Asia travel diary: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [part 1]

If you’ve been following me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have noticed that I was off on a whirlwind trip to South East Asia a few weeks back (most of which, feels like a blur now). There will be a series of Asia posts to follow up over the next few weeks/months with tips and tricks on how to get by in the cities we’ve explored or places and restaurants to visit and try. Hopefully it may be of help to you for an upcoming trip or possibly inspire you to make your way there for a holiday break, if not, I hope you enjoy the snaps anyway! πŸ˜‰

kuala lumpur, petronas twin towers, malaysia
Petronas Twin Towers

Did anyone else bank on the more than affordable cheap airfares offered by Air Asia over the past year or so? The stranger and I secured $99 one way flights from Adelaide to KL when they launched the direct flight mid last year and since then, we counted the days down and saved as many pennies and gold nuggets as we could. Oh how time flew by and within a short few months, we were escaping the cold winter blues in Adelaide and enjoying the stifling humid heat that South East Asia had to offer.

Our first flight took us from home to KL in 7 hours. We ate, slept (well, we tried to) and kept ourselves entertained with pre booked portable media players. Call me weird, but I’ve always liked plane food. There’s something about getting my own platter of goodies, a piping hot main in an aluminium foil box, orange juice, fruit, and if I’m lucky, a small piece of dessert AND a snack size cheese with crackers. It wasn’t quite the same on a low cost carrier or budget airline like Air Asia where we had to pre book and pay for our meals in comparison to commercial airlines, but what the heck, with these prices, I won’t complain about the food.

The stranger thought ahead and ordered 2 packs for himself whilst I settled with 1… and helped myself to his extra serving. πŸ˜‰

kuala lumpur, malaysia, air asia, chicken teriyaki
Chicken teriyaki; $5.00 pre booked

kuala lumpur, malaysia, air asia, chicken teriyaki

It wasn’t the prettiest thing but it did its job and filled my belly up for the flight.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, air asia, nasi lemak
Pak Nasser’s Nasi Lemak; $5.00 pre booked

We thought we’d kick start our eating adventure with a traditional Malaysian favourite of nasi lemak. A coconut rice dish served with chilli sambal and tender chicken rendang, accompanied with fried anchovies, crunchy groundnuts and half of a hard boiled egg. Surprisingly, a very tasty meal with the chilli sambal winning my taste buds over.

We then later shared a deli chicken sandwich to keep our hunger pangs at bay until we arrived into the city.

Oh boy was it hot or what once we landed into KL. We had just stepped off the plane and was in the airport terminal yet we could feel the heat from outside penetrating through the building.

To get ourselves into the city, we bypassed getting a taxi and opted for the KLIA Ekspres train which was half the travelling time of a taxi (estimated taxi fare: $130MYR (approx $43.33AUD*) one way, approximately a 60 minute drive) and cheaper too! Just $35MYR/$11.67AUD* per person one way straight from KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2) to KL Sentral station, approximately a 28 minute ride complete with free wifi on board. Once we got into the city, we caught a quick cab ride to our hotel and checked in at the Renaissance Hotel.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, renaissance hotel
Renaissance hotel, hotel lobby, fitness room and gym

Snazzy looking hotel huh? That lobby was impressive and grand… and that chandelier… woo! We found the rooms to be spacious and large however a little dated and old. Aside from that, the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful, there was free wifi throughout the hotel and rooms, it had a fitness centre complete with a well fitted out gym, fitness classes (body pump, why hello!), on site massage parlour and an outdoor pool WITH a poolside bar! We spent a lot of our time poolside, eating, taking advantage of happy hour and just relaxing (piccies to come in a future post)! FYI, we steered clear from the gym and kept our holiday, a holiday. πŸ˜€

The location of Renaissance was reasonable, a short 10 minute walk to the Petronas Twin Towers and Suria KLCC (shopping mall) or a 20-25 minute walk to get to Pavilion KL (another shopping mall). The monorail station sat directly opposite the hotel and taxis were aplenty in the front lobby (just make sure they don’t rip you off and have their meters turned on). We avoided taxis wherever we could, not cause they weren’t affordable (they were super cheap to get around in), but more so that many of them would try to rip us off (tourists) by turning their meters off. Their ‘flat rates’ were ridiculously inflated and overpriced that it was just the principle not to let them get away with scamming us.

kuala lumpur, malaysia
Monorail station directly opposite hotel

After unpacking and settling in, we made our way on foot to Pavilion KL to check out the gigantic shopping mall and get some grub!

kuala lumpur, malaysia, pavilion
Pavilion KL main entrance

kuala lumpur, malaysia, pavilion, batmobile
Batmobile on display in the main foyer of the shopping mall

What a massive shopping mall! 8 floors of shops, restaurants and cafes with each floor ‘categorised’ for easy navigation, eg. Level 1 was the food court, level 2 housed high end designer labels, level 3 had beauty and cosmetics, level 5 had all the sports wear labels, and so on.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, pavilion, tokyo street
Tokyo street on level 6

A whole area on level 6 was dedicated to all things Japanese with Japanese boutique stores, food stalls, restaurants and gift shops. One of our best purchases from our trip was from Daiso where everything in store was priced at $5MYR/$1.67AUD* much like the ‘Kawaii Always $2.80’ store on Gouger Street where one half of the store has everything priced at $2.80. What did we buy? A pack of wet wipes (mandatory purchase if you’re heading to Asia) that saw us through our entire trip, cleaning them hands, face, utensils and tables. Who knew they would be so handy!

