Now that we have said ‘goodbye’ to the big city of KL, here are the highlights of our second 3 weeks there….
Taman Connaught Night Market
Logan had been very keen to visit these famous Wednesday night markets during our time in KL and we finally found a Wednesday that would work and that thunderstorms weren’t threatening. With these markets starting around 5.30pm, we knew we would be in the peak of rush hour traffic for the 11-12kms we needed to travel, so we booked an Uber just after 5pm and arrived not too long before 6pm. From high on the walkway bridge, we could see the yellow tops of all the gazebos stretched along the 2kms of laneway with over 700 stalls making up these weekly markets. There are both food and merchandise stalls at this market and as we started to wander through, all of the different food selections instantly made us very hungry. We found some dumping noodle soup for the boys and sat down while they ate, before heading back out into the ever growing crowds. We purchased a few things as we walked; things on sticks such as prawns, squid, sausage and the like, dim sums, cake on a stick in the shape of Pikachu, Cola chicken and fresh juices – pomegranate, passionfruit and starfruit with sour plum. All so so good 😋
By the time we had made our way to the end of the stalls and turned around to start heading back, the place was jammed packed with people and all the lights were on as the sun had set around 7.30pm. This was a much slower walk and a lot hotter with so many people all jostling for space and trying to get to the stall they were after. More things on sticks were purchased, including very tender and juicy pork strips, and we decided to head out of the main laneway and continue back along the parallel alley where it was a lot less crowded. We picked up some fresh fruit to take back to our apartment, including the locally grown passionfruit that Logan has developed a strong “passion” for (usually about 10-12 MYR/$3.33-4 NZD per kg). Amazing markets, electric atmosphere; a must do if you have a free Wednesday night in KL.
KL City Gallery
This was a very compact space but I definately could have spent more time here as it was really good. The entry was just 5 MYR/$1.67 NZD and we were given this entry fee back to us as a voucher to use at the small cafe or large gift shop after we had been through the gallery. Logan had found that the gallery can get very busy after around 11am once all the tourist groups start arriving, and it also hosts the information centre, so we headed there shortly after 9.30am to avoid the crowds. Outside stood the iconic ‘I ❤️ KL’ sign, which we lined up to take some photos; luckily there was only one couple in front of us but by the time we had taken a few snaps the line was starting to grow.
Inside the gallery you start with a little of the history of KL and some of it’s historic buildings and areas. We learnt that Kuala Lumpur translated to ‘muddy confluence’ and that the city was founded around the meeting point of the Klang and Gombak rivers (something we later went in search for in the ‘Old KL’ part of town). Upstairs there is a model collection of buildings from the KL skyline and a large hanging model (including mirror image) of the Sultan Abdul Samad building; again, something we saw in the flesh later that morning.
A small whistle blew (they do love their whistles here in Malaysia) to signal that ‘The Spectacular City Model Show’ was about to begin. We wandered into a seperate room, the lights began to dim and then we where in complete darkness. Inside there was an amazing model of the city covering an area of 12m x 15m that showcased the city’s past, present and future via an incredibly large screen and a light display. As different areas, buildings or infrastructure systems were shown on the big screen during the 10 minute presentation, they also lit up within the model itself. We were all very impressed.
After the city model show we headed up back down stairs and this is when I discovered that we had just about reached the end of the gallery. We past a window where you could watch 4-6 employees hand-making some of the gifts and crafts destined for the gift shop and we cashed in our entry fee vouchers to cover some of the cost for our two (very sweet) coffees and a couple of chocolate muffins for the boys.
For more information about this great little city galley, visit their website.
Outside the gallery is Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square) with, what was once, the tallest flag pole in the world, standing at a commanding 95m. Across the road is the impressive Sultan Abdul Samad building (mentioned early), this grand building is “one of the most significant, most well-known and the most beautiful heritage landmark in the city of Kuala Lumpur’, and it’s not hard to see why. Built between 1894 and 1897, the front façade stretches 137.2 metres in length and the centre building has a shiny cooper dome with clock tower that stands over 41 metres in height.
By now it was getting close to midday and the sun was beating down on us as we walked towards the confluence of the two rivers that the city was built around. There was a lot of roadworks in the area and we couldn’t really get a good look (except for Braxton who was on Logan’s shoulders) but we caught a glimpse of these two muddy rivers, not too much to see anyway. We headed towards Kasturi Walk, another famous KL marketplace, but as it was mainly merchandise stands we continued a little further and had some lunch at Chinatown.
Sunday Roast Lunch @ The Ritz-Carlton
You are all probably pretty over hearing about this totally amazing 3 hour lunch we had at The Ritz-Carlton for my thirty (cough cough) something birthday, so I’ll just leave the link here to take you to the full review if you do wish to relive it…. I know we love to!!
