Sunday, 20 December 2015

KL - 2nd visit 16-17/12/2015

So 2 years after I had last been to Kuala lumper I was back again, wanting to give it another chance to impress. Last time I had stayed for 2 nights, this time I had booked for 3 to give me the 2 whole days. I wanted to see if I had been a little harshly unimpressed with my short sharp visit before.

This time I stayed near the central and chinese market,  a short trip on the bus to the shopping area and even shorter trip by underground to the Petronas towers where I planned to revisit and get some better photos than the ones I had from the last time I was there. Google maps was starting to get everything wrong as far as travel guides went, so instead I decided to ask the locals. The information they gave me was a lot more straightforward than that of the internet giant, but that should really come as no surprise to anyone. As helpful as that little guide in your pocket is, it still can't replace the local knowledge of local stops for local people. Not by a long shot.

So first stop (or 8th or 9th if you take the free bus which ran past outside the hotel) was Bukit Bintang, the main shopping district KL. I decided to get off the bus earlier than planned as everyone got squashed into each other as more and more people forced their way on. When a mad looking woman visually scorned at me for the very fact that she had tripped into me and I wasn't made of jelly or a similar low impact material, I decided that the travel conditions were no longer worth the rewards.

A few minutes walk and I found myself at the Plaza shopping centre, vastly spacious covering multiple floors filled with designer and high street outlets, the mall seemed to lack and sort of buzz on any of the floors than by the entry point or in the food court in the basement. Shop units stood mostly open but without customer, and I soon decided that this wasn't the place to find what I was looking for. An unexpected bonus however was that I managed to find a new blood testing monitor to replace the one I lost in Bali. Same make and model too, which means that all the blood strips I am already carrying can be used by both of the machines I now have in my possession.

I passed by and through a few other malls on the way to find Low Yat Plaza, which is known as Kuala Lumpurs main place for IT and Mobile phone shopping. 7 or 8 floors of different vendors selling the mostly the same stuff at the mostly the same prices seems like a waste of time to me, but still there must be a market for it otherwise the place wouldn't have been so full. It was a complete contrast to the big empty spaces found in the Plaza, here the room was much more confined, the place much more active but the end result was the same, nothing was shouting "buy me" loud enough to stand out from all the sellers also vying for your attention.

I rode the escalators to the top floor and then I rode the escalators to the bottom floor.
I seem to do this now in most of the buildings I go in, maybe taking lazy inspirations from the "Because it's there" quote usually referenced as to why someone climbed a mountain.
I take escalators, because they are there. Occasionally I also take the stairs in Asia, but only if there is suitable air conditioning.

The next day I decided to pay a visit to KL Bird Park, a teksi drive away and touted as the worlds largest free flight avery. It was nice to see birds although still capitive, mostly given more room to fly around in, large segmented areas enclosed by over head netting as pelicans, peacocks and many other types of bird pass you by or fly over head. It was a nice way to spend a few hours away from the city but I came away with very few photo's except for those of some monkeys as they tried and succeeded "Mission impossible" style to enter some of the more closed off areas on the site.

2 Years before this trip I been lucky enough to go up the KL Communication tower and see the city from the outside viewing area near the top of the structure, only observing the Petronas towers from the outside. This time I had booked tickets online to go inside at a cost of around 84 ringitt. The inside of the building is like many other large corporate buildings, with plenty of space and big shiny floors. During the tour your are taken up to the bridge that spans across the 2 buildings, as well as to the viewing area on the 83rd floor all the time being chaperoned and squeezed into lifts with your assigned group as screens inside display moving images of a view from a lift either ascending or descending depending on your direction of travel. Technically impressive, but maybe not as visually striking as it would be to just have some windows to look out of as you travel. But I'm sure the had their reasons.

I took the tour at 8pm thinking that this would give a me nice view of the city at night and allow me to get a couple of photo's from a different perspective than the ones I already have. The view itself was nice if not breathtaking, but as the building is completely enclosed with uplighting from just below the viewing areas and with windows seemingly a little harder to clean, photographs were a difficult to come by. The overall view over the city here, in my opinion, isn't anywhere near as thrilling or immersive as the observation deck on the KL tower.

If your one going to go up one tower in KL, choose the KL Tower as for me it's just a better experience, however you can't take away that the Petronas Towers are still stunning looking buildings in their own right, but maybe more strikingly beautiful from the outside looking in, rather than the other way around.

Right behind my hotel lay a few small streets which collectively become the Chinese Night Market and it was here that I finally managed to finally get a few photo's that I was actually pleased with. Plenty of street food to eat, plenty of haggling to be done and plenty of banter to come at you from the vendors. I'm still not sure whether "Handbag Sir" was meant as a not so subtle jibe or genuine selling tactic but feel the sellers who notice you wearing a G-Shock watch and then say "Watch Sir, We have G-Shock" are missing the point. Surely asking people who aren't wearing one is where the real growth in sales is to be had? Still they take a polite "no thank you"  or a "Just looking" for an final answer, which is something that can't be said in a lot of other places I've been to.

So my impression on KL hasn't really changed much from last time. It's a city seemingly deep in construction, that has good transport links and dodgy pavements. It doesn't hold the same appeal to me as other cities I've visited in the past to be sure but that's not to say that it is without merit. It's just as the moment, Me and Mr Lumpur and dancing to a different rhythm.

Maybe that will change by my if i ever get around to visiting a third time.


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