Have settled into Leapple Boutique Hotel in Kuala Lumpur CC. Small compared to our beautiful Artists Suite at The Wayfarer in Melaka but we adapt quickly to new circumstances. We are in the perfect position to explore central KL on foot. It was surreal last night to lie in bed and see the Petronas Towers lit up through our window!
In KL as we will not be settling in a city of this size anywhere in Asia, we plan to just look at the centre as “Tourists” rather than potential residents as has been our modus operandi so far.
This morning with “rose coloured tourist glasses” firmly affixed we crossed the road to conquer the tower that looms large outside our hotel window. We got lucky and we managed to get 2 tickets for a tour starting in 15 minutes. We proffered our passport photocopy to receive the senior’s discount. Half price 84.80RM for 2 or $30 Australian. She flattered us by perusing carefully our dates of birth before capitulating and allowing the discount! Maybe she was just very diligent. Very strict security and scanning as at an airport and many guards
The lift soared upwards at breathtaking speed to the cross walkway level about 45 stories up. We had always been told that they put it in place to stop them falling over so were a little apprehensive until we discovered that it does not have that function and is merely suspended between the towers as the move independently of each other on windy days. Strange feeling walking across a bridge so high up.
Mounted the lift express again and up to floor level 82. Next another slower lift to floor 85 where we walked out to one of the most breathtaking views (other than in a plane) that we have seen. Walking to the edge surrounded by glass we both went a little weak at the knees as we looked downwards. This must have been our primordial survival instinct kicking in. Impossible to describe the view but suffice to say it was spectacular with KL stretching all around us for kilometres in all directions. Cars below like toys and people below impossible to make out. We could clearly make out our hotel below in miniature and totally insignificant in the vast spread below us. A haze of pollution hung over the city.
The Towers themselves were inspiring and I found myself taking far too many photos. The stainless steel finish and the stunning architectural design left us almost breathless! The top section is all stainless and very impressive. A modern day marvel in every way.
Headed into the Suria KLCC below the towers. This is vast shopping complex with all the high end brands. It was very busy as today is Saturday. On the way in to the Twin Towers we stopped to ask the security man where the post office was and he was extremely helpful and posed for a happy snap with Erica. All the staff and locals that we have approached for guidance have been warm and friendly. It may be that the Hotel duty manager is the odd one out in KL.
What a day! Just returned to our hotel at 5.30pm after the most enlightening time. After the excitement of the Twin Towers we journeyed along the roads to The Pavilion Complex regarded as the best in KL. The place was incredible. We think by far the largest up to date shopping complex we have been in anywhere. There were 450 stores over seven levels. All the deluxe brands had shops, Tag Heuer, Chopard , Gucci, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Chanel you name it they were there. It was packed with shoppers mainly locals having a Saturday shopping day. The complex was state of the art and there was nothing that you could not buy there. It even had a Harvey Norman store! The mall targets upper middle to upper class and they were there today in droves. There are 2 residential towers above where rent is minimum 6000RM a month.
The most amazing time came when we went to the lower level Eat Street. It stretched for about half a kilometre with hundreds of outlets serving food of every type. About 5000 or more were busily consuming their purchases at a sea of tables. Truly a sight to see.
After such a mind boggling experience we thought the rest of the day would be an anticlimax but no there was more. We left The Pavilion following a sign that said Walkway to KL Convention Centre. This was no ordinary walkway. It took us in an enclosed secure CTV covered and cooled overhead walkway past massive demolition work that looked like a scene from a Mad Max film set on to the Convention centre. Just when we thought the walk had ended we were funnelled to a wide underground, air conditioned walkway over a kilometre long to The Twin Towers. We emerged in the Suria Shopping Complex where we had started out this morning. Bought some Sushi and wine and walked across the road to Leapple Hotel. This is indeed a well planned city.
We have been so impressed with KL so far. When we last visited about 20 years ago it was a sleepy backwater going nowhere and had elicited the response from us “we won’t be going back”. My how it has changed! Kuala Lumpur has entered “The Asian Century” on a roll. It makes Australia look positively third world even though it pains me to say it.
Malaysia to date has been truly remarkable and any baby boomer would feel quite at home here.