Four Days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur as a stop in our itinerary is a choice of convenience. Almost all budget flights fly out of Malaysia, so we are bound to stop here. It is an easy place to explore and get around, and wouldn’t make a bad hub to explore Southeast Asia, though at least for me, it’s not the type of place you fall in love with at first sight. Perhaps its polluted colonial downtown could grow on you. Personally, I think the more fun parts of Malaysia would be to get out to the beaches; explore the food of Penang; or the jungles of Borneo. There’s enough to do in KL for a few days, however. Very kid-friendly, quite cheap, and everything is convenient. And Malaysian food is really good- a mix of Indian styled curry with Northern Asia influences. Really it is its own cuisine, unique flavors and combinations and worthwhile to explore deeper.

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Curry mee and shrimp noodles

Once we figure out the train system and arrive at the hostel, it’s started to rain. This ain’t no piddly sprinkle, either. We take a taxi to go the 300 meter ride. 

We’re staying with friends-albeit online ones. I’ve made a mistake that’s a first-booked for the wrong night. Fortunately, they still have a room. Unfortunately, it’s on the cruddy side of the hostel. After Ryder and I take a quick, sweaty nap on the bed, we meet up with our new friends- a married couple with a little boy just a few months younger than Ryder. We eat dinner at a choose your own meat and veggie skewer type place. Their idea- they wanted some clean eating. I should probably hang out with them more often so I can stop having a chock-full-of-excuses love affair with all things gluten, wheat, and bread. Turns out her roommate and mine dated the same guy. With several mutual friends in common, the night whiles away quickly on our gossip.

Next day, we’ve decided to visit the Batu Caves. They are Hindu shrines built into limestone caves.

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It looks enticing, beautiful, monkey-ish…and I almost faint from girl problems and the heat. I feel like such a namby pamby. But there is no place to cool down, we’re outside of the city and I’ve only blacked out twice in my life-once after donating blood, and once departing a hot tub. Guess it’s a combo to be avoided for me. Ryder and I have to leave before making our ascent up the 272 steps of the cave. I break the rules and sprawl flat on my back on the train seats all the way back to Sentral Station. Revived, we wander the mall for hours until it’s time for dinner: a brownie sundae. Sometimes being an adult has its perks. One of those is getting to eat junk food for dinner when you want to. Rarely of course.

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Next morning, we head out to the main mall of KL. With our FLSR friends, we hit a Penang-styled restaurant, a massive kids science museum called Petrosains Discovery Centre where we run into another traveling family semi-on purpose,

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and we see the Petronaus Towers and get two minutes of swimming bliss in the free pools outside of them for the boys before it starts to rain and we promptly become dripping wet and get kicked out.

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The next day we see the largest walk-in aviary in the world, called the KL Bird Park, which was really an inordinate amount of storks, and then it’s time to say goodbye to some new, but now good friends.

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They’re flying out to Bali, and we’re reuniting with Jacob in Beijing.

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I get to the airport three hours early-with plenty of time. Right? Right. By this point I actually have left behind enough of our belongings I can reasonably get around. I walk around the airport to get my bearing for a bit, let Ryder play on a playground for an hour while I’m on my computer, and all of a sudden it’s only an hour and a half before my flight. Time to go! And I have to chase Ryder down from inside the depths of a slide. And apparently I’m not even in the right airport. There are two right next to each other. Story of my life. I have to catch a train for the right terminal. By the time I rush over to the check in desk, everyone is telling me an hour is cutting it really close. They allow me to bypass the long line and I go straight to the AirAsia manager. He tells me I have to have a printed, not just computer image, boarding pass out of China or I can’t get on the flight. Just internal policy, that’s rare, normally I never print. More scurrying, more USB sticking, 20 minutes later-done. I rush through security, passport control, breezy. The airport is massive. Gate after gate I drag Ryder through. He doesn’t want to come, he’s dragging. Wait, another security check? Unbelievable. Two security checks. Finally arrive, see there’s still a line, still have time to go to the bathroom, come back immediately, get told “we’ve already said last call!” and I hustle onto the plane, they take the stroller at the last minute and that’s the last I’m to see of it, ever again, because Air Asia is special, and they lose stuff. I would know-they lost our suitcase in Shanghai two years ago.

We settle into our seats and then I realize with a jolt-what about Jacob?

Yes, what about Jacob?

I look through my email-doesn’t look like I forwarded flight tickets to him. I ask if there’s internet on the flight. No. He’s supposed to arrive an hour before me. If Cebu Pacific Air is anything like Air Asia, they won’t let him on the flight without a return ticket, so maybe he’s purchased some refundable flights. We’ve done that in the past. Will he have the ability to figure it out? I’m usually in charge of this kind of stuff, like he’s apparently in charge of getting us to the airport at a reasonable and stress-free hour (he is sorely needed in that aspect as I’ve learned on this trip), and he’s usually with me so he’s not had to figure it out before. It makes me antsy the entire six hour flight.

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By this time, Ryder has a routine.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 361 awesome articles for us.

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