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Malaysia

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Kuala Lumpur is one of the top destinations in Asia. It is the home of the beautiful Petronas Towers and other tourist attractions such as the Menara KL tower, Jalan Petaling, Batu Caves, Sultan Abdul Samal building, the Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, and many other attractions.
Here are a few things you ought to know before you go to the diverse city of Kuala Lumpur.

From the Airport
You can take the Kuala Lumpur shuttle from the airport for $3. You can also take the taxi which will cost you around $18.00 and would take about 50 minutes to get to the center of the city. If you want to travel in style, you can take the limo for about $94.
The currency used in Kuala Lumpur is called Malaysian Ringgit. You can do the currency exchange at the airport and also in other touristy spots around the city. You can buy Celcom (XPAX), Maxis (Hotlink), DiGi, and U Mobile SIM cards at the airport. These cards cost around $6.22 and come with free local texts and calls.

The KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) offers luggage storage services for the following rates:

Number of Days Price
1 to 6 days $4.48 per day
7 to 14 days $3.73 per day
15 to 24 days $3.23 per day

Getting Around Kuala Lumpur

To get around Kuala Lumpur, you can take the KL LRT (Light Rail Transit) or the KLIA express train service. You can buy an all-day LRT pass for only $1.74 or 7 RM. The traffic is really bad in Kuala Lumpur though so it’s best to avoid taxis and buses around 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and between 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. You can also rent a car and drive around the city. The taxi fare is 75 cents for the first two minutes and then the meter will charge you 5 cents every 45 seconds.

Kuala Lumpur Culture

Kuala Lumpur is the cultural center of Peninsular Malaysia. It is composed of three dominant races — Indians, Chinese, and Malays. Most Malaysians live in the outskirts. The national language of Malaysia is Bahasa Malaysia which is a little similar to the Indonesian language. Malaysians love to weave fabrics and produce beautiful handicrafts.

Spots for Foodies and Adventure Seekers

If you’re a foodie, you should definitely visit the Golden Triangle or the Nasi Kandar Pelita which is located near the Petronas Towers. Nasi Kandar serves Indian Muslim foods such as curried cuttlefish, tangy beef rending, and pucuk paku (fern leaves).
If you’re the adventurous type, you should definitely do indoor rock climbing at Camp5 Climbing Gym. You could also try orbing ball at “First in Malaysia.” Other extreme activities include paintball or driving an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) at Extreme Park.

It was into my first 3 months of traveling and my hair was bugging! The last time I had a proper (I use that term loosely) cut and color was almost over 6 months prior during my trip to Argentina in the small town of Puerto Madryn. I never got around to cutting my hair before I left, I had split ends, and the color was looking pretty washed out and blah. I needed a new look.

It was the first time I wasn’t working in about 8 years and my previous job was pretty conservative with the dress code, so I thought it would be fun to get a little wild with my hair to express the creative freedom I was feeling. I found myself in one of Kuala Lumpur’s multi-level malls and I passed this one hair salon that looked pretty hip. The female hairstylist had an asymmetrical bob cut with inspiring highlights of blue. I knew right away she wouldn’t play it safe with my hair and that I could trust her. So  I make an appointment and she has me come back in an hour.

I really didn’t know what I wanted. At first, I was thinking highlights of red with fiery highlights of copper. But then I told her to just get creative with it. She brings out some hair swatches and then we decided to get crazy with pink! I never had pink hair. This is kind of exciting! What if I hate it? It’s pink so I know it won’t be long before it eventually washes out. After a couple of hours, my hair is cut shorter and my hair is red with one big pink highlight. I take one look in the mirror and take a deep breath. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I pay the woman, walk out of the mall, and am feeling a little self-conscious about what the locals might think. I’m not sure how Malaysians react to such radical hair, but if she can have blue then I can have pink. It’s late when I get back to my guesthouse and I sleep it off.

The next morning I do a little city exploring, but a torrential downpour of rain hits and I scurry inside the closest building I could find inside of a bank. There was a little cafe open and I decide to grab some tea and wait for the rain to stop. I started looking at my hair again and began to really like it. It was bold, risky, and fun – just like how I was feeling at the moment. I’m going to rock this do! Not long after, I take a selfie of me with my new look and post it to Facebook (drum rolls). I initally thought I might get a few “meh’s” from my conservative friends but I also knew I’d get some support from my liberals. Boom! Posted.

