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Kuala Lumpur 2010

As far as my parents are concerned, there’s only one acceptable holiday destination on the planet: Pakistan. That’s why, every few years, our whole family would pack several massive suitcases full of presents for faraway relatives and board a PIA flight to Islamabad, and we’d be there for at least a month. All other countries and cultures were inferior in every possible way, and not worth experiencing, I was repeatedly told.

However, my own personal vacation ambitions were almost unlimited. Having watched Michael Palin gallivanting across the globe, I knew the world was far more colourful than my mom and dad’s monochrome mindset could accept. So I’ve always wanted to visit as much of the planet as possible and experience as many different cultures as exist out there. However, it could be argued that, to date, my trips to European countries and the USA weren’t really pushing me outside a limited Eurocentric bubble.

For the first time in my life I was financially comfortable enough to spread my wings a little further and so I organised an extended trip to the Far East. First stop: Malaysia.


Pretonas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Pretonas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I queued for THREE hours from 7.30am to get tickets to go to the top. Only to be told as I approached the box office cashier that everything had SOLD OUT!! BASTARDS!! Weirdly, an Indian guy came over to me and gave me his tickets, saying his family couldn’t make it and he didn’t want his tickets to go to waste. Yay!! And then his family turned up behind him, apologising for being late!

Tripadvisor is always a useful starting point when choosing accommodation, and reviews suggested the Renaissance Marriott was in a great location, in the heart of the action, with good transport links and fantastic views of the Petronas Towers. On arrival, I asked reception if they could give me a room with the best view. They were happy to oblige and threw in a multicultural breakfast buffet for free as well. Which was amazingly good. Unsurprising given how Malaysia sits at the confluence of numerous countries and cultures.

Pretonas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The Petronas Towers – dominating the skyline of the Malaysian capital. They were the tallest structure in the world, which is a title now held by the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. The Petronas Towers are still the world’s tallest Twin Towers structure.
Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur
In the basement of the Petronas Towers is a small shop where i discovered the joys of Hot Chocolate and Cappucino in a can. WHY don’t we have this genius product in our country??? It’s just brilliant.
British Council Malaysia
Nice to find a piece of home 10,000 km away.
Al-Rahji Bank, Kuala Lumpur
The KL headquarters of Al-Rahji Bank – the world’s biggest Islamic bank – which for some strange reason has a logo more suited to an “Adult Book Store”.
"Pirhana Pedicure" in Kuala Lumpur's aquarium
A “Piranha Pedicure” in Kuala Lumpur’s aquarium. A shoal of ravenous fish spend 30 minutes chewing the flesh from my feet and legs. In theory they should leave a nice new layer of skin behind. VERY painful to walk afterwards!! Doesn’t help that the aquarium has a stone floor. Ouch!
"Pirhana Pedicure" in Kuala Lumpur's aquarium
A “Piranha Pedicure” in Kuala Lumpur’s aquarium. A shoal of ravenous fish spend 30 minutes chewing the flesh from my feet and legs. In theory they should leave a nice new layer of skin behind. VERY painful to walk afterwards!! Doesn’t help that the aquarium has a stone floor. Ouch!
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium. Water Rats.
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium. Very large BEETLE collection for some reason. Very creepy. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there!
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium. Very large BEETLE collection for some reason. Very creepy. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there!
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium
Kuala Lumpur Aquarium. Tried many times to get a decent picture of the sea turtle but the best i could manage was this blurry shot. They swim much quicker than you’d imagine and are far more graceful than their limited land mobility would suggest.
Thean Hou Temple, south of Kuala Lumpur
The Thean Hou Temple just south of Kuala Lumpur city attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Beautiful architecture. Not to be confused with the almost-as-impressive Sze Ya Temple, which is also worth a visit.
Thean Hou Temple, south of Kuala Lumpur
The Thean Hou Temple just south of Kuala Lumpur city. There are weddings held here almost every day, and the day we came was no exception. On this, the third level, is the main shrine of the Temple.
The Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur.
The Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur. Built in 1980, this is one of the biggest Chinese Temples in South Asia. “Thean Hou” (also known as “Ma Zou”) means “heavenly mother” – the patron deity of seafarers like fisherman and sailors.
The Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur.
The Thean Hou Temple, Kuala Lumpur. The temple has a series of traditional Chinese-style roofs decorated with golden dragons, phoenix and a canopy of red lanterns. Inside you can see statues of Laughing Buddha and other Buddhist and Taoist idols.
Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur
The Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur. It stands at the confluence of historic Klang and Gombak rivers i.e. at the spot where Kuala Lumpur itself was founded. It is more than 100 years old – centenary in 2009. Built in a Mughal style, it has three large onion-shaped domes and two minarets. All of which I have failed to capture thanks to my poor photography skills.
Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur
The Masjid Jamek (Friday Mosque) in Kuala Lumpur. It stands at the confluence of historic Klang and Gombak rivers i.e. at the spot where Kuala Lumpur itself was founded. It is more than 100 years old – centenary in 2009. Built in a Mughal style, it has three large onion-shaped domes and two minarets. All of which I have failed to capture thanks to my poor photography skills.
Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur
In Merdeka (Independence) Square stands the world’s tallest flagpole, which is 100m in height. Yes, that *does* look like the American flag flying there but it’s actually the Malaysian flag, which does look remarkably similar.
Merdeka Square, Kuala Lumpur
In Merdeka Square stands the world’s tallest flagpole, which is 100m in height. Yes, that *does* look like the American flag flying there but it’s actually the Malaysian flag, which does look remarkably similar.
Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Kuala Lumpur
The flamboyant Sultan Abdul Samad Building, constructed in 1897, presides over the Eastern side of Merdeka (Independence) Square. Formerly the headquarters of the British colonial administration in KL. Despite being designed by a British architect (who also built the the St. Mary’s Cathedral just a few yards away) this building draws on Mughal, Moorish and Egyptian influences and is named after a former ruler of Selangor.
Royal Selangor Club in Kuala Lumpur
The Royal Selangor Club in KL. Formerly the focus of colonial life in Kuala Lumpur, and affectionately known as “The Spotted Dog”, this grand building has a mock-tudor style and is one of the most exclusive private clubs in Asia. So exclusive in fact that even I wasn’t allowed inside!!
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