Malaysia Pictures, Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur, the modern capital of Malaysia. Petronas Towers are in the centre.
Malaysia offers two distinct tourist experiences
• The sophisticated mainland peninsula in the west
• The wilder provinces of Sarawak and Sabah on the island of Borneo in the east
Tourism in Malaysia is pricey compared to other Southeast Asia countries but it’s safe, easy to get around, some locals speak English and food is superb, a curious and tasty fusion of Indian, Chinese and Malay dishes and ingredients.
Mainland Malaysia is sophisticated, efficient and thoroughly comfortable, epitomised by the modern, multicultural capital, Kuala Lumpur, more or less the centre of west Malaysia, the mainland.
Kuala Lumpur is not a particularly interesting city but other regions of Malaysia have more to offer.
Georgetown in Penang is now a World Heritage Site, hiking in hot, humid Taman Negara rainforest or cool Cameron Highlands is engaging while a couple of east coast islands offer world-class beaches with all facilities.
• beware you unfit tourists, especially in the heat and humidity of a regular Malaysian day, the 272 concrete steps are a challenge.
• the caves are quite damp.
• there tends to be a bit of rubbish lying about. In that respect Batu is more Indian than Malaysian!
• the monkeys can be aggressive.
Batu Thaipusam Festival
Batu is especially fascinating and grotesque during the Thaipusam Hindu festival when vast and brilliant processions of devotees carrying wildly decorated milk containers leave from Kuala Lumpur’s Sri Mahamariamman Temple early in the day and lurch along to Batu over 8 hours. Famously pierced penitents from all over the world join the gang too, tongues skewered and bodies hooked to dangling weights and cages stagger up the steps to the shrines to pray for help. One full moon in the month of January or February.
Genting Highlands amusement park
Genting Highlands theme park, a short distance northeast of Kuala Lumpur. Only go with Kids! Photo by Angcr
This amusement park is at least an hour’s drive from KL. It’s of questionable valueas it’s old-fashioned and getting a little tired, but still fun for kids. If you are a couple or adult group then you might consider getting just the Outdoor pass, if you’re desperate for something to do. The Indoor pass is pricey and hardly worth it, you can easily wander the mall and food court there. On the other hand if the weather’s bad the great Outdoors can get cold and windy.