Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
As stated in my first Annapurna Circuit post, I had originally thought I would travel to India after my circuit hike and then on to Germany to visit a friend. However, on the plane over I had started to think that going to Europe would be too much for this trip: too much flying and too expensive. Then later I decided against visiting India due to the higher visa cost and not expecting to stay long enough to make it worth it. India is a trip all by itself. But I wanted to go somewhere, I flew halfway across the planet I might as well check a couple other countries off the list. I started thinking about going to a smaller country, closer to the flight path that would get me home. A smaller country that I could feel as though I saw the whole country in a week. I immediately thought of Malaysia. I've spent time in Thailand and figured since they are neighbors they are probably somewhat similar. So my plans changed and I bought a plane ticket to Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. Then since Singapore is just at the tip of the peninsula I figured I'd check that out too so I bought my return ticket to the US from Singapore's airport. Then all the other details fell into place. The plan: fly to Kuala Lumpur and stay 2-3 days, go to the beach, bus to Singapore, and fly home. [I also want to note that I sometimes determine plans on trivial things. I've always been a geography nerd and I've always loved the name Kuala Lumpur- so you know, that was a factor in deciding to visit Malaysia...same with Kathmandu and Nepal's unique flag-they both intrigue me.]
The city. What a stark difference KL is from Kathmandu. [Check out my article about comparing and labeling countries HERE]. Skyscrapers, malls, and a subway system, it was quite a culture shock but I quickly adapted to the fast-paced urban area. Malaysia is also the first majority-Muslim nation I've visited. Malaysia is a multicultural country comprised of Chinese, Indian, and Malay peoples. As for sightseeing, I only had a couple things on my to-do list.
1. Batu Caves. The famous Hindu temple and the sight of a massive 140ft statue of Lord Murugan provides a popular backdrop for many travel bloggers. Easily accessible, the caves are located at the end of one of the subway lines. My only mistake was that I waited too late go and arrived midday when the sun was scorching and lots of fellow tourists prevented me from getting a solitary shot of the area. Access to the main cave is free so I climbed up the stairs and walked around inside. Colorful statues and shrines abound inside but nothing was extraordinary. I was pleased to see monkeys again even though one grabbed my bag in hopes of making off with it. I'm always fascinated when watching them because they are so human-like in their movements and behaviors.
2. Petronas Twin Towers. An architectural icon of the city, the 1483ft towers shine high above the streets of Kuala Lumpur. Once the tallest towers in the world, now demoted and redesignated with the title of tallest twin towers in the world. I decided to shell out the ~$20 for the tour and went up to the skybridge and then to the observation deck on the 86th floor. After the tour I waited around till dark to get pictures with the tower lit up. It did not disappoint. Loads of pictures below.
The rest of my time in KL was spent touring the national museum and moving from one cafe/restaurant to another in search of wifi to plan the next stage of my trip.
Next--> Tioman Island, Malaysia