Madam Kwan’s

We stayed safe on the first day and dined at the popular Madam Kwan’s for some Malaysian food at the Pavilion.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, madam kwans

kuala lumpur, malaysia, madam kwans, anchor beer, cold lemon tea
Menu, Anchor beer; $16.90MYR/$5.63AUD*, cold lemon tea; $8.50MYR/$2.83AUD*

Some much needed refreshing ice cold beverages.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, satay
Malaysian satay; $16.90MYR/$5.63AUD*

6 pieces of fragrant skewered barbequed beef and chicken served with traditional peanut sauce, raw Spanish onions, cucumbers, pineapple and compressed rice cubes. A delicious, fragrant and flavourful snack. The chicken was a favourite between the two as the meat was tender and succulent whereas the beef satays were a tad bit tougher and chewier to get through.

kuala lumpur, malaysia, char kway teow
Char kway teow; $18.90/$6.30AUD*

Can you believe it… I’ve never ordered a char kway teow before – but then I hardly venture out for Chinese food so that might be the reason behind it. My friend, the neon tiger told me I had to order a CKT whilst I was in KL so that was the first thing I did. A plate of flat rice noodles stir fried with chicken, prawns, squid, egg and bean sprouts came out piping hot out of Madam Kwan’s kitchen. The noodles were soft and darkened by the flavourful soy and oyster sauce with hidden gems of chicken, prawn and squid pieces with bite sized chunks of cooked egg and bursts of bean sprouts. Delish! It looks like I’ll have to start hunting down for a delicious CKT in Adelaide to meet my cravings. Any suggestions? Send them throughhhhhh πŸ™‚

kuala lumpur, malaysia, madam kwans
Chicken curry
Belacan kangkong (morning glory); $15.90MYR/$5.30AUD*
Sambal petai; $26.90MYR/$8.97AUD*

We also ordered a small serving of chicken curry with the chicken pieces cooked in a thick coconut milk and Madam Kwan’s secret spices along with some greens to balance out our diet. A plate of belacan kangkong, or water spinach stir fried with spicy dried shrimp paste sauce (yum!) and an adventurous and random pick of stink beans by the stranger. A plate of twisted cluster beans cooked in a hot and spicy concoction. We liked the ‘hot and spicy concoction’ part of the dish, but the stink beans themselves… well, let’s just say that it required a certain palate that neither of us had! Incredibly bitter (even more bitter than a bitter gourd melon – which I personally really like!!) with a firm texture that left us reaching for our beverages and eating our other dishes to dissapate the strong taste and smell. An acquired taste for them stink beans and unfortunately, we couldn’t appreciate them. The sauce on the other hand, was punchy with all sorts of yum, any other vegetable and we would have been very happy chaps!


Madam Kwan’s
Pavilion Shopping Centre
Level 1, Lot 1-16-00
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
P 2143 2297 / 98

*exchange rate at time of travel $1AUD=$3MYR

8 comments for “Asia travel diary: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [part 1]

  1. October 4, 2014 at 11:54 PM

    Hi from Malaysia,

    My friends and I just started a travel blog, hope you can drop by and leave some feedback or comment. Our first entry is about backpacking in New Zealand. Hope to hear from you soon.

    The Travelling 3o

  2. April 16, 2015 at 9:38 PM

    Hey, cool guide πŸ™‚ Are u living in Malaysia now ?

    • dee
      April 17, 2015 at 9:00 AM

      Hi there,

      No I am not, I just went there for a holiday mid last year.

  3. May 20, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    I love walking from Bukit Bintang to KLCC. Super fun!

  4. March 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Dear Dee, Stranger and Joanne,

    Great write-up about our homeland and KL.

    If you ever come to Penang again, Chulia Court The Tavern is one of the best adaptations of a heritage shop-house for a restaurant, music bar and boutique guesthouse in the heart of Unesco World Heritage City of Georgetown Penang.

    We have 12 guest rooms with ensuite bathrooms as well as a mixed dormitory with 21 beds are tastefully furnished and affordable.

    Please have a look at our website, and we would love to have you with us in your next visit to Georgetown..

    Thank you, and God bless.

  5. May 31, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Your holiday in KL looks fun.
    Next time you or your friend is visiting, you can book via this site to get member discount rates at Avani Sepang

  6. August 25, 2016 at 6:07 PM

    Nice post! I like KL and the food as well!

  7. May 3, 2017 at 5:08 AM

    Thanks a lot for sharing these photos! Especially for the photo of batmobile, I love this character, I wish I were there.

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