The beauty of Asia is not something you learn about in the public schools of America. There may be a chapter that you get through quickly or possibly skip…. But, this is information that you can find if you go looking… so I went looking. My first stop was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
2 friends found a great flight deal to the region and I decided to go along with a few other ladies! So why do I have so many solo pictures? I planned to get to town 2 days earlier to add to my 40 countries by 40 mission of course! AND they had a ~24-hour delay…No Fun.
I fell asleep while getting a mani-pedi, so I added a full body massage for $25… so I could sleep longer of course.
We agreed to meet in in Kuala Lumpur and I considered spending my 1.85 days alone in Vietnam. I came to my senses realizing that I would be cheating myself into a glance over and I wouldn’t do the country any justice. In other words, I wouldn’t get to eat enough local food. So I did the tourist things right in Kuala Lumpur. I visited the Petronas Towers and practiced a music video.
I tasted the different foods. I fell asleep while getting a mani-pedi, so I added a full body massage for $25… so I could sleep longer of course. I went and found the best list of things to eat in Kuala Lumpur. The best part of this trip was my day trip to the Batu Caves. Honestly, this is where my journey began…
Day trips from Kuala Lumpur
The best way to travel out of Kuala Lumpur is by Train. KL Sentral is the central station with train to KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), trains to intercity locations, international trains to Singapore, Thailand and Kota Bharu which was a great option in the northeast of Malaysia. Batu caves allowed me to get the most out of a day trip and be back in Kuala Lumpur that same night.
I took the tram to KL Sentral and realized 2 things.
- Malaysian hair doesn’t appear to be all that great. I’m not calling anyone ugly, not at all. This is just not hair I would pay for. Yes, yes I am natural but we all know what the ads look like, and this ain’t it.
- All of these trains have varying entry points spread throughout 3 buildings in this station. I had to go over the river and through the woods to find the blue line. Not complaining… after all there were some cool shopping and food options 😎.
I found the Blue line that goes to Batu Caves and to my surprise there was a train car designated women-only. Maybe it should not have been a surprise given the number of professed Muslims in Malaysia.
Once on the train platform, I could see the next train would arrive in 32 minutes, and that platform was hot. I recommend finding the schedule before hand, the trains are pretty accurate according to schedule but the platform does get crowded. So you should choose how long you want to wait according to your own preferences. I hate waiting so I got permission from the staff to leave and come back without paying again. I went upstairs and treated my self to a cool Starbucks… BIG mistake:
- Eating/drinking is forbidden on the train, along with a few other activities. So I placed my drink between my knees, wrapped my chewing gum back in the paper it came from and put it in my bag oh so quickly. I was not trying to deal with “The Law” abroad…
- I would now be taking a sweet tea with me to meet “them”. I’ll explain
Side Bar first: The Batu Caves are open from 6am to 9pm So I recommend going very early or very late. Learn from my mistakes, the middle of the day will be the most packed… and you may want some space as you climb the 272 stairs. Lucky for me many people were leaving due to the clouds forming.
I don’t recommend you take anything to the Batu Caves that can drop or that “they” can easily take out of your hand. By they, I do mean the monkeys. They will take your sunglasses, candy, soda and food right out of your hand or off the top of your head. LIKE SERIOUSLY, it’s a huge risk.
Blame the people before you that continue to feed them. Not only do the monkeys feel entitled to your belongings, they are HIGH. Yeap.
Imagine a 3-pound human who has been given 3 cans of soda and candy before you get there… you following? You walk up and they’re so excited. By excited, I mean slowly circling you contemplating which way to jump up and take that soft pretzel out of your hand, but you think they’re posing for a picture or ready for a pat on the head, HA. Nope. The minute you lean forward this miniature really, really cute monster grabs your food, wallet, and shiny sunglasses before you can finish smiling… getting the picture yet? Bottom line is, “they” can tend to get a little aggressive. You have been warned.
So after a quick assessment of the area, I determine that all of the monkeys were preoccupied with someone else or some other food and that I had safe passage. So I begin my climb, taking in the beauty of it all. Suddenly someone behind me snatches my drink so hard that it yanks my arm. I jumped 2 stairs up to the next stair landing and screamed with a loud, high pitch, screech… Everyone around me stops in their tracks, turn towards me to see if I was okay. I turn around and I’m Shocked that there was not a person behind at all. Only a little oh monkey that yanked my Starbucks out of my hand. Jerking my hand must have caused the tea to spill all over the floor which pissed him off because he gave me a nasty look before he proceeded to bend down slurp up every bit of that tea. I was so in shock my heart went down… Okay you know the song.
Honestly, after I realize what happened I took out my phone to record it wishing I had recorded the whole incident. And to top that off once I made it to the top of the stairs there was a sign that said no exercise. Ha. I just got exercise walking up these going stairs, unsuccessfully dodging monkeys. But as you go into the caves they were beautiful just something that was naturally made an awesome to look at the one thing I didn’t like was there are always Indians or Nepalese men doing construction mostly in the sunshine but today was a light rain that they didn’t mind.
But as you go into the caves they were beautiful. Naturally made and awesome to look at. The back of the largest caved opened up to the sky and let in a light mist… The one thing I didn’t like was the usual Indian or Nepalese men doing construction or sanitation duties. But I’ll save that for another day.
On the way out it started to rain so hard that I stopped at one of the food stations to shelter my self from the rain so long that I eventually bought some food. I did not enjoy the food, and I’m still warning you not to bring a lot of food with you. The monkeys will smell it. The monkeys will take it. The monkeys will eat your food.
The Night Life
Next day my friend’s get to town… most of us get henna. While the one woman with the most energy and I found a club with some nice music and of course my favorite traveling pleasure some hookah.
The next day we had an amazing group cooking class. And a few of us have managed to beat jet-lag enough to stay awake for a nice dinner. I recommend a nice dinner spot in every town you visit. In Kuala Lumpur, it was the Helipad Lounge. Yeap we got to go to a restaurant at the very top of a building where they turn the helicopter landing pad into a rooftop bar. The lights of Kuala Lumpur are beautiful.
It was perfect for my last night in Kuala Lumpur. Honestly, you won’t need much more than 4 days. While my friends went off to visit the island of Langkawi, I decided to truck off and visit Bali, Indonesia (Next post)
Stay fly tips for the Batu Caves
- Ladies wear long pants or long skirts. Exposing any leg will warrant you a “donation” fee for the wrap required to cover your legs while visiting the temple. These wraps are reused often and they’re not necessarily clean. I wore one because I had a semi-fitted bodysuit. I didn’t think it fair to expose everyone behind me to my backside or any possible sweat spot while walking up the stairs. See, I’m considerate!
2. If you’re bringing the camera make sure that it can go in your bag and a bag that goes around your body or shoulder. If you have any glasses take them off your head and put them in your bag, the same for any earrings.
3. If you’re an African-American please realize that a lot of the Asians are used to seeing Africans but not African Americans and they will stop you to take the picture. Be warned it may not appear as if they’re asking for permission when they wrap their hands around you, demand that their friend hurry the pictures and switch places before you exhale. Be nice. Remember, you don’t want to get in trouble in a foreign country. They were shocked that I wanted a picture of them. They were so shocked that I was actually tickled… another day folks.
4. Jet Lag… some of the ladies missed the dinner because of jet lag and being tired from being couped up in the airport on a diverted layover lasting 24+ hours. Jet-Lag alone is a beast. Check out my post with some tips on how to deal with jet lag here under Time Zone Management. And keep in mind, more layovers increase your risk of missing something in your itinerary. I recommend flying with as few layovers as possible.