I have spent the last week hanging out in Kuala Lumpur. This is the second time I have been here and the city continues to grow on me. The backpackers I have been staying at has been fantastic and has definitely help make the week as good as it has been. Meeting so many people and sharing in some of the sights, sounds and flavours has been a lot of fun. Here are my thoughts!
Jalan AlorReggae Mansion Hostel
This place is just fantastic. It's a very vibrant, hive of a food street located in Bukit Bintang. It is about 300m long and is lined with a mix of Chinese, Thai and Hong Kong influenced restaurants and general street food vendors. The food here sells itself because you can smell the food being cooked at a series of small stalls located under the shed like structure that is the restaurant, and it smells amazing! Yesterday I had a meal of dim sum and Thai green curry and it was delicious. Tonight I have arranged to head back there with a few other travellers and we have committed to trying the 'frog porridge'! There is also a steady supply of Durian for sale. I do not eat Durian. It is not nice.
This is only the second hostel I have ever stayed in, and the first outside Australia. I am worried that I have set the bar really high with this hostel
because I have been hearing from quite a few people staying here that it is one of the best hostels they have ever stayed at. The room I have been in contains 24 bunks but each bunk is recessed into the wall kind of like a walk in robe and then a curtain goes across the front. You get the bonus of having a bit of privacy while still getting to meet a whole bunch of other travellers. Normally there is a trade off between privacy and socialising when staying in hostels so I like the way they do it here. Add in free breakfast, cool roof top bar, good wifi and a great location and its been a pretty great place. If every hostel is like this then I should last until November no worries!
Myself and another traveller from Perth decided to go and check out Batu Caves today. My Perthite sight seeing buddy for the day was a girl originally from the UK who despite the British accent has clearly settled into the Aussie way of life like a duck to water (she drinks Emu Export). I
have been to Batu Caves before but I decided to go again and am extremely glad I did. The 'main' part of the Batu Caves has largely been taken over (not recently mind you) as a Hindu shrine, which in itself is a shame, given the natural history and beauty that existed here well before Hinduism. But the real shame is the way that tourists are pestered as they walk through the complex to purchase various little toys and trinkets and general nonsense. It detracts from the experience, and the worst part is, that the main cave is full of litter and trash, why not employ some of these locals trying to flog there wares as cleaners! I would even be happy to chip in and pay for entry if it meant the place was kept clean and better preserved. But still, it is very pretty if you look past the things above.
But the real gem of this trip to Batu Caves was the 'Dark Cave'. Located on a side path about half way up the main steps of the Hindu shrine portion is the entrance to Dark Cave, a conservation site that is very respectful to natural history and bio-diversity within. We were handed hard hats (which we later found out was to protect our heads from bat shit) and small torches and then led down a path about 300m into the caves. The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and clearly has studied the ecology of the caves at some level. We saw spiders that only live within that cave and no where else, and these centipedes that are without a doubt, the definition of a creepy crawly. There was also the usual cave like amazing-ness of stalactite and stalagmites. All in all well worth the entry fee.
I have done a bunch of other stuff, not to mention attending three days of Formula 1 action. But I think this will do for now. I might write about the formula 1 a bit later when my photos have finished uploading to Flickr! I will also try and add some photos to accompany this blog post. Tomorrow I am off to Dubai to learn how to snowboard (among other things).