Before I start off my second part of my August travel series (an overdue, my apologies), I’d like to welcome all my old and new readers to my brand, new blog! WOOOOOTT!!!! Well, it’s not really new but I finally have my very own domain. Not only that, a friend of mine from Germany (thanks Dominik) helped me with hosting stuff, so it’s all thanks to him that I got all the kinks working this time.
Do you like the new changes? It looks very simple and minimalist. Nothing fancy because all I do is blog. Hopefully with these new changes, I’m inspired more to continue blogging and travel at the same time.
As I promised from my previous blog, my next series is all about Kuala Lumpur. This trip was much shorter than the other cities I visited but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the 2 days I stayed there. From what I heard from other travelers and locals, it’s only fitting to stay in KL for a shorter period because you get to see everything after 2 days then move on to another place.
Here’s what I mostly remembered about this whole trip:
Border crossing from Singapore to Malaysia
My plan was originally to fly out from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. However, I decided to stay one more day because of the Singapore National Day. So I had to forego my plane ticket going to KL and decided to book a bus instead. Fortunately, I found a cheaper deal at Easybook.Com and booked from there.
On the day of the departure, I was an hour early because silly me, I didn’t bother to check the correct time. When I boarded the bus, I was pleasantly surprised with the seats: they’re big and comfortable. It even came with a mobile outlet attached to the seats. Not only that, the bus has Wi-Fi. So you could imagine me, smiling from ear to ear because I can still connect to the interwebs while in transit. So at exactly 9:45 AM, our bus left on time.
I was more frantic and scared when we reached the Malaysian Immigration Office. I thought they would be asking me questions and worse, get me sequestered in a room and ask me dozens of questions until I pee my pants. But when we got there, I lined up like everyone else, presented my passport to the BI officer, had it stamped, and went back to the bus. I was shocked – that went well. All my fears went away when we left the border and headed our way to KL.
On our way, we made a stopover somewhere in Tanjong Sembrong, Johor for lunch. We arrived at a huge foodcourt so we all went down for lunch. The place was actually huge and they even have a small convenience store so I bought chips as well.
For almost 5-6 hours I spent on the bus, I was either on my phone hogging the Wi-Fi or I was sleeping (comfortably, I might add). We arrived in Kuala Lumpur very safe – tired yet very safe. If I have to do it all over again, I’d gladly do it!
Reunited with a HS buddy
Sometimes, life takes you by surprise when you least expect it. While I was on my way to KL, a high school friend of mine, Chico, suddenly sent me a message to let me know that he’s around town. I got immediately excited because of three things: we live in the same suburban area, we both played soccer in the same school, and I was under his wing when I an aspiring officer for the Citizen Army Training (like a military training that we took as a mandatory in HS).
So needless to say, we go way back.
We met up over lunch the next day. Since Chico stayed in KL for a longer period, he became the unofficial tour guide. We walked around the tourist spots, showed me the market places, and recommended me good food and drinks. Because he’s also used to trekking, walking for him was easy peasy. Me? I struggled for a bit and not to mention, I was only wearing flip flops (my mistake). Still, it was all good and we had a great time.
It was also a good time for us to catch up because truthfully, we haven’t seen each other for ages. Also, I was completely taken aback on how things have changed with our lives. I never would imagined that he’d also gone the same route as a backpacker and from what I can tell, he’s well grounded and so open-minded to meet different people with different perspectives.
After meeting him, we both agreed that at some point, we should go backpacking in other Asian countries. Who knows, right?
The Batu Caves experience with Anas
I had a full free day before I leave KL for good that evening, I decided to visit one of Kuala Lumpur’s tourist spots, the Batu Caves. Fortunately, I kept in touch with a Couchsurfer online and we both decided to meet up and explore the place.
Anas is a Morrocan who came to Kuala Lumpur on backpacking trip. Since he was a Couchsurfer, I wasn’t that nervous meeting a total stranger because I’m also a Cser like him. Anyway, we planned to meet in a mall; however, because the mall was quite big, Anas got lost and I waited for him for an hour. After countless of Whatsapp calls, he finally found me, much to my relief, and we headed our way to the train station. And off we went to Batu Caves.
After less than a 20-minute train ride, we finally arrived at our destination. You couldn’t miss the the caves because you immediately see the 140 ft tall statue of a Hindu diety right away. Since this was a famous destination, there were so many tourists around so both of us were more careful and made sure to stick together or else we get lost in the crowd.
We took photos, had lunch at a nearby Indian food court, then started climbing up the steps – all 272 steps! I tell you, I was already tired halfway through the climb and Anas had to drag me all the way to the top. At the moment, I felt really old because I kept on complaining on how long does it take. Aside from that, I have to rent a sarong because they don’t allow women to climb in shorts – and I was wearing one.
When we reached the top, it was actually breathtaking to see the view. Aside from that, we saw a few monkeys who were a bit aggressive because they were trying to steal food from you. Luckily, I didn’t bring anything that is worth stealing for, so they ignored me. Also, we got to see a few Indians who were in their element and did their rituals, which made all the experience so enriching.
Overall, climbing up the Batu Caves was worth the experience and I do hope that you go there with an open mind. It all boils down to respect – people of all ages and beliefs all went there and everyone was simply following rules and were very respectful.
When it was time to go back, Anas and I took a few minutes to just settle down and talk about our travels. I soon learned that Anas was in Asia to do a bit of traveling and he’ll stop by the Philippines. I was just so bummed though that he planned to visit the country while I was still away, but it’s still fine. I did hoped that while he was here (like a few weeks back), he had a great time and experienced the Filipino hospitality.
We both rode the train going back and after three stops, he had to get off so that’s when we parted ways. I was grateful that I got to know for a short period of time. But it’s okay. We promised to keep in touch – hopefully someday I’ll get to travel to his country and he welcomes me with the same hospitality that my fellow Filipinos did to him here!
My Kuala Lumpur trip was a bit short, yet very sweet. I wished I could have stayed longer and tried to explore outside of KL, but I guess I’ll save that for another trip. And one thing – I will never forget this kind, Malaysian young man who helped me get to my hostel, from the monotrail to KL Sentral. I didn’t know his name but he was totally an angel and at that point, I already knew that I’ll have a memorable time in KL.
If you have been to Kuala Lumpur before, do let me know what you liked about the city and do you think of going back at some point?
To end this post, here’s a couple of photos that I took, all straight from my handy iPhone!