Kuala Lumpur – the culturally diverse Malaysian Capital
An insight into Malaysia’s largest city
I travelled to Kuala Lumpur in July 2018, for my first Visa Run, thinking the trip would be a little tedious. With hindsight I was wrong to assume this and thoroughly enjoyed another new country. Landing at 10pm I was struck with immediate excitement, the opposite feeling upon leaving Chiang Mai. KL airport is about a 50 minute bus trip from the city, something to consider when choosing flights. Also see: my subsequent Visa Run to Vientiane, Laos.
Visa Details, Royal Thai Embassy
Check if pre booking an appointment is necessary and if there are public holidays affecting opening. Also, consider that application and collection times may differ. When I visited the process was: apply in the morning and collect in the afternoon on date requested. Leave yourself enough time in Kuala Lumpur for your visa to be processed. The above information is correct as of January 2020.
I booked into a hostel for the first two nights in the central Bukit Bintang. The Embassy, Petronas Towers, cafes, restaurants and night markets were within walking distance. Yet I recommend taking the metro to the Embassy as the heat in July was intense. Comically speaking, I was overcharged when purchasing a SIM card with 12GB of data on my first day. The deal seemed reasonable, however I hadn’t accurately grasped the Ringgit-Baht conversion.
Chinatown Quarter, Central Kuala Lumpur
I moved hostels for the remaining nights and booked a small room. Although low cost, the hostel had atmosphere and a great roof terrace. Furthermore, the terrace contained comfy seating and hammocks, and offered views of KL. After eating locally I spent evenings meeting new people including friendly locals frequenting the hostel. The World Cup was almost at conclusion so I watched matches with others. Overall, Chinatown was really interesting, comprising diverse food, culture and temples. Nearby places I visited included the central market and square, KL Eco Tower and the Botanical Gardens.
Final Days and Overall Thoughts on Kuala Lumpur
My final day was spent visiting the Batu Caves, 12km north of KL (I took Grab Taxi there and back). To reach the caves, there are about 300 steps before which lies a commanding statue of Lord Murugan. The Batu Caves are home to one of the most popular Tamil shrines outside India, dedicated to Lord Murugan. Inside one of the main caves there are ornate Hindu shrines and other cave temples. On the way down I met many Macaque Monkeys darting the steps and railings, quite a sight.
Before flying back to Chiang Mai, I visited the Sri Mahamariamman, Guan Di and Sin Sze Si Ya Chinese temples. The visit to Kuala Lumpur exceeded my expectations regarding sites of interest, food and culture. I feel that Kuala Lumpur would be a very livable and affordable city to work remotely.