To begin my Southeast Asia Adventure, I found myself in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It’s not a very popular destination for Americans, but you can find plenty of tourists there. I knew little about the city and country going in, but trusted my Lonely Planet guidebook to show me some highlights. After five days in KL with no agenda or itinerary, I’d recommend visiting, but would be sure to include other stops throughout Malaysia.
Traveling: Solo for four days, with a friend for one day
Highlights: Temples. All of them. If you love history and learning about other cultures, stop by any number of the Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim places of worship in this city for reflection and meditation.
Sri Mahamariamman Temple – a Hindu temple, the richest in the city, built in 1873. Mahamariamman is the South Indian mother goddess (Also featured at the top of this blog post)
Masjid Jamek – Mogul-style mosque at the point where the Gombak and Klang rivers meet. Hearing daily Muslim prayer echo through the city over loud speaker for the first time was profoundly beautiful.
Dharma Realm Guan Yin Sagely Monastery – this Buddhist temple is dedicated to the goddess of compassion. Behind the temple is a local canteen that serves family-style vegan food. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. I was grinning the entire time I ate. If you’ve ever eaten a meal and you could feel the love that went into making it, you know what I’m talking about.
Sin Sze Si Ya Temple – oldest Chinese Taoist temple in KL, very quiet and hidden in an alley. You likely won’t run into a lot of tourists here and the staff are extremely welcoming.
Batu Caves – Hindu shrine, one of the oldest and holiest in Malaysia. It’s a short taxi ride outside of the city and worth the trip just to see it in its grandeur. Be prepared to walk up 300+ steps to see the actual shrine!
Islamic Arts Museum- absolutely incredible if you like museums. You can spend hours here, so plan accordingly.
KL Canopy Walk – a walk amongst the trees, ending at Menara Tower. Seeing the city from the top is worth the money, just to say you did it.
Food: Street fruit! I loved grabbing mango on a stick on hot days (aka every day); Heli for a nighttime cocktail and 360 view of the city; Jalon Alhor for an open air market at dinner time; Canteen Café behind the Dharma Realm temple for lunch. Also, drink white coffee! Amazing.
Tips: It’s so humid, be ready for it; sidewalks are hit or miss, so watch for cars as you walk & cross the streets; the city is definitely walkable if you want to save money on taxi.
(Check out my Facebook photo album on KL here.)