We had a couple of spare weeks between when we were due to leave Cambodia and when we were due to arrive back in India to meet Tom’s parents. We decided to spend them in Malaysia since it was the cheapest place to get to and because why not.
The city of Kuala Lumpur conjured up images of high rises, shopping malls and bustling city life. These things all turned out to exist in abundance, but what was so fascinating was that in and amongst them was an array of culture, colour and soul. Beautiful old Buddhist temples sat opposite luxury shopping villages and businessmen enjoyed lunch at tiny local eateries. We didn’t have nearly long enough to explore all that Kuala Lumpur had to offer but in the four days we did spend there, we saw, ate and experienced so much more than we had anticipated.
We stayed in a great little air b’n’b with a charming guy called Zobran, who had moved to Malaysia from Bangladesh to study and work. He gave us an interesting and heartbreaking insight into village life in Bangladesh. Having grown up in a village which had only had electricity for the past 10 years and he described as being incredibly unsafe, he was happy to be living in Kuala Lumpur.
Our apartment was situated so that we had a half hour-ish walk into the main hubbub of the city. This walk took us through interesting residential areas as well as past an absolutely disgusting river. On our first day we headed straight for the iconic Pronovas towers and we were not disappointed. The towers are incredibly beautiful and though entirely different from the sort of architecture we’re both usually drawn to, we stood and stared for ages.After several weeks of veg fried rice we were really craving some healthy whole-foods so we headed into of KL’s many malls and went to town with the fresh juices on offer. It wasn’t until the following day that we discovered the real good shit was out on the streets We also spotted an unusual amount of vintage cars hanging around the malls at night.One of the absolute highlights of our time in KL and perhaps one of the most magical museums we’ve ever visited was the museum of Islamic Art.Never could we have imagined such beautiful, intricate peaces of art. There were hundreds of hand painted Qur’ans decorated with just the most stunning patterns. Perhaps most dazzling of all were the miniature Qur’ans which were all hand painted. Everything from the ceiling to the 3d models of mosques from around the world were totally enchanting. If you have the opportunity to visit this wonderful collection of treasures, it comes highly recommended by us! Kuala Lumpur is a total melting pot of cultures and religions and although people are living happily side by side, there are several different quarters with totally different feels. Of course we massively enjoyed the “Little India”, in Brickfields and took advantage of the delicious food on offer! This channa goes down as one of the best street foods we’ve ever eaten We also had a lovely mooch through the Chinatown district. The market sold everything we could possibly have wanted or not wanted. We went for some roasted chestnuts. Definitely wanted those. The guy selling them was also selling rambutan fruit (lychee-ish) AND he was dressed like one.From here we wandered into central market where we stumbled upon some amazing coconut ice cream at Sangkaya, which it was rude no to try.We found some lovely street art and were just generally blown away by the vibrancy of the city. Oh and also, there was this one time when we walked past this plastic bag full of hair. Can’t give exact location of said hair, but if you’re planning on visiting KL, keep an eye out because it was quite a spectacle.The Dharma Yealm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery temple was absolutely beautiful and due to the fact that it was also home to a daily vegan buffet, we visited it several times Now this buffet. Not only was the food exquisite the entire experience was very special for us. It allowed us to totally immerse ourselves in Malaysian company, to see the workings of a beautiful old temple and to share tables with interesting and interested locals who were curious about how we came to be in such a place.A number of members of the temple, many of them quite elderly worked hard preparing a huge amount of yummy cruelty-free food every day for the local community.According to happy cow there are some dishes that contain dairy but we certainly didn’t spot any when we went. All the dishes are prepared according to a traditional Buddhist monk diet and the place is set up like a hawkers market with a set price for a plate of food. It was an eat as much as you like type of affair, the only rule being that you should only take what you can eat so that nothing went to waste.
As you can see from the slightly excessive amount of photos we took, the variety of foods on offer was huge. Every type of mock meat imaginable was laid out as well as all manner of different vegetable dishes. Tofu made an appearance in a number of different forms and it was hard to resist the amount of deep-fried goodies on offer. We weren’t the only ones who had difficulty choosing! Although we had found out about this food heaven on Happy Cow, we didn’t see any other foreigners on our numerous visits and had some lovely chats with people who had popped there on their lunch breaks.There were also a few stalls selling baked and dry goods to take away. So we did that too.We also ate delicious food at LN Fortunate Coffee, of which there are two in the city. All the food is organic and fresh. A far cry from the deep fried mock meats we had been indulging in at the monastery.KL is also a fantastic place to get a massage, particularly in the Brickfields area. What makes the experience so unique is that many places offer treatments by blind massage therapists. We both thoroughly enjoyed our “blind massages” and were spoilt for choice as for where to go. We didn’t note down the place we went to but Tripadvisor is full of recommendations, otherwise you can just rock up.
Finally, this blog wouldn’t be complete without a night shot of those bloody lovely towers