Malaysia: Trying to enjoy Kuala Lumpur

13 February 2012

Malaysia with a population of 30 million is the 44th most populous country in the world. Kuala Lumpur is home to around 1.7 million people. From the 18th century, it became subject to the British Empire and achieved independence on 31 August 1957.

Two days in Kuala Lumpur and all I want to do is to see a few places then leave. The skyline of the capital city is dominated by two towers: The Petronas Twin Towers along with the KL Tower.

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KL Tower

I visited Menara KL Tower ( “Jewel in the sky”). It’s surrounded by the Bukit  forest reserve, an Malaysian Cultural Village and an eco park (beware of the mosquitoes). Completed in May 1996, it’s the sixth tallest telecommunication tower in the world. The observation deck (276m above ground level) offered a great view of the Kuala Lumpur.

View from the deck
View from the deck

After the panaormaic view, I watched a cultural performance featuring traditional Malaysian dancers as well as a nice visit to the cultural village.

SONY DSCThere are several traditional kampung houses on display, a nice garden and a lazy lizard. It’s a nice little stop and place that reflects the country’s multi-ethnic, cultural and lingual society. My only complaint is that it’s a bit small.

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The Petronas Twin Tower which was constructed in 1994 is one of KL’s most iconic and well-known landmarks. It can be seen as you fly into KL. The surrounding KLCC park is a nice place with jogging and walking paths as well as a fountain, wading pool and playground.

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The National Museum was an ok venue to learn a bit about the history of Malaysia while the Central Market (in 1888, it was a wet market selling fish, meat and vegetables) was just a quick stop to check out some shops. 

After hearing about my awful experience, my friend Suga and her mother invited me to try authentic banana leaf rice. It was nice to have their companionship since I felt much safer. They told me that 30-40 years ago, Malaysia was safe. With the influx of immigrants notably from India and Indonesia, crime became common and social problems intensified. Whether it’s petty or gang-organised crime, even the locals are not safe from attacks. I told them how surprised I was to receive a folder where 90% of the 400 criminals are Indians. My attacker is Indian and was drunk when he launched that attack.

Sugar and her mother were not surprised.

“They live below the poverty line. Drug and alcohol abuse will no doubt increase crime activities.”

Pushing corruption, social welfare, national identity, sustainable living out of the way and just looking at the crime level in a capital city, I’m not pleased about the current state of Malaysia.

I was happy to board the train to Butterworth station and I can’t wait to get on that ferry to Penang. I’ve had enough Kuala Lumpur. I don’t like it at all.

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A great train ride from Kuala Lumpur to Penang

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