Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia: The Infinity Pools!
I realized that the more I travel the more I try to stay clear of larger cities. For the most part, cities don't do it for me because you rarely get a feel for the countries culture. But that aside, every city does offer experiences that make it unique to the prior one visited.
In October I needed to leave Thailand to receive a Visa extension. After mulling a few of my options, I decided to head to Kuala Lumpur (also known as KL) since I haven't had McDonald's in months. Yes, McDonald's swayed my decision on where to go... The return flight cost me less than $100 which made the decision even easier.
Transportation at the airport in KL is limited. The city is inconveniently an hour from the city center and you'll spend approximately 120 ringgit to get there. Buses are available but they appeared to take much longer, savings didn't seem worth it to me so we opted for a cab. Our first mistake is that they offer ride-sharing options such as Uber and Grab which are much cheaper, coming in at about 75 ringgit for the trip. If you have the option, get on Wifi and make that happen.
I was very excited when we arrived at The FACE Suites. Not only was the building stunning, it was my first experience with Airbnb! The pictures online didn't do it justice, and for $60 a night we were on the 47th floor overlooking the city. To top it off, we had access to the infinity pool! This is where the city sets itself apart. Many of the buildings have pools on their roof that overlook the Patronas Towers, which were once the tallest buildings in the world. The pools provide an escape to the bustling of the city, offering a peaceful evening or a place to relax in the sun during the day. I don't think NYC even has an infinity pool...
Speaking of relaxing in the sun, KL was HOT! Given the lack of wind, there was no escaping the heat. I made occasional stops to purchase bottles of water, each time surprised that nobody accepted credit cards. This is to be expected in Asia, but was caught off guard in such a massive city. Mistake number two, take out ringgit before you get there.
Getting around the city is pretty straight forward, especially since everyone speaks English. There's a metro but we primarily used Uber and Grab. The one thing I will warn you is to be careful crossing the street. I can't tell you how many times cars ran red lights and almost killed us. I am shocked that they don't have cameras to prevent this, it honestly happened at an alarming rate. Also the cab drivers will charge you at least twice of an Uber, so it's important you grab a SIM Card since a lot of places don't offer WiFi. SIMs are cheap, really wish I went that route and will do so next time.
We only had three days in the city but were able to make the most of our time. KL is known to have a load of malls which are all state of the art. Under the Patronas Towers you'll find a five story mall along with a movie theater where we spent a good chunk of time shopping around. It was a nice change of scenery for us since we live on a small island where the biggest store is a 711.
As far as the food was concerned, we were more interested in getting away from the Asian foods and treated ourselves to items we couldn't get back in Thailand. Our first night we stopped at The Steakhouse which was rated one of the top restaurants in the city. It did not disappoint, though us two budget travelers were a bit nauseous when we received the 400 ringgit bill. They did offer us coupons to the Rum Bar next door which eased the pain where they serve... you guessed it... rum! There was a restaurant called Dining In The Dark that we were unable to get to. The restaurant is pitch black to give us a glimpse of what it's like to live blind. Would have been an interesting experience had we had the time.
We spent our last day taking a cab out to the Batu Caves. No clue why this was rated so highly on TripAdvisor, reminded me why I never use that damn site. In my opinion the caves were a waste of our afternoon. The place was crawling with tourists, but the most depressing part was how they were repairing the damage. Most museums will do their best to preserve and restore their artifacts, where here they were literally tearing it down and rebuilding. I was very disappointed, nothing here will be original and would be rebuilt for the sake of money and time. Complete tourist trap, don't waste your time or money.
All in all, KL is a city that doesn't require more than 3 days too explore. I highly recommend renting an Airbnb with an infinity pool to top off your experience, well worth the money!