I’ll be the first to admit- despite having visited Kuala Lumpur twice, it’s never been my first choice of city. Like a lot of other travellers, I use it as a hub- a place to spend a few days in then take advantage of all the cheap Air Asia flights that depart from there.
On my first visit to KL, I really enjoyed spending time exploring the city, especially being shown around by friend Emily who lives there. However, I never quite fell in love with the city the same way as I have with other huge Asian cities, such as Seoul, Osaka and Tokyo. This time, something just switched in me though. Maybe I had fresh eyes or maybe it was a change of attitude and perspective. Whatever it was, I learned that there’s a lot to love about Malaysia’s capital mega city.
These were the highlights for me.
It’s an Easy Place to Make New Friends
As Kuala Lumpur is a stop off for most travellers, it’s a guaranteed certainty that you’ll make some like-minded pals there. Staying in a hostel and going on tours is a great way to make friends. I stayed in Paper Plane Hostel which is a pretty popular place in the heart of the city. I also took a street food tour and a cooking class and ended up meeting sooo many people! Honeymooners, backpackers, holidayers- so many different people with so many stories about places that they’ve been and places that they’re about to go! Since this was my first solo trip, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and effortless it was to meet people there.
Mmmmm the food in Malaysia is all kinds of yummy and Kuala Lumpur is a great place to try it. Malaysian cuisine is a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences but prepared in what can only be described as a uniquely Malaysian way. Like a lot of Brits, I am a huge fan of Chinese and Indian cooking so I have enjoyed everything I’ve tried (with the exception of durian…) I think all travellers should take advantage of the cheap, amazing street food in the city. Especially Nasi Lemak and Curry Laska!
It’s Cheap and Convenient
For such a huge and modern city, Kuala Lumpur is surprisingly affordable. Their well-connected (but admittedly confusing) public transport system is cheap as chips. Street food is between 5 and 10 MYR (1 and 2 GBP) and is some of the best food you’ll taste in the city! Hostels are a little bit pricier than in other South East Asian destinations but still a lot less than Malaysia’s extortionate neighbour, Singapore! Still, it’s definitely do-able on a backpacker’s budget!
The Mix of Cultures
After living in such a homogenous country (South Korea) for the past 2 and a half years, this is something that I’ve really come to appreciate about other countries. Actually, it’s one of the things that I appreciated most about Malaysia.
The main race groups living together in Malaysia are Malays, Chinese and Indian. Three different races of people speaking three different languages and practising three different religions. But, still living together in unity and enjoying each other’s food and company. Different locals that I spoke to had nothing but positive things to say about the way that the three main cultures (and the smaller ethnic groups also living throughout the country) have come together to create their own unique, multicultural country.
I found it so interesting learning about their backgrounds and how they interact with one another. Everyone is allowed to freely practice their own religion so long as they don’t speak hate towards any of the others. With the amount of hate in the world, I found this truly awe inspiring. I think we could all learn something from the Malaysians!
I am a sucker for a beautiful skyline and Kuala Lumpur’s doesn’t disappoint. The Petrona’s Towers have to be one (or two?) of the most elegant and beautiful skyscrapers in the world. By day and by night, the best place to appreciate the vastness of the city is from a vantage point. I recommend heading to the Heli Lounge Bar where you can enjoy an unrivalled panoramic view of the city- just make sure you don’t slip off the edge after a few, too many vinos!
Let me know, have you visited Kuala Lumpur? What did you love about it?
This is just the start of many posts about Kuala Lumpur! If you want to know more about the amazing foodie experience that I had in the city, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter and follow me on Facebook.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Paper Plane Hostel. However, as always, all opinions are my own.