Malaysia - We might call this town our second home
Updated: Aug 19, 2020
It was another amazing 3 hours flight over beautiful Indonesia. We spotted Mount Agung on Bali, the crater lake of Mount Ijen and Mount Merapi on Java. There were no clouds, no wind just sunshine when we touched down in Kuala Lumpur at 10 am. It was the 6th (or 7th - we lost the overview) time touching down in our favourite city in Asia - but never before it was that smooth. Normally due to weather conditions, rains and thunderstorms touching down in Kuala Lumpur has a bit of a rollercoaster feeling. But this time: perfectly calm.
We could exchange our remaining indonesia rupiahs in malaysian ringits, bought some fresh fruits for breakfast at a little store and went down on the ground floor to catch the bus to KL Sentral. It is by far the cheapest options to go to town. Depending on the traffic it takes a bit more than 1 hour, but the buses are convenient. So we had breakfast on the bus, slept a bit
and we were back in KL Sentral. From here we took the monorail. Our Airbnb appartment was in Bukit Bintang. So we got of the monorail at Raja Chulan Station from where it was a 5 minute walk to our appartment. Luckily, we could already check in. We had a nice, clean private appartment in the Ramada Suites Complex. We love this system. They have mailboxes for the AirBnB guests. You get a code, pick up your key from the mailbox and go to the room. super efficient and hassle free. Great! Our appartment was really cool. Great views over the city (unfortunately to the "wrong" side - so no KL Tower or Petronas Tower views for us), clean, spacious, nicely decorated including a kitchen, a washing machine, a bathroom and a nice little balcony. The bed was big and comfy. So we settled down and happily took use of the much needed washing machine. We even had a hairdryer and worked on our phone (short reminder, after our camera also both our phones enjoyed a dip in the ocean and were dead). And after 1 hour of carefully dryblowing and putting underneath the aircon, the first phone showed signs of life (to put the story short - we could both safe our phones within 1 day with the help of the aircon). What a relief!
But we had to hurry up. Our 5 days in Kuala Lumpur were fully packed - this was not holiday any more. We had to work and get some really important things done which we had planned beforehand. First thing was that already at 2 pm Markus had a long appointment with the dentist. So we got a grab car (still love this system, it is so quick and easy and hassle free) and after 20 minutes we arrived at the dentist. We were welcomed and sat down. While Markus was getting 4 teeth done (!!!) I was comfortably enjoying my time in the waiting area which was more a comfy living room with views into a tropical garden, hpt tea and coffee and even vegan cookies. Time to read and enjoy for me. But also Markus came out happy without pain and nicely restored teeth. Even the bill did not hurt as much as it normally does in Switzerland. So we were happy and planned with the dentist to come back in about 2 years. Well, we see how things are going - but if we can make it, we will surely go back here. We can really recommend Dentalpro in Kuala Lumpur! Great treatment, professional, safe, clean and super modern - and a very polite staff.
Next thing was to pick up my glasses which I had ordered 4 weeks ago. So we took another grab car to get to Bangsar Village. There we spotted a vegan ice and cake café. Well, important things first. We had a nice hot coffee in the freezing cold mall (never get it why malaysian malls are so freezing cold), vegan chocolate cake and in the end some ice cream. Yummy. Then I got my new glasses and Markus finally ended up having an eye test as well and ordered some glasses for himself. They would not be ready in the time we are in KL as the glasses are a bit special. But what a great service - they offered us to send everything to Switzerland for a really small fee (and it worked out perfectly fine). So also here, great service, high quality glasses and professional eye tests: also icare in Bangsar Village can only be recommended. After a short stop in the supermarket of the mall (love it, it has so many great products) we walked to Little India which is 10 minutes away. There we bought some things for our little hindu temple at home and also stocked up with Himalaya Products. These ayurvedic products (like lotion,
shampoo, tooth paste) are great but super expensive and hard to get in Switzerland. Here you get it all for less than a third of the price. Heavily loaded it was time for a nice indian dinner. We enjoyed some great paper dosa and veggie curry in one of the vegetarian restaurants. How do we love these indian restaurants in Malaysia! We could go there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Most of them have great quality, are clean, food is safe and the taste is out of this world. We ended a fantastic dinner with chai tea before we took the monorail back home. There we just sat on our balcony overlooking the crazy nightlife in nearby Changkat Road. But as soon as we closed the door to the balcony the noise stayed outside - the great advantage of living in the 23rd floor.
After a very long day (we got up at 4 am to catch the flight to KL) we slept like babies and had a slow start into the next day. We made our own breakfast in our kitchen, put on another washing machine and worked a little bit. Great feeling to have everything clean again, emails checked, orders done, projects for the new year on the go, appointment with a new employee fixed. Life of self employed on the road. Around midday we made our way to Bukit Nanas. Never ever before did we walk around this forest reserve in the heart of the city. Bad luck for us, since a couple of days you have to pay an entrance fee (it was free before). Anyway, the canopy walk was nice, the forest and the birds were a pleasant change from the city and we enjoyed some fresh air before we headed to the area around Masjid Jamek. There we know 2 very nice indian vegetarian restaurants - time for lunch. This time we went to the Bhakti Woodlands and had a fantastic vegan thali with a chai in the end, of course. Later we went to Little India (there are 2 Little Indias in KL - one around KL Sentral in Bricksfield where we went the day before, and one on the other side of the Klang river close to Masjid Jamek). To get there we walked along a typical malaysian market which was very entertaining. In Little India again it was time for shopping this time clothes before we headed back home where we quickly freshened up.
