. We feel like old-hands at this now!
Our hostel in Kuala Lumpur was based in Chinatown (again!) and was absolutely spotless, it was a big change from our accommodation in Melaka and Indonesia. We’ve given ourselves quite a few days here in Kuala Lumpur, not because there is particularly much to do, but we want to get a 60 day visa sorted from the Thai embassy here. We decided to air on the side of caution because we know that embassies can be quite unreliable when it comes to their opening hours, which was proven to us when we found out that the Thai embassy was actually shut during our first day in Kuala Lumpur for a public holiday (nowhere else seemed to be shut in the whole city though, so don’t know if the embassy just decided to shut for the day for no reason). It turned out to be really easy to get our visas organized and we were so happy when we went to pick up our passports the following day and found out that we had been given the 60 days we wanted, yippee!
During our time in Kuala Lumpur we went to visit the world famous Petronas Towers; they are one of the biggest Malaysian tourist features and (more importantly, as far as I’m concerned) they were the setting for a film with Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones! The metro line takes you underneath the Towers into an enormous shopping center and then you come up from under the ground and walk out of the front of the Towers; it was amazing walking out and then turning around and seeing the Towers behind you
. Visiting the Petronas Towers was like visiting the Sydney Opera House or the Eiffel Tower, it just feels like you are looking at a postcard, it all seems so surreal! It was a blisteringly hot day and we spent most of it in the park surrounding the Towers and nipping into the shopping center for some blessed air-con! Inbetween the two towers is a bridge which is suspended about mid-way up and we were lucky enough to get some last-minute tickets to visit the bridge during the afternoon. So at 4pm we were shown into the Towers and given access passes, which we absolutely loved because they made us feel like VIP guests, and then we were whisked up to the 43rd floor in a super-fast elevator with hundreds of buttons like the one on Charlie and Chocolate Factory! The views from the bridge where magnificent despite it being a slightly hazy day. I ended up feeling a bit green while we were there as it suddenly occurred to me that there was nothing underneath us to break our fall should the bridge run into troubles; my palms where sweaty and my heart was in my mouth the whole time, especially when a little boy started jumping all the place because he was in a bad mood! Fifteen minutes on the bridge was plenty for me and we were really glad that we’d gotten the chance to visit it and take in the views.
We didn’t really get up to much during the rest of our time in Kuala Lumpur; we went for a massive walk from the Thai embassy, through the steepest city gardens known to man and back to Chinatown on one of the hottest days we’ve encountered so far and I felt like I couldn’t take another step by the end of day
. On our third day in Kuala Lumpur we both came down with a really bad cold so other than venturing out to get food, we spent a couple of days curled up in the hostel . Even though we both felt rubbish, it was actually a really good chance for us to start getting ourselves organized for the rest of our trip. So far we have had the luxury of not really having to plan beyond the country we are in at the moment. However we have got lots of border crossings coming up in the next few months so we really needed to knuckle down and come up with some sort of plan of how we are going to move between the different countries and what our visa requirements will be. As with most things, it turned out to be easier said than done. We did loads of planning before we came away but once you get here you quickly realize how often things change and it isn’t so easy to stick to a rigid plan; one of the reasons our trip has been so successful thus far is because we have been so flexible. It was a lot of information to fit into our heads, especially because our heads were mostly filled with gunk at the time, but I think we finally managed to get it sorted. We’ve decided to add another
country to our plan; we are going to visit Cambodia for a couple of days so that we can see Angkor Wat. We’ve also got our charity work to take into consideration, so in order to give us as much as flexibility as possible we’ve booked a couple of cheap flights (£3!) between certain countries and hopefully it will all work itself out in the end!
So although we never actually planned to visit Malaysia at all, it has turned out to be a brilliant addition to our trip. I’m so glad we came here; Melaka was one of my favourite places so far and Kuala Lumpur gave us the chance to get our heads around the remainder our of trip. We are now getting close to the 7 month mark of our travels; it feels really strange saying that! We are still having an amazing time and I just can’t tell you enough how much we are growing and learning each day; Asia is more of an education than I could ever have expected and we are really honoured to be here. Every now and then we have to remind each other that the memories we are creating right at this very minute won’t just last us a couple of years, we will be reminiscing about this trip for the rest of our lives. Next stop… Thailand and our stint volunteering at a children’s charity. And so begins a new chapter in our story.
Our arrival in Kuala Lumpur turned out to be a thoroughly Asian affair; we should be used to it by now, as the coach we were travelling on dumped us on the outskirts of the city, a million miles from anywhere and not a soul spoke any English. I think we are becoming more used to Asian life though, because rather than panicking we just rolled our eyes at each other, threw our bags our backs and marched off in search of the nearest bus or train station. We were actually quite lucky to get dumped near a new train terminal and within half an hour we were being whisked off to the city center and we hadn't even broke out into a stress-induced sweat. It was quite funny because we ended up having a young English couple trailing around after us like a pair of lost puppies; they had actually been traveling a heck of a lot longer than we had, but I don’t think they had gotten used to Asian life yet, they looked like rabbits caught in the headlights and we ended up helping them to their accommodation at the same time as trying to find ours