If you haven’t been you have to go (to Kuala Lumpar!) A peaceful , well mannered blend of east meets west, a place to eat or, if you are young enough, party (night life is in full swing between 12 and 4am.) Too old for the latter I still appreciated the bubbling activity of bar street with it’s hive of bars and clubs, to be avoided when in transit for its teeming staff waving drinks menus and greeting you in a friendly non pushy way.
Though I’m not a foodie I did indulge fully in the former however. Prices go from very reasonable in the nicer restaurants to unbelievably cheap in the many sidewalk street stalls. The food in all was excellent and extremely diverse. To give an idea, I ate Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, Chinese, Malay and Indian during my stay and all were the real thing, none Anglicized or adapted and each meal was delicious! Then there were all the things you could buy and take home, middle eastern dates, pistachios, and super rich jams, coconuts with a straw to drink the milk, the many fresh fruit or veg juices offered everywhere (the Malays seem to be vastly into health food), fresh fruit stalls with mango, papyia and durian (not my favourite!) take away meals wrapped in leaves or paper (environmentalists take note) also Chinese herbal medicine (I brought back a supply – I learnt its value in China).
Health laws are strict so you can eat freely without worry, and the food far fresher than I’m used to in the UK (a reason my son in law set up business there to market a pain relieving herbal tea – putting bad stuff in food is taken very seriously and has severe penalties, so Asians trust Malay certified products.)
The countryside around in also stunning (though I didn’t get much chance to indulge in that this trip but you see the occasional monkey even in the golden triangle (city center) and the trees are immense and beautiful.
Though tropical I was pleasantly surprised at how mild the weather was (certainly far cooler and less humid than southern China). The malls and restaurants are all air conditioned but even the street stalls with their simple fans are comfortable to eat. Staying on the 22nd floor we caught the breezes, so much of the day there was no need for the air-con.
All in all I was very impressed by Kualar Lumpa, polite, safe, friendly and colourful. Any crime is generally limited to within racial groups Chinese to Chinese, Malay to Malay, Indian to Indian, etc. and it’s certainly not apparent, I had to ask to find out it existed (every major city has its underworld). Tourists can explore freely without worrying.
It’s also a shopper’s paradise with all kinds of beautiful displays and goods on sail representing a myriad different cultures all at very reasonable to incredibly cheap prices. My favourite was central market (pictures to follow tomorrow.)