After moving to Singapore I quickly started researching weekend getaway locations. I usually reserve weekend trips for exploring cities as I’ve yet to find a city where I was not satisfied after 2 full days of exploring. That’s not to say that one could spend much longer than 2 days and be completely fulfilled. I however like to reserve longer trips for more adventurous destinations such as beaches, mountains and home to the States. With that said, one of the first places I went to outside of Singapore was Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Getting to Kuala Lumpur
From Singapore, it’s a simple 45 minute flight that will cost you anywhere from $20-70, depending on dates and time. Keep in mind that the airports in Kuala Lumpur are a good 45 minute drive to the city but the good news is that Malaysia is very affordable. We took an Uber to the city center that cost us less than $20.
The Petronis Towers
The jewel of Kuala Lumpur is undoubtedly the Petronis Towers. Jutting skyward, they are unmistakable with their iconic walking bridge that spans the gap. Pay the $10 or so that it costs to go both to the bridge and the 88th viewing floor.
Let me preface this by saying I am not a fan of shopping. I don’t like fighting the crowds and I don’t like buying new things. My life fits into 4 bags (one of them is a golf bag) so space is a precious commodity. With that said, I love the Kuala Lumpur China Town. Sure, all the stuff is generally of less quality and it definitely breaches most trademark laws but at the end of the day cheap sunglasses are cheap sunglasses and a t-shirt is a t-shirt. But besides the endless knock off products such as designer bags, sunglasses, drones, watches etc; the real joy of China Town is the bartering.
Bartering is essential in China Town for both the consumer and the seller. Without it, deals would not get done. When you find a product you’re interested in you will of course ask the seller how much it costs. The first price you’ll hear is the open. NEVER buy at this price. Do some posturing such as letting out a “hmmmm” or asking your friend what he/she thinks or lying and saying that the vendor over there offered it to you for less. But my #1 posturing technique is to say no thanks and walk away. This has dramatic effects. For example, when I first entered the China Town market I found a stall selling tank tops. I found a few that I liked and asked the man what the price was. He opened at 40 Malaysian Ringgit or about $10. To be honest I would’ve bought at this price but it was the first stall I visited and I told the man that I was going to shop around but I’d be back. As I started to walk away he shouted “Fine! 35!”. I took another 2 steps and he fired off “30!”. Another few steps and I hear “25!”. Well this opened my eyes. I visited a few other stalls and went back to my man. I told him I’d give him 50 Ringgit for 3 tanks. After some grumbling he agreed and I walked away with an R2D2, Bruce Lee and Tiger Beer tank top for a grand total of $12.50. I used this same strategy to get a pair of knock off Oakley sunglasses, iPhone charger and Nike running shoes for an additional $25. It was easily the best time I’ve ever had shopping.
The Batu Caves are on every Kuala Lumpur tourists must-see list. As you can see, there is a large Buddhist statue at the base of the mountain. There are also monkeys everywhere. Everyone loves monkeys, myself included, but beware, these monkeys are bold and active and will not hesitate to take things straight from your hands. Honestly, it’s the people to blame. As you make your way up the stairs you see countless people teasing and toying with the monkeys by dangling bananas and other fruit. Don’t be one of these people.
With that said, the monkeys are very entertaining. My buddy stopped halfway up to grab some photos of the monkeys and while he was snapping a pic of one monkey, another came out of no where and did a swan dive into his coconut drink, thus claiming it as his own. Another instance involving an unassuming visitor led to a monkey enjoying a nice cold Coca-Cola.
Kuala Lumpur, In Conclusion
Malaysia was always on my list and by association, so was Kuala Lumpur. The fact that it’s a 45 minute flight that costs less than $50 makes it a very accessible location. Oddly, I had multiple people and multiple Singaporeans tell me differently and told me to avoid Kuala Lumpur. They cited security and safety as their biggest concern. Well luckily they were wrong. I never felt unsafe or in danger and I really enjoyed the weekend there. A weekend was plenty to see and do all that Kuala Lumpur has to offer so save your longer trips for elsewhere.