It was only a matter of minutes before I get my first comment from a friend I’ve known for almost 10 years telling me how ridiculous I looked. At first, I thought he was being facetious and I jokingly respond back about how much I like it. Then he continues to throw some rather harsh feedback telling me that pink is for kids and that I need to change it back. Ouch! Thanks for your very blunt remarks. So I send him a private message asking him what’s up and he ripped me a new one. Yikes! Really? Well, I’m feeling expressive and this is how I’m expressing my creative mood. If you don’t like it then keep your feelings to yourself or stop being friends with me. Not long after I found out we were defriended from Facebook. WOW.

I began feeling a little self-conscious after that thinking maybe I do look ridiculous, but I like it and I know it’s only about a month before it washes away. I started observing Malaysians in stores to see if I’d be treated differently and it was quite the opposite. I actually received a couple of compliments! Why couldn’t my friend be accepting of this temporary phase of mine if this very conservative country could be? Later I checked back on my Facebook account and received an overwhelming amount of support from friends and family telling me to “do me” and forget his harsh criticism. So I did and I didn’t lose any readers like he said I would because of it.

Unless you come from a Hindu culture or just a resident of Malaysia, the chances are you probably don’t know what Thaipusam is all about. I sure didn’t, but then my recently acquainted Malaysian friend asked for me to come up for it in Kuala Lumpur. So what is Thaipusam? It’s an annual festival held on the full moon of the 10th month of the Hindu calendar and celebrated by mostly the Tamil community where thousands (and I mean THOUSANDS) of people gather at the popular Batu Caves attraction to watch devotees demonstrate their vows in elaborate costumes and piercings.

I wasn’t initially a fan of the idea being sandwiched between smelly armpits and being herd like cattle, but I knew it was probably the only time I’d get to see something like this, and it would be a great photo opp to share with my peeps. I was also feeling a little sensitive to terrorist attacks with the recent Jakarta incident even though I knew the police officials had it all under control.

I was in Malacca at the time and took the early morning two-hour bus ride to KL make it on time but later found out that the big day wasn’t until the following morning on Sunday. So I meet up with my local friend anyway, and we spend the day doing what girls do: shop, wine, and dine.

We were partying a bit late the night before so we got a pretty late start on the day and made it to the festival at around 2:00 pm. The local transportation (MRT) line was packed (as predicted) that even men were sitting in the ladies’ only car – which made me feel a little perturbed as they all sit comfortably in our car while elder women were standing for 20 minutes before we get there. It was later more comforting to hear these weren’t “real Malaysians” and obviously they were a bit clueless, but you get where I’m going with this; the crowds!

As soon as we step off the railway, masses of people! I’m looking at the crowds packed like sardines (and probably smelling like them too) on the other side all waiting to leave the Batu Caves. This made me feel a bit uncomfortable. If there were any real state of emergency, those people weren’t going anywhere.

I let my feelings pass, and we make our way to the Batu Caves. There were dozens and dozens of vendors lined up, carnival rides, and again, TOO MANY PEOPLE. I’m sweating balls in this heat, and I just can’t wait to get to the other side so I can get my few pics and run!

I’ll admit it was a bit intriguing to see, but each of the devotees was usually swarmed by clicking cameras all trying to get the same picture I wanted. My friend wanted to get closer to the steps, and I’m whimpering inside but remain a trooper and fight my way through the crowds elbows and all. I couldn’t believe how many people they allowed walking the stairs to the caves. Again, sardines! If there were any sort of emergency that broke out, I could imagine a lot of helpless people. Why do I feel like I’m talking like an overprotective mom right now?

After we grab our few shots, we squeeze our way back out of the crowds and decide we had enough. The lines back to the MRT hadn’t changed, so we got a couple of henna tattoos that pretty much smeared by all the sweat and shoving through people. The AC was nice on the way back to the city, though?

I hoped to have some crazy inspiring story to share with you, but sometimes the crowds are just crowds. I didn’t feel a sense of awe nor did I feel emotionally taken. But if you are looking for a couple of cool photos, then this is definitely worth the trip!

 

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