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Best of Kuala Lumpur in a Day!

Malaysia and Brunei in a Week: Day 2
Kuala Lumpur: A day exploring the best of Kuala Lumpur including the Petronas Towers, City Centre Park, Menara Tower, Batu Caves, KL Bird Park, Independence Square, and the Central Market.

I set my alarm for an early wake up at 8 am, mostly to get to the Petronas Towers early to buy tickets as I heard they sell out fast. After a shower and extending my checkout, I took the subway to KLCC stop right under the Petronas Towers.

View of the tallest twin towers in the world from the City Centre Park.

It was a beautiful clear day and no rain as expected from the weather report. The dominant towers can be seen all from all over the city and I can see why it has become a symbol of Malaysia. I took some pictures once I got out then headed to the ticket counter. As warned, the tickets were already sold out until around 3:15 pm… So I purchased my ticket for 7:15pm in hopes to catch the sunset.

Now I had to quickly shift my schedule around and reorganize the touring of the day. Looks like I would have to do the Batu Caves before the towers. I walked outside for some daytime shots of the tower in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park right in front of the tower. There were some student groups who laughed at and repeated “hello” to the silly foreigner (me).

Asy-Syakirin Mosque in the park.

I took a cab to the visitor’s center which was actually really close.

The Malaysia Tourism Centre (MaTiC)

Built in 1935, MaTiC is actually housed in a historic British building, which explains its architecture. Speaking with a lady at the desk, I got some more information on how to tackle the day.

MaTiC

MaTiC housed both British and Japanese Armies in WWII and also the Malayan Parliament in 1959!

Kuala Lumpur Tower (Menara Tower)

Then I took a 15 minute walk to the KL Tower. They have a free shuttle from the entrance to the top of the hill. There I bought a ticket to the observation deck. I didn’t have much time because I had to check out of my hotel, so I did a quick tour of the tower and top, snapped some shots and headed back down.

View from KL Tower of Petronas Tower in the distance and a cool rooftop pool.

The base had a bunch of tourist shops. There is also a revolving restaurant at the top, which is a good option if you catch it for the afternoon tea. There is an interesting comparison of all the tallest communication towers from around the world. I’ve been to 5 of the 7 tallest!

The 421-metre (1,381-foot) communications tower is taller than the Petronas Towers because its on a hill.

With a taxi back to the hotel, I checked out and stored my bag, then headed out to the Batu Caves. I took a commuter train from Putra station that went right to the base of the mountain. It was convenient and cheap (1 RM one way).

Batu Caves

The station was right at the base of the limestone mountain. The scene was very lively with long-tailed macaque monkeys aggressively chasing people for food and plastic bottles (I kept my distance after seeing a girl get bitten by a similar monkey in Cambodia), an Indian couple getting married in front of the caves with many tourists taking pictures with them, which they welcomed with a smile, and plenty of people feeding the horde of pigeons. I climbed the 272 steps to the top that opened to the entrance of the cave.

In the late 1800s they made the caves a place of Hindu worship and adorned them with shrines.

The inside of the cave was dark and wet with water dripping down from the top leaving large puddles. On the other side there were more stairs that lead to an opening with another temple. There were quite a few tourists around taking pictures but also many locals there to pray.

There is another cave, the Dark Cave, that goes two kilometers in and you can spot bats and other creepy crawlers. I headed down and back into the city via the commuter straight to the “Kuala Lumpur” stop, which is the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.

Commuter Train speeding away. Check out the “girl’s only” cabins!

Completed in 1910 the Railway station architecture matches the surrounding buildings. The Railway Administration Building is across the street.

National Museum of Malaysia

I walked to the National Museum, which wasn’t pleasant, mostly along a busy highway. The museum was not that impressive but worth a look.

The outside of the 1963 building was almost as interesting as the inside with a large mural on the wall and a number of displays around the building, though the views were a bit constricted due to the renovations in the front.

From there, I went via the highway overpass to the Lake Gardens Park. This park has a bunch of different attractions and places to visit. It was about a 10 minute walk through the National Planetarium, passed the Memorial Tun Abdul Razak, and then arriving at the Bird Park.

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The largest free flight aviary in the world was quite an attraction! They had plenty of different birds flying and waddling all over the place.

Entrance at the Bird Park.

With around 200 different species (mostly local ones) there was plenty to look at.

I enjoyed walking around and exploring the different birds.

The parrot feeding was a treat!

Leaving the Bird Park, I hopped in a taxi and went to see the Islamic Arts Museum but unfortunately it was already closed.

Opened in 1998 the museum is known for its display of jewelry, textile, weaponry and ancient Islamic glass ware.

Then I passed the National Mosque of Malaysia and admired the modern architecture.

Built in 1965, this mosque can hold 15,000 people!

Then my taxi took me to Malaysia’s Independence Square.

Merdeka Square

Merdeka Square is where the Malaysian flag was hoisted in 1957 marking the country’s independence. It has a large field that use to be a cricket green in the center where tourists were sun tanning. A lot of the buildings around the square were built during the British rule, so they have the traditional British architecture.

The 1894-1897 Sultan Abdul Samad Building used to house the Supreme Court but now its occupied by the Ministry of Heritage, Culture and Arts.

Holding the tallest (apparently) flag pole in the world standing at 95 m!

After soaking in the sun and snapping some pictures, I walked towards the subway station to make my way to the towers, passing by Jamek Mosque.

Central Market

This large tourist trap is similar to most tourist markets in SE Asia, with plenty of overpriced souvenirs and “local” goods for sale.

Though I’m sure you could bargain for some good deals, I instead enjoyed a fresh Papaya juice and rested my aching feet.

Then jumping on the subway at Pasar Seni and I was at the towers before I knew it.

Cool subway graffiti wall.

Petronas Twin Towers

Running slightly late, I ran to the tour group meeting point, next to where you purchase the tickets. The group was just getting in, so they didn’t go up without me! First you are given an introduction to the towers on an interesting projection over smoke display so that the movie played wavers if there is wind. It gave it a futuristic feel.

The elevator going up had walls of LCD screens showing you rising in the day as if there were windows. First stop was the Skybridge which is the connecting platform between the two towers. The bottom floor is for tourists while the top is for movement between the towers. Unfortunately I did miss the sunset…

Is this a Starwars movie?

Next you are politely herded back onto the elevators to go up to the 86th floor. Here you have some great views over the city and the neighboring tower. There are also a QR code reading display that gives you information when you hold your ticket up to the camera. What I found interesting was that the towers were built by two separate companies, the west by Japanese Hazama and Mitsubishi and the east by Korean Samsung.

Since it’s completion in 1994, I’ve been looking forward to visiting and I was finally at the top of this icon of Malaysia.

Suria KLCC Mall

I headed to the base of the towers to check out one of the largest malls in Malaysia.

It didn’t disappoint as a large luxury mall with 6 floors of shops and plenty of shoppers.

For dinner I lined up and dined at the popular Madame Kwan’s for some traditional Malaysian food.

As I had an early flight to Brunei the next day, I toyed with the idea of resting in a spa for 5 hours before leaving the city at 3 am. As I still had to collect my luggage from the hotel, I decided to hop online and book another night, which I felt would be marginally worth the extra 3 hours of sleep. The annoying part is that I already checked out, so I had to check in again and move to another room. By the time all was said and done, it was midnight. I set my alarm for 3 am and quickly fell asleep.

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