Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

January 18
We finally were able to sleep in for once. We are so used to waking up early before the sun comes up. After we woke up, we checked out of our Chinatown hotel. We walked about ten minutes to get to our next hostel. It was ok but hard to meet people because the rooms only had three people in each. We had a kid from Germany but he checked out mid day and then when we went to bed later that night, someone else was sleeping in his bed. After we checked in and dropped our stuff off, we decided to take the monorail to the main area of the city called Butik Batang. It was like their Times Square with a lot of traffic and two huge malls. We are at some fancy dumpling place because we wanted something other than chicken and rice. We walked around the huge mall for a little and eventually found the place that was really highly rated. We got some dumplings and rice. They were pretty good but high class. We wanted the cheap ones with a lot of meat that we were used to, so we got more at this underground place in the other mall. It was sort if like a food court but very cramped and crowded with random small restaurants scattered. We got cheap dumplings like we wanted. They were very good. We watched a traditional Chinese show in the main mall atrium to celebrate the time leading up to the Chinese New Year. It was a show with two guys dressed up as a dragon and they jumped around on these poles that were about ten feet above the ground. It was cool but got weird once the show stopped and they started throwing oranges into the crowd. The funny part is that this is the part when all the Asian people around started cheering and loving the show. We were confused after ten minutes of this so we just left. We took a monorail back to our hostel. We showered and changed before eating on the street. I had some meat and noodle soup dish and Matt had a chicken sandwich at a reggae restaurant. They love reggae here, I don’t know why. We took the monorail and subway out to the area around the Patronas Towers. We took some pics of the town towers at night and then walked towards the main mall again. We then walked around a little more and headed back to our hostel for the night.

January 19
We woke up and checked out. We used the hostel’s computer to book a resort in Bali, then we got our stuff and walked to the hostel that we were looking forward too, the Reggae Mansion! It was rated the best hostel in Malaysia and the second best hostel in all of Asia. It was pretty big with three floors, a rooftop bar, a restaurant, hangout area and hundreds of beds. We checked in and left our bags in a room because the room wasn’t ready yet. We booked a 1:00 reservation to go up to the bridge of the Patronas Towers. We read that you could wake up at 5 am, be in line at 6, and get a ticket for free by 9 if you are lucky. Or… You can pay $25 and book a time to visit online. We booked it online. Once we got there, we showed our reservation number and that was it. There were people in front of us and behind us who didn’t know you had to book in advance or get an advance ticket so they were pretty disappointed when they were turned away. I ate a magnum ice cream bar, then we stared our tour. We took an elevator to the bridge that connects the two buildings. These buildings were the highest buildings in the world until about 10 years ago so it is all pretty impressive. The bridge wasn’t actually connected to either building. It was able to slide slightly as the buildings swayed from the wind. After seeing views of the entire city and surrounding mountains, we took an elevator even higher to see everything from almost the top. The tour was worth the $25. There isn’t much to do in this city so we are happy that we did this. We then walked to the main mall again and ate Spanish tapas. They were pretty good. We then got dessert by getting multiple free samples from this gelato place. My friend Jess from Penn State and Semester at Sea was starting her year in Malaysia with Fulbright as a teacher. She was in Kuala Lumpur for training the same time we were there so we wanted to meet up. We met her at her really nice hotel and them we walked to a street , called Jalan Alor, with all these stalls of street food. We had some Pad Thai and dumplings. Jess then got this drink called Teh Tarik that translates to pulled tea. It was like 50 cents and came in a small bag with a straw after the guy made it. I tried it and loved it. It was like Masala Chai but sweeter so you don’t need to add sugar or anything. And it’s big in Malaysia so I got like two each meal for the rest of my time in Malaysia. We then parted ways and Jess went back to her hotel. We would try to meet up with her again in Singapore because she will be about an hour north in Malaysia at the time that we get there in a couple of weeks. Matt and I went back to the hostel and went to our room. It was a 16 bed mixed dorm. The beds were cool. It was a large capsule style room where there are right beds on the bottom and right beds on top. The only way to access them was to crawl in at the foot of the bed. We then went up to the roof to chill and meet people. At first it was kind of dead but people gradually came up. We got a pizza and then met some kids. There was one girl who we met in Koh Tao that we happened to see at the hostel earlier in the day. It was pretty cool to run into someone again so far away. We hung out with her and like 15 other kids from all different countries. We mainly talked with a guy from London and a girl from Switzerland, but also other people in our group from mostly European countries. It was one kid’s 19th birthday so one girl bought two big hookahs for everyone to smoke. We were planning on going out somewhere but we were all having fun so we just stayed on the roof. It was a great night.

January 20
We woke up around breakfast and got the free breakfast downstairs. We talked to some friends that we met the night before and then went to the Air Asia office to make sure we were confirmed for our flight the next day. Matt and I double-booked the flight because it said that the first booking was unsuccessful, but we got charged twice. The office wasn’t the easiest to deal with but we got it sorted out and they said that they would refund me within three months. Whatever, at least we get the money back. We then took the train to the Batu Caves, which is a Hindi Shrine in Kuala Lumpur that is the major location to celebrate Thaipusam each year. Since the holiday just ended, the caves were kind of dirty but not overly crowded. The caves are in a mountain that is right in the city. It looks so out of place but really, the caves were there first, then the city, which is named after “dirty water” was built around it. There were 750 steps leading up to this cave. In front of the cave is a huge Hindi gold statue. Inside the cave, thee are more statues and shrines. There are also out of shape people who were gasping for air and almost passing out from climbing those stairs. It was a pretty big cave. After the cave, I got some Teh Tarik, then we went back to the city center. We walked around and went to eat on that street that we went to with Jess the day before. We got dumplings, but they had shrimp in them so they weren’t that good. We then went back to the hostel and researched stuff for the next week. We knew nothing about the country that we were visiting tomorrow, Brunei. We were pretty sure we didn’t need a visa, but we weren’t positive, so I guess we will just find out at customs.

mikepsilve'sKuala Lumpur album on Photobucket