I have a 3 hour layover in Kuala Lumpur today. If all goes well, I’ll be able to
1. get my traveller’s cheques changed into american dollars (which is the only currency Myanmar accepts)
2. get my second flight changed to the next day and get to spend time with Annah Kim in KL!
Fingers are crossed.
Since I am just simply RELAXING in Mumbai, taking a break from city-hopping and picture taking, I feel bad for those of you who are asking me to put up pictures of what Mumbai looks like through my camera.
Well, the good part is that I’ve been here before and although I used a much older camera, I took some interesting photos back in January ’09. This is pretty nostalgic for me to put up since these pictures are the FIRST time I’ve ever used a DSLR. I wonder how much I’ve learned in the last 18 months when I was first back in Mumbai…
There’s the Gateway of India, about a month after the 11/26 terrorist attacks in India:
And the Taj Mahal Palace below. We just had dinner here today at Chef Morimoto’s new restaurant, Wasabi (worth the visit):
Took a bus ride along Queen’s Necklace:
Can’t forget the famous Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus:
Last year I also crashed a wedding dressed up in a kurta:
The 2nd person from my left is none other than Sajni Patel, whom I ran into again in Singapore about a week ago.
Afterwards, without changing from our kurtas, we decided to head up to Andheri:
There you have it; a slice of Mumbai 18 months ago. I don’t think much has changed in the city, but it does feel like more than a few years since I’ve been back.
Tomorrow I meet up with a few friends and we head out into the nightlife. On Sunday I resume my whirlwind tour and leave for Hyderabad!
- At time of posting in Bombay, India, it was 27 °C -
Humidity: 94% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: scattered clouds
So – I had asked the previous hotel if they would do my laundry. We dropped it off in the morning and it was left for us in our room when we returned at the end of the day.
I looked inside to find that I was missing:
3 sports bras
1 white tank top
1 white dress
In any case, I went to go complain to the guy at the front desk. He couldn’t understand me so I was redirected. The second person I talked to didn’t want to give me my money back! He said but then it’s a loss for me and I can’t do anything with the clothes, even if I find them.
I was reimbursed the 17 ringot that I paid for the laundry but still lost about a hundred dollars worth of clothing (sports bras are damn expensive).
We’re in Bali and I don’t think that much clothing will be required here as I will be living in a bathing suit and hat.
Hello from KL LCCT Airport. Before I leave for Indonesia, how could I forget the views from the top of the Kuala Lumpur Tower:
We’re currently waiting for our flight to Bali. I just inadvertently found out that being an American Express cardholder gains you access to an Airport Lounge at Kuala Lumpur’s LCCT airport. I ain’t complaining; I get hi-speed internet and free food and beverage. Huzzah free stuff.
- At time of posting in Kuala Lumpur, it was 26 °C -
Humidity: 89% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly cloudy
It might just be the easiest country on the Southeast Asia circuit you’ll travel to. Boasting diversity in both ethnicity and religious tolerance that might hint that of major cities in the United States, Malaysia creates a nice fruit salad of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims. And best of all, despite the fact that the people might self-segregate, their food does not: Malaysian food is a category on its own, and it’s delicious.
But don’t let my pessimistic tone on self-segregation give you the wrong impression, because you still get more than your fair share of ethnic mixing: Chinese, Indians, and Malays eating at each other’s restaurants, joking and laughing at work, and even simply just living together. Peninsular Malaysia brings everyone together, even the traveler (yours truly) searching for a nice place to call home.
Red Market Food Stalls in Chinatown – Lebuh Cintra; Penang, Malaysia
Like the food stalls in Thailand, you’ll find them to be “quick, diverse, cheap, and delicious.” But where Thailand’s food stalls are an individual’s feast, in Penang they’re a community gathering. Scores of food stalls beg for your business around a mass of tables and chairs for hundreds to enjoy their pickings. Just go up to a food stall you like, tell them what you want and where you’re sitting, and they’ll cook it and deliver it to your table for payment. Don’t leave without trying Char Kway Teow (thick rice noodles stir-fried with egg, vegetables, shrimp, and Chinese sausage in dark soy sauce) or the Fried Oysters. The Laksa asam (fish-broth noodle soup pungent with a sour tang from tamarind paste and a mint garnish) was overrated.
