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My Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Side-Trip

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My Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Side-Trip

Postby xiongmao » Wed Jul 10, 2013 4:03 pm

OK so all good things must come to an end, and I had to leave Thailand before my visa expired.

I've applied for a 1 year educational visa that will allow me to stay longer in Thailand. But the annoying thing is that you cannot get the visa issued inside Thailand. So it's time for a visa run...

...to Kuala Lumpur.

And here I am - I'll stay here a week which should be enough time to go to the Thai embassy and get things rubber stamped!

If you need to a visa run out of Thailand there are many options. However, I chose KL because my language school said this was currently the best place to come, and I also have relatives here.

First impressions...

Rock told me AirAsia were good for cheap flights but I presume he booked them in advance. I found that they were actually more expensive than the best carriers. So I got a seat on a virtually empty Royal Jordanian airbus that does a stop in Bkk en route to KL. Plus I got a good luggage allowance and a pretty good meal.

This is rainforest country. I saw a lot of smoke coming into land (not from our airbus!) so I guess there was plenty of smog generating fires being lit somewhere.

As to KL, well I have to say I know absolutely nothing about Malaysia! I booked this trip YESTERDAY and did absolutely no research. So forgive me if I get my facts completely wrong.

KL airport is nice and I breezed through security in about 5 minutes. This is a country that it's very easy to get into (unless you're from Israel!).

The airport has a nice rail link into the centre. Sadly the advertised free wifi didn't work.

I walked around a bit then found the metro service to a stop near my China Town district hotel. Finding the hotel was pretty easy.

The hotel is pokey but the location is fabulous for exploring the city.

KL is very multicultural, with Indian, Chinese, Western and Islamic influences. One huge legacy us Brits left are cars that drive on the left and UK compatible wall sockets.

The language is strange - a sort of pigeon English that is probably extremely easy to learn.

Good things - the food is probably good but it's quite late now and things were winding down. Bizarrely KL is in a different timezone to Bangkok, despite being virtually on the same longitude. The metro seems cheap and the network is very extensive. I actually booked a hotel that's very close to the Thai embassy - good fortune as I didn't at that time know where the embassy was.

Bad things - beer prices! Also it's dirty in places but maybe it's just because I've only seen China Town so far. Also some filthy dirty Indian kid jumped on my suitcase when I was dragging it through the night market to my hotel - that really pissed me off after a heck of a long day.

Also it's incredibly hot here. Seems implausible for a Bangkok resident to moan about temperatures, but it seems hotter here.

As to ChinaTown, well it's about 90% Indian stall/taxi/restaurant tout, 10% Chinese women tout offering massages. Probably a terrible place to pick a hotel in other words.

Anyway, feel free to ask any questions about Malaysia/KL. Also use this as a general Malaysia/KL thread for anyone thinking of coming here. If you are planning a trip then it's probably one of the better "Hub" destinations to visit for a couple of days before going somewhere else.

As to dating, I don't plan on dating anyone here unless my relatives set me up with some distant cousins. I'll fire up wechat though and see who's around.

If anyone wants to date Malaysians, it's probably best to stick to the Malaysian-Chinese. There's huge numbers of scammers working out of Malaysia though, so be exceedingly careful with Malaysian online dating.
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby zboy1 » Wed Jul 10, 2013 5:46 pm

Does KL look livable to you? And how is the food and the cost of living there? Are there many jobs available to Westerners like teaching jobs or jobs in other fields? Thanks.
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:11 am

Had more of a look round KL as had to go off in search of the Thai embassy.

The public transport is very good, and cheaper than Bangkok, but more than China.

Walked to the Petronas Towers, surely KL's most famous sight. Sadly it's extortionately expensive to go inside - it's cheaper to go up a Skyscraper in Tokyo, and in the one in Roppongi you can actually go on the roof!

Food - nearly had Middle Eastern food for lunch then walked out when I did the currency conversion and realised it was twice Bangkok prices! So I went to Subway instead which was more than Bangkok prices but I got 2 cookies for some reason.

Apparently being Ramadan a lot of Malay food places are closed. Their food looks pretty awesome - lots of curry and stuff.

