Not 8 miles like the movie or song…8 miles like that’s how much I freakin’ walked!
It’s true – 8 freaking miles! Thank you pedometer. When I came to Kuala Lumpur, I didn’t think it would be that big of a city. I expected it to be much like the rest of Asia so far – filled with street food and tuk tuks, everything relatively walkable. I was so wrong!
As the time is moving on, I’m getting lazier and lazier with travel planning. I book my accommodations the night before, have a rough list of things I want to see and no longer do hours of research about the city. Contrary to what you might think, this doesn’t mean I’m no longer making the most of my travel – in fact, I think it’s making things more fun!
Kuala Lumpur is a biiiiiig city. Rivaling Chicago, there are trains, busses, monorails and taxis – even Uber! There’s lots of malls, shopping, and a Chinatown too. Kuala Lumpur even boasts a “Little India” due to the heavy Indian influence here. All of this combined with some amazing attractions led me to have an 8 mile day.
Miles 0-3, Little India
Little India was fascinating – I’ve never been to one before! I just had to follow the smell – the inviting scent of curry, musky cologne and fresh baked goods fills fills the air throughout the surrounding areas.
With one main street and several side streets, there is plenty to see here! Once you’ve found the elephant water fountain, you know you’re in the right place.
Since I’ve never been to India, I don’t know if Little India ‘transported me there’, but it did give me the distinct feeling that I was in another place – what I might imagine India to be like…but with less cows in the street.
Fresh food was everywhere, and markets too. I’ve been told there is normally even MORE food, but Malaysia has a high Islamic population that is currently observing Ramadan and the majority of people are fasting during the day. If I had to fast in this weather – no water or food – I think I would *in the voice of Mallory Archer* literally die.
Nor would I even want to be around food. My hostel host had a chat with me about being respectful during Ramadan – try not to eat or drink in front of people observing Ramadan because it’s very rude. I totally get it.
Walking through Little India, there were many beautiful pieces of traditional Indian clothing and so many “we buy / sell gold” shops. All of the women smiled at me and the men nodded. I picked up a few pieces of street food and then found a deserted alley to eat them in.
Miles 3-5, Chinatown
Chinatown in Kuala Lumpur is very different than other Chinatowns I’ve visited. First off, it’s in an open enclosure. What does that mean? Picture a mall…but with no doors. You can walk inside, it’s covered and there are ‘shops’, but it’s not really a building.
Secondly, there were not very many Chinese people in Chinatown LOL. It was mostly Indian and Malaysian natives. The majority of goods being sold were purses, sunglasses, T-shirts and tattoos. While I scoured high and low, I didn’t find much for food selection there.
Dim Sum was popular, but as a solo gal it wasn’t fiscally logical to eat at those places. Instead I opted for a fruit shake and continued to try and avoid the hawkers insisting a buy a purse. Just because I’m a girl means I want to buy purses apparently.
Miles 5-7, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park
After learning about how elephants are broken for riding, I wanted to make sure it was ethical and that the animals were treated right before I came here. Luckily, the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is a great organization that treats their charges with the upmost care.
It’s $12 to get in to their open aviary style park. It made me feel like I was in the third Jurassic park movie! All around were peacocks, pelicans and various other types of birds. The property was HUGE divided in to different zones.
I spent most of my time hanging out with the parrots and lorries. I’m a huge bird lover with a soft spot for parrots, even though they sometimes bring up feelings of the regret and self hate variety. Pushing through those, I very much enjoyed being surrounded by my little feathered friends!
Mile 8, Nu Sentral
Half way through the bird park, my body said “okay, we’re done. Like right now.” After a brief rest, I left and caught a cab back to a super mall called Nu Sentral (yes, Sentral not Central). The mall connects the main pedestrian road with the rail line that I needed to get back to my hostel.
Nu Sentral really is a super mall. 8 stories high, it’s filled with shops, a theater, an arcade, and plenty of restaurants. I entered Nu Sentral in a different way than I exited which was a bit disorienting. Walking around for a bit trying to find the exit, I came across a sushi restaurant. I thought to myself “I’m holding out for Japan, I’ll wait“, but couldn’t resist taking a look at the menu.
They were having a special on Salmon, which is my favorite type of sushi. I could seriously eat fresh, raw, salmon all day long. The prices were very reasonable, and my thirst unquenched. Weak of flesh, I caved and took a seat next to the CONVEYOR BELT OF SUSHI.
If you’ve never been to one of these places, here’s how it works. You can pick items off the conveyor belt, paying attention to the color of the plate. The different colors or patterns typically correspond with various prices. For example the red plate is $1, green plates are $2 etc. etc.
While I did pick an item or two off the belt, the majority of my meal was ordered off an iPad that was located at my table. I went nutzo on the salmon and had my fill for $15. Everything was delicious and fresh! I wish I’d caught the name of the place.
After filling up on sushi, I had my second wind. Lucky for me, because I continued to walk around the mall for another 40 minutes trying to find my way out. Seriously it was like a casino – so hard to escape! I eventually broke down and had a security guard escort me to the exit for the trains LOL.
I finally returned to the hostel and collapsed in the air conditioning after a quick rinse. I tried to take a nap, but my legs were hurting so badly I couldn’t sleep! At midnight, I remembered that I had some Tiger Balm from Thailand and applied it generously. I’m sure that my roommates hated me because it’s got a pretty strong smell – but I was dying! I ended up being up until 2 am with leg cramps.
I slept in late this morning and came downtown to stay at the Ramada Plaza Hotel featuring an infinity pool! I had a wonderful day relaxing at the pool with a woman from Poland (she took the pics of me in the pool), letting my legs unwind, and generally walking as little as possible!
Tomorrow, I leave this wonderful city for Singapore. I’m excited to see how it compares!
Do you get your 10,000 steps in everyday? Think you could do 20,000? WHEW!