Kuala Lumpur, a multicultural city
For my August vacation I returned home, not before making a short stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I had never set foot in a mostly Muslim country before, so I was very curious to see the cultural differences.
In that time I was living in China, in Kunming. I bought a flight ticket from Kunming to Kuala Lumpur. I would stay 7 days in Malaysia and then fly from Kuala Lumpur to Barcelona, stopping in Abu Dhabi and Rome.
Just the week before I left I found out that a cousin of mine was living in Kuala Lumpur (KL, as they call it there). He told me that he was away on vacation but that I could stay in his flat without any problem and advised me to visit Tioman Island, on the east coast of Malaysia.
I couldn’t refuse his invitation so I ended up staying in his apartment which was right next to the Petronas Towers. When I say the attic I immediately realized that I might never be able to return the favor.
On one side of the pool the famous Petronas Towers rose in all their splendor and you couldn’t help but be stunned by contemplating them without paying attention to anything else. If you looked over the other side, the skyscrapers of the city covered the horizon and magically vanished, but also with the help of a little pollution. In my first hour in that wonderful pool I met a very nice Indonesian girl who offered to show me around the city.
Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, the largest city in the country and has a population of almost 2 million people. Walking through the centre of KL is like walking through four different worlds. Malay, Indian, Chinese and Western are mixed and in each street it seems that you are in a different country or that you are in all at once.
I don’t know why, we ended up visiting Chinatown and if it hadn’t been for the volume of foreigners I would have thought I was back in China.
Then, we went to buy the ticket to Tioman. Unfortunately, as my visit coincided with Ramadan, all the tickets were sold. Everyone who could went home to spend Ramadan with his family. In the end I ended up buying myself a ticket for three days from now. I couldn’t leave Malaysia without at least one day at the beach.
During this three days in Kuala Lumpur I stayed there as a resident. Avoiding the tourist places, going around the center in search of Indian restaurants and above all spending time in the pool. I didn’t need to move much. I was sure I wouldn’t find a better place than that in all of KL.
Trip to Tioman Island
The day came to visit Tioman Island. To go from Kuala Lumpur to Tioman Island you must first go to the TBS bus terminal (Terminal Bersepadu Selatan). From there take a five-hour bus.
Once you arrive in the coastal town of Mersing a ferry leaves you on the island in just over an hour. The island is quite big. There are different areas to stay so tourism is not only concentrated in one place as it happens in Koh Phi Phi. So if you are lucky, you may find yourself with empty beaches.
Just arriving I quickly rented a small bungalow and went to see the surrounding beaches. My part of the island was almost deserted. The crystalline beaches were all just for me. From time to time I would spot a tourist in the distance. I also came across one-meter lizards. They are very similar to komodo dragons, but in theory, harmless.
I could only stay a day and a half. Although I was very sorry to leave so quickly, it was worth the trip to disconnect a little from the over-urbanization in the center of KL. Here’s a link to a nice video about Tioman Island.
The day after I returned to KL I took the flight back home. It had been two years since I had settled in Kunming. Two years of unforgettable experiences but now it was time to return home.
Once I was on the plane, two years of memories haunted my head. Inevitably, my mind was also thinking about the Malaysian plane that had been missing for a month. There were 24 hours left to arrive home, as long as everything went well.
Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.
– John Lennon –