Just Passing Through, Kuala Lumpur

Asia, Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers – A Symbol of Malaysia’s Dream

Malaysia, Southeast Asia’s third richest country – behind Singapore and Brunei Darussalam – came into the international spotlight in 1998 when two of the nation’s greatest achievements occurred: the XVI Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur and the completion of the Petronas Towers, currently still the title-holder for the world’s tallest twin towers. The formidable former prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, was the man behind the country’s economic boost and mega-project developments. He also set up Vision 2020, a rather ambitious goal to make Malaysia a fully developed country by the year 2020, and Kuala Lumpur as the country’s biggest city is the prominent showcase for this ambition.

For Indonesians, Malaysians are the closest we have to brothers and sisters. Moreover Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu (Malay) – the national languages – share so many common words and grammar which enable us to understand each other quite easily. However, as with other neighbors, problems do persist between the two, from border disputes to overlapping claims over cultural heritage. But that doesn’t stop Malaysians from importing Indonesian television dramas and listening to Indonesian pop bands, and Indonesians from loving Siti Nurhaliza – one of Malaysia’s divas.

Despite all that, one thing is certain these days: Indonesians and Malaysians are now much closer than before due to extensive flights between cities served by airlines from both sides. That was also the main reason why I chose Kuala Lumpur as the place where I had my first ever solo trip abroad back in December 2010 (click here for the stories from that trip). Since then, I have visited the Malaysian economic center some nine times. However most of the time I didn’t leave the Low Cost Carrier Terminal as it would take one hour alone by bus to get to downtown Kuala Lumpur.

Due to my recent trip to Laos, China and Sri Lanka, I had to go through Kuala Lumpur again for several times. Most things have not changed since my first visit, except some new buildings which were previously under construction. One of Kuala Lumpur’s landmarks – Sultan Abdul Samad building – looked shinier than one and a half years ago though. But the Petronas Twin Towers still looked as striking and Pasar Seni as colorful as I had remembered. Kuala Lumpur is not my favorite city after all, but I know I have to learn to love it somehow as it will likely remain the usual city of transit for my future travels.

Masjid Jamek, One of The Oldest Mosques in Kuala Lumpur

Sultan Abdul Samad Building

Helicopter, Toy or Real?

Murtabak with Three Different Curries

Related Post: It’s Kay-El, Not Kal-El

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

25 thoughts on “Just Passing Through, Kuala Lumpur”

  1. Love that shot of Masjid Jamek! I really don’t understand why they put up a barrier at the station to block out that view.


    • Such a shame indeed. But that was not the last time we saw such thing. Remember that long cable hanging over the river in Xingping? Btw thanks James!


      • Yes! I have it in some of my pictures but luckily the cable isn’t too obvious.


    • Thanks Madhu! I’ll have the most authentic murtabak in India when I go there one day! 🙂


  2. I live in KL since 1st june and I’ll be here until september… I agree, It’s not the best city I visited, but really has something special you can’t define. And food is soooo amazing! Nice shots!


    • Grazie! If you have time you should go to Penang as well. I’ve never been there but a lot of people say that the food is even more mouth-watering than in KL.


  3. Wow! Didn’t know Kual Lumpur had such interesting architecture! And that Murtabak looks yummy, what is it? with 3 curries? oh how I love curry!


    • I love the those curries, especially the red one because it’s the spiciest of the three.


  4. katrina says:

    I don’t see many other states’ picture in this post, so I guess you do not have the chance to visit them…
    should you come again, do visit the historical Melaka, the Legoland in Sri Iskandar, Johor, Pulau Langkawi, up north in Kedah, and Terengganu at the east coast or if you should fly to the Borneo, do visit Sarawak, land of the hornbill and the beautiful Sabah as well which has many beautiful small islands..you’ll find there’s more fascinating places for your photography and the food at each places has their very own specialities and are heavenly delicious too…

    Thank you for posting about my country.. 😀


    • If I do have the chance to visit Malaysia again I’m really interested in Sabah, Melaka and Penang – for different reasons. But Sabah is high on my list because it has a sun bear sanctuary located next to orangutan sanctuary. And I might see proboscis monkeys as well.


    • How did you like it? I guess Malacca, Penang and Eastern Malaysia would be more interesting for me. 🙂


      • Yeah ! It was really good but it is just a city. I spend only 2 days there and it is enought to see the main things. I took a flight to Langkawi and it is more interesting 🙂


      • Ah I guess you took a walk on that bridge on top of a forest, didn’t you? Anyway, safe travels always!


  5. Really Bama, you must visit Sabah but not just the Orang Utan & Sun Bear Sanctuary, but also the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. You need to spend at least 1 week in Sandakan & then some more to visit the rest of the state. Let me welcome you in advance! 😀


    • Hi Ismail. Actually I was planning to go to Sabah to visit the places you mentioned sometime next year. But due to some reasons I might need to postpone that. Nevertheless Sabah will always be high on my wishlist of places that I want to go the most in Malaysia. Thanks for your offer, Ismail. I really appreciate it! 🙂


  6. It is really beautiful country. I love this Bama, by the way, you say you go another 3 countries? How do you manage your trip?


    • Hi Leny. If I go back to Malaysia, I would love to visit Sabah and Sarawak on Borneo. People say they’re a lot more interesting than Peninsular Malaysia.
      Hmm, the last time I went to 3 countries at one trip was back in 2012 when I visited Hong Kong, Thailand and Myanmar. I did plan it ahead and made sure I had booked all accommodations before I went. However now I prefer to travel more slowly to give myself time to immerse in local cultures and sample more local cuisines.


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