Hello from Kuala Lumpur!
I’ve been in Kuala Lumpur (KL, as the locals call it) for something like 4 or 5 days now — I’ve lost track of time already. There’s a lot to say, and unfortunately, I just don’t have the time to say it right now! I’ve been running around this city like a madman under the tutelage of my faithful and informative guide, Steve, a Malaysian born Chinese man. We saw the Petronas towers (the tallest twin towers in the world, formerly the tallest buildings in the world) and check out Hindu temple, Chinese temples, Muslim Mosques. We partied downtown for Merdeka, celebrating 50 years of Malaysian independence
I’m writing this post from a cool little café in the mall adjacent to my hotel. Its like your standard coffee shop, but instead of a muffin, I got fried wanton with my Mocha Frappe!
Anyway, I’m running out the door right now, so I’ll leave you with this excerpt from the article I’m writing for Student Traveler about KL.
Many tourists are surprised to discover that Kuala Lumpur is such a modern city. They come to Malaysia with images in their heads of jungles, tribal headhunters and beachside bungalows. While Bungalows and jungle can certainly be found in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur itself is better known for its skyscrapers and shopping malls than for its shaman. In fact, while walking through the ritzy shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, it’s easy to forget you’re in Malaysia.
Young women strut through the shops, sporting the latest designer handbags and young men follow close behind, dressed in hip, current fashions. Only the occasional Muslim woman, clad head to toe in a black burka, reminds you that you’re in a country that is more than 50% Muslim.
These sightings are rather rare, as Malaysia urges their Muslim citizens to wear head covering (called a Tudung in the Malaysian Language) instead of the burka.
For a more cultural shopping experience, head to the central market, across the Klang river, where you can find local crafts, art, and other cultural items. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Petaling Street market of China Town. When the market is in full swing, the street is divided into two narrow alleys by a long row of vendors who set up shop in the middle of the street. It usually gets busier at night, as locals and travelers staying in one of the budget hotels on the block head out for food, shopping, and entertainment. You can find just about anything you’re looking for on Petaling street, from fashion to knickknacks to food. The art of the haggle is strong on Petaling street, so be sure to brush up on your bargaining skills before you buy.
Adventurous gastro-tourists can sample some of the strange and wonderful snacks sold by street vendors while perusing the shops for souvenirs. Try the sweet bean curd and stop at one of the many noodle houses for a quick bite.
(stay tuned for pics and vids!)