I landed in Kuala Lumpur on Friday afternoon. The flights were excellent; Asian airlines always seem to me much nicer than American ones. From the airport I took a 30 minute train ride into KL’s Old City Centre district, and struggled for a couple hours to find my hostel in the rain. Once I did, I had to quickly figure out how to get cash, where to find food and an umbrella, and how to use my voltage converter to charge my phone. It was a rough first night, and I wasn’t as prepared as I should’ve been.
First impressions die hard (or something); everyday since has been great. The next day I woke up early to clear skies and had a delicious breakfast and tea at the hostel. I started exploring by foot and found that the traffic and sidewalks are much more manageable in the mornings. I found the beautiful Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), where Malaysian independence from Britain was declared in 1957. It’s surrounded by lots of really neat old colonial buildings. I also found a public library where I’ve been spending some time the last few days.
I ventured to the west side of the district, and found Taman Tasik Perdana (Lake Gardens), a giant park which contains—among other things—the National Planetarium and the KL Bird Park. Kuala Lumpur has a bird park! There’s an entrance fee, so I came back a couple days later prepared to spend a whole morning there. Here are some pictures I took:
Right after I took the picture above, a couple people approached me and asked if I’d be interested in doing an interview. They were filming some sort of Malaysia PSA, as best as I can tell. They were incredibly nice, and asked a lot about where I was from and what I thought about Kuala Lumpur.
The full album of photos I took at KL Bird Park is here.
Other things of note:
Traffic is crazy. I don’t remember it being like this in Phnom Penh. Trying to cross the street is terrifying (even at a crosswalk).
The markets and the food are amazing. Just as cool (and cheap!) as they’re reputed to be. And I haven’t even been to any night markets yet, which KL is known for.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first time staying in a hostel. My room is tiny and windowless, the showers are cold, and the building is more than a bit rundown. But the proprieters and other guests have all been quite nice, there’s free breakfast and coffee and tea, the building is air conditioned, it’s centrally located, and it feels safe and secure. And regardless, the price of hostels here is incredibly low for what you get, so I’m very happy so far.