After my trip to Borneo, I headed to mainland Malaysia and to Kuala Lumpur, for the last few days of my holiday. I didn’t really get much chance to explore KL itself, as I only had a few days, and I took part in a few trips to see some of the sites outside of the city. There is a lot which I didn’t get chance to see and explore, and I would love to return to this city, to really get to know it. However, I did have a great time the few days that I was there.
We stayed in the Traders Hotel right in the centre of KL, opposite the Petronas Towers. We had a Traders Club, Tower View room. The view from our room was incredible, I spent so long just staring out of the window at the amazing view of the Petronas Towers. They look completely different in the day time as they do at night.
I would highly recommend paying a bit more for the Traders Club benefits. You get to have breakfast in the Traders Club which again, has amazing views out to the Petronas Towers. It is a quieter experience and you don’t have to queue for the buffet! You also get afternoon tea/canapés and drinks between 5 and 8pm (I think those are the times). This was amazing because it was the end of our trip and we were running low on funds, so we would eat here before heading out for drinks in the evening, as we couldn’t really afford to eat out each night.
The staff at the hotel were really friendly and helpful. There is a great bar on the top floor, SkyBar which is really popular with non residents as well. The pool is also located in the bar, which is really bizarre and doesn’t really make you want to go for a swim, when you are surrounded by people having a drink and socialising in the bar. It is set up more like a nightclub/bar than a pool, and for me personally, I would have rather they were separate.
As a bar though, SkyBar was enjoyable at night and it has amazing views over KLCC and the Petronas Towers. It was very popular, and if you want a seat in the window, you either need to book in advance, or arrive early. The weirdest thing about the bar/pool room was the fact it didn’t have a roof. It was the rainy season when we were there, and it was very strange to be sitting there by the pool, and then all of a sudden a rain storm is occurring inside. They had a partial roof which came up the sides a bit when it rained, but it didn’t fully close, so if it rained outside, it rained inside!
The Batu Caves
We took a trip out to the Batu Caves, which are just outside of KL. They are a series of caves and temples carved into the limestone hills, containing various Hindu shrines. The biggest cave, and the one most tourists visit, is the Cathedral or Temple Cave. It contains shrines to numerous Hindu Deities and has the large, golden statue of Murugan outside. It is quite something to gaze upon from the bottom of the steep steps.
At the base, there are lots of shops and hawker stalls battling for your business. There is also a huge number of pigeons pretty much everywhere you look. Some of the shops/stalls sell pigeon food, which may be why there are so many congregated here!
To head up the steps and into the cave there is a small fee to pay, plus extra if your require a sarong to cover your legs/shoulders. It is a religious site and therefore please dress appropriately – even though it will be unbearably hot climbing the many steps to the top!
Watch out for monkeys in the area, they are particularly prone to snatching dangling cameras, and other items, from unsuspecting tourists. They are very cheeky little things, and can appear from nowhere and disappear just as fast with all your holiday pictures, if you are not careful!
The steps are steep and uneven, and I would be impressed if you could do it all in one go, without stopping to catch your breath/cool down! The views from the top, back over KL, are pretty impressive, and once inside the caves, you can wander around and see the various shrines to the deities. It may seem a bit like a rubbish tip here, but it is actually people leaving gifts for the deities. They even leave live chickens, as, to my surprise, there were quite a few running around. There are a few further stalls at the top also, should you wish to purchase something.
We took a day trip to the Kuala Gandah Elephant Sanctuary from KL. It is quite a drive to get there, but the experience made it so worth it! We arrived at the sanctuary and had a local lunch, I had some sort of curry and rice, which was delicious. We then watched a video about the conservation work the sanctuary does and explaining why the elephants end up there. It is quite sad to see how tough it is for elephants in the wild in Malaysia at the moment. You left feeling as if the sanctuary was making a positive contribution, but there was still a little niggle that it maybe wasn’t quite the sanctuary it was made out to be.
However, once we were taken down to meet the elephants and their keepers, those niggles were soon taken away. The keepers are bonded with an individual elephant, for the duration of their time there, and the bond between elephant and keeper was quite something. You cannot ride the elephants like you can at other ‘sanctuaries’. You can join in the washing of the elephants in the river though, but unfortunately due to the recent rain, the river was too high for us to join in, so we just had to watch. The elephants seemed so happy playing and splashing about in the water, it was a joy to watch.
There were bananas available for purchase, and you could then feed those to the elephants. It was magical having them take the food from your hand, they were quite demanding creatures when they knew you had food! My highlight was getting to bottle feed one of the baby elephants. It was amazing to be so close to such a magnificent animal. I really enjoyed my day with the elephants and I would highly recommend a trip here if you have time.
To go up the Petronas Towers, you need to book a set time slot in advance. We booked it the morning of the day we wished to visit. We decided we wanted to go at night, to see KL all lit up. You gather downstairs prior to your pre booked slot, and after passing a few security checks, you then watch a hologram (so cool) talk to you about the towers. You then take the lift up to the SkyBridge, which connects the two towers together. This is a good photo opportunity, and there are some good views from here. You only get a certain amount of time on the bridge before you are ushered back into the lift.
You then head up to Level 86 and the observation deck. The views from up here are incredible (even if it is chucking it down with rain, as it was when we were there!). I wanted to spend longer up here but again, you only have a set time slot to be able to stay for. I took so many pictures from up here from every angle possible, I think I got a bit carried away to be honest. How anyone gets any work done in this building I genuinely don’t know!