It took us a while, but we’re back with our trip report from Kuala Lumpur where we spent two weeks in October/November 2016:
Our lifestyle and alarm clock don’t really go well together. Just like many of you, we do NOT enjoy early mornings. However, when you have to get up to catch a flight to yet another new destination, you do wake up with a big smile on your face even when it’s 5 am. And that smile lasted until we found out the taxi we’ve ordered two days in advance was not coming. Let me tell you, it is not easy to get a taxi in Chiang Mai at this crazy hour. Yeah, and the fact that it rained cats and dogs didn’t help either. Fortunately, the Empire Residence across the street has a 24/7 reception with super nice staff. They called us a new cab and we were soon on our way to the Chiang Mai International Airport.
Security was increased due to the death of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and those flying were advised to arrive three hours prior to their departure. Since we overstayed our visa by one day, being at the airport early seemed like a good idea. Despite our incident with the taxi, we still got there shortly after 6 am which gave us enough time to print our boarding passes, grab a breakfast, go to the security just to find out our passports needed to be verified (one of the security measures) and our boarding passes stamped, stay in a line behind national cycling team with a LOT of baggage to get that stupid stamp, go to and through the security and finally approach the immigration booth. A grumpy looking officer skimmed through our passports and immediately asked us if we are aware of overstaying our visa. We explained our mathematical error in counting our date of departure and buying a ticket for that particular day prior to coming to Thailand. He left for a few minutes, came back and informed us, that we should pay a fine (500THB per person per day of overstay) but he will let it slip this time. We received a warning not to do such thing again and were free to go. Phew, that went well :-D.
After three hours in the air, we landed in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia. Going through immigration and getting our free 90 days visa was a breeze. Once we got local SIM cards, we set off to find the KLIA Express train which would take us to the city. On the way there, we got a first taste of Malay culture when we saw a performance of local dancers and singers (see the video below). It didn’t take long for the dancers to pull Lilly and Alex in to dance with them. What an amazing welcome and experience! Train ride was pretty quick and once we got to the KL Sentral station, we just called a taxi to get to our apartment.
We can’t help it, but Kuala Lumpur reminds us of New York – maybe it’s the architecture, energy, size, or perhaps the fact that this city never sleeps! Our Airbnb apartment building was right between Petronas Towers and Kuala Lumpur Tower, which was pretty sweet! Many things were within walking distance and the farther ones were easy to get to by taxi (super cheap if you use the Grab app).
We were here during the Deepavali festival but didn’t get to see much since it rained really hard most of the day. What a bummer! But we still enjoyed many other things:
I have never seen a playground this big! There is so much to do for the kiddos. And once they get tired they can cool down in a wading pool (make sure to bring proper swimwear as Malaysia is an Islamic country). This place really rocks and it’s right by Petronas Towers!
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
We were debating whether or not to go to this bird park because their prices are a little too high for our liking (adult pays 15USD and a child 10USD), but honestly, it was an awesome day. The park is huge and has over 3,000 birds. We loved feeding the lorries and watching the yellow billed storks catch their fishy dinner. We were amazed by the displays of beautiful peacock tails and by the funny sounds and moves of the Victoria crowned pigeons. We watched chicks hatch and learnt all about chicken embryo development.
National Mosque of Malaysia
A wonderful opportunity to introduce kids to the Islamic religion. We talked about why people cover up when entering this holy place (women wear hijab and both men and women wear clothes that cover up their body).
Petrosains, The Discovery Centre
This place is uber cool! It’s a fun and interactive way to play with science. The center is huge and covers lots of topics – from physics and environment, to art, space, and many others. We went on a week day and were one of the first people in line – we recommend you do the same as the place fills up quickly and you need to wait in a long line that forms due to the “special entry” to the center.
We spotted this museum on our way to the National Mosque and decided to give it a chance. It was really interesting for the adults and not so much for the kids (although the Morse code sparked their interest). And it was freezing cold inside! But still, we were glad we went. 🙂
Walking through the city
There is so much to see – amazing architecture, radiant colors, wonderful people. Whether you’re walking through the center, Chinatown or Brickfields (the Indian quarter), you will not be bored. And if you need a bit of help, you can always use geocaching as a great way to explore the city. We found five caches and discovered some pretty neat places.
Coming from Thailand, we were a bit disappointed by the Malay food. Honestly, I think the main reason was that we didn’t have scooters and couldn’t explore as much as we could in Thailand. But we did found some things, we just couldn’t live without – nasi lemak, roti, or teh tarik, for example. These made it to the top of our list but as I said, we were basically left with things close to our apartment.
See more pictures in the gallery: