Earlier this year, Amie and I traveled to Malaysia, Thailand and Bali for a friend’s wedding and vacation. Our trip lasted two weeks and Kuala Lumpur was our first stop.
Malaysia is a place I’d only ever seen from the inside of the airport on a stop over from Perth to London. Amie had traveled here with her family before, so I had some reference point of what to expect when we landed in Kuala Lumpur in early January this year..
It was the first leg of our trip to three destinations in Asia; Malaysia. The trip itself was built around the date of Amie’s best friend’s wedding in Koh Samui. We had decided that, instead of heading straight to Thailand, we would break up the time in the air with a stop somewhere first. Malaysia was an easy choice.
Our Air Asia flight departed for Kuala Lumpur at 6am, so it was important that we had everything together for such an early start. We ended up getting to bed fairly late after finishing our pre-trip checklists.
Sounds pedantic, I know, but I find it helps to have everything you need to do written down where you can see it. I trust my memory less and less as I get older.
We arrived at Perth Airport bleary eyed just after 4am, having slept little and hoping our decision to fly Premium Economy paid off and we could catch up on the plane. Check-in was a breeze, so after a quick look in the duty free shop, we headed through customs and awaited the boarding call.
The flight was enjoyable, the flatbeds were definitely worth it and both Amie and I managed to sleep. We touched down refreshed and excited and, after a surprisingly quick transition at Kuala Lumpur Low Cost terminal, were getting our first real look at Malaysia.
The drive from the airport to our hotel in central Kuala Lumpur took about an hour, so we had the chance to see some of the scenery. The long freeways cut through country that is lush and green, like everywhere in the region, but this is interspersed with stunning modern architecture.
There is a great deal of current development and recent construction apparent. Malaysia is a burgeoning economy moving forward at a rapid pace, helped in part by it’s IT and communications industries, and infrastructure has been put in place to accommodate them.
Kuala Lumpur is a big city and the Prince Hotel, our home for four nights, seemed to be right in the centre of it. The scale of the city is impressive, our drive from the outskirts to the central business and shopping districts taking quite some time.
The hotel itself is an impressive building, and the interior matches the exterior. A grand entrance opens up to a spacious lobby and ground floor restaurant, one of many places to eat in the building.
The view from our room on the 26th floor was a stunning one of the famous twin towers. After some gawking and a few photo’s, we grabbed a quick lunch at the Terrace Poolside Bar & Grill, situated on the 10th floor of the hotel. Amie’s first cocktail of the trip, a Cosmopolitan, was a good one, and the satay and grilled corn that followed matched it.
We decided to have a look around after lunch. A friend of Amie’s had grown up in the city, and had recommended Lot 10 as a place to shop and eat, so we thought find it and get our bearings on the city from there.
At first glance, KL seemed to be all about shopping and food, pursuits both my wife and I will happily engage in, so no problems there.
The Pavilion is an extremely plush shopping complex across the street from the hotel; an airy, open structure with as many appealing restaurants as classy retail outlets.
This, we soon realised, was the norm in this part of KL; shopping complex after shopping complex providing equal opportunities for consuming fashion, technology and food.
We took a quick look around Lot 10 when we did find it, making note of all the food that looked enticing with the intention of coming back to eat the following day. So much of it looked amazing, as you’ll see in later posts.
We explored the clean and spacious streets in leisurely fashion, not wanting to venture too far or fast after an already relatively long day, making note of anything that looked interesting and warranted greater inspection later on.
This was going to be a long trip, so it was important to ease ourselves into it to avoid burnout. I also wanted to make sure I took time to appreciate where I was at any given time on this trip.
It was an opportunity to see places I’d never been before and I had been excited about it for quite some time. Now that it was happening, it was important to me to take the time to enjoy it.
After heading back to the hotel, we decided to spend some time by the pool with a drink each. The plan was to relax until it was time for dinner, which we had decided would be at one of the hotel’s extremely high rated restaurants.
The Prince Hotel has the usual buffet restaurant, Ecuccino, adjacent to the lobby serving a variety of food that is of very good quality, as well as the previously mentioned Terrace Poolside Bar & Grill. There were two other restaurants in the hotel that caught our eye on booking, with modern Japanese cuisine in Enju and contemporary Cantonese Tai Zi Heen.
Reviews of these restaurants will follow, but our choice of both, with the Cantonese fair getting the nod for our first night in Kuala Lumpur, proved to be rewarding.
After too much food and probably too much booze, we stumbled back to our room and once again marveled at the view of the city in front of us. My first impression of Kuala Lumpur is of a city that is modern, exciting and extremely diverse.
Looking forward to finding out more about it the following day, I went to sleep with visions of tall, sleek, majestic towers lit up against a dark background, illuminating a metropolis overflowing with promise.