The first stop of our lovely cruise was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia! Our ship docked in Port Klang, which is about an hour’s drive from KL. We went on a taxi tour with our very personable guide, Kelvin, who took us to see all the exciting sites that Kuala Lumpur has to offer!
THEAN HOU TEMPLE
We visited a lot of temples on this trip, with this one being the first. (They all seemed to have the same name too!) We didn’t do much here except for admire the endless rows of red lanterns, as well as enjoy a pretty nice view of KL.
I also took off my shoes to enter the temple, then walked around inside in a circle!
THE KING’S PALACE
Next, we went to the king’s second palace. (His first original residence has been converted into a royal museum!) We obviously couldn’t go inside, but we admired the gold decor, and my sister and her family took a picture with a guard who never smiled. (He was like a Malaysian version of a beefeater from Buckingham Palace! He positioned himself in the smaller arch, right beside the gates.)
I really enjoyed our next stop: the National Monument. The monument commemorates all Malaysians who have fought in battle, from Japanese occupation during World War Two to the Malayan Emergency, when Malaysia gained independence from Britain. There’s also a cenotaph which pays tribute to Malaysians who fought in both world wars, as well as the war for independence.
The memorial and peaceful pond.
It was so peaceful and calm when visiting this area; the fountain and pond gave the space a very serene feeling. It would’ve been nice to have had an opportunity to learn a bit more about the events which were being commemorated, but I suppose that type of information is better shared at a museum than a memorial.
PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS
Next, two tall skyscrapers that house a shopping centre, a few offices, and an observatory! We spent all our time in the mall, which was decked out in Christmas decorations, which made me think of my fellow Canadians who were suffering in frigid -30°C weather while I bathed in my sweat in the hot Malaysian heat!
The mall offered a wonderful air-conditioned respite, but this was also the point in the day when my sister and I realized we needed to cover our legs for the next stop in our tour (which meant we would feel even warmer)! We ducked into a Uniqlo and bought some pants, all the while marvelling at the heavy parkas and thick sweaters that were for sale inside the store.
Our final stop of our Kuala Lumpur tour was the Batu Caves, a Hindu temple which has been carved/built into a giant cave. A large golden statue of a goddess and a very long set of stairs welcomed us into the temple.
Look at those stairs!
The golden goddess!
Here’s a view from the back!
The climb up the stairs was made all the more exciting – better to distract us from the danger of the uneven steps – by the wild monkeys! There were mother monkeys and baby monkeys, and they weren’t shy about running after bags of food and stealing snacks from unsuspecting tourists. On my way down, I even saw a monkey perched on the bannister, gulping down some sort of mango drink!
Walking through the caves is pretty fun as well. The temple is still under construction, and visitors can help out by carrying a brick from one level to the next. There are statues all over, and even a little marketplace to buy little trinkets!
Pile of bricks!
The caves were also quite dark and cool, which felt good after a whole day of being out in the sun. Unfortunately and surprisingly, there were even more stairs once inside the cave, and these steps were even more precarious than the ones outside! Nevertheless, it was a nice experience, and I felt like I’d completed a workout after finally arriving at the top of the steps.
There is also an opportunity to go into the “dark caves” and learn about the flora and fauna that is found in the caves, aka bats! And some pretty gross-looking bugs! We didn’t have time to go, but it looked like it would’ve been fun as well as educational – visitors can only go on that tour if they are led by a trained guide.
And that is what I did in Kuala Lumpur – a bit of history, a bit of exercise, and a bit of wildlife!