The sheer size of Kuala Lumpur (KL) shocks us at first sight. Coming from our historical wooden boutique hotel with just eleven rooms in George Town, Penang (pop 150,000), to the modern “Hotel Stripes,” in the center of Malaysia’s capital city of 8 million-plus, throws us into a bustle. Quite the change of pace.
In KL, like everywhere in Malaysia, everyone has a job. Malaysia’s employment thrives thanks to their well-developed infrastructure, well educated work force, and inexpensive cost of living that is able to support international and national businesses alike. As a result, Kuala Lumpur is one of the fastest growing cities in Asia.
It does not take long for us to relax. Our fancy digs feature a rooftop infinity pool and pub, alongside a good gym with bird’s eye views.
Yes, we have grown a spare tire around our waist that needs worked off. The full-strength beers and all-you-can-eat breakfast buffets containing foods from three different cultures (we must try them all) have taken their toll. No more excuses. A gym sits right in front of us. Staying in reasonable physical condition while traveling long-term makes traveling all the more enjoyable. But, working-out on the road presents challenges. One needs to exercise to compliment strenuous walking, as it proves the only way to burn off over-indulgences and keep strong for continuous adventures.
Finally, a bit burnt out on Malaysian food, we decide to explore the multitude of other options offered in KL’s huge federal territory. At the Chinese restaurant Mojo, we roll up barbeque duck in rice wraps as if rolling a cigar.
Craft beers, salmon with vegetable, and with Japanese rice (stickier than regular rice) on the menu pulls us into the Gavel restaurant next door.
Restaurant Yarl, also nearby, serves northern Sri Lankan food. It will light-up your taste buds and turn on the head sweat. So good that we eat there twice.
Ouch, the morning after working-out yesterday we stroll around countless buildings, like the famous Petronas Towers, with every muscle group screaming to let us know that they exist.
Thankfully, an elevator instead of stairs lifts to the observation deck of the KL Menara, which is not as high as the Petronas Towers, but offers better views.
Going back to the gym with aching muscles takes a bit of will. No, it does not come easy but pays off big eventually. After this work-out, today is designated “lounge by the pool day” from the rooftop.
Or just admire the view from our room. Oh yeah babe, the big needle lights up at night for special occasions, such as Chinese New Year.
Time for a side trip to the Batu Caves.
Hindu temples and shrines hide inside these limestone caves at the top of two-hundred-seventy-two steep steps.
Faithful devotees lug samples of their favorite things in life up the stairs as gifts to the gods. Some of them climb the stairs on their knees while chanting. We feel like crawling up as well, due to gassed leg muscles from squats and lunges!
The Hindu deity “Lord Murugan” stands guard near the Temple Cave and is the tallest statue of a Hindu deity in Malaysia, as well as the third tallest in the world.
Opportunistic monkeys perch on bannisters and snatch whatever looks like food from unsuspecting climbers. Apparently, Lord Murugan allows them.
Back at our modern hotel, sitting at the rooftop bar, we agree that KL is a great place to relax and regroup. A tropical rainstorm makes it that much greater.
What we have experienced in Malaysia has been interesting, thought provoking, and stereotype smashing. In this country, full of tasty food and friendly people who seem to be constantly cooking and eating, how do the majority of them remain thin? Maybe because all the food that they cook is fresh. Free of preservatives and other chemicals found in many of our foods back home. Then again, do chop sticks instead of forks slow down the eating process? Deep thoughts.
Next Stop is Vietnam! It has been over 20 years since we first visited Vietnam. This time, kicking back on a familiar beach in Nha Trang for one-month beckons us. Might as well, since we sold our home back in the United States last summer and have been living like nomads (with good friends and good credit) ever since.
We now look forward to gorging on fresh seafood, Banh cuon, Pho, Banh mi, and other dishes that we neither understand nor can pronounce. Guess we better find a fully equipped gym to continue our quest to get back into shape, or to at least break even.
Thank you, Abundant Universe!
Awesome Blog Ron, now Malaysia has been added to my bucket list. Thank you and keep writing 👍🏾😎☮️🍻
Thank you, James. Keep filling up that bucket!
WOW now THAT place is definitely my kinda living . The view from the air was awesome and the views around the city were just as awesome . That infinity pool on the roof would be my go to place every night . Awesome !! The trek up those 200+ steps would give these old legs some serious challenges hahaha. But the view from the top is definitely worth it . I REALLY enjoyed this blog . And for once even the choices of food you guys indulged in were tasty looking as well . Really really enjoyed this one . I was a little surprised though when you mentioned that you guys sold your house back in the USA . I’m guessing you have no plans on staying for any length of time whenever you guys return to recharge the batteries when deciding on the next adventure ? Nomads by every sense of the word indeed . As always stay safe you crazy kids and look forward to seeing what awesome adventures await in Vietnam .Until next time
Hi Glenn! Hey that high view was taken from near the top of that “Space Needle” that’s how high it is! So glad that you enjoyed this one. Oddly enough, it was hard to write as we have been on the beach in Nha Trang dam near forgetting about life. Yes, sold house as prices housing prices booming in Phoenix and we spend only four or five months there yearly anyway. Not sure where or if we will dig roots yet. Thanks again for enjoying and responding to our blog. We look forward to your responses!
I love your accommodations and the monkey! Beautiful city, not what I expected. Good job on your gym workout. It’s always a joy to read your blog because you make it very interesting. You are an amazing writer.
Haha! The monkey was free, but that room, including a massive breakfast buffet was a splurge, still only about USD$100 per night though. Can’t get anything that nice off of the interstates back home for sure. I’m humbled about your writing comment, thanks for your kindness. We’re currently kicking-back on a beach in Nha Trang, Vietnam so we plan to share a post once we get productive again.
Thanks for the slice of Malaysia. There used to be a popular restaurant in Seattle called Rasa Malaysia that was GREAT food. Sadly, long gone. And that rooftop pool and rain! Reminds me of a few days I spent in Bangkok after trekking in Bhutan, where I lounged at the rooftop pool and watched a tropical deluge roll in. It was marvelous. Gosh didn’t know you sold your Phoenix home! Would love to see you if/when you come through Seattle/western Washington next. Safe travels and look forward to seeing the rest of your travels this go-round.
Hi Jill. Wow! Bhutan would be an amazing place to visit! One day for us maybe, I hear that they reconstructed an an old trail there. Yes, sold the house last August and are not sure where or if we are going to settle yet. None of us are getting any younger, so got to get travels in as much as possible! Currently kicking on a the beach in Nha Trang, Vietnam where anybody would find lots to love. Take care.
Awesome and unexpected – the overwhelming size of the city
Hi Julie. Yes, we knew that the city was big, but not quite that big for sure!
Great tales and images!
Hotel Boise is now open. 🙂
Always great to hear from you! Keep a light on for us.
We’ve always loved KL, thinking of it as a perfect blend of a rough and also refined SE Asian city, or from our lived experiences Jakarta and Singapore. Hope the rest of your trip is a good one.
Incredibly fascinating experiences you guys are having. Will never forget the story you told me about the traffic in Jakarta!
Did you visit Kuala Lumpur’s railroad station? Suppose to be quite elaborate. The food does seem different, but good. Probably the lack of obesity is because of all the walking and just eating enough so they’re not quite full.
Nah, didn’t get to the station. Walking could be one of the factors for sure.