KL and the return of public transport

6 06 2010

We flew from Chiang Mai to KL as the southern border of Thailand was a continuous no-go zone for overland travel. We had to wait in line to go through immigration for the longest time, just for a stamp in our passports. For 8 RM we got on a bus from the LCCT to KL Sentral station. The bus didn’t seem to have a time schedule, it just waited until it was full and then left. My Bahasa Indonesia slowly came back as we read street signs on the way into KL city. From KL Sentral we were grateful for the return of efficient public transport and boarded a train to Pasar Seni (China town central markets) where we walked to our hotel on Petaling Street, Chinatown.

We had a late lunch at a Chinese vegetarian hole-in-the-wall restaurant around the corner from Petaling Street called 31 Street Food. We ate spring rolls and drank fresh watermelon juice. All for such a low price we don’t know how they made any profit. Most dishes were about $1 (3RM).

We ate dinner at another Chinese restaurant that was featured in the LP. A word of warning: don’t trust any LP map as they are bound to be wrong when you are hungry. We wandered for ages, then gave up and went back to the hotel to look up the address online before walking all the way again to find this restaurant. The lady seemed grumpy but cheered up when we thanked her in Chinese for the meal.

The next day we took the train and a long walk out to the KL Bird Park. It’s meant to have one of the largest avairies in the world- their Free-flight Walk-in Aviary is about 20 acres big right in the middle of the city. We saw lots of birds including flamingoes, lorikeets, hornbills, owls and eagles. Did you know they have a pre-wedding photography package where you can have your photo taken with the birds?

After the birds we wandered through the Orchid garden before returning to 31 Street Food for a late lunch. We were excited by the vegan-friendly pandan lotus steam buns at the supermarket so ate in for dinner. Yum! Steam Buns!

Our last day in KL we took a public bus to the Batu Caves. We had no idea where to get off and just had to follow the crowds when we thought we were close enough. The Batu Caves have a huge kannon statue out the front and the cave seems to fill the entire mountain. There was an old woman caring for one of the statues inside the cave-temple and she looked like she had never cut her hair- it was bound up over itself into a thick, stiff mass of hair down her back. We saw a monkey and tried not to get wet as the caves were very moist. Exercise was not permitted at the top of the steps (perhaps people like to run up and down the 200+ steps?)

We had Indian for lunch at one of the many veg restaurants outside the batu caves. We ate banana leaf style – a banana leaf is placed on your table then spoons of rice and different curries put onto it which you eat with your hands.

We took the public bus back again and then caught the train to KLCC where we viewed the Patronas towers from the surrounding KLCC gardens. We went shopping and found Japanese DVDs for bargain malaysian prices.

Petanling Street, Chinatown, was again filled with stalls at night and made it difficult to move anywhere fast. We also found that being a Sunday night very few restaurants were open. We almost gave up on dinner before Benno remembered seeing a vegetarian stall tucked away on a side street off of Petanling. We found it and helped ourselves to a Chinese vegan buffet. You fill up a plate with whatever you want to eat, then pay “by eye”- which works out to be very cheap considering how much we ate!

We caught an overnight train to Butterworth. Only 2nd class seats were available, departing from KL Sentral at 11.30pm. There was no sleeper class which unfortunately meant an extremely uncomfortable night. Lights stayed on, the TV was on, seats barely reclined and we slept very little on our journey north.

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