I will be forever grateful to Kuala Lumpur for introducing me to my favourite food: roti canai. In my opinion, nothing can beat a good flaky roti accompanied by a curry dipping sauce. We dined on this every chance we got, breakfast lunch and dinner! Check out Andrew’s recipe for roti canai! You’re welcome. To be honest the food was my favourite part about Kuala Lumpur, other than that, I was not such a huge fan. I love traveling and embracing new places but I struggled with Kuala Lumpur. I did not find it particularly welcoming. This was highlighted by an incident at the airport when my bags did not arrive with my flight, ok no problem these things happen. However, the following night when I went back to pick up my bags, it turned into a huge drama as I was wearing flip flops and shorts instead of covered shoulders and knees. In the end Andrew (dressed the same as me) was allowed to retrieve them on my behalf, however he did have to borrow someone else’s shoes as he too was not allowed to wear flip flops. So girls take note, wear long skirts and carry a light scarf to put over your shoulders every where you go, even when visiting local restaurants and international airports. Its hard to write this story without sounding snarky (I don’t mean to be), its much funnier when I tell it in person. I guess it just highlights the fine line we walk along when travelling to places that have vastly different morals and belief systems.
I must say the food in Kuala Lumpur was worth the visit, the food markets sold all kinds of delicious goods and we loved trying everything. We also discovered that Malaysians love milo, everywhere we went you could always buy a big bag of cold milo, we drank this a lot. You can also buy any kind of cheap electronic that your heart desires at the many stalls all over the city.
The trains in Kuala Lumpur are pretty good so we used them to get around a lot. A site that we enjoyed visiting was the Batu Cave Hindu Temple. Here hundreds of steps take you up the hill to the large cave/temple entrance. It is a pretty impressive site. Once inside the huge cave, however, it is slightly less awe-inspiring but no less interesting. It was teeming with people selling souvenirs and food as well as many chickens running around the place. It was a strange mix of actual Hindu pilgrims, hawkers, tourists, and various animals, including lots of monkeys.
While in Kuala Lumpur we also went up the KL tower for a good view of the city. It is quite expensive for what it is (US$12) but you do get a pretty good view of the famous Kuala Lumpur skyline, dominated by the Petronas Towers.
Our time in Kuala Lumpur was certainly interesting, if not always enjoyable. Most of the city is dirty and it was sad to see so many people living on the streets. I would not go out of my way to visit Kuala Lumpur again, however, if passing through this part of the world I would definitely stop by for the roti canai! Overall, KL is cheap and we spent US$35 (NZ$50) per day, including all the activities.
Editor’s Note: Visited Malaysia in 2014, updated in 2017.