I find it a bit difficult to describe my time in KL. There was a lot to take in, familiar and otherwise. New places to see, new cuisine to try, activities to do. But on top of it all was this cathartic-like relief that I felt once my eyes set upon Krissy, who was patiently waiting for me at the arrivals hall. When I saw her waving at me, I remember having the biggest smile on my face.
Us being apart during NYC and now KL has been very tough, but all the worries and troubles were flushed away upon that long overdue embrace. Finally, I felt complete again – I’m sure many of you know the feeling; like you’re on top of the world and you feel everything will be okay. And so being there, on top of the world, I find it difficult to capture the words that can justly describe all the things that we saw and all that we experienced. Because that is the purpose of having a blog, right? Well, the best way I know how to relive and reminisce those precious moments is through photographs. Taking photographs is capturing and savoring life, every hundredth of a second.
Surprising even to myself, I had actually never stepped foot outside of any East Asian airport apart from in Manila. I was eager to get out of the airport and see what KL has to offer. Krissy and I took the bus from KLIA to the city center. My overall impression is that KL is very similar to Manila, and so right away I felt at home. I love when Krissy goes into planning mode when people visit her. We had an excel sheet with things to do and places to eat during my relatively short stay. Although planned, our schedule was flexible in that I could experience “must see” places, but also give us time to just relax and enjoy each other’s company and make new memories together. What I appreciate the most is how Krissy made sure that I got to experience her life in KL; where she works, the route she takes to get there, where she likes to eat on Sundays, which malls she likes to visit, which alleys are shortcuts, who she lives with (awesome people!), etc. All those things that she has become accustomed to during her stay, but that I know very little about (apart from stories I hear from her). But being there and doing these things with her was very different, and it made us feel closer. She also made sure that there were activities or restaurants that she waited to try until I got there, so that we would be creating new memories together. Isn’t she awesome? One of the hardest things in a long-distance relationship is experiencing new things when you’re not together. When you can’t immediately talk about how you feel or have that instant understanding. Undoubtedly, it leads to growing apart, so it’s important that you share thoughts, impressions, and feelings with each other. Just some advice for others out there. We have, after all, done this before. ;)
I arrived early morning, so we went straight to sight-seeing. We started off with the Petronas Twin Towers, and were treated with a mini concert performed by University students to honor traditional culture and music. In the late afternoon, Krissy took me to a bar called Heli Lounge Bar located on the 34th floor of Menara KH. The amazing part is that you get to go to the very top of the building, to a helipad turned lounge and enjoy your drinks there. Now I suffer from acrophobia, so I was hesitant and nervous to go up to the open-air bar. But life is more exciting when you challenge yourself. So up I went, clinging tightly to the stair railing, wishing profoundly that gravity keeps doing its job. When we got up to the top, my head was swirling and so was my stomach. However, the sense of accomplishment and the view that we were met with took all the fear and nausea away (well, almost all). We found ourselves standing at the very top of the building, surrounded by an unobstructed 360-degree view of KL city center and the encompassing districts. Let me try to describe how I saw it: As the sun dipped behind the horizon, the cityscape was bathed in golden light. Only threads of light lingered in the sky, weaving its way past the rolling clouds. The sky glowed yellow, then orange, then blue, until the colors fused, leaving behind a chalky mauve sky that blanketed the softly silhouetted skyscrapers. I hope my words and the photos do to the beautiful scenic view.
As great as KL sounds during the day, the festivities and the nightlife really bring out a new side to this city. Krissy lives very close to Jalan Alor, a road boasting in abundance of hawker stalls and delectable eateries, and especially hustling and bustling once the sun goes down. We had dinner at Wong Ah Wah together with Mads & Sidsel, the lovely couple living in the same apartment. The internet was raving about WAW’s chicken wings (RM 3.00 a piece), so those had to be sampled! The wings were marinated and cooked to fall-off-the-bone perfection. It is safe to say that Jalan Alor is renowned for the amazing street food. However, this vibrant street is not just a showcase of some of the best Malaysian cuisine; sampling the food means sampling the culture as well. I found that what makes Malaysia so special and diverse translates into its cooking. Bring your appetite and revel in the sound sizzling woks and the all-pervading scent of charcoal fire.
Another food haven is Imbi market, located right in the heart of KL. There is a wet market and then a section with only hawker stalls, plastic tables and chairs. I love it! We had Crispy Popiah, Nasi Lemak, Wantan Mee, and Kopi O (black sweetened coffee)! Sitting there looking at locals – young, old, small groups, big groups – eating and enjoying good food, it felt really great and humbling to be a part of a charming, local breakfast tradition. We visited Batu caves, a series of caves and Hindu temples and shrines. Monkeys frolic freely, but behave aggressively when tourists mess with them (I don’t blame the poor monkeys). We took the cave tour, where you wander inside a pitch black cave with only your little flashlight to guide you along the trail. Stalactites, stalagmites and over 200,000 bats greet you as you walk the trail with your guide. We visited the Bird Park, a free-flight aviary featuring parrots, storks, egrets, peafowls, hornbills, ducks, flamingos, etc. Make sure to bring lots of water and mosquito spray!
I also recommend taking the heritage walk, where along the way, you may run into Old China Cafe. As you step through the swinging saloon doors, you’re met with the rustic interior that still feature some of the original furnishings. Here you can have a taste of classic Nyonya food. We highly recommend the Beef Rendang and Nyonya Lasak.
Here are pictures of other food that we ate (name and location provided as captions). With so many new things experienced, new cuisine sampled, feelings of love and joy, it was difficult to put it all in writing. See, the blog is partly for our readers to keep up with what we’re doing, but also for us as a couple to cherish memories and moments during our trips. And certainly, thinking about what to write and browsing through these photographs brought me right back to the wonderful time I spent in KL with my beloved Krissy.
On that note of good times and good food, I will end my post with this advice: Come visit KL! If you’ve been there before, then please share with us your favorite places to eat at or favorite things to do! Krissy is still in KL, and I’m sure she would love some tips.
Ps. There has been some slight redesign of the blog. We now also have an Instragram account that you can follow if you click on the Instagram icon at the top of the page, next to the search. We hope you like the changes! :)