Kuala Lumpur! I was so excited to be in a big city again. It had already gone dark by the time we arrived, and I felt like a kid at Christmas staring out the window at all the big city lights. As much as I adore being by the sea, there’s something so magical about cities at night that I find so exciting – you can’t beat it!
I didn’t know a lot about Kuala Lumpur, and we hadn’t planned what we were going to do whilst we were here. We stayed at the K Hotel, as this looked decent yet cheap! After getting off our bus, we jumped in a taxi towards our hotel. Despite saying he definitely knew where our hotel was, the taxi driver had no idea and we ended up driving around in circles for a while before trying to direct him ourselves! We finally arrived at our hotel, where the helpful reception staff checked us in. After freshening up and changing we headed out to find some food, as a day of travelling had made us in need of a good meal!
As I’ve already said, we didn’t know much about Kuala Lumpur or the geography of it, so like many tourists we just headed towards Petronas Twin Towers. What we probably should’ve done, was look up what area is best for dinner/drinks but ah well. We wandered around for a while realising that this obviously isn’t the place to eat, then found a street with a some restaurants and bars in. It always seems to be when you’re most hungry that you can’t find anywhere to eat! Luckily we landed on a place called ‘Gravy Baby’, and to two hungry people this was heaven on earth. You should’ve seen how happy I was when I saw pie & mash on the menu – mash is literally my favourite thing ever! This was exactly what I needed. Feeling very British, we ate our pie and mash which was washed down with a pint of beer. Oh, and they were playing the football. We may as well have been back in the UK!
What I wish I’d known was that Malaysia is a mainly muslim country, and therefore I probably should’ve covered up more. I went out in a strappy top and trousers, and the stares I got made me feel very uncomfortable. I didn’t mean to be disrespectful – I genuinely didn’t realise! Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying Kuala Lumpur has the same rules as somewhere like Dubai . But out of respect for the locals, I would say it’s best to cover up a bit more than you would in other hot countries. It’s hard when it’s so warm! Luckily I’d taken out a chiffon shirt with me in my bag, so I put this over my top which was fine. I looked up later on what was the way to dress in Kuala Lumpur, and whilst there are no rules and you’re welcome to wear what you want (and a lot of people do), people said don’t be surprised if you’re stared at and made to feel uncomfortable for showing your shoulders.
After dinner we had a wander around the area for a better view of Petronas Twin Towers, which are best seen from the KLCC park. The park closes at night so we couldn’t walk through, but we walked the path around to the front of the towers which were just as incredible as I thought!
We walked back to our hotel as it was quite late and the days spent travelling always feel the longest! We also decided we should actually research Kuala Lumpur a little bit to work out how to spend the next day. We were going to head down to the Batu Caves, but it looked quite far out of the city. We only had the one day, so decided to stay around the centre and explore. The main thing I wanted to see really was the towers properly, have a look around the shops and go to a roof top bar! We discovered that the place to head was Bukit Bintang, which was where we could find shops and restaurants. This was really where we should’ve gone the night before! So that morning we walked to the nearest monorail stop and got on it for two stops down to Bukit Bintang. Today I wore a long sleeved body with trousers, and I felt a lot more comfortable. Luckily it was a bit cooler that day too!
We stopped for some breakfast at a place with cars for seats! Drawn in by the decor, unfortunately the food really wasn’t the best… Still, it was cheap so we couldn’t complain! And at least I got a picture in one of the cars…
After eating we got lost in one of the malls, which literally went on forever. It wasn’t one with lots of different shops, but rather lots of stalls and stands all selling the same thing. It was so confusing! There was phone shop after phone shop, then shoe shops, jewellery shops.. And, a lot of salons offering super cheap hair extensions. I was very temped! I couldn’t tell you how long we spent in here just wandering around and looking at stuff, it was such a good place to lose track of time. As everything looked the same, we really struggled to get out of here. We genuinely couldn’t find an exit for about 20 minutes!
After coming out the mall we browsed the street markets, before deciding we wanted to experience one of Kuala Lumpur’s proper malls. We realised we were super close Pavilion Mall, so decided we’d go explore. Growing up in Cornwall we definitely didn’t have malls – getting a Topshop when I was in my teens was the biggest thing ever. So there’s something about shopping malls I find really fun! Not even buying anything, but just looking around at all the different shops and other stuff! Luckily, James loves malls as much as I do, if not more. So yes, we spent our one and only day in Kuala Lumpur in shopping malls, not even buying anything. And we have no regrets! The shopping mall was huge, and everything was so shiny!
