Our path to Malaysia from Cairns took us via Sydney, where we had to recheck bags and change terminal. The flight was delayed by over an hour because of a medical emergency – not on the plane itself, someone in a stretcher would be occupying a section of the plane as it flew onwards to Kuala Lumpur. It was a little strange seeing the curtained-off stretcher in the economy cabin: it’s not something I’d seen before. I hope the person arrived safely and is getting the treatment they need.
The flight itself was about 8.5 hours. Over half of the flight-time was spent crossing Australia – this country is huge! At one point – purely by chance – I opened the sunshade just as we were about to leave the mainland and head out across the ocean. It helped me appreciate Australia’s vastness.
Arriving in KL we were greeted by Matt, one of my oldest friends. He took us to our Airbnb in the CBD of KL, which has to be the best value of anywhere we’ve stayed on the trip, so far. Welcome to Asia.
It’s monsoon season, here in Malaysia, so our first morning it absolutely bucketed down. This was actually just fine, as we’d in any case planned to spend the morning in the Islamic Arts Museum.
We started with the special exhibit on Islamic bookbinding, which was fascinating.
After this we headed to the architecture space, which contained some really interesting scale models of mosques around the world.
In the calligraphy area there were some interesting-looking books on mathematics, too.
After this we headed over to the central market in KL – the rain had stopped, by this time – where we refueled the kids with their favourite beverage, bubble tea.
From here we went for a proper refuelling: a very nice Nyona lunch at the Old China Cafe.
Feeling replete, we headed back to the Central Market to meet Matt, stopping by a Chinese temple on the way.
Matt showed us around the area a little more, and then took us across to the KLCC – the Kuala Lumpur City Centre – where we enjoyed the park and the views of the Twin Towers as the sun set.
After another excellent meal – this time at Madame Kwan’s – we hit the sack. The following morning we headed out to Puchong to meet Matt’s wife, Muna, for a hike in the jungle. Getting there was complicated by our UberXL driver having trouble staying connected to the network – Uber has had issues in Malaysia on this front, for some reason – but we got there eventually.
Muna knows the hikes in this area really well, and was the perfect guide for a late morning (and very sweaty) walk through the jungle.
Muna took us back into KL for a lovely lunch at Isabel. The food in this city is just unbelievably good!
We spent a few hours digesting, back at the flat, before heading out to visit the city again. The area down by the river is lit up in the evening.
We spent some time at an interactive art exhibit, which involved LEDs, water and selfies.
We walked past the opening of the Expo Negaraku 2017, where Najib Razak, Malaysia’s controversial Prime Minister, was addressing the assembled crowd. It was quite surreal seeing him in person (however briefly), given how much attention he’s been getting of late.
Our last dinner in Malaysia was, again, exceptional. We had two types of crab – one with black pepper and one with a curry leaf and tamarind sauce. Incredible.
One the way home Matt picked us up some durian to have for breakfast. I’ve always been put off trying this – the smell is hard to get past – but I’m determined to give it a try, this time.
It’s been a whirlwind couple of days in the city of Kuala Lumpur. It was so nice to catch up with Matt and Muna, but also to enjoy the delicious local delicacies. Next time we’ll definitely plan on having enough time to go further afield than KL: there are some lovely really places to visit in Malaysia, if you have the time.
We’re about to head back to the airport to fly down to Singapore where we’ll be catching up with more old friends for a few days.
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