Because, for sunset we had planned another thing we had only done once before in KL. We wanted to enjoy sunset on a rooftop. 3 years ago we had a fantastic time on the rooftop of Traders close to the Petronas Towers. This time we had decided to pay the Helipad a visit. This is a helicopter platform close to the monorail station of Raja Chulan. Early evening it transforms into a bar. The entrance fee is 50 Ringgit per person which includes 1 drink. It is very famous. And we loved it. The views are just ensane - and well, you are on a rooftop, on a helicopter plattform with only a cord "protecting" you from falling down. It is such a cool and great atmosphere with a mixture of businessmen, tourists from all over the world and locals - from hippies to brokers. Around 8 pm unfortunately it started raining and we had to go down. So we spontanously decided to visit the Berjaya Mall. We have never been there - and the only reason we went was that we wanted to see the rollercoaster inside the mall. It is insane! Well, we are not fans of big malls (we prefer the smaller malls like in Bangsar) but to see something like this once is a must. By foot we walked back via the Alor Night Food Market where we had a delicious fresh sugar cane juice. But as vegans passing through this street it
is not really fun - and there is not a lot you can eat either. So we went back to our appartment quickly and enjoyed a homemade vegan dinner with lots of fresh fruit there. Unfortunately, in the apartment complex it is not allowed to eat durian (which we like) and mangosteen (which we are crazy for - the best fruit in the world). So we sticked to papaya, mango, snake fruit and pitaya - not bad anyway.
Next morning same routine: breakfast, working, cleaning the apartment a bit and then we were of by foot to Chinatown. Well, honestly, we do not like Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur. But we wanted to visit the famous Sri Mahamariamman Temple. And this hindu temple is in the middle of Chinatown. As it was sunday late morning the streets were still quiet. We arrived at the temple just in time to do the parikrama (walking 3 times clockwise around the temple to pay respect) and then the sunday prayers started. So happily we could attempt this service in the temple. It was annoying that so many tourists were running around, filming the ceremony. I mean, of course, tourists can take pictures and film, but shouldn't we all do it in a descrete way! Even
Markus and I were really disturbed. Prayers were really nice and we sat down to meditate a bit afterwards. The temple is very nice with a huge south indian gopuram (entrance tower). So we were really happy to finally have visited it. After a short break for an excellent vegan capuccino in the cafe of the travellodge close by (great cafe and superbe coffee with alternative milk!) we walked along the Klang River. This part is newly renovated and really beautiful. We walked back to the apartment and got freshened up for the evening. We had planned to meet a friend that night and go together to a very special temple. Unfortunately, she could not join us as a family member was in hospital and she had to take care of the person. So we took the train to Kajang and went to the temple on our own. 3 years ago we came here for a darshan (personal blessing) with our spiritual master Paramahamsa Vishwananda. It was a very special darshan for us and he told us something very important (which is a bit too private to share here :-)). Anyway, since then, this place, this temple is really special for us and we were so
excited to come back. The main priest recognised us and we had a short talk to him before the evening prayers started. We enjoyed it very much to be back in this special temple. Much too fast the prayers were over. It was a bit tricky to find a grab again which could bring us from the temple to the train station. But finally we managed and got back home safely. We did not feel like going out that night but wanted to tressure our time in the temple with some quiet time in the apartment. After a quiet evening and a long and relaxing night we got up late. After breakfast we had to pack all our stuff. It was our last day in KL already. We left the luggage at the reception and hopped on the monorail to KL Sentral from where we took a train to the Batu Caves. We had been there many years ago, but we felt like coming back. We love south indian temples and there are many in Malaysia - so we wanted to have as much time in the temples as possible. To get to the Batu Caves is easy and straight forward. Once there, we decided to first visit a new cave with an amazing exhibition. With big statues the life of Rama was displayed. It was beautifully made and greatly explained and we enjoyed it a lot. The best: no visitors here! We nearly had the huge cave for ourselves. Close by, Batu Caves was flooded with tourists.
Nonetheless, we climbed the stairs and went to the temple. Unfortunately, the main temple was closed for the next 4 hours. So luck was not on our side here. But it did not matter. We went to some smaller temples and finally went back to town. It was beautiful anyway and always worth a visit.
Back in town we went to the Mimph House, a vegan eco restaurant near Raja Chulan monorail. It was difficult to find the restaurant in a mall, but food was amazing. They have typical malaysian dishes purely vegan. So we had lakhsa, an interesting desert and some amazing side dishes. All fresh and organic - really nice and prices are fair. But no visit to KL is complete without a final stroll around the KLCC park and a glimpse of the Petronas Towers which are simply impressive.
And much too fast, our trip to Asia had come to an end. We went back to get our luggage and got a grab to the airport. Our flight was at 2 am in the morning. After a pleasant Emirates flight to Dubai we arrived at 5 am deadly tired in Dubai where we hang around for 7 hours till our connecting flight to Istanbul. In Istanbul we had one more night which was pretty uneventful. We had a terrible but cheap place to sleep close to the airport. All we did was struggeling with icy temperatures (below 0 degress C at night) and drizzeling rain, warming us up in a coffee shop, having dinner, having a short night and then back to the airport again. Finally we landed back in Switzerland. And little did we know at that time what a chaotic year was lying ahead of us. Maybe that was our last big trip for a long time - the corona virus has turned our lifes (like many other lifes) upside down. Being self employed, we are working hard to survive with our business, so who knows when travelling will be possible again, how it will be and when we will have enough funds. We just hope that travellers (and of course all people in general) will not be expsoed to compulsary vaccinations - something we are completely against.
Maybe our next blog will be from our time at home....Stay all safe and healthy!