Asia ’24 #27: Kuala Lumpur

Asia ’24 #27: KL 1

Read this blog: The one where we discover that shorter is higher

Thursday 11th and Friday 12th April 2024

The day was to be taken up predominantly with travel so we went to fortify ourselves with breakfast at Wheelers again. This time Robert constructed his own breakfast by choosing items from a pick and mix menu [see Dish of the day].

As a Grab taxi is very reasonable and it was difficult to predict how long we might have to wait for the ferry, we decided to grab a Grab over the bridge to the station in Butterworth to catch our train to Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia. This would provide us with a different view of the crossing.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: train from Buttterworth to Kuala Lumpur

Once in the capital, we went to catch the monorail towards our hotel. We were a bit apprehensive to find that not all the platform gates have been completed so there was a sheer drop down to the rails. We stood well back as the train arrived [see Video of the day].

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: the platform gates at some monorail stations are not yet complete

We checked in to our hotel and as we were too tired to start sightseeing, we took a short walk to the Hard Rock Café.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Hard rock Café, Kuala Lumpur

Robert had done his research and identified a bar selling Hoegaarden so we went to try out the Brussels Beer Café.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: the Brussels Beer Café, Kuala Lumpur serves Hoegaarden on draft

As we walked back to our hotel there were good views of the Kuala Lumpur Tower [KL Tower] illuminated at night.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: the KL Tower at night

The following morning we walked to the iconic Petronas Towers only to discover that they were closed for the public holiday and that tickets were sold out for the day it re-opened so we would not be able to tick this off our list. We met other tourists who had the same issue.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur

However, the Skydeck at the KL Tower was open and we were able to buy tickets to go straight up.

You can pay extra to go in one of the Sky Boxes. These are glass cubes which jut out over the edge of the building. Neither of us is particularly happy standing on glass with a clear view down so we contented ourselves with looking at the views.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Sky Box and Petronas Towers, KL Tower

We consoled ourselves with the thought that we might actually have had the better view when Robert discovered that although the 452 metre Petronas Towers are taller and the KL Tower is a shorter building at 421 metres, it stands on a hill so the view is from a greater height.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: view from the KL Tower

The Merdeka 118 Tower, so called because it has 118 floors was only completed in November 2023 and opened in January this year. At 678 metres it is now the second tallest building in the world, after the Buri Khalifa in Dubai.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: the Merdeka 118 Tower from the KL Tower

Having got our bearings from on high . . .

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: view from the KL Tower

. . . we took one last look up at the KL Tower before walking to see some of the older landmarks in the city. On the way down we were happy to take advantage of the free shuttle bus.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: KL Tower

The imposing Sultan Abdul Samad Building on Independence Square housed the offices of the British Colonial administration and was originally simply known as Government Offices. In 1974 it was renamed after the sultan of Selangor who was reigning when construction started in 1894.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Facing the Sultan Abdul Samad Building across Independence Square is the Royal Selangor Club. It was formerly known as the Selangor Club Padang or simply Padang which is Malay for “field” and the land was the club’s cricket pitch. The grass is still very well tended.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: the Padang

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is two storeys high and now houses the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture of Malaysia.

The footprint of the building is roughly in the shape of the letter F and it has a central 135 foot [41 metre] high clock tower which was intended to resemble the clock tower on the Houses of Parliament which is home to Big Ben.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Sultan Abdul Samad Building

It was here in Independence Square that the Union Jack was lowered and the Malaysian flag was hoisted for the first time at midnight on 31 August 1957.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Independence Square

Two lower towers flank the clock tower, each containing a staircase and all three are surmounted by copper-clad onion domes.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Walking further along we came across a view of the Jamek Mosque, officially called the Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque. It is located at the confluence of the Klang and the Gombak Rivers. Built in 1909, it has now been dwarfed by the buildings surrounding it so that it almost looks like a model by comparison.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Jamek Mosque, Kuala Lumpur

From here we walked to Kuala Lumpur Central Market. This was founded in 1888 and originally used as a wet market selling fresh food but the focus now is more on art, clothing and artefacts.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

The current Art Deco building is a striking blue colour and was completed in 1937.

TravellingHerd-Asia ’24: Central Market, Kuala Lumpur

Video of the day:

Selfie of the day:

TravellingHerd: at the top of the KL Tower

Dish of the day:

TravellingHerd: poached eggs with smoked duck at Wheelers

Route Map:

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