Day 21 – Kuala Lumpur
Albino Burmese Python
We were picked up from our hostel at 9am to do the Jumbo tour (jumbo in this case refers to elephants). As the tour was running ahead of schedule, the driver chucked in a visit to the Batu Caves as we left the city. Most of Kuala Lumpur is quite flat, and then occasionally you get a random mountain with sheer sides sticking out of the ground. The Batu Caves are in one of these mountains, you climb 272 steps to get into the cave, which houses a Hindu temple, as well as some pigeons and monkeys. There was some big Hindu festival on, so there were heaps of people dressed in yellow carrying offerings up the steps; some people climbed the stairs on their knees as a penance.
We then began our tour and headed off to a park somewhere to see a waterfall. We wandered up and down the riverside looking for the waterfall until we came to the conclusion that the bumpy water we could see, was the waterfall. It had massive falls of about 20-30cm!! The locals seemed to love it though and were all swimming, BBQing and camping in the area. We were supposed to spend an hour at the waterfall, but after 20 minutes we’d seen it, so the guide took us to the next stop: Deerland.
Deerland was essentially a mini zoo. The main focus was a paddock full of deer and we got to feed them. As you followed the path, there were a number of small cages containing various different types of birds, there were some enclosures with hamsters and guinea-pigs, there was even one enclosure with what looked like a domestic cat (it was actually a Bengal Cat which is a wild, aggressive breed of cat). We also saw two snakes, we got a chance to hold the albino Burmese python, which was quite cool.
After Deerland we went to a roadside ‘cafe’ for some lunch, before the main attraction: Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary.
Elephants like bananas
Mark and I were both a little nervous about whether we would be seeing happy or sad elephants. The Deerland deer were sad because they had small enclosures and didn’t appear to be well looked after; the OrangUtan in Sepilok were happy because they were really well treated and weren’t in any way confined. It turned out that the elephants were sad, mostly. When we got there the elephants were on concrete enclosures, some of them were rocking from side to side like crazy people. We fed them some bananas to try to cheer them up. After a little while there was an elephant show…this was actually quite good and the elephants seemed a bit happier. The staff rode the elephants into the river where they got a bath. Each elephant rolled over lazily in the water while their trainer gave them a good scrub…they really seemed to enjoy it. After bath time, they did wander up onto a podium where we were told a bit about each of them, and were then given the opportunity to feed them some papaya, they really enjoyed that! So while they seemed to be physically treated ok, I do wonder how they are treated in general, and of they are allowed to wander free anywhere. I hope so, because elephants are so lovely!
That concluded our tour and we were driven back to KL, where we wandered around Central Market for a bit, Mark got a Dr. Fish foot massage and I bought some presents for myself.
In the evening Mark headed out to catch up with his friend Sherman, while I continued to browse central market an Chinatown market, as well as stuffing my face full of yummy food, and watching a street performance of Malaysian dancing.
Posing with the Malaysian dancers
Day 22 – Kuala Lumpur
On the observation desk of Petronas Tower no.2
We had another early start, to get tickets for the Petronas Towers we needed to be at the ticket office around 8:30am. Tours up the towers leave about every 15 minutes, starting at 9am. By the time we got our tickets the next available tour was at 12:15!! So we bought our tickets before exploring the mall and aquarium.
The aquarium was reasonably small, but nonetheless cool. The underwater tunnel was great, I always love watching fishes and turtles swim!!
The mall was pretty amazing. Absolutely enormous and there were six floors. Each floor had 4 wings. Among the fancy stores were Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Chanel etc. The stores which caught my attention were places like Zara and Mango – and of course I took the chance to shop it up!!
At 12 we headed to the towers were the elevator zipped us up to the 41st floor to have a look at the SkyBridge. The SkyBridge is about halfway up the towers and connects the two. The interesting aspect was that it is suspended between the two buildings, but is not actually fixed, allowing it to sway in very high winds without causing any damage. You can actually feel outside air flowing in at the joins!
Soon enough it was time to continue upwards to the 86th floor… 370 metres above ground level (the towers themselves are 452.9metres high). The view was pretty good!! It was pretty interesting to see the overview of KL, residential areas were all very ‘flat’, small buildings, where the non-residential areas were full of huge tall buildings!
After our tower visit, we returned to the mall for lunch in one of the food courts, and more shopping. Before we knew it, it was 5pm!! A little tired and carrying a stack of bags, we headed back to the hostel with the plan of following the lonely planet suggested walking tour of Chinatown. As we got off the monorail, we decided just to chill at the hostel for a bit as it was bucketing with rain!
So after some emails and Facebook, when the sky had stopped leaking we popped out for a bit. We had dinner, enjoyed some foot massages and watched a martial arts demonstration (it was kids from a local school, but was still quite fun to watch)
Day 23: Kuala Lumpur
While we intended to have a bit of a sleep in on our last day, we both woke up around 6am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so we got up, had some brekky, packed our bags, then stored them in the luggage room for the day before heading out for some more sightseeing.
We started off by following the lonely planets suggested walking tour of Chinatown, it was a bit challenging when half the streets don’t have street signs, but either way we had a nice wander.
With the day really starting to heat up, we jumped on a monorail and headed in the direction of the current ‘trendy’mall: Pavilion. We checked out some of my favourites: H&M, Zara, Mango, Guess, Pull & Bear as well as a few other stores…including Jimmy Choo!!! I’m pretty sure I couldn’t even come close to affording those shoes, even when they were 50% off!!
The malls here really are phenomenal, and I’m glad that there are maps available, because you really do need them!!
We found a food hall to eat some yummy noodles and satays as all this shopping makes you hungry.
We checked out another neighbouring mall, as well as a purely IT mall. I was a bit disappointed as I couldn’t find any random gadgets. Had I wanted a mobile phone, tablet or laptop though, I would have been in heaven! 6 floors to choose from!!
Year of the Dog
Another thing worth commenting on, is that since it is so close to Chinese New Year, all the streets as well as shops and restaurants are decorated with flowers and lanterns and everything Chinese it’s quite cool, but perhaps a little full on. The entrance to Pavilion Mall was no exception and the entrance was lined with the animals from the Chinese years. As far as I understand, I am year of the dog.
Late afternoon we were both pretty knackered, so we headed to the hostel to spend the last few hours before our flight home, catching up on emails and facebook. We have an overnight flight and will be back home on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s been a fantastic holiday, we have seen and done so much, and even crammed in some girly shopping. As fun as it’s been, I am looking forward to heading home and catching up with my family and my puppy dog. I am also looking forward to breathing smog free air!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in my travels!