The air seems quite clean, but it's a bit grubby here. I guess that's the Chinese/Indian influence. Plus there are more tropical insects and stuff - all I really saw of the country from the air was rainforest.

Dating, well I'm not sure about that. There are plenty of nice looking Chinese women. Not sure a Western guy would be interested in dating any other race here. The Muslim guys tend to like their women BBW sized.

Seen a fair few backpackers as well - KL is a pretty good hub airport these days.

As for jobs, this country is all about oil and plantations. I've seen a couple of language schools so I guess teaching is an option. There are probably a lot of native English speakers here already though.

If I meet my Chinese relatives (by marriage) here then I'll do some digging. Not many HA'ers seem to come here compared to Thailand/China/Phillies.

The Malay language amuses me - they call a "bus" a "bas". And "yes" is "ya".
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby momopi » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:23 pm

I've not been to KL since the mid 2000's, so some of my comments may be obsolete (my previous trip to MY was to JB from SG). The Chinatown area is a bit sketchy and I prefer to stay at Cititel Mid Valley, which is attached to a mall & is very convenient:

http://www.cititelmidvalley.com/

MY is not as clean as SG, even in well to do neighborhoods like Damansara Heights, the green belt area had various trash and abandoned furniture scattered about. Be aware that you're in a Muslim country so expect censored movies and no kissing in public/taxi's. If you're looking for P4P check Sammy Boy's forum.

I'll be in SG later this year and may take a trip to JB for Seafood. I think we have a couple members here from MY and they can provide you with better info on the country. If you think MY is expensive, understand that SG is even more expensive and folks from SG drive to MY to go shopping for lower prices.

I like the sweet barely drink they serve there. Try the kaya toast for breakfast, the bread is grilled and not from a toaster. Also try Ramly burger, and fried chicken at A&W in KL (yes A&W Root Beer, the American chain). Try the fried chicken with local spicy chicken sauce.

I don't remember having to pay to visit the Towers, but I had a local (ex) GF who got the tickets. I think she said that a certain number of free tickets were given out in the mornings, but the policy may have changed since. For those looking for longer stay, I observed that the RE prices for condos facing cemeteries on the hills were significantly lower, this is more of a Chinese superstition thing but I guess local Malays follow suit. However there may be restrictions on foreigners buying the cheaper condos.
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Postby xiongmao » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:41 am

I'm quite enjoying KL. Maybe it's not an obvious place to go to in Asia, but there's plenty of interesting stuff to see.

Yesterday afternoon I went here:

Image

This place is known as the Batu Caves. If you have only time to see one thing in KL, then go here - it's fabulous.

You can get there on the train, which costs a stupidly cheap 1RM for a 25 minute journey - oddly enough this is the same fare to go one stop on the metro!

The train station is right by the Caves complex. There are all kinds of Hindu shrines here. There is also the 272 step walk up the side of the cliff into the caves. The steps are steep (Chinese style steps) and to make the climb more difficult there are aggressive monkeys trying to steal stuff from you - kind of a real life Donkey Kong!

The view from the top is impressive, as are the size of the caves themselves. Wimbledon centre court could fit into the first cave.

There's more wildlife in the caves - roosters, pigeons, bats and probably huge spiders as well. Also there are some shrines and many statues and things. It's all a bit shabby, and smelt worse than my mouldy Guangzhou apartment, but really a photographer's dream location. I could imagine Indiana Jones movies being shot here.

I was fortunate to go late afternoon when the sun made the gold statues look incredible. Oh, and that big statue is almost 50M tall.

Time your visit carefully, you don't ever want to go on a Hindu festival. Or maybe you do - it would be a real spectacle.

I didn't do so much today as I had to hang around to get my passport back from the Thai embassy.

Met a guy from the "other Malaysia" (the bit on the island of Borneo) this afternoon and he took me on a huge guided tour of part of the city. Turns out he is on his way to work in Singapore - one of the huge army of unseen migrants that keep the city so clean. I ended up giving him a bit of cash as he didn't have enough for the bus - gah, this is why I don't like talking to people! Still, he did take some great photos of me that I can use on my dating site profile. Plus he filled my head with some very useful information. So I guess it was money well spent.

