My arrival into Malaysia was met by excitement, pomp and galore, I actually felt like a VIP. How had the government learnt of my arrival and therefore planned for me to be received by a group of Malaysian Dancers, to be welcomed by their songs and dances and get an immediate fix of my cultural appeal. I wish this greeting was all mine, but instead, it was for all visitors arriving at that time as they were promoting their tourism campaign-Visit Malaysia 2014. I was in Kuala Lumpur for very few hours but managed to experience the below:
A trip to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia would not be complete without a visit here. It held the title of the tallest building in the world while having 88 floors from 1998-2004 and still holds the title of the worlds tallest twin towers.
It is prominently known for the temple cave which has several Indian shrines with the statue of Murugan, a deity being prominent. The statue is at a towering height of 42.7 m tall , gold colored and believed to have cost over 24 million rupees.
The area has 272 steps which lead to the top of the caves that reveal several shrines as well as amazing limestone caves. As you climb slowly and are about to give up, you will be inspired by the devotees who not only walk bare feet on the steps but also have luggage in various forms of offerings for the shrines. You will also see macaques attempting to get some food from the devotees, so be careful.
The area has lots of caves that also offer various options for rock climbing as well as being home to a variety of fauna and flora.The Dark caves which have limited access, is home to amazing animals like the fruit bats, liphistiidae spiders among others.
Learn the language
Malay is the formal language so it is advisable to learn a few basic words. However, English is also common so you may find people speaking English albeit mixed with local lingo.
Thank You- Terima Kasin
How are you- Apa Khabar
Welcome- Selamat Datang
We were privileged to meet some amazing people in Kuala Lumpur starting with a young man called Andrew who ensured we got on the right bus and even gave us gifts, to Anthony known as AJ who gets aces for being super friendly and welcoming. He took time to show us around KL and gave us tips of other locations.
The night market is bustling with life. There are many food shops available, many clothes vendors and lots and lots of visitors both local and foreign . You will be spoilt for choice on what to eat and I enjoyed listening to the music that bellowed from some of the stands.
There are various options of public transport from taxis, buses to trains.The public system may be a shocker, but it also showcases their culture. In some trains and buses, there are some that male and female are separated and thus you will find them clearly marked, Male, Female. Kindly adhere to the instructions if you come across them.
My disappointment with Kuala Lumpur:
I traveled from Kuala Lumpur to Penang by bus from KL Sentral bus station. This is a major bus stop and I had one of my worst experiences here. First, I had my first verbal,face to face racial discrimination happen here. As I passed by the buses at the entrance of the bus park, some of the bus conductors referred to me as “Nigger.”. Next up, when I got in and went to purchase a ticket at the official offices, they not only again referred to me as “Nigger” but went on to make crude remarks. Kindly note, this isn’t a casual off handed insult on the streets, it was happening at their Kuala Lumpur Sentral Bus Terminal, which is a major bus park housed in an official building and a business center of sorts. Last but not least, I purchased a luxury bus VIP ticket as reflected on the ticketing office window. Lo and behold, when I went down stairs to where one then boards the bus, I found out I had been swindled and would be riding in one of the oldest buses I have ever seen. No amount of trying to ask them to refund or get me another VIP bus was successful, I was tired, angry, annoyed and disappointed by this whole situation. The government really needs to intervene, rope in the unprofessional companies as well as discrimination among some of its citizens. It seems that the society needs to be sensitized on other cultures via cultural integration and education. Little did I know, there was more to come.
For more on my Malaysia escapades, check:
Malaysia 101: http://wangechigitahi.co.ke/malaysia-101/