Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Updated: May 10, 2020
My trip to Malaysia is like a warm, sweet-scented dream of a faraway land that pays tribute to the sun with its friendly residents, sense-exalting cuisine and white-sand beaches.
First stop was Kuala Lumpur, a stunning architectural composition, home to a modern skyline pierced through by the statement landmark and once tallest structure in the world, the Petronas Towers.
We stayed in the centre of KL, at the elegant Shangri-La, which is simply perfect. From the hospitality to the exquisite breakfasts and palm-hugged outdoor pool, you will find it hard to believe that such accommodation costs less than a B&B in the UK. You heard me right! Check it out...
I did not expect to enjoy KL as much as I did, and I stand by my affirmation that it is my favourite South-East Asian capital. After a sumptuous Nasi Lemak carefully prepared in a banana leaf by the skilled hotel chefs, we went on a city tour to explore our surroundings.
We visited KLCC Park, before stopping at the Jabatan Museum where we learned about the history and traditions of this post-colonial capital.
Next, we sneaked a peek at the Istana Negara (the National Palace), an Islamic-architecture jewel, before stopping at the ASEAN Sculpture Garden where we had a real blast getting lost in the man-made wonders around us. We followed with a walk by the Klang river and admired some of the low-rise mosques and other architectural beauties.
Because it gets extremely hot during the day, we went back to the hotel for an afternoon rest and a visit to the pool. We also could not help ourselves from lunching under palm trees, whilst recharging our batteries for an evening stroll.
We went out on a mission to find the city's best views and the first discovery was the Heli Lounge Bar, which is literally a helipad that is turned into a bar with live DJs, exotic cocktails and killer views of the city. It is absolutely insane but I will warn you that it is also extremely high and with not much protection on the edges other than...a rope, so if you are fainter of heart, perhaps give this one a miss.
Next bar on the agenda, the famous SkyBar on top of the Trader Vics Hotel, which again, is bound to impress the viewers. Yes there is loud music, yes there are crazy cocktails on the menu and a large pool and floating flamingos, but it's still all about the views here. As a bonus, it is enclosed, so you are safer than at the Heli Bar.
The following day we took an Uber and went to the famous Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India. This series of caves and temples are built inside a limestone hill and is guarded by an immense statue (over 42 meters tall) of Lord Murugan (to whom the sacred site is dedicated). It's a truly magical place and there are lots of things to do around.
After Batu Caves, we went back to the hotel for another session of afternoon chilling, but there are lots more things you can do such as visit local food markets and learn about the melting pot of religions and cultures that is KL at various museums and art galleries.
The evening saw us try another rooftop bar in a different part of town, this time at Aloft Hotel's Mai Bar where we admired a different angle of the city's skyline.
We next went for a pre-dinner drink at Hard Rock Cafe (obviously!), followed by an amazing dinner at Marini's on 57, where the artistic food on my plate was only slightly closer to me than the view of the Petronas Towers. Definitely one of my favourite restaurants in the world. There, I said it!
My conclusion about KL? I absolutely loved it - the sights, the people, the FOOD, the feeling - it's just one of those magical places that lift your spirits and make you feel grateful to be alive.
Next on the itinerary? The deep jungles of Borneo for a close encounter with our relatives, the orangutans (read it here) before the paradise island of Langkawi (read it here).
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