Monday, 16 November 2015

South-East Asian Adventures: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As the capital of Malaysia, I had high hopes for Kuala Lumpur. And although it wasn't quite what I'd expected, KL did not disappoint.

I'd read that the two best things to do in KL are shopping and eating, and I was A-OK with that.

I found it to be quite the city of contrasts: on the one hand, you have all the sleek, shiny skyscrapers and massive shopping malls full of designer stores, and then on the other hand you have shabby streets and Chinatown full of fake designer sunglasses and handbags.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the shiny parts of the city were my fave.

Our first evening in KL was pretty special. With its many many skyscrapers, the city is chock-full of rooftop bars.

We went to one that, although perhaps not the swankiest of them all, was awesome because you have a completely open view.
Heli Bar, situated on a helicopter pad, has pretty unrivalled views of the city, and the cocktails were great (and still cheap compared to London prices at about £5 each!)
 Oh man, I got lucky that evening. (No, not in *that* way, get your head out of the gutter.)

First, there was the sunset.
Then we watched a man propose to his girlfriend (she said yes!)

THEN, there was not one but two rainbows!
THEN, the city lit up and came to life at night.
It was incred.

It was also really nice to get marginally dressed-up (I'd practically forgotten how to do mascara) considering we spend most of our time pretty scruffy at the moment.

We made our way over to the symbol of KL, the Petronas Towers, where there was a pretty spectacular fountain show.
The bottom of the towers is a ginormous shopping mall (I'll get back to that), and on the fourth floor there's a huge food court, but like, a nice one. Being pretty starving, it was just what we needed. It was also pretty cool to eat in the Towers.
I had a healthy Malaysian veggie speciality and it was so so good. I'm not even 100% sure what everything was but there was pumpkin, spicy courgettes, crispy onions, peanuts, cucumber and brown rice and I demolished the lot.

After starting the next day with huge mango smoothies (have I mentioned my mango addiction yet? I'm genuinely getting cravings), we decided to make the most of our day in KL by doing a hop-on-hop-off bus tour.

With lots to see and not much time, it was an excellent decision. What's more, a student ticket was about £4 for 24 hours, it took us to all the main sights, AND it had an open-top to facilitate a little sun-soaking.

We whizzed through the shiny buildings...

...stopped off at the palace...
...had a wander through the botanical gardens...

...paid a visit to Independence Square...
...and found ourselves back at the Petronas Towers just as the heavens opened and our tummies began to rumble.

Eating and shopping it was then!

"Let's get something healthy," we thought. "Let's just get veggie stuff," we thought. "Let's order something light," we thought.
Yeah, that didn't go quite to plan - everything was deep-fried. But you know what? It was damn delicious.

If you've never tried deep-fried pumpkin balls I suggest you track some down and get them in your life.

The afternoon was spent exploring the shopping mall and partaking in a smidge of retail therapy.

There was a Kate Spade [insert hearts-for-eyes emoji here].

There was also, somewhat unexpectedly, a Topshop. Aaaaand, well, what're ya gonna do? Brits gon be Brits. (We even got a "foreigner discount"!)

That evening, Sarah and I won at dinner.

While the rest of the group went to Nando's (yup, there was not just one but multiple Nando's in KL, and hey, I don't judge), we were in the mood for something a little more authentic.

Enter, Betel Leaf Indian restaurant.

It was fantastic! Not only the best meal of my trip so far but potentially the best Indian of my life. Situated in Little India, the interior was traditional but clean and sophisticated. The menu was HUUUUUUGE, and they had tons and tons of veggie options. I was actually a little overwhelmed at all the choice so decided to go for a veggie thali.

For those of you who have never had a thali, I must tell you they're a great choice if you can't decide what you want (or just want to eat everything) as you get a little bit of lots of things. I of course had to make sure mine wouldn't be too spicy. Luckily the waiters were very accommodating and friendly.
While we waited for our food, Sarah and I sipped on scrummy mango lassis and realised we were the only white people in the restaurant, which is always a good sign, I'd say.

When our food arrived, it became clear we were in for an epic feast (and also that our eyes may have been slightly bigger than our stomachs.)
Oh my days, my dinner was so so good. The lighting was dim so these pictures really don't do it justice, but it was all so so tasty.

To be honest with you I wasn't 100% sure what each of my curries were but there was a chickpea one, some fried cauliflower, a paneer (delish Indian cheese) one and a dhal. Alongside all that, I was served a poppadom, rice and the most wonderful soft naan bread.
I think the paneer curry was my fave, although they were all divine and so unlike any curry I've ever had at home. Lol that the waiter said they'd make them all mild for me and my mouth was still on fire at the end though.

And if all that wasn't enough, Sarah and I had also ordered some onion bhajis to share.
It turns out onion bhajis in the UK aren't anything like legit onion bhajis - here in Asia they're more like onions covered in circles of batter.

Another thing I love about thalis is that you get a little something sweet too. Again, I'm not 100% what mine was, but it was almondy and sweet and featured cashews and it was delicious.

What a fabulous Indian feast it had been!

We practically needed rolling back to our hotel. Even more awesome is the fact that I spent less than a fiver on everything. I know. LESS THAN £5! For a thali, onion bhajis and mango lassi. Crazy crazy times.

God, I really want to eat that dinner again.

It was really very wonderful and I urge you to go should you ever find yourself in the great city that is Kuala Lumpur.


  1. What an awesome trip so far, the food looks delish!

  2. Kuala Lumpur definitely wasn't what I was expecting it to be like either. Having just been to Singapore I was kinda thinking it would be quite similar. Loved the petronas towers area though, and how amazing is that food court?! Also really enjoyed the botanical gardens :)

    Oh, and that curry looks AMAZE.

    Laura xx

    1. Yeah I wasn't expecting Singapore and KL to be so different either.
      So amazing! And yes, the gardens are faaaaab, so glad you agree :) x


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