace.  From here we took in the National Mosque, the Sultan Abdul Samad building, Independence Square and the City Gallery, with an impressive model of they city.

King's Palace, Kuala LumpurIt’s easy to wander around the Golden Triangle in KL but we also took a ride on the monorail that runs through the city, easy to use and inexpensive.  KL is also a very clean city and we hardly saw any litter on the streets the whole time we were there.

As with many cities there is a bewildering variety of places to eat and something for everyone.  The 4th floor of the KLCC, adjacent to the Petronas Towers, offers a variety of restaurants & also a food court style experience.  Here we has some delicious authentic Malaysian cuisine at Madame Kwan’s restaurant and the following night some very tasty Thai food at the Chakri Palace.  Beware of the Thai Green Curry here, it’s hot, hot, hot.  I nearly had to call the fire brigade.

As always there’s more to see and do than we managed, depending on your interests.  We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to KL and it’s well worth spending a couple of days here if you’re in the region.

Next stop Kuching.

For holidays to Asia, Silver Travel Advisor recommends Selective Asia

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Steve Aldridge

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