Upon leaving Indonesia, to return in a month, we arrived in Kuala Lumpur. I had organized to attend my friends book launch but screwed up the dates immensely. We ended up staying in the capital for two and a half weeks, due to my fuck up, in the market area of China town. This compact yet pulsating area is full of wonderful eateries, markets for miles and a huge drug problem. In the evening a huge amount of Malaysians and a few Europeans gather around the streets to smoke Heroin or Shabu (crystal meth).
The problem seems a rather vast one, but in all fairness, we had no problems at night. The initial experience was rather unnerving, but we quickly gauged the probability of trouble, once we got lost in an alleyway, and realized that people didn’t even give us a second clouded glance. They were far too fucked up to care.
The city is huge and trying to see it all is improbable in two weeks. The botanical gardens are very well maintained and look incredible and, if you can stand the heat, make for a wonderful picnic area. One bar you should certainly try is the ‘Tapas Beer Bar’, with quality world ales available at a considerable price. 30 rm for a tap beer, but with 15 rm for a Guinness in most establishments, it worth treating yourself. The food, as always in Malaysia, is delectable. Never stray far from the street food as the taste quality surpasses most restaurants.
The market area, with the hustle and bustle, really comes alive at night. If you are used to people constantly trying to sell you things, and if you love a good haggle, this place is a must see. There are many coffee shops to visit, if that’s your thing, with a quality selection of cheesecakes. Our time was mostly spent complaining about how much food we had eaten whilst frequenting our favorite cheesecake café. We visited the Petronas towners at night which does look rather spectacular, and the inside is a shopping mall if you are up for a bit of retail therapy.
We didn’t like the business district or the shopping area, but Bunkit Bintang has a more relaxed vibe with plenty of shops and eateries around. We especially enjoyed the Indian celebrations for ‘Thaipusam’, as we were fed for free at every corner by the Indian community and we felt very welcome as we watched the festival.
Kuala Lumpur is more than just a big city and once we recovered from the initial drug shock, we were pleasantly surprised at the gentle quietness this city has to offer.