As opposed to one night in Beijing, which clearly is not enough time to spend in the capital of China. #lamejoke Okay, I’ll stop now.
I went to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of our neighbouring country of Malaysia, with my family for a short getaway. What does one do in KL? The short and, admittedly accurate, answer is this: shop and eat. That’s it, and that’s what we did. It was a great experience, and a lovely taste of Malaysia, Truly Asia.
We flew AirAsia to KLIA2, which is the budget side of the KL International Airport. For a 45min flight between Changi and KL, a low cost carrier is all you need. You don’t have time to eat a proper meal on that flight anyway.
Instead of doing this blog post diary-style, which might bore you all to tears, I’ve decided to cut it into segments for easier reading. Onwards!
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Le Meridien hotel, located right across the road from KL Sentral. The hotel has just been recently renovated, and it’s really gorgeous. The beds were soft, the pillows squishy, and the toilet had a rain shower, which was cool. There’s always something I enjoy about hotels – probably the fact that I can get away with using a thick comforter and cocooning myself in it.
The pool was cool too. We spent lots of time there. There was a slide, and a waterfall feature.
We stayed in KL Sentral, which is the main point for many of KL’s major train lines. That made travelling super convenient.
Getting from the airport to the hotel, we simply took the KLIA Express from KLIA2 to KL Sentral. The trip took about 33min, and only cost us 35RM (11.68SGD) per person. The seats are really comfortable, and there’s free WiFi on the train so I was happily Snapchatting the entire way.
My brother regrets teaching me how to Snapchat, I’m sure.
We took the KLIA Express down to KL Sentral on a Wednesday around noon, so it was really empty. On our way home, we took the train up around 3pm on a Friday, and it was noticeably more crowded. So just take note that if you’re travelling during peak periods, like weekends, you may not be able to get a seat on the train.
To get around KL itself, we simply bought a Touch ‘n’ Go card, equivalent to the TransitLink card here, from the convenience store. You can use it across the major train lines, if I’m not wrong, but my family mainly took the LRT and the Monorail. The Monorail from KL Sentral connects to the major shopping area of Bukit Bintang, and you can easily take the LRT to KLCC, where the Petronas Twin Towers are.
One word of advice – peak hour crowds in KL are insane. We couldn’t even board the Monorail to get back to KL Sentral at 7pm, so plan your activities to avoid the rush hour crush.
What We Ate
The food. The food was so good. With the exchange rate at the moment being SGD1: RM3, everything was made extra tasty by the fact that it was a fraction of what we pay back home. Nonetheless, the food in KL was delicious. We ate at restaurants as well as at shops along the streets and by the road, so these are three places I would 10/10 recommend you visit.
1. Hussain Bistro at Wisma Cosway
The mee goreng here is the best I’ve ever had. It’s a lot darker than the ones you get here, but it packed a real punch. The chilli was a slow burn – when you first take a bite, it just feels like a mild scorch, but then it kicks in and you’re like whoa.
We also tried their nasi goreng and maggi goreng (yes, a lot of frying things going on here), but for me the mee goreng was the best. The total cost of our meal (2 plates of nasi goreng, one plate each of the maggi and mee goreng, and 3 soft drinks) added up to 21RM (7SGD). Definitely value for money.
2. W.A.W. Restaurant at Jalan Alor
This place came at the recommendation of my dad’s colleague. Jalan Alor is a long stretch of multiple restaurants located near the Bukit Bintang shopping area, and this particular one is located right at the end.
Their chicken wings are incredible. They’re barbecued over a charcoal fire, and the skin is just perfectly crispy. The char is beautiful, and the meat incredibly succulent. I was beside myself with joy.
The other food we ordered was also really good. We had sambal kangkong, fried string beans, and clams. The string beans looked surprisingly plain, but they packed a whole load of flavour, and the clams were served in this spicy sauce that was positively scrumptious.
All in all, our meal cost us 141RM (47.04SGD), including the booze, and we practically rolled back to the hotel after. Go early if you can, perhaps around 6pm – it gets crowded quickly. It’s a true roadside dining experience.
There will also be plenty of people trying to sell you things, from selfie sticks to souvenirs, but if you just decline them politely they’re not persistent and won’t trouble you.
