09.02.2012 - 14.02.2012
Kuala Lumpur, felt like we had walked back into that modernity of Shanghai or Hong Kong. One of the most prosperous and developed cities in South East Asia. We had been informed by a guy we met in the Cameron Highlands that the day of our arrival coincided with the Hindu celebration of Thaipusam. He recommended that we went to have a look at the Batu Caves a little way out of the city. After arriving at easily one of the nicest hostels we have stayed at so far, we arranged ourselves and headed off to locate the caves, there is a train after getting to central K.L. that takes you all the way there. It was packed with Hindus making their way to the holy site, but for a few tourists.
The scenes at the Batu caves were like what you can quite often see on the news where religious celebrations in foreign countries almost become out of hand. There were thousands of people. It was quite intimidating, Indian music was blaring out at a deafening volume and smells of different curries and snacks punched you in the face and tickled you taste-buds! The actual caves themselves were pretty incredible, packed with people praying, and at the foot of the steps that lead up to the caves people just discarded their shoes. I'm sure their intention was to collect them once leaving the cave, but the shear volume of people doing this would rend it impossible, it gave the experience a bizarre feeling, but a great experience. Some people almost appeared in a state of trance. Men, Women and Children had shaved their heads and covered their scalps with and Ochre coloured power. When we eventually decide we had had enough, we realised the train station was what appeared almost dangerously packed. We decided to get a Taxi, the driver proudly announcing that we visited during a point where the festival is at a relative calm, 'you wait till this evening' he chuckled!
That evening we went for a wander, deciding to walk toward the famous Petronas buildings. The tallest twin towers in the world. The city this particular night was a little unnerving, with many of the shops and people you would usually expect to see celebrating at the caves. The towers are an impressive sight on the skyline, once considered the tallest buildings in the world, the tops if them have an Asian style. they almost reminded me of a modern take on the architecture at different religious sights we have visited in South East Asia, particularly Angkor Wat.
(This is the K.L. tower)
The following day we decided to have a walk round the local area and in particular the China town area. We found a restaurant that is actually recommended in the lonely planet, it's not too pricey, but is well renowned for it's tasty food, so we decided to have lunch there, and it was particularly nice! That evening we went up the K.L. tower (one of the worlds tallest telecom towers) to have a look at the evening vistas of the city, they were impressive, especially looking across to the glowing Petronas towers.
The following day was one of the highlights of my trip in it's own individual way. We had payed to go to an Elephant reserve about two hours out of K.L. We booked it with the hostel and they included lunch into it for us, which was brought along, almost like a picnic, as well as a cooler with plenty of drinks, which I thought was a nice touch. The driver and the guide from the hostel got involved too, having lunch and charting with us. It was only a small group, Smith, Kailey and myself and joining us was a girl from California called Jesse. She was on a long weekend away, renewing her visa as she is teaching English in Indonesia. We wandered round the museum first, then watched a video on how they are protecting Malaysian Elephants, and even using trained elephants to relocate troublesome wild elephants encountering humans. Then was the time we were looking forward to, we were loaded up with fruit, our guide even bringing extra watermelon with our packed lunch. We met the gentle giants, playfully feeling out with their nimble noses trying to pilfer fruit of the tourists. The keepers encouraging us to pop the food directly into thief mouths, I wasted no time fattening them up and attempting to win them over as the person who gave them the most treats. After this we looked at some of the recuperating elephants, one who had lost a foot, but was almost nonchalantly aware, and also one who lost his tail to a tiger attack in the wild. After having a little ride on the back of one of the elephants, some of the tourists got into swimwear and took to the river to get involved with bathing the elephants. It was a really special day with these magnificent creatures!
The next day we went to one of the largest enclosed Bird parks in the world, it was cool to see all the birds quite natural and being able to fly about rather than caged up. Later in the day we went and did some window shopping at a shopping centre called Time Square. The place is that large it has a roller-coaster an a small theme park inside it. That evening we went up like most evening and had a beer on the rooftop bar overlooking the city, with K.L. Tower and The Petronas building lit up in the distance!
The following day we sorted out our bus to our next destination, Melaka, and just chilled out about the hostel which was nice, as we had been relatively busy in the stuffy heat of the city. However, it had proved to be one of my favourite modern cities we had visited so far!