2 Wheel Vagabond

2 Wheel Vagabond


Monday 13 July 2015

Kuala Lumpur

I arrived in Kuala Lumpur ahead of my bike and decided to start exploring the city so when the bike arrived I would be ready to take off into the countryside. I must admit I am not the biggest fan of spending too much time visiting cities, although most capitals have there own style and tourist attractions, it seems one metropolis tends to blend into another in  a haze of crowded people, concrete, shopping malls, traffic and pollution. I based myself in Bukit Bitang (translated to Star Hill), this colourful area is the hub for tourists and backpackers looking for cheap accommodation, it boasts a mix of street food, western style restaurants/pubs/clubs, ladies offering dubious massages at reasonable prices and a string of colourful and at times nefarious looking characters. It was only a short walk from my modest hotel to jalan Alor, the street dedicated to local food and I found myself dining on the delicious but afforadable cuisine there most nights after a long day of sightseeing.
Between the train system, monorail and a little good old fashioned walking, Kuala Lumpur was an easy place to get around, I had soon visited China town, little India, central market, the botanical gardens and a number of temples that are spread throughout the city. Petronas Towers was one sight I had to see, the iconic building is probably KL's best known attraction and a visit to the 170m high sky bridge that linked the two towers was quite impressive. The observation deck on the 86th floor also didn't disappoint, the views over the city were amazing even if  I was feeling a little giddy from the height. KL birdpark was another attraction I wanted to tick off my list, as the worlds largest walk in free flight aviary the variety of birds was phenomenal, I spent a relaxing half  day strolling along the walking paths in absolute wonder at some of the amazing and beautiful birds on display.
I managed a visit to the famous Batu caves, with  its series of caves, many of which house temples, statues and shrines, Batu caves was another must see for my visit to KL. A 42m golden statue of the Hindu deity Murugan stands imposingly in front of the 272 steps that lead to the main temple of Murugan. As you ascend the steps you are soon greeted by curious monkeys that are more than happy to steal any food that is not well packed away. It was quite funny watching a tourist chasing a monkey to get back an orange that had been stolen only to have the monkey turn around and chase the tourist when it was sick of the game. Batu caves were impressive  and I enjoy visiting temples but it just seems as though there was a little too much neon in this place, which for me took away some of the magic that it offered.
My friend Ellyne advised me that I should pay a visit to the Islamic arts museum of Malaysia, I was in the mood to soak up a little culture so I decided to go along for a visit. The artifacts housed in the museum were amazing, bejeweled weapons with intricate designs that dated back hundreds of years, beautiful century old clothing  and examples of calligraphy that are as much a masterpiece as any painting hanging in a gallery. Spending half a day learning about such a vast history was a great way to spend the day, the museum was well worth the visit and was much better than my other option which was spending a few hours  watching a movie at the cinema.
I had enjoyed exploring KL but when the opportunity arose to head out of town to do some white water rafting I jumped at the chance. 2 of us jumped on the train to Kuala Kubu Bharu to join up with our rafting company and a group of locals. I have yet to have a bad rafting experience, everyone was in great spirits and we shared plenty of laughs as we made our way down the river. The river was barely a grade 3 at best so it wasn't a thrill packed, white knuckle ride all the way down but there were some decent rapids and drops, plus the company on the boat made it a great way to spend the day. When the rapids ended we jumped out of the raft and spent the last hour floating on our backs peacefully along the river, marveling at the jungle that surrounded us.
I had spent almost a week in KL and seen most of the tourist attraction, I was keen to do some travelling to quench my thirst for adventure and what better way than a week in Borneo... I booked my tickets and headed to the jungle


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