Just five days in and we both want to stay in KL for longer than we are here – a city that has really made an impression on us.
However, there are a few downsides to KL. It’s not cheap, more expensive than most of the cities we’ve been too in fact, we’ve had to be a bit more careful with our budget and hunt down cheaper places to eat. As it’s a Muslim country alcohol is quite a luxury, they seem to be on par with London prices, so the liver is taking a rest! Interestingly, it’s against the law to buy alcohol if you’re Muslim, no idea how they enforce this rule, but the warning signs are all up in bold letters next to the booze in the shops. Another thing that’s a bit frustrating is the public transport. Having read lots of online forums I still don’t get how the interchanging works, the other day we had to pay twice for a Metro journey – with little explanation. We’ve just been sticking to good old Uber instead, strangely seems to be cheaper too.
On Wednesday we visited Batu Caves, which is 10km outside of the city centre and is a series of caves and Hindu temples. It’s one of the most sacred places for Malay Indians in Malaysia. You’re greeted by a large golden statue of Lord Murugan at the entrance of before the steep steps that you walk up to get into the caves, not an impossible task but in the humidity it was a bit sweaty! Once up there the air was cooler and a nice place to relax and get some respite. Of all the Hindu temples we’ve seen in our trip I think this was one of our favourites, the atmosphere was different to other temples too, probably because it was in a cave. The followers looking after the temple were playing some fantastic Indian music too, which added to the vibe. We could have forked out to go on a tour which took you further into the caves, however decided not to, there seemed to be lots of creepy crawlies within there and around 200,000 bats apparently (gulp).
From Batu Caves we headed down to KL’s China Town, which according to locals is nothing of the sort anymore. We took a stroll down Peatling Market where a bargain is to be made, which doesn’t help when both Steve and I are rubbish hagglers. We’re far too bloody nice and polite, we ended up getting two tops for £4 down from £6 (33% discount not bad I guess!). The lad who ran the stall was quite interesting, he spoke okay English and when we told him we were from the UK he started to talk about how when the British ruled the country things were good etc (even though he looked about 18!), we didn’t really understand his English that well, but he asked us to ‘return to England and speak to Queen Elizabeth about the problems we are facing’. Okaaaay. If you’re reading this, Liz, you know what to do! He could be in luck after Brexit, if our trading and relations revert towards the Commonwealth instead of Europe…
Another place to shop till you drop is Central Market, an assortment of souvenirs, gifts, and nik naks to buy. Couldn’t help myself in spending a fair bit, was tormented over whether to buy a jute bag I saw, life’s problems hey!
Empire Sushi – in Berjaya Times Square, this stall was sushi heaven. Ended up visiting twice, not only was it the best sushi we’ve ever had, but the price was jaw droppingly cheap (compared to UK prices), around £5 for around 10-15 pieces.
Llaollao – easy enough to pronounce! Our place to go for dessert 😊 frozen yogurt with a variety of toppings to choose from, no need to worry about the calories too!
Tap Beer – didn’t take long for Steve to track down a craft beer place, a whole range of beers to choose from, there didn’t appear to be any locally brewed beers, but they had Brewdog on offer so I wasn’t complaining. The bill raised eyebrows, mind!
Jalan Aloor – visited the street food market again, can’t remember the restaurant name, but served up ok food, nothing to blow the taste buds. A charismatic Malay Chinese man ran a stall serving up some ice cream in a coconut, really tasty and pretty to look at!
Coffee everywhere – not a specific place, but hip coffee places are everywhere here! KL has a few funky caffeine hangouts, highly recommend the Kopi O (served cold) which is a local brew, strong but gets you going! The cappuccino at Freeka in Bukit Bintang is also a must.