KUALA LUMPUR TO MELAKA, MALAYSIA

KUALA LUMPUR TO MELAKA, MALAYSIA

The night between 11th and 12th October we step into a new country. Kuala Lumpur International Airport welcomes us to Malaysia at 5.30 am, after a 4-hour flight from Sri Lanka.

KUALA LUMPUR
The first impact is impressive, again (as when we got to Dubai) it seems like we flew to the future, the infrastructures and services are decades ahead of Sri Lanka. Which leads to both positive and negative aspects. We get some Malaysian Ringgit (1$=4.5RM) and we jump on the modern KLIA express (55RM), a fast train that will take us to Kuala Lumpur Sentral in just half an hour. The sooner we stop to think about cheap Sri Lankan prices, the better for us. (With 11$ you can probably go around whole Sri Lanka two or three times by train!)
At KL Sentral (it’s really written with the S, like many other funny Malaysian words like Bas, Teksi, Kaunter, Restoran) there’s a huge choice of means of transport. For now, the Monorail (Monorel) suits us best, getting us to our hotel by 7.30.
Monorail, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The monorel runs through skyscrapers

They are very kind to check us in after a short wait, even though the room is on the same floor as the reception, just behind the corner, and walls aren’t really soundproof… Anyway we manage to get some sleep, and later we go out to explore the busy neighbourhood of Bukit Bintang. Street food, street food, and more street food, just how we love it! Time to enjoy some delicious chicken satay!

We walk towards Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC), where the main business building rise. Just when it was getting unsustainable hot, a typical air conditioned walkway comes to rescue us. It goes on for about 1km, linking some very big shopping malls. Crossing one of them, we find ourselves at KLCC Park, dominated by the super tall and iconic Petronas Towers.

Petronas Twin Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers

A Million Travels @Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

Shot at KLCC

The park is very nice and clean, with playgrounds and large fountains. We arrive at the feet of the Twin Towers, and yet again we can’t help but raising our heads up to the sky. The view is mesmerizing. To kill some time waiting for sunset, we go inside the Suria Mall, before getting back outside to lie on the grass and enjoy the view.
We walk back the 2-3 km home, we really appreciate this part of the city to be clean, safe, and on a human scale, unlike its Thai cousin Bangkok.

The next day we go meandering around Chinatown and Little India, close to the Bricksfield neighbourhood: a big melting pot of cultures, food, lifestyles and of course people. I think this is the most multicultural city I have ever been to so far, with quite big percentages of every origin, coexisting apparently peacefully altogether.

Chinatown, Petaling Street, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chinatown, Petaling Street

In the afternoon, we go and see the main Park area of Kuala Lumpur, which includes the Bird Reserve, Butterfly Park, Botanical Garden, and more. It’s well maintained and spacious, just a little bit far and not really walking distance, therefore not busy at all.

Kuala Lumpur Park, Malaysia

Chillin at Kuala Lumpur Park

Walking back towards the city centre, we stop by Masjid Negara Mosque, nothing less but Malaysia National Mosque. The building is massive, with enjoyable outdoor areas featuring fountains and pools, the sunlight free to enlighten them, and the main room covered by the huge dome. We have to cover our heads, arms and legs, and we identify ourselves in the arab culture for a while.

Masjid Negara Mosque, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia National Mosque

Dressed up

The 10+km hiking has exhausted us today and, after having an early dinner at an Arab restaurant in Bukit Bintang, we head back to rest.
In the morning we have to check out, not because we are leaving KL, we just had some misunderstanding with the property who wouldn’t extend our stay if we didn’t actually rebook it again online (at more than double the price). The room was what it was, so we just booked another place the following night. Kuala Lumpur offers a wide range of accomodations, from cheap hostels to luxury hotels, so it’s not a problem to find another one.
After setting ourselves in the new room in the very heart of Bukit Bintang, we hit the Pavilion Mall to enjoy a tasty burger, the beef+bacon recall was killing us. Sated, we are now ready to go and see the famous Batu Caves.

From KL Sentral we take the KMT kommuter, that brings us there in about 30 minutes. Soon we see the scaffolding all around the huge golden statue at the gates of the cave, unluckily for us.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Batu Caves, works in progress…

The step from misfortune to disappointment is short, while we climb the immense stairs we notice there are little bit too many works in progress, and when we get upstairs we witness the cave full of workers as well.

Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Inside of the cave

I don’t know exactly what’s really going on with this place, the potential is huge, the scenario would be awesome, but they are literally destroying the cave to transform it in a tourist trap, with shops and stalls even inside of it. What a shame!

