Day 90 – Scoping out the city

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I have a list of a few things I want to do here during my 3 days in Kuala Lumpur so I decided to spend the day exploring part of the city.

Namely I wanted to go to Pavillion mall because I heard they had a great food court and I also wanted to see both towers – the Petronas towers (the twin towers with a skybridge) and the KL tower (kind of like the CN tower or Space Needle).

It was seriously like a sauna outside and I hadn’t even been outside for 5 minutes before I started to stick to my shirt.

It was going to be a long day…

Getting to the Pavillion mall was pretty straight forward.  I took the metro and then transferred over to the monorail line.

I asked a security guard outside the station to point me in the right direction and I headed off that way.

One thing I’ll say about the Malaysian people – they sure are friendly.  Of course I have had a very small sample size but everyone I’ve encountered so far has been nice.

As you enter the mall there is a big placard where there is normally an advertisement expressing condolences to the friends and family of those on the missing MH370 flight.  In fact, through my travels during the day I noticed quite a few placards similar to that thoughout the city.

Obviously this is still on everyone’s minds here.

Inside the mall are alot of high end clothing and retail stores.  I mean alot!  I actually noticed this in a few malls in the area.  Guess I was in the ritzy area of town.

My limited experience with food courts here in Asia is that they are either in the basement or the top floor of malls.  When I entered the mall I didn’t see any restaurants in the floor below but I did see some on the top floor.

I headed up the escalators and when I got there I was sadly disappointed with what I saw.  It was a bunch of high end restaurants serving all varieties of ethnic dishes (none of which were Malaysian).  I felt like I had once again been duped by what I had read online.

I went back down taking a different escalator.  I ended up taking it down one too many levels and stumbled upon the actual food court hidden on the bottom floor.

I can’t believe I almost missed this.

There must have been 50 different stores offering every kind of cuisine imaginable.  In between the Tony Romas and the TGI Fridays I found a great little store offering Malaysian dishes.

It had the words Curry Rice in the store name so I was a little apprehensive because of my aversion to spicy food but I figured, what the hell, and gave it a try.

I ordered a combination of curry chicken, fish, rice and vegetable.  Yes, it was a bit spicy and I was searching for something soothing afterwards.

Enter the spirolletto…

They are fresh made pastries slathered in your choice of toppings.  I chose peanut butter and chocolate.

It was a good choice.

After breakfast/lunch (yup, I have alot of those kind of meals) I headed back into the sweltering heat in search of the Petronas towers better known as the twin towers with the connecting bridge.

Since I was in the middle of a bunch of tall buildings I couldn’t actually see the towers so I had no idea which direction to walk

I asked another friendly guy where to go and once again he pointed me in the right direction.

I wasn’t in the heat for long as I traveled via an overground, air conditioned covered walkway.  Yes, it’s essentially a sidewalk 10 feet above the ground taking you from a few of the key points in the downtown core.

Guess when it’s hot as hell all the time you think up ways to get your citizens around outside of the heat.

It wasn’t long before I reached the convention center which was another short walk (this time outside) to the towers.

At the convention center I noticed a sign for Rainforest Cafe in the lower level food court.

I used to work at the Rainforest Cafe and I hadn’t been there in years.  My eyes lit up and I excitedly went downstairs to find…

…an aquarium.

From the outside looking in it sure looked like a Rainforest Cafe design but I guess it must have closed down.

Bummer.

I soon arrived at the Petronas towers.  I saw another mall and went to walk through it to get to the other side where the towers were.

I exited the building and there were no towers.

I looked behind me and above to see the mall I just walked through was actually the bottom level of the towers.

Malls everywhere!

I went back inside and saw a couple roped off staircases which I presume led to the skybridge at the 41st floor.  I didn’t search too hard to see if there was another way up as I had decided I was only going to go up one tower today and that would be the KL Tower which was my next stop.

I snapped a few photos from the outside looking up and then asked another security guard what the best way to get to the KL tower was.

He told me to catch the free GoKL purple bus just outside the mall which would take me right there in about 15 minutes.

Nice!  And it was free!

I soon found out, however, it wasn’t quite as easy as he had made it out to be.

Yes, the purple colored bus was waiting outside and, yes, it was free – that much was true.

In fact they even had free wifi onboard!  How insane is that?

Since the Rainforest Cafe was still on my mind I used the wifi to look up if there were any other locations in Kuala Lumpur.

There was!

And it was at the KL Tower!

Oh my God!  This was perfect!

