So now I’ve finished up on everything we did on Kuala Lumpur, I thought I’d do a quick overview of what I thought in general, for example costs of meals, shopping and things I wish we had time to do.
Malaysian currency was relatively easy to get our heads around – the largest note is 100MYR, which converted to roughly £18, in day to day life in the UK the biggest notes you tend to carry is a £20 note. Calculating the price of bigger priced things was easy, cheaper things like drinks it was a bit more difficult, however it’s so cheap that we didn’t really have to worry that we were picking things that were really expensive.
The weather was around 28-32 celsius whilst there, that’s a very bearable level of heat for me, that’s hot UK weather – and as long as the air is dry I can generally cope okay (record for heat for was 48 celsius in Turkey, that was fine). What I don’t love is humidity, and holy crap balls that took 2/3 days to adjust to. We didn’t see any sunshine, or a patch of sky whilst we were there at all, the city sky was almost constantly covered by a thick haze – I’m not sure whether this is a year round thing (there seems to e plenty of pictures of KL with blue sky so I suspect not), something to do with the time of year, worsening smog or just being unlucky.
In the evenings it did seem to thin out a bit, but never fully disappeared but it was enough for us to see a decent distance from the Petronas Towers. The temperature never really dropped at any time of day for us, it was high twenties even in the evening.
In general prices were quite cheap, if you’ve not seen my review of the hotel that we stayed in – we had a suite that was a free upgrade, but it should have been £160+ per night, the same chain in London suites started at £650.
I did a full post on places that we ate with prices, but in general food and drink was cheap – in some places we overindulged in the excitement of it being our first time in Asia and maybe ordered a dish or two too many, but our most expensive meal was 218RM (converted to £39), and that was for two steaks a large sharer starter and 4 drinks. The only thing that was expensive was Alcohol but not all restaurants even sold it due to it being a Muslim country. We ate in affordable places but not the cheapest of eats, in general a two course meal with drinks cost in the region of £30 for what I would say is an ‘average’ restaurant – probably slightly below UK, but not miles away either.
7 Eleven convenience stores became our best friends in the evening and was a cheap place for us to stock up on drinks (bottles of coke around 30p) and snacks for the following day – as well as grabbing an ice cream. We also picked up some things like packets of Kleenex tissues which were ridiculously cheap compared to what we would pay here, converting to around 30p for a multipack of 8.
I was pleasently surprsied by prices in Sephora, I was expecting to see that brands such as Kat Von D and Too Faced were going to be really expensive, but they were about on par with UK prices when I converted them back – not as cheap as the US, so it wasn’t enough to tempt me into buying anything big that I could get at home, but I did walk out with a wishlist of things I’d like to try and get my hands on (primarily Becca Chrissy Tiegen Palette) once my no-buy is over.
Other beauty stores were quite a mixed bag like any other store, I found skincare in general quite expensive, and didn’t buy too much as I couldn’t make heads or tails of different brands, what was better for what skintype etc – anything I did like the look of tended to be around the £15-20 mark and it seemed to pricey a gamble. If we’d been there an extra day I’d have spent a night in the hotel room researching what I’d seen and gone back the next day and bought some bits.
The cuisine was very varied and had just about everything, from cuisines from all over Asia being big influences as well as lots of grills, steakhouses and western fast food restaurants.
Like I said we mostly stuck to the middle of the road kind of restaurants and had a nice meal just about everywhere we went to. If we’d had more time we may have planned a few fancier eats, but we were picking locations due to convenience rather than pre planned restaurants or areas.
I expected to see more street food in KL, but other than an ice cream place (which we realised was vegan ice cream after) was the only place we saw as a stall on a pathway.
One place I wish we had gotten to go was Little India, we had two people we knew who said we should definitely visit here as the Curries were ridiculously cheap and tasty. It was just the wrong side of town for what we had planned and our short trip didn’t allow us time to get a taxi over.
