February 9, 2011

Kuala Lumpur

I just returned to Korea from my three week tour of Southeast Asia. I am excited to share pictures and stories with you. To make it easier on both of us, I am going to split up the blog entries according to cities. Therefore, the first blog entry will be about the first city I visited, Kuala Lumpur.

Honestly, Malaysia wasn't even on my list of countries I wanted to go to while I was in Asia. I don't think it was really on any of our lists, but we decided it would make the cut because it was the cheapest gate way into Southeast Asia from Seoul.
We flew Air Asia (Asia's most popular low cost airline, based in Malaysia). The only destination Air Asia flies from Seoul is Kuala Lumpur and we couldn't pass up that $230 ticket for a six hour flight. The best thing about Air Asia is that once you are in Southeast Asia you can hop from country to country from less than $70. Air Asia is also known for hand picking their beautiful flight attendants. I would reconmend flying with them if you are thinking about a trip to Southeast Asia.
Malaysia gained independence from Great Britain in 1957. The country is split in to two regions separated by the South China Sea. The two regions are known as the Malaysian Peninsula and Malaysia Borneo. I only had the chance to visit the Malaysian Peninsula, where Kuala Lumpur and Penang are located.

Language: Malay
Hello: Helo
Thank You: Terima Kashi
We spent three days exploring the capital of Malaysia. KL is the largest city in Malaysia with a population of 1.6 million. The downtown area felt small and very manageable compared to Seoul. KL also has a small and easy city public transportation system connecting with commuter lines. We stayed at the Classic Inn in Times Square right in the center of downtown.
Map of downtown Kuala Lumpur
One of the most interesting things about Malaysia is its diversity. The country consist of three main ethic groups. 50% of the country is ethnically Malay, 23% are of Chinese decent, and 7% are of Indian decent. Following the trend of three, Malaysia also practices three main religions. 60% of Malaysia practices Islam making it the countries official religion. And Buddhism and Hinduism are the two other popular religions in Malaysia. All of these different ethic groups and religions live together in peace in Malaysia.
It was awesome to be in a Muslim country and hearing the call to prayer five times a day. I was so happy to visit many mosques and learn more about Islam straight from the source. I wish more westerners would be more opened minded to learning more about the peaceful practices of Islam. My favorite mosque we visited was the National Mosque (Masjid Negara). It was very beautiful and peaceful. When we entered into each mosque we had to put on a hijab (clothing to cover our bodies and heads). Here are some pictures from the National Mosque.

We also toured around the city, hitting up Merdeka Square, Chinatown, and the KL Tower. Merdeka Square is where Malaysia declared their independence from Britain in 1957. The Square has an awesome avatarish fountain and is full of colonial buildings, including the famous 125 building.
Chinatown (Petaling Market) was full of good food, pagota's and fake stuff. We had fun buying beer tanks and fake ray bans and casio watches.
Most people only know Kuala Lumpur for its most popular landmark: The Petronas Towers.
The Petronas Towers were the worlds tallest buildings from 1998 to 2004, when Taipei 101 was built, but still remain the worlds tallest twin towers. Unfortunately, they were closed for construction the entire time we were in KL. So we went to the viewing deck of the second largest building in KL, Menera Kuala Lumpur (KL Tower).
While walking into the KL Tower we met a group of Korean university students traveling in Malaysia and quickly bonded with them. While we chatted about kimchi, Hongdae, and KPOP we snapped pictures with each other in front of the towers. Koreans are really some of the friendliest people I know.
The night life in KL was a little bit of a let down, considering that alcohol was very expensive (Muslim country) and most of the bars will full of older men and prostitutes. But we still had a blast on two of the main bar areas, Jalan Ramlee and Bukit Bintang.
The first leg of our trip in KL was amazing and was the perfect way to start off.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures I took around KL. Thanks for reading!
The next stop is a Hindu shrine, the Batu Caves, just outside of KL.

**Sadly my memory card with my pictures of Kuala of parts of Penang blew up, so many of the pictures I will be using in this blog will be courtesy of Quinn Hubertzand Joanna Cohen (thanks quinn and jo!)**


  1. I stumbled upon your blog as I was googling tips about KL as I'm preparing for my visit this coming weekend. Nice post! :)

  2. just dropping bye.. welcome to Malaysia.. excellent entry you have here.. cool

  3. Heaven in EARTH....

  4. Heaven in EARTH... :-)