3. Restoran One Sentral at Brickfields
I don’t know where to begin. Located a few streets behind Nu Sentral (the mall attached to KL Sentral), this place was positively scrumptious. It’s equivalent to a coffee shop here in Singapore, and I highly recommend this place to stuff your face with Chinese food.
We had two plates of wantan mee, a bowl of ban mian, and two large plates of Penang char kway teow, which I am obsessed with. I love Penang char kway teow, I had it at nearly every meal when we were in Penang a few years ago. All the food we had was yummy, and even though we were full we just kept eating because we didn’t want to leave anything behind.
This breakfast added up to about 45RM (15SGD), inclusive of drinks, and my belly was very happy.
Food in KL is generally great, and if you Google for recommendations, there are loads of places well-known for dishing up good food.
Here’s a tip: portions in KL are generally bigger than the portions in Singapore. We ordered roti canai (roti prata) for breakfast one morning, and each roti canai was easily double the size of the ones you get here, so bear that in mind if you don’t want to end up with a pile of unfinished food!
Things To Do
Eat and shop. The End.
I’m kidding, there are definitely other things to do in KL other than that, but those are the main two. My family chose the chill-out life, so we only went for one sightseeing activity, not counting sightseeing the various malls.
We mainly spent our mornings in the hotel pool, and afternoons shopping, but on our first day in KL we headed to KLCC to see the Petronas Twin Towers.
The system for visiting the Twin Towers is different from any other observation deck I’ve been to, because they control quite strictly the number of people who can be up on the observation floors. I think it’s because the Sky Bridge can only logically hold so many people at a given time.
The Twin Towers gave us a beautiful, breathtaking view of the city, and we were lucky because we were up there at sunset. Words can’t really describe the stark beauty of what we saw, so here are photos that convey the message much better.
On a shopping-related note, here are some places worth checking out:
1. Nu Sentral
This is the KL Sentral mall, and has so many shops, including international brands like Cotton On and H&M. They’ve also got a huge selection of sportswear shops, and many restaurants for you to choose from.
Also, they have a Monki. I discovered Monki when I was in Harajuku, and I fell in love with the brand. They don’t have it in Singapore and it’s really expensive to order online, so I was delighted when I discovered there was one in KL.
Grand and glamorous, Pavilion is high-end shopping paradise. My mom had great fun shopping there, and I was really wowed by their Christmas decorations. They’re famous for pulling out all the stops whenever Christmas comes around, and their decorations were definitely impressive.
3. Sungei Wang
This is equivalent to Far East Plaza or Bugis Street back home, but this mall located right next to the Bukit Bintang Monorail station is where you would go for bargain finds. My dad got a pair of Nike Roshes for 60RM. Not sure if they’re authentic, but they’re gorgeous nonetheless.
I’m not much of a shopaholic, but I did manage to get some really nice pieces from KL. Here’s what I got my hands on.
I got this sweater from GAP Kids at about 79.90RM (26.66SGD), after a 30% discount. I’m not sure if I’m happier about the fact that it was so affordable, or the fact that I can buy things from the kids section.
This dress is from a brand called Kitschen, and was only 99.90RM (33.30SGD). It’s a very loose-fitting and comfortable dress, and I just thought it was super cute.
Yes this top is from Giordano but it only cost me about 25RM (8.34SGD) I feel entitled to my happiness about this purchase.
These shorts are from Monki! I found them on the sales rack for 60RM (20SGD), and I just really love the bright, vibrant colours. I normally don’t wear bright clothes or patterns, so I decided to give it a shot. The fabric feels super silky.
I’m just really glad I could take the time off to spend with my family, and also to just chill and unwind. It was certainly a great trip, and I’m certainly happier for it.
KL is a pretty nice city, and the pace of life there honestly seems slower than in Singapore. Definitely be on the alert for pickpockets and touts, and be careful when you cross the road. They don’t exactly necessarily obey the traffic lights, and I had a close shave with a car that ran a red light after shopping one night.
I guess if you’re looking for a cultural or sightseeing vacation, KL’s not really the place for it. Sure, they’ve got things like the Batu Caves and Petaling Jaya, but above all it’s just a bustling city with great food and a multicultural hotpot of cultures. It’s a lovely place, nonetheless, and great if you just want a chill-out holiday of feasting, shopping, and loved ones.
I had a great time in KL, and I hope you had a great time reading this. I hope this gives you some idea of what you can do in the capital of Malaysia (: Cheers!