Our Travel Stories

Malaysia – A Hidden Gem

I read in another blog recently the author questioning why so many travellers head to Thailand and Bali but seem to miss out Malaysia? I have not yet been to Thailand or Bali as this is is our first stop in South East Asia, but it most certainly wont be my last.

Malaysia most certainly is a hidden gem which is all honesty I didn’t know much about before we came here.

We have now spent 13 nights in Kuala Lumpur and loved every second. (well other than the 2 days I spent shut in the hotel room because Cam went down with a sickness bug!)

Kuala Lumpur seems like a very busy city but its population is only 2 million against Bangkok’s 6 million, plus a lot less tourists. K.L. certainly does not yet really seem to have been discovered by Europeans, certainly almost all of the tourists that we met were from China, Japan, Korea and India.

Kuala Lumpur has it all though, a rich blending of cultures, religions, ancient and modern. It feels like a gateway of where the East meets the West, perhaps some of that naturally the links to the former British Malaya. (Malaysia only gained its Independence from the British in 1957)

With such a diversity of cultures and religions here, everyone appears to live in totally harmony. We drove down one road a few miles outside of the city where a Hindu Temple, Muslim Mosque and Christian Church all standing next to each other side by side. The National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur displays a beautiful umbrella shaped roof – symbolic of all religions being invited to worship and to pray together under the same roof. And this is a city where the American & Iraq Embassy’s also stand right next door to one another.

Kuala Lumpur’s National Mosque with its umbrella shaped roof

When we told a friend that we were staying K.L for two weeks his reply was “you might run out of things to do” – truth is we have run out of time and there was so much more that we could have done.

I wanted this part of our trip to be a little more slow paced because when we were in Canada, America & the Carribean in Oct/Dec we were moving around every 2-4 days. Yes we saw a lot of different places but it became exhausting at times especially for Cameron. I therefore wanted to factor in some pool days this trip where we could just relax and I could also try and ensure he gets time to do some school work most days too!

Despite all of that we seem to have packed an awful lot into the last 12 days, which have included:

Going to the 86th floor of the Petronas Towers.

Hop on, hop off city bus.

Kuala Lumpur Museum

Bird Park

Batu Caves

Batik (Silk printing) factory

Pewter Factory

Welcomed in the Chinese New Year

Spent a morning at a local children’s home for underprivileged kids.

..and my favourite excursion, driving out through the palm plantations to Kuala Selangor where we fed monkeys, took a speedboat trip to feed eagles, then took a slower boat down the river after sunset to see 1000’s fireflies twinkling in the darkness. A moment I shall never, ever forget.

The newly painted rainbow steps and hindu shrine at the entrance leading up to the Batu Caves.

Heading out down the Selangor River to feed the Eagles

The banks of the River Selangor at Kampung Kuantan hosts one of the largest firefly colonies in the world.

We stayed at the Pullman Kuala Lumpur City Centre Hotel, which was absolutely faultless – the building, the people, the service, the cleanliness, the facilities, the food were all first class and I would most definitely recommend it to anyone looking to stay in K.L. It is also directly opposite the Pavillion Mall, a 7 storey complex filled with shops and a vast array of eating establishments.

The people of Kuala Lumpur are kind, respectful and welcoming. We felt safe at all times, although we did heed advise and didn’t go out on our own after dark.

There is so much more of Malaysia that I want to see and without doubt I will return one day and will travel around a lot more, taking in Penang, Mallaca, Borneo and so much more. I am kind of disappointed now that we didn’t get to visit all of those places this time, but I had made a very deliberate choice to stay in one place for longer. It just gives me a reason to return……

Given that we didn’t venture out much at night we had quite a lot of meals within the hotel which meant we actually spent quite a fair bit more on food that we would have done if we had eaten elsewhere, but that said; two of us had 13 nights in a 5 star hotel and with return airport transfers, all meals, taxis, spending money, local admissions and 3 organised excursions, I spent under £1500.

We are moving on to Singapore next but taking with us memories of Malaysia which we shall never ever forget.

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