Arriving by bus in Kuala Lumpur late in the evening after yet another bus journey that took several hours longer than advertised we found ourselves at the TBS, the main bus terminal outside of the city centre. No matter what we seem to figure the various transport systems ‘on the fly’ reading online is ok, but it seems more fun and a tiny bit more challenging to see if we can understand the system for a first timer with minimal outside help. It just feels like using the internet all the time is a bit of a cheat….so even though tired, we managed to find out about the 5 different metro systems that connected the city, airport and this bus terminal and within the hour we onward for a 20 minute ride to our stop in downtown KL, followed by the gruelling 20 minutes of walking with backpacks in the night heat to our digs.
Thankfully this budget hotel was ready to treat us with some delightful challenges, like room cards that don’t work, room safe that won’t lock, change of rooms, rooms with no windows and just to help us a little more they managed to make sure we missed breakfast…..a great review on Tripadvisor for these guys. But not once did we lose our temper, not once did we let the hassles of the accommodation impact our stay in this fine example of a modern city with deep history and multi-faceted cultural dimensions.
Modern shops mixed with traditional stores, old narrow streets lined with Chinese stores right next to modern coffee houses and next door to Indian restaurants and Malay street food vendors. This city has a whole mix n match look and feel. The daily call from the old mosque echoes out around our ears, just across from the church established at the turn of the 20th century.
From the quite stunning views of the Petronas Twin Towers, glistening like diamonds in the sky at night, to the dark red glowing of the Skytower KL has much to see across the skyline at night. During the daytime, we were hit by the sheer magnitude of fabric shops selling their cloth directly to the public. The colours and textures an eclectic mix of everything and anything you could ever wish for. Just about everywhere you looked there were fabric shops and I mean everywhere.
Stopping in at the free museums are the really exciting events for backpackers like ourselves. It’s almost as if you have won the lottery when you see a sign reading ‘free entrance’ and KL has plenty of these, from the Textile Museum to the Music Museum to the Police Museum, these provide fabulous insights into the history of Malaysia and how it has evolved with the significant influence of the Chinese and Indian migrants, the Portuguese traders, followed by the Dutch and the British colonists and true independence in 1957.
It’s not a Muslim country, nor a Hindu country nor Taoist nor Christian, as a country cannot possibly be defined by religion. All these different cultures live side by side just getting along with finding their way through life. I think it was quite special for Sharki3 to visit Malaysia knowing that somewhere in her ancestory this is where the Cape Malay’s came from.