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Kuala Lumpur Travel Guide Part 2

Posted on March 13th, 2008 filed in Travelogues    |   

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I started posting about Kuala Lumpur travel tips few weeks ago. I’ve been now in Kuala Lumpur for few weeks and have settled in quite nicely. As my stay is quite long, I decided I needed more than what a hotel can offer and ended up calling my KL home an excutive suite in one of the many brand new highrises within a very short walking distance from the extravagant KLCC. I believe renting a modern furnished apartment is without doubt the way to go whenever one’s stay exceeds one week in a cosmopolitan city. I am extremely pleased with my new place and appreciate the pleasure of settling down for a while after having been on the road for so long. I have great amount of comfort and all the amenities I would enjoy in Vancouver or Toronto including high speed internet, cable TV, large LCD screen, and the luxury of having all I need within a short walking distance.

I joined a state of the art gym literally within 5 minutes walk and have been training with an ACE certified personal trainer trying to get back in shape after many months of lots of traveling. This trainer really knows his stuff and I feel I am being tended to quite well.

I do all my grocery shopping at the KLCC supermaket. I have found that prices are much cheaper for most foods but extravagantly expensive for imported stuff. Fresh fish and sea food is particularly cheap. The octopus and calamary rock as well as the hundred types of fish. I think this the first place I have ever seen cherries being sold at $50/kg ! Tropical fruits like Mangosteen, Durian, and passion fruit are really very very cheap. So I guess for lots of food, price is almost the opposite of what one would expect in Canada. The great thing I found about this supermarket is that they home deliver making shopping extremely convenient in case it’s raining or simply to avoid carrying very heavy bags back home.

The KLCC is a huge mall that basically has it all: Hundreds and hundreds of all kinds of stores, bakeries, French cakes (patisserie), many huge international book stores (including Kinokuniya, the largest bookstore chain in Malaysia that is similar in scope and size to Chapters in Canada), banks, post office, internet place, pharmacies, a food court with all types of cuisines, and a multitude of restaurants for a variety of budgets. In addition, the KLCC houses the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, a theater, and a large multiscreen movie theater with a unique mixture of Hollywood blockbusters and asian films. All movies are shown in their original language with subtitles in malay, a fact I really appreciate after having failed to find one movie theater in Sicily in Italy last year that shows movies in their original language instead of Italian.

With respect to night life, there are many spots in the Ampang area in direct vicinity to KLCC. The main streets there, Jalan Perak and Jalan P.Ramlee are studded with lots of restaurants, bars, dance clubs, and of course, Karaoke joints, blasting music nightly till 1:00 am on weekdays and 3:00 am on weekends, much to the chagrin of neighboring residential buildings. Incidentally, I have found it absolutely essential to be staying in a double glazed window space if one desires to sleep a bit earlier than nightclubs closing time as the noise level can be quite high.

In addition to the various restaurants and the large variety of menus they offer, KL is famous for its street food vendors offering various local dishes and grilled meats. I have not tried a single one of these however as, quite absurdly, these places and the narrow streets they are in, have a large abundance of rats! I guess locals don’t mind rats but I just can’t imagine sitting down for a meal with a dozen rats frolicking around me. (Thanks Sarah for raising that point in your comment on my first KL article).

So while I rate my stay in KL as really fabulous, I do have my gripes:

1) Significantly high level of noise from all the night clubs till very late at night. It is quite amazing that the government allows such clubs to operate in residential neighborhoods.

2) The quite startling abundance of rats in small streets

3) The constantly hot and extremely humid weather with a guarantee of at least few hours of rain each day.

More on KL to come very soon….Stay tuned

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