Travelling to Kuala Lumpur, I had no expectations whatsoever. My mind was completely blank regarding my destination. For once, it was nice not to care what’s awaiting me in the city. After my adventure at the airport, I was convinced that nothing worse was going to happen during this trip, so my calmness couldn’t be destroyed even by the perspective of a flight.
I’m convinced that a few days is not enough to get to know a place but it’s definitely enough to get a “feel” of it. Kuala Lumpur didn’t impress me, so I felt an even stronger urge to write a list of things that I appreciated about the Malaysian capital.
This was a bit of a challenge but what follows is a genuine list of great things about this city:
- Easy transport system. This was very cool. Can you ever get lost in KL? It doesn’t seem so. And believe me – I tried… The urban transport system is easy to understand, everything is in English and clearly presented. Plus, there’s a free bus going around the city (look for the violet bus). Some trains have wagons only for females. A new thing for me and I completely enjoyed it. I embraced this to the point of telling men to change wagons.
In case you’re wondering: yes, the men did comply. This amused me even more. I only wish the circumstances were different. Or perhaps “men only” wagons, instead of “women only”, if you get my drift.
- Petronas Towers aka Twin Towers. The international landmark of Kuala Lumpur and a clear sign of direction that the city is taking: climbing higher and higher! It is a beautiful work of art, definitely worth appreciating. From the outside. After my Taipei 101 experience, I don’t feel the urge to splash on every skyscraper I stumble upon.
- Batu Caves. This one was REAL. After a day of exploring Kuala Lumpur, I was very thirsty for seeing something of… value. Not in monetary terms. I was searching for something that I would experience on a different level. I wanted something that would enrich me as a human being.With Batu Caves, I found the perfect place. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India and the atmosphere inside is wonderful. Hushed sounds. Revere footsteps. Shy smiles. Vivid colours merging on the cave’s green-brown walls. Stuffy air making you drip with sweat. And the gorgeous eyes of a fairy that came to pray with her parents…
- A mix of cultures coexisting in peace. This was amazing. Europe is very tense at the moment. Living in London, I had a chance to experience what a “cosmopolitan city” means. However, with all the religious tensions plaguing Europe, London’s ease and pride of being multicultural has been slipping away.In Kuala Lumpur, Malays, Chinese, Indians, expats and tourists peacefully share the city’s space and the right to worship whomever they want. Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and a dash of Christianity create a savoury mix that I could taste all around the city.
- China Town. This place was recommended by a friend and thank all the Gods that I had asked! Bustling with life, light, colours and fragrance, China Town didn’t disappoint. Best thing about it? Food, of course. Plenty of places to eat, great prices and rich tastes that are spot on without a greater effort.
Indonesia is currently involved in a great environmental disaster as the country has been witnessing “illegal” burning of forests for about three months. Burning of land is the easiest way to ready the soil for new palm-oil plantations. The fires are so great that they can be seen from the space!
Tens of thousands of people in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia have been treated for respiratory problems. Flights are delayed, schools are being closed… The worst thing of all: animals are dying. One third of the world’s orangutan population is threatened by the fires, which also affect tigers, elephants and many other species.
Concerned yet? There are things we can do!
- Sign a petition asking Indonesia to STOP the fires for good.
- Donate money to International Animal Rescue.
- Pay attention to the ingredients of food and cosmetic products that we’re buying.
Every time we choose a product containing Palm Oil (disguised under many other names, such as Elaeis guineensis), we should be aware that we’re involuntarily supporting the disaster that is ripping our planet apart…