Ha ha!  Yeah, right!  More on that in a sec…

First I had to deal with this free GoKL bus ride to the tower.

As the bus is travelling I’m just waiting to spot the tower outside and get off.  Seems simple enough.  At one stop I could see it probably a couple of blocks away.  I knew we were close.

And then the bus started moving away from the tower.

Okay, maybe it’s just doing a weird route – buses are known to do that.

Nope, it just kept going further away and soon the Petronas towers were coming back into view.

Yes, reminiscent of my bus ride to nowhere I had in Iceland, I once again did a round trip in a bus only to end up back at my starting location.

I got off the bus and went to the other GoKL bus at the front of the line to try it again.  This time I was just going to get off at that stop where the KL tower was only a couple of blocks away.

I got on and this time looked at the route map pasted on the window.

What the security guard didn’t tell me was that there was actually a purple line and a green line and I had hopped on a green line bus (even though it was purple in color).

The green line didn’t go by the KL tower but it did connect with the purple line bus that did.

At one of the stops where both lines intersected I got off the bus and hopped onto the one going on the purple line route.

Guess what – didn’t have much more success with the purple line either.

Once again we passed the tower which was a couple of blocks away but this time I didn’t wait for the bus to head away from the tower and just got off.

I walked for about 15 minutes to get to the tower and when I got there it was obvious that no bus line was going by the tower as it was on a quiet street up a hill away from the main streets.

I excitedly kept my eyes open for the Rainforest Cafe and when I saw it, my heart dropped.  It wasn’t the Rainforest Cafe.  It’s wasn’t a big restaurant with animatronic animals and ominous thunderstorms.  There was no Bayou Blackened Meatloaf or Jungle Safari Soup.

Nope, it was just a small cafe serving sandwiches, burgers and drinks.

I’m still trying to figure out if it’s owned by the same company as the logo was very similar or if it’s just some company ripping off their name.

Either way, my hopes of having a Rainforest Cafe meal for dinner were dashed.

I did look up international locations later on and found one in Tokyo – a place I’ll be in just over a week so there is still hope…

My focus went back to this 421 meter (1381 foot) building in front of me.

They have two options to go up.  For 49 ringgit ($15) you can go almost all the way to the top to the enclosed observation deck.

Or…

For 99 ringgit ($30) you can go all the way to the top to their open air deck.

We all know which one I chose…

I actually had to sign a waiver form and hand it in to the security guard at the top in order to go out there to look around.

It was nice to get the wind blowing at me up top cooling me off.  Also there were only a handful of people on the same deck as I guess most of the visitors opted for the cheaper option.

The forecast here for the next few days is for rain and I thought I made it through the day without any until it started to drizzle a little when I was leaving the top of the tower.

By the time I had reached the bottom and walked out past the parking lot, it started to pour rain.

I hid under an awning, pulled out my trusty black travel umbrella and walked back out to catch that mischievous goKL bus.

By now I had a pretty good handle on the route it traveled and was able to land myself a block away from the monorail.

It was 5pm and since my dinner plans at the Rainforest Cafe were dashed I went inside the mall that was across the street from the station.

Passing by the high end retail stores I went downstairs to find their food court.

I stopped by the bathroom first only to find them charging 30 cents to use them.  Now, I had seen this many times in the less developed areas like Vietnam and Laos but was kind of surprised to see a bathroom charge here – especially in a mall.

The kicker was the bathroom was dirty and not well maintained.  There were also squat toilets.  In Kuala Lumpur!  In a mall!

And they charged me 30 cents!  Well, really 10 cents with the exchange, but still…

Anyway…

As I tend to do with food courts I circle around all the different stores before deciding on one.  I thought I had found one and was looking at their menu stand setup outside but an employee came over and kept hounding me so I just left.

Here’s a customer service tip… travellers hate being hounded when were looking at menus.  Leave us alone and if we have any questions we’ll ask you.

I ended up getting Penang Loh Bak from a little store in the corner.  I just saw the picture on the menu board and it looked like it had a variety of things on the plate.  What those things were I’m not too sure but I like plates with a little bit of everything.

After dinner I was pretty wiped out.  It was nearing 6pm and I had been out on my feet in the hot, humid weather for 7 hours.

It was time to go home.

I happily picked up my fresh laundry I had dropped off the night before, took a shower, and changed into some nice fresh clothes.

Ahhhh…

I only have 2 more days in Kuala Lumpur before flying out to Osaka in a few days.

I’m gonna try to make those days count…

Asia Trip 2014, Trip Journal

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