Travelling to offbeat locations sans any crowd has always been our favourite. If you have read few of our articles, you would know that we have a thing for offbeat travels. From dining with the local villagers at a quaint village in Kashmir (article coming up!) to driving through the lesser taken paths in Indonesia, both me and Kali have always tried to tread on the lesser-taken paths – sometimes together and sometimes with our respective friends and families. But that does not mean we don’t like our city breaks! Definitely we do – after all, for city-bred pandas like us, cities offer a scope for us to let our hair down. Oh boy! How we relish those breaks.
We know that most of the urban hubs have certain things in common – like the monstrous towers, the cacophonous malls, the deadly office-hours, the weekend parties and so on – but trust us when we say these are just a façade. Try looking through all the negatives and you shall find a heart buried deep within– something that lends a unique face to all the cities and make them worth remembering. And the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is no exception.
When we first thought of going to Kuala Lumpur, we were apprehensive of giving it more than a couple of days, especially after being a resident of Singapore for quite some time. But later on, as always, we gave in and thought of knowing and exploring the city a bit closely. So, for all of you who are planning to drop in at Kuala Lumpur en route to some other Malaysian or Southeast Asian vacation spot, we present to you our favourite things to do while in the magnificent city. Happy exploring, folks! 🙂
1. Kali has been to Kuala Lumpur quite a few times and being the coffee addict that he is, he had to find his ‘happy’ café. And boy, he was lucky. So, he has this little advice to all the coffee lovers here – if you’re in KL, try and drop in at LOKL Coffee Co. – a relaxing li’l place in Jalan Tun HS Lee street to sip on some lovely coffee and relax. The city is home to quirky cafés and pretty lounges, so we would ask you to spend some relaxing time there after you’re done shopping or just to let your hair down – we are pretty sure that you won’t be disappointed.
2. If you have an art connoisseur hidden in you, KL will surely be able to tickle your intellect. Being one of the major hubs of Southeast Asia (and much less costlier than Singapore), local artisans come in plenty to exhibit and sell their work in the city. Although KL is not much known internationally for its graffiti, there are some great graffiti hidden like treasures across the city. So, keep your eyes open and mind inquisitive to witness some great artistic wonders.
3. Explore the stores selling Batik products, including paintings, art works and clothing. As perhaps you would all know, Malaysia and Indonesia are hubs of Batik though both the countries feature different motifs, texture and patterns. So, if you think of picking up souvenirs for your friends and families or get some traditional stuff for yourself, Batik is the way to go. But a word of caution: sometimes certain shops keep their stuff immensely priced, so try to see the prices at few shops before you decide to buy from a particular one. Needless to say, the one’s you see at art fairs or exhibitions will have a higher price tag than the local shops.
4. We love museums and museum trips feature atop in our travel itinerary. So, if your time permits, go for a museum trip and you will come up replenished with the rich Malaysian history and culture.
5. Well, how can you go to KL and not click a selfie with or a snap of the Petronas Towers! But remember it is one of the most crowded places in the entire country and possibilities are that you may have to wait in queues to get the perfect shot of/with the Tower. So, we suggest you book your slot in advance to avoid the unnecessary crowds. Plenty of words have already been written in numerous blogs already, so we won’t go further into it once again and bore you guys. But yea, try and visit it early in the morning for most spectacular photographs and lesser crowd! 🙂
6. If you’re in the city for a couple of days, don’t miss out on the Batu caves! Besides, we LOVED hiking up the 272 steps to visit the Sree Murugan statue with imposing limestone formation in the background. The place is also home to the ‘Dark Cave Conservation Site’, a hike through which is both adventurous and fun. However, try give Batu caves at least half a day since you may face huge queues and a hush-and-rush tour will not do any justice the majestic temple. The entire place is no doubt touristy but that doesn’t churn out the beauty from the place.
7. One of our favourite places, which many tourists on tight schedule tend to miss, is the misty and mystic Genting Highlands. A dreamy landscape in the lap of the Malaysian rainforests, Genting Highlands is a quick respite from the humdrum of the city. If you have kids with you, they will surely heart the cable car rides. Once again, you will plethora of information on Genting Highland in numerous blogs and travel portals, so we won’t go into it. But try and make all the arrangements in advance lest you tend to run out of time.
8. If you, like us, do not enjoy crowd and are okay with not exploring the touristy places, we would suggest including the Chin Swee Cave Temple, a Taoist Chinese temple at the edge of a picturesque cliff, to your itinerary. The gigantic statue of Lord Buddha, the mystic clouds spread over the hills and the lush green tropical forest promise to usher in you a state of sublime. If you have time, spend some quiet time here – it might well become the highlight of your trip. It may not be an ‘offbeat’ place per se but it might well be the most rejuvenating destination.
9. Just chuck off all plans and celebrate the vibe of the city by walking mindlessly everywhere. Shop your heart out and enjoy local cuisine at China Town (Gosh! Don’t we just love China towns!). Even if you are a backpacker and don’t have much to splurge, don’t worry. You can have a gala dinner here without emptying your pocket!
10. We loved our walks across the city after dinner – the late-night vibrancy of the city is beyond explanation. A short glimpse of the Petronas Tower will never fail to mesmerize you again and again.
Kuala Lumpur might be your budget favourite city break from India. There are direct flights operating between various cities of India and Kuala Lumpur. The average round trip cost is approximately Rs 15k. Air Asia often gives great deals on KL flights and there are numerous B&B’s and homestay options available alongside plush seven star resorts to choose from – so, pack your bags and get-set-go!