Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kuala Lumpur

We planned to take a day-time bus from Melaka to the east coast of Malaysia but apparently there isn't a day-time bus anymore (picture a man at a ticket counter waving and yelling "all finished"). So, we decided to take the two-hour bus ride to Kuala Lumpur (KL) and take the night bus from there.

Getting to the bus station in Melaka was somewhat of an ordeal. The public bus that ran near our guest house wouldn't stop for us even though we tried waving it down, but a taxi did (hmmm...coincidence?). The taxi driver drove like a mad-man, honking and passing everyone on both the right and the left. We didn't say that we were in a hurry but he sure drove like we were. (I guess more preparation for the Amazing Race...)

The bus ride to KL was uneventful and our first impressions of the city were that it is super busy and congested and a bit smelly. Similar to Singapore there are malls and markets everywhere, as well as plentiful food stalls. We stowed our bags at the bus station after buying our tickets (and paying a tip to some guy who helped us with our tickets) and did a walking tour of the downtown area.

KL has two main landmarks, the Petronas Towers and the Menara Tower (or KL Tower) so we decided to check out both of them. Here we are in front of the Petronas towers:

The towers, completed in 1998 were the tallest buildings in the world until 2004, although they are still the tallest twin buildings in the world at over 1,400 feet tall. They're an impressive sight. Interestingly, although not at all surprising, the five lowest levels of the towers are a mega-mall of three connected malls. I mean wouldn't it be great to get your Prada purse and Tiffany accessories at the towers?

Shopping is huge here. We thought Singapore had a lot of malls, but I think KL has it beat. There was even an IT Mall of all electronic stores, including one store devoted entirely to Windows Smart Phones.

Now we're off to catch our night bus to the east coast. Our guide book says Internet is sparse and costly there, but I find that hard to believe, as so far Malaysia seems to have more wifi than New Zealand or Australia ever did (hence this extra post today :-)

Here's the full set of pictures that we took cruising around the city today:
Kuala Lumpur

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