This was a pretty cool find for the boys to try out and after waiting until the Malaysian school holidays had finished and keeping an eye out on the KidZania KL website for upcoming promotions, we managed to get a 40% discount for purchasing tickets online. Therefore the cost for the boys was only 51 MYR/$17 NZD each and adults were 24.60 MYR/$8.20 NZD each. KidZania is a kid-sized city, with more than 60 establishments where kids between the ages of 4-14 get to experience these real-life occupations, hands-on in a fun yet engaging learning environment. Each child is given 50 kidZos (the currency of KidZania) upon entry and once they complete a task at any of the businesses (usually ranging from 15-25 minutes in length) they are paid more kidZos; which they can choose to save or spend. All of this is done under the watchful eyes of the KidZania staff, adults are generally not allowed inside the establishments, so you can either watch from the street front or head to the ‘adults only’ cafe for a break from your hard-working, up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
There are a few jobs that are high-profile and in high demand, so these require the children to book a recruitment spot, of which they can have up to two at a time. We arrived right on opening time at 10am and Lincoln and Braxton immediately signed up for the soonest possible time slots to be a pilot and a fireman. Once theses tasks were complete, along with a few others in-between, they were able to book another high demand task and this time they booked in at McDonalds. Now while they actually had to pay (15 kidZos) for the privilege of working at McDonalds and making their own chicken burgers; they did come out of the kitchen with their own made burger and some fries, and right in time for a break for lunch – perfect!
The afternoon saw the boys complete a few more tasks, some together and some on their own. After a good 5 hours, Braxton was ready to call it a day; so they headed to the ATM and withdrew their hard earned kidZos to spend at the KidZania shop. They had nearly 100 kidZos each and there wasn’t a lot of choice at this price point, clearly you are meant to visit mulitple times and save up to get a bigger item. It’s a shame they couldn’t get a little edible treat or similar rather than the $2 shop type zip wrist band, but it didn’t seem to worry them, they wore them with pride after a hard days work. We then spent some real life Malaysia Riggit currency and got them both an ice cream as we headed outside to meet our Uber. KidZania is an awesome concept with 24 facilities across the globe and another 10 currently under development, although sadly nothing in the New Zeland/Australian region. A wonderful day out for the whole family 👍
KL Forest Eco Park
I found this FREE thing to do on the TimeOut website and we were intially planning to do this walk one afternoon, but the KL thunderstorms were threatending more than ususal so we decided to leave it for the next morning and head out straight after breakfast. Even though we arrived at the entrance around 9.30am and there was plenty of lovely tree coverage, it was not long before we were very hot and very pleased we hadn’t come in the hotter afternoon heat. We climbed the first tower of around 20 steps and made our way along the first bridge of the canopy walk. It was a very leisurely and pleasant walk and we saw a few different bugs, birds and inserts, but no monkeys on this occasion. It felt very different to be this close to the city and it’s huge buildings, but still be surrounded by this lush green landscape.
The KL Forest Eco Park (formerly known as the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve) was gazetted in 1906, it was then 17.5 hectares (now just over 9) and is the only natural rainforest situated right in the centre of a city. When the KL Medara Tower was constructed in the 1990’s, it was done with the utmost attention to the environment to ensure that the natural surroundings of the Eco Park remained undisturbed.
Lincoln also recorded his first vlog using one of my birthday presents (a selfie stick) and did a pretty good job for his first attempt – unedited video here….
After a few more towers and a few more bridges, we exited the canopy walk. There were a few other trails within the forest you could explore as well, but by nearly 11am we were hot and sweaty and ready to find somewhere cool. At this entrance/exit we were very close to the base of the KL Medara Tower, but on this occasion we didn’t partake in the tourist trip up this tower as we knew we had the Petronas Twin Towers to visit the following week. We wandered down the road from the base of the tower and found a random mall (with not too many occupied shops) but enough to have a snack in the cool air conditioning for a bit.
Petronas Twin Towers
Once we knew that my brother and sister-in-law were planning a quick visit to KL from the Philippines for the last few days that we would be there, we decided to leave our visit to the Twin Towers until they arrived. We had walked up to the hotel they were staying at, only around 900m from our apartment and then caught a quick Uber over to the mall next to the Twin Towers, Suria KLCC. We had an early lunch, making our selections from the vast array of options at Signatures Food Court on level 2 of the mall and caught some views of the Symphony Lake as the water show began. Just before 1pm we made our way to the concourse area of the Twin Towers and purchased tickets (Adults 85 MYR/$28.33 NZD & children 3-12 years 35 MYR/$11.67), the 1pm slot was sold out so we would be in the 1.15pm tour. We queued up and at around 1.10pm we had our tickets scanned, our bags x-rayed, ourselves put through an airport screening type metal detector, our backpack checked into the bag check and then we waited to watch the security briefing video. Once this was all done, the 1.15pm group made their way into the lift and headed to the skybridge on level 41 (170m above street level), we were here for about 10 minutes before we moved onto level 86 (via a quick lift change at level 83) and the observation deck (360m about street level). We managed to get about 15 minutes here and then came back down to another small area on level 83. About another 10 minutes here and we were back on the ground and exiting through the gift shop (of course).
We weren’t aware beforehand that we would only be getting a small amount of time at each area and at times we did seem a little rushed; especially if you were still reading all the information or getting that perfect pic. It’s a bit of a shame that you can’t do it at your own pace, however, once you have seen the spaces you can see why; the observation deck area is not overly large, so it wouldn’t take long for it to be overcrowded at times and that would not be pleasant. It’s an iconic building in the KL skyline and definitely an experience we are glad we did. For more photos of our visit to the Twin Towers, use this link to our Facebook page….
In general, Kuala Lumpur was a pretty amazing city to get to spent 6 weeks in and get a good look around without having to rush or do as much as possible every day. Logan is currently putting the finishing touches on his blog post which gives his overview of KL as a city, we have posted the review of the apartment we stayed in and the remainder of our KL food adventures are also up. Enjoy!!