Only noteworthy point, apart from a snake falling from the sky, from the top of the cave, and a lot of monkeys to whom we got used to, is another smaller grotto nearby, the Ramayana cave, well maintained and displayed, which as a matter of fact requires a small entry fee/donation (5RM), but at least keeps people, garbage, touts and peddlers away.

Ramayana Cave, Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Ramayana Cave

Ramayana and Batu Caves, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Interesting details inside Ramayana

A little bit disappointed, we decide to go back to KLCC to save the day. From KL Sentral we take the LRT this time, the most similar to an underground train, busy as hell (it’s peak hour), we have to wait for the 3rd train to manage to get in it (people queue patiently and with discipline waiting for their turn to try and step on a train, not really like Sri Lanka where they literally hang at the doors and windows!).

One more time, we are seduced by the Petronas Towers’ beauty, as the fountain show makes everything even more special.

Petronas Towers by night, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Hypnotizing beauty

Fountain show at KLCC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Fountain show at KLCC

On our way back home, we stop for dinner in the crowded Jalan Alor street, where we taste Mee Goreng, chicken satay, and coconut ice-cream.
In the morning of our 3rd and last day in Kuala Lumpur, we plan our next days going south towards Singapore. We will split our journey in two parts, stopping in the middle at the well known city of Melaka.
MELAKA
Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Singapore, are all well connected by a great service of buses and trains. You can book your ticket from Kuala Lumpur to Melaka here to avoid hassle at the busy stations and secure your seat before they sell out. From KL Sentral, we take the metro heading south to Terminal Bersepadu Selatan, from where we will buy our bus tickets to Melaka. The journey is about 2 hrs long, prices are very affordable (12-15 RM), and the bus is super comfy with large and soft reclining seats.
We get dropped out of town at the main bus station, which is perfectly linked to the city centre by many local buses. For us Italians, it always makes us smile (we laugh not to cry…) how even in supposedly less developed countries, transport links work way better than home (of course Malaysia is probably more advanced than Italy under many aspects, but sometimes even in Thailand and Vietnam things work better than back home…).

After settling in our Victor’s Guesthouse, we walk into the old town following its meandering river banks: we walk past old colonial houses, characteristic shops of Jonker’s Street, before getting to the main square with the famous red Christ Church.

Christ Church, Melaka, Malaysia

Christ Church, Melaka

It’s easy to tell it’s a place full of history, where many different people settled in the past: walking distance you could see Chinese temples, Christian churches, Arab mosques, plus the commercial harbour and the fortress in front of the sea, both built by the Europeans.

Melaka, Malaysia

Kids dance wearing typical costumes

Chinese pagoda, Melaka

Chinese pagoda

Jonker's Street, Melaka, Malaysia

Jonker’s Street

It’s a Sunday, and soon we understand it’s a common weekend getaway for Singaporeans to come to Melaka, which explains the huge crowds of tourists everywhere. We don’t give up and dive into the busy night market held in Jonker’s Street, where we get the chance to eat some delicious street food, stopping by for a while for Ambra to get her hand tattooed with henna ink.

Night market, Melaka, Malaysia

Dumplings!

Later we decide to approach the pier to hop on a boat cruise along the Melaka River: worst decision ever. The river is super busy, but still dozens of boats speed on the waters like it was a race, causing some waves that literally shower us! The salty and smelly taste will accompany us on our way back to the guesthouse, but at least we got some pictures…

A view over the touristy cruise

A view over the touristy cruise

Our final judgement on Melaka: it is a nice town, worth a visit if you are travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, but make sure to avoid it on weekends if you don’t want to find yourself stuck in the middle of tourist hordes!

Melaka River, Malaysia

Melaka River

Accomodations:

FIND CHEAP BACKPACKERS HOSTELS IN KUALA LUMPUR

Transports:
  • KLIA express, to Kuala Lumpur Sentral: 55RM/person, 30 mins;
  • Monorel, Kuala Lumpur city, single fares from 4RM;
  • KMT kommuter, LRT metro, to Batu Caves 2RM/person; to BTS bus terminal 5RM;
  • Bus, Kuala Lumpur to Melaka: 12RM/person, 2 hours;
Fees:
  • Batu Caves, free entrance;
  • Ramayana Cave, 5RM/person;
  • Melaka River Cruise: 18RM/person, 1 hour, shower included.

 

 

LEAVE A REPLY