It was about 3pm and we were starting to get quite tired, but as the hotel was quite far away we didn’t want to go back there only to come back to where we were for the sunset at Heli Bar. We’d been walking around all day, and it felt like the best discovery ever to realise the mall had a cinema! James had told me how cheap cinemas in Asia were compared to home, so we thought we’d go see what was on. What better way to have a little rest before watching the sunset? We watched the new Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom – which was SO good. We’d actually only watched Jurassic World a few days before, so when we saw it was on it was a no brainer that we’d watch it. We bought two cinema tickets, two popcorn & drink combos, some nuggets (mine – a cinema that sells nuggets why isn’t that a thing in the UK?) and a hot dog (James’) – for the equivalent of about £10! This is cheaper than one single ticket costs you at Showcase at home. I love the cinema but I never go unless I use meerkat movies as I can’t justify how much it is just to watch a film, so it was so much more enjoyable knowing it cost us hardly anything!
Feeling recharged yet emotionally drained after the cinema (I cried, a lot. I’m not sure if it’s a film other people would cry in but I hate to say I cry at most films/tv programmes even if they’re not meant to be sad..), we headed out the mall. This again, was easier said than done. These places are so big and hard to navigate! Once outside we walked down to Heli Bar as it was about 5.30pm. All our timings had worked perfectly!
We had Heli Bar up on maps, but when we got there it wasn’t signposted in any way. We were stood outside what seemed like an office or university building confused to where we were meant to go. Luckily a man told us that the bar was in the building on the top floor – otherwise we probably wouldn’t have known to have gone in. If you are in Kuala Lumper and plan on heading there (which you really should), just be aware that it doesn’t have a sign but it is the right building! We went inside and up the lift, where we arrived at the bar.
You get shown to a little table where you order and pay for a drink each, before then being taken upstairs on to the roof. After trying my hardest not to spill my cocktail as I walked up the stairs, I finally saw what all the fuss was about. The view was incredible! The roof is an actual Heli Pad, with no actual fences at the sides – just rope cords and some security. They have a bar on the roof and plenty of tables and chairs, which you can reserve to be near the edge if you plan ahead. We sat down at a table with our cocktails and took in the incredible views. We realised we’d also got there at a really good time, as about twenty minutes afterward it started to get a lot busier as the sun started to set.
If you go, I’d recommend getting there before the sunset, so you can see Kuala Lumpur in the light of day, and lit up at night. The drinks were inexpensive – if you were to go somewhere like this in the UK you’d be charged a fortune just for the view. The entry was free too! Though I believe you do have to pay as the evening gets later, so maybe check this beforehand. We stayed for a couple hours until it was completely dark, as I said before, nothing beats city lights at night.
We had a 6am flight to Siem Reap in the morning, so we headed for some food then went back to our hotel to pack and get an early night before flying in the morning. Kuala Lumpur – our visit had been short but sweet! Although we didn’t do what may be seen as the typical tourist activities, we’d had a great time exploring the city. It was a nice change from what we’d been doing to spend time in shiny air-conditioned shopping malls and sip cocktails watching the sunset from a rooftop bar! It was definitely going to be a contrast going from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap too, but we were excited for the next leg of our adventure. Cambodia, we’re coming!
Charlotte Rick x
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Thanks for sharing your experience! Kuala Lumpur sure seems like a nice place to visit. And those nighttime photos are amazing. 🙂
Thank you! It is, we had a wonderful time. I’m glad you like the photos! It was such a beautiful place at night x
KL will defo be on my list when I visit Malaysia next year! That sky bar looks incredible, not sure how I feel about just having rope barriers so high up though 🙈 Photos are beautiful as well 👍
You honestly have to visit! If it was anywhere else it would’ve been so expensive, but it really wasn’t and had the most incredible views. You just don’t go too close to the edge! xx
reading this in 2021 and i so wish i could have shown you guys more than just the typical touristy things. but interestingly, i’ve never been to heli bar myself and from your photos can see that they’ve massively stepped up their seating game. when it was first launched, it was literally just a helipad with no safety rope along the sides and also no nice seating—just really crappy plastic chairs.
any time you and james head back this way (if ever), please feel free to reach out! 😀