People & Language
I was a little worried that I’d not had time to learn the basics of the language I the run up to visiting, but on arrival it was clear that pretty much everyone spoke English.
Most people were friendly and helpful, if looking for directions, or chatting to taxi drivers we managed to get advice on places to visit, best places to walk & places to eat. The most unfriendly people actually tended to be in pharmacies and beauty stores, when asking questions it was clear most of them didn’t want to help me and usually got one word answers back. They had the opportunity to help me, show me things and I’d have spent a small fortune but they just didn’t seem too bothered about doing any kind of customer service.
What we didn’t get chance to see
Menara Tower: Similar to Petronas towers we would have chosen one over the other and not done both on the same trip! This was right next to our hotel, and the distance is very close to the Petronas towers so the views would have been quite similar – I guess the benefit of going in the Menara is that you can see the Petronas lit up from a distance!
KL Forest Eco Park, the Menara tower is located next to/inside the Eco Park and again backed right onto our hotel, there’s a free canopy walkway through here and is the largest protected jungle in Malaysia. Because it never ended up being a way we walked to, or from something we kind of presumed we would just walk through it at some point and never did. Which was a shame as it was literally on the doorstep of the hotel, I had planned we could have had a quick walk through it the morning we left but as we overslept we didn’t!
KLCC Park – we did walk through here on the way back from the Aquarium to our hotel, but skirted right around the edges. The park looked so beautiful from the edge it’s a shame we didn’t get to spend an hour or so here walking through. We also only managed to capture the fountain display they have in the evening from the top of the towers.
Berjaya Times Square Theme Park – erm this place I can’t believe we missed. This place had a kids theme park inside the shopping centre, with one key ingredient. A big ol’ rollercoaster. Definitely just wanted a quick rolleroaster pitstop, if we’d had another evening we might have gone here!
Brickfields tying in with the wishing we had time to go to Little India, the official name for this area of the city is Brickfields, beyond the food market there, it’s a bright and vibrant area of the city.
Starhill Gallery a luxury shopping centre with high end designer shops, is a visually interesting building both inside and out. Add to that it has a big Sephora on the corner.
I think we thought we would have had a few hours at least in KL on Friday before we left, thinking we would be leaving just after lunchtime, so there were a few things I wanted to squeeze in but couldn’t
Would I revisit?
Yes and No. Whilst I think it would have been nice to have an extra full day in KL, we did cover most of what we wanted to, to the point where we would be unlikely to go back to tick those things off the list. We didn’t get to go in to any museums, and I’m not 100% sure we would have gone in more than one if we had time to go in any, I have a short attention span so like musuem, I love the British Museum where there’s different eras and objects every few steps – so a whole textile museum would probably see my attention span dwindle quite quickly.
There are things we didn’t quite get to see, but I don’t feel as if I’ve been that shortchanged either. If I was heading somewhere else I would consider using KL as stop for an place to stop for a night or a day in between and maybe tick off a couple of the things we didn’t quite make it to.
The shopping was great in the malls, but rather westernised – I was kind of expecting to find lots of shops I’d not ever seen before but at least in the malls it felt very familiar – Sephora, Zara, Bath and Body Works – even Dorothy Perkins. This may have been different walking through the streets, but we didn’t prioritise shopping all that much, and malls were the only contact with shops we had, other than walking through Markets which was more touristy trinkets and fake designer goods, which aren’t my thing.
My Posts on Kuala Lumpur
If you’ve missed a post or thinking of visiting Kuala Lumpur, you can check out details of where we stayed, what we did, where we ate etc. I’ve linked them all below.
I hope you enjoyed my posts on visiting Kuala Lumpur, it was a short but busy trip! Next up we’ll be moving onto Bali where we stayed for 10 days in two parts of the Island, Nusa Dua for the beach and the busy town of Ubud.
If you’ve visited KL before, let me know where your favourite spots were in the comments!