Still, it pains me to give money away, this is why I'll never be poor.

He did give me one priceless nugget of information - I need to do some Googling to confirm if true.

I also asked him about Brunei - I'd like to visit every Asian country and this one is easily overlooked.

As for the Petronas tower - locals with ID cards get about half price admission to most sites here - grrr! The main tourist places here are pretty expensive. Still, the Batu Caves were free.

I don't think there are many Westerners here apart from the army of backpackers around the cheap hostels of ChinaTown. I haven't seen many HA-types. From the amount of attention I'm getting from touts, I'd guess that white guys are pretty rare here.

If I see one more Western backpacker girl with tattoos all down her arms and legs I think I'll cry! They should use sun parasols as the older Aussie women here (by older I mean over 30) look like 60 year old Chinese women!

Anyone has any questions about Malaysia then post away. I hope my laptop will keep working but I'm kind of worried about these micro-ants that keep disappearing inside it!!!
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby momopi » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:31 pm

Malaysia is probably one of very few places I've been to where they bluntly charge a higher price for foreigners at various parks and locations. I recall going to the bird park and seeing different pricing for locals vs. non-locals.

The two-tiered pricing also extends to Malay citizens based on bumiputra vs. non-bumiputra status. Basically if you're ethnic Chinese or Indian, you'd pay more for housing and loans.
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Postby xiongmao » Sun Jul 14, 2013 11:47 am

Starting to get bored here, maybe this city is the most boring capital in Asia.

I went to the bird park yesterday. It wasn't bad, but it was a little expensive. When I got to the entrance people started taking photos of me. I was a bit puzzled by this then I turned round and realised a big monkey had been following me up the hill. Ha ha ha, another few hundred yards and he might have made a play for my camera bag!!!

Service in restaurants is bad here. Less than a week here and I've been served two wrong orders. It's not just me - the girl opposite me in the chicken place tonight got served the wrong thing as well. It's as if people's minds are on other things. Maybe it's because they don't get paid much. However, from what I can tell the economy is doing pretty well here and there are many places with job vacancies.

Living in ChinaTown is hell - it's crowded and touts get super-excited when a white guy walks past. If my mom stayed at this hotel she would have plenty to complain about, like a crappy shower, cold air conditioning you can't turn off and ants everywhere. Also the TV remote batteries have disintegrated - lol!

I get hassled from massage pimps all the time - I'm not interested not least because massages are way, way cheaper in Bangkok!

I found another ChinaTown today, and it looked like a brothel got busted ha ha ha. Still, the cops seemed to let the guy off, they were more interested in the girl.

Well all ChinaTowns seem to be a mixture of restaurants and brothels, regardless of what country you're in.

Still, there's plenty of street food if that's your thing. It also feels pretty safe, despite lots of dodgy looking people hanging around. There are quite a few tourist attractions, but costs escalate if you go to a few of those.

I'd guestimate that if you wanted to live here, it would cost around the same as Bangkok. Not sure how easy it is to secure a long term visa though. It seems easier to get work permits here though. I guess there's been a big exodus of workers to booming Singapore.
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
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Postby publicduende » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:14 am

xiongmao wrote:I'd guestimate that if you wanted to live here, it would cost around the same as Bangkok. Not sure how easy it is to secure a long term visa though. It seems easier to get work permits here though. I guess there's been a big exodus of workers to booming Singapore.


Sorry for dropping by with an OT remark but...Singapore isn't exactly booming right now! The economy is contracting, and for the first time since Li Kuan Yu's dinasty took control , there have been protests by native Singaporean citizens on the way the government seems to care more about expats and foreign investors than their own people. Lots of people from Johor or KL are preferring to stay and work in ML rather than try their incresingly harder luck in SG. I have only been to the KL airport, but from what they told me, it's KL that's booming right now. Of course the strong Muslim cultural influence makes it look like some sort of poor man's Dubai.

Look forward to more of your insight on KL!
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Postby anamericaninbangkok » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:24 am

Next month I'll be in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. I'm taking the jungle route via train from Tumpat to Singapore. Both Malaysia and Singapore are the sort of places I can only handle for 2-3 days. Thankfully I'll only be there a day or two.
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Postby xiongmao » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:18 pm

Wow, post a trip report about the train from Thailand to Malaysia/Singapore. I've heard you can get from Bkk to KL but you need to change some place.

