Every time I visit somewhere new I try to have a low expectation, that way I don’t get disappointed. It’s hard not to have some expectations when you see pictures and 1 minute videos on social media that completely blows your mind. I remember when I was younger, while flying to Bangkok there would be commercials on the screen in front of you, in the beginning of the flight and in the end. Every now and then a commercial for Malaysia would show up, and ever since I’ve wanted to visit this country. Well last week I finally got that opportunity, it was a spontaneous decision coming here, and thanks to my new profound love for diving with a promise of seeing sharks in Malaysia, I had to hop on the flight to KL after Laos.
I don’t remember much from those commercials I saw on the airplane, and with little background knowledge I wasn’t sure how Kuala Lumpur actually looked like in pictures. I arrived late afternoon, already dark outside as the sun sets early here in Asia. Walking through the terminal to immigration, the walls were covered in pictures with amazing marine life. Yas! Can’t wait to go to Malaysian Borneo and swim with turtles and sharks, hopefully a Manta Ray. Malaysia is my 26th country, with yet another stamp in my passport. I can’t help but get excited whenever I see the immigration officers use the stamp, immediately I check to see what it looks like. Some people collect snow globes from their travels, I’m happy with just the stamp. The simple pleasures in life man. *Erhem* tell that to the 24 hour later version of Christine who couldn’t help but pick up an item or two in a luxury store.. When in KL right? I mean sometimes it’s nice to buy one thing that will last you longer than the trip you’re on, whatever let me live.
The best way to get around in Malaysia is through GRAB. The first time I saw a Grab logo was in Thailand, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. After being in Vietnam I met people who said Grab was a lot cheaper and more reliable than regular meter taxis. Coming to KL I saw one of those Grab counters in the airport, and after checking the price of regular taxis and tran express (train), Grab was the cheapest and fastest option. The way to go is to download the app, when you open the app it will immediately show your location, just type in your destination, it will show you the distance and the price (the price is always fixed), and then it will start searching for a driver. When a driver is found, it will tell you how many minutes until the driver arrives. Usually not more than 5 minutes. Amazing right? It’s like Uber, but in Malaysia people prefer Grab. Next time your in a city with Grab, give it a go. My Grab driver was a super friendly chatty guy who made me feel more welcomed in a city, than I have ever been before. He did a great job pointing out different buildings, answering all my questions as we drove on.
In KL I chose to stay with Mercu Summer Suits in a dorm, the pod kind. I thought it would be a regular hostel/hotel but we drove into this beautiful 36 floor building, with many different companies renting out rooms. You can’t enter the elevator area without a keycard, and the reception is just the general area. When you book a room you have to call when in the lobby area and they will come and get you. I stayed in the 11th floor, with an amazing view, on the same floor as the gym and the pool. The dorm didn’t feel like a typical dorm. The pods were huge with a kitchen and a couch so you can sit and relax outside of the sleeping area. The floor was made of tiles so it felt a bit cold. The slippers I bought in Laos came quite handy. Yes they are as comfy as they look, it’s like walking on marshmallows.
(Pictures are taken from google)
The city itself is filled with stunning architecture, skyscrapers, well dressed business men, street vendors selling delicious coffee and of course, the infamous Petronas towers. Just as beautiful in the day like during the night. I couldn’t help but snap a picture from every angle they were visible. My neck hurt by the end of the day of all the looking up. I had no idea what was inside the Petronas towers, but turns out the first part is a shopping mall and the top part is offices. In the beginning of this post I mentioned I did a little luxury shopping. Or as me and my friend like to call it, an investment, because the quality will last you a lifetime and beyond. I have had the biggest crush on Kate Spade’s purses and phonecases. They’re quirky, different and colourful, just like me. This years summer collection is a Mexican travel theme, which is quite fitting my lifestyle atm. The second item I couldn’t help but take home with me, was a beautiful Marc Jacobs wallet. It’s a envelope style, so it takes minimal space in my camera bag when I’m out walking. For years I’ve hated using wallets, I’ve always used a coin purse. In Norway you never really use cash anymore, therefore I’ve never had the need to have a proper wallet, just enough space for my credit cards. But after I started traveling, cash is the way to go. But here you have so many different bills, and it’s hard to keep track of them when you press everything into a coin purse + the actual coins. A good investment I would say. So did I only go shopping in KL? Of course not, continue on to the next post to see all the amazing street art hidden all around the city.