Imbi Market – Jalan Kampung; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Just like the food stalls we found in Penang, Kuala Lumpur makes it outdoors and truly festive: at least 7 city blocks with rows and rows of options upon rows and rows of open seating. Food was almost just as delicious, although Penang tasted more authentic.
No problems in Malaysia, which is a relief after the debacle I’ve suffered from in the last few countries.
Health Rating of Malaysia after 5 days…
- # of bug bites: 0
- # of Immodium used: 0
- # of Pepto used: 0
- # of Advil used: 0
- # of antibiotics used: 0
- # of total medication used: 0
- Creams used: Sunscreen
Quality of healthcare: Malaysia is known to have a very reputable healthcare system, especially in the Kuala Lumpur area. Their major hospital – Kuala Lumpur General Hospital – is considered to be the biggest medical facility in all of Asia at 150 acres with 81 wards and 2502 beds. Commanding a staff of over 7,000 medical personnel, KLGH is the go-to facility for most of Southeast Asia if Singapore is not an option.
Sanitary Conditions: Look above; the general healthiness I’ve experienced in Malaysia should reflect the general cleaniness of a country as wealthy as Malaysia. Their cities (at least the ones we’ve seen) are incredibly clean and everything runs efficiently. Their population also seem very well-off; not once did we encounter a “poor” area of Penang or Kuala Lumpur. The only downside is that their public bathrooms have been consistently grotty with squat toilets being the norm half the time and the toilet paper being optional; if you want TP, you need to purchase it separately. Finally, despite the general clean feeling of Kuala Lumpur, I ran into a few waterfalls of sewage every now and then.
Despite its reputation for being an expensive country, I spent approximately $75 USD in 3 days, which approximates to $25 USD/day. The goal was to spend no more than $35 USD/day.
Breakdown for 3 days: $5 transportation + $40 food + $30 lodging
Goal: $35 USD/day
Spent: $25 USD/day for 3 days
Banana Guesthouse – 355 Lebuh Chulia; Penang, Malaysia
Of all the guesthouses we perused (Day & Night, Blue Diamond, etc.), Banana Guesthouse had the cleanest digs. Simple bedroom with shared bathroom (decent at best). However, they had a great downstairs lobby that was spacious and clean, complete with a pretty helpful staff and an internet cafe that charged $1 USD an hour.
Price: $5 USD/night per person
Internet: Internet cafe, slow connection at $1 USD/hour
Other Amenities: Spacious lobby cafe, friendly staff, clean rooms.
88 Inn – 2 Jalan 1/77B, Changkat Thambi Dollah; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
At first impression, this is Kuala Lumpur’s hidden gem of a budget hotel. It’s clean, with a great staff and rooms for a fantastic value. Walk up those stairs to find a pretty cramped reception, but your rooms won’t reflect that at all: decent beds with a private bathroom and working A/C. Although it’s simple, you get much more for what you pay for. One major downside was that they lost Annah’s dress and a few pieces of her clothes after laundry. Although they gave some of her money back (not enough) and seemed very apologetic, it still wasn’t cool.
Price: $12 USD/night per person
Internet: Free wi-fi
Other Amenities: Friendly staff
- At time of posting in Kuala Lumpur, it was 27 °C -
Humidity: 94% | Wind Speed: n/a | Cloud Cover: few clouds
We’re winding down our whirlwind tour of KL and we managed to hit up almost everything in 10 hours (in this order):
- Batu Caves
- Old Railway Station
- National Mosque
- Sri Mahamariamman Temple
- Merdeka Square
- Little India
- Golden Triangle
- KLCC Park
- Petronas Towers
- Kuala Lumpur Tower
Some highlights in Kuala Lumpur before we hit the sack and board our early morning flight to Bali (Bali!!!!). I highly suggest you pay particular attention to the Batu Caves if you ever find yourself in the area. Other highlights include the Petronas Towers, the Kuala Lumpur Tower and the National Mosque.
If I could compare, Kuala Lumpur is like a similarly aged but more reserved and more mature version of Bangkok. If anything it’s more of a city to live in rather than a vacationing spot.
Inside the caves
- At time of posting in Kuala Lumpur, it was 27 °C -
Humidity: 94% | Wind Speed: 2km/hr | Cloud Cover: few clouds