I thought about visiting Indonesia for a day from KL, but from a quick read it seemed that visas are involved, and my passport is almost out of space. I'll save that for another time.

Had a good day in KL - maybe it's not so boring after all. Went on a bus out of town, and visited the Kanching Waterfalls. Got some good photos of the falls, but the rainforest was kind of boring. The only wildlife I saw were a few gigantic ants, and some kittens (!). Oh, and monkeys, but they kind of just hung round the cafe.

I have to say that the forests in China are must more interesting, if only because most of the plants are houseplants back in the UK :)

The population continue to try and sell me all kinds of goods, taxis, massage services but it's all cheaper in Bangkok lol. Actually I think that Western people are quite rare here once you get away from ChinaTown and the Petronas Towers. Most Westerners here are backpackers, lured by KL's Hub airport and ultra cheap hotels.

I'm not sure if there is much demand for foreign English teachers. Most people seem to understand English due to so many Malay words being similar to English, but finding out if I was on the right bus today was a real struggle. Easier than it would have been in China though!
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Postby anamericaninbangkok » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:46 am

I won't be going to Kuala Lumpur....most of the stops on this alternate route are in the jungle and tiny wooden platforms serve as the station. I will be writing about it and posting videos as well. Bangkok to Bali on a Budget.
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Postby xiongmao » Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:25 pm

Last day in KL. Got some good photos of the Petronas Towers at sunset. I'll stick them up here some time, but I guess they're not too much different to the other billion photos taken of the building.

There were loads of Chinese tourists taking photos of the towers, also some Indian tourists. The Indian tourists didn't look at all like Thais, however most Indians in the UK aren't actually from India anyway - they're from Pakistan or Bangladesh. Oh who am I kidding - the Chinese tourists were mostly taking photos of themselves, not the towers.

Anyway, KL has been a pretty good place for a city break. It's also less warm than Bangkok. The food is good and living costs are around the same as they are in Thailand. However, alcohol is much more expensive here, and nearly twice the price of Thailand prices. Visitor attractions are also expensive, and foreigners pay a lot more than the locals - Grrrr!

The economy seems good and I guess there are plenty of jobs for expats. Got a couple of URL's to check out on this front. Singapore is also booming, but then since so many people earn a lot there even white collar workers struggle with the cost of living.

Most white people here are backpackers, but there were a few expat business people round the Petronas Towers district. I also saw a white guy with a very attractive Chinese gf.

As far as dating goes here, I had a rest from all of that. I guess that Western guys would mostly be interested in the Chinese ladies, of which there are many here. They are much more Westernised though. More ladies are overweight here. But on the upside society has more freedoms - like I saw some Falung Gong protestors. The Chinese tourists just didn't know what to make of them at all.

Is this a poor man's Dubai? Yeah, there are lots of glitzy shopping malls, and one had an executive washroom which middle eastern people love. There was an M&S and it was twice the price of the UK stores.

Although it's a Muslim country, there are plenty of Christian and Hindu shrines. There are also Muslim things like ladies only carriages on the train. On the other hand you can buy a pork bun and alcohol, so it's fairly moderate here.

Rainforests were a let-down though. I was expecting exotic trees and animals. What I saw were forests that looked the same as they do in England. The only difference was that in Malaysia the ants were bigger :roll: .

So all in all Kuala Lumpur was pretty good. Incidentally the airport is pretty fabulous, maybe the best hub in Asia I've used so far. So it's well worth stopping off in KL on the way to somewhere else.
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
Do YOU want to date beautiful foreign women? Find out which country's women are best for you, and which dating site to look for them on!
Plus, if you like Asian girls, then check out my free Asian dating site.
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Postby xiongmao » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:30 am

Some photos of my week in Malaysia. Mainly just touristy photos, as I took a week off from dating and women in general.
In February 2013 I quit my boring job and now I'm Happier Abroad...
Do YOU want to date beautiful foreign women? Find out which country's women are best for you, and which dating site to look for them on!
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