Our first city stay for the next week was Kuala Lumpur, the capital, and largest city in Malaysia. We were staying in a small Air Bnb as prices for hotels were definitely higher here than what we were used to. Fortunately our little room was not far from the main shopping district and metro line so everything was still super accessible. Our first day consisted of navigating the shopping malls. I’m not a huge shopper but these were pretty impressive. All connected by a network of underground systems, you could walk into one mall and walk out of a completely different one. There is something for everyone shopping-wise here, from up market designer goods to small finds at the night markets.
After an unsuccessful morning shopping we headed to the famous Petronas Towers. Constructed in 1996, they were once the tallest buildings in the world, and still remain the tallest in KL. As you walk towards the towers you can see them peak through between trees and buildings, their reflective blue casing shining even in the day time as a beacon of the city. If you want to go up the towers and walk along the connecting bridge be sure to buy tickets in advance! When we arrived tickets were sold out for the next two weeks! As the towers were so impressive in the day we made sure that we would go back in the evening to see them lit up.
An early start the next day took us to the Batu Caves, a hill (with lots of steps) home to multiple temples erected over 100 years ago. The entrance to the caves is a colourful rainbow staircase guarded by a golden statue, and a lot of monkeys. Be warned, if you are going into the cave, don’t take food, don’t have anything that monkeys can grab because they will! Make sure you also dress appropriately; knees and shoulders covered as it is a religious temple. Batu Caves is impressive however it has become a slight tourist trap so if that’s not your thing, there are plenty of temples to visit that are more authentic.
We then made our way to the KL tower. As we were not able to go up the Petronas Towers, we went up (much to my dismay) this tower instead. Standing at 421 meters it is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world! From the tower you get views of the whole city, including the Petronas Towers so in a way it is probably best to go up this tower so you can actually see them!
In the surroundings of the tower they have an aquarium and a zoo but also an eco park. We decided to walk around this as it had a treetop suspension bridge walk which is definitely worth a visit if you are heading to the tower. On our way home we popped by the Petronas Towers to see them lit up at night. With thousands of lights sparkling, they become even more impressive at dark!
The following day, to have a bit of a break from the crowds we headed to the botanical gardens. A haven away from the bustling city, although a bit hard to find, you can just grab taxi if you have the funds! Full of lush greenery and interesting architecture; be sure to visit if that’s up your street. Another piece of interesting architecture is the countdown clock, part of the river of life city project which you can visit while walking along the riverside.
After a busy few days our next city was calling! We were heading to Singapore via an early morning coach. However, whatever you do, do not travel with Star Mart Express. After what you may call an eventful morning which included a high speed bus crash, a very bruised lip and hours of delays we finally made it!
Fortunately we were staying with family friends as Singapore is famously known as the most expensive city in the world! We would actually be staying on Sentosa Island so were super lucky! Singapore itself is a beautiful city; super clean, very easy to navigate and the metro system is one of the best I’ve ever been on! Our first evening, after being well fed (home cooked food after months of street food never tasted so good!) we headed out to meet one of Jamie’s friends. We met at Clarke Quay which is a great area for restaurants and bars; a lively area to spend an evening!
Our next day was jam-packed. We headed away from Sentosa to explore Singapore itself, starting with the famous Gardens by the Bay. This place was truly amazing and lived up to all the expectations I had of it! Not only can you walk around the expansive nature park but you can also visit certain parts of the park that interest you. We visited the Flower Dome which had a huge range of exotic plants and trees, all arranged so beautifully, and then the Cloud Forest. You would recognise this one from pictures, a huge eco system of plants, some slowly disappearing from our planet. You can honestly spend hours and hours in the gardens, and we did! Towards the end of the day we finished at the super tree grove and the treetop walkway; which has a great view of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel! We knew we wanted to see the famous light show so had to come back the next night for it!
Another day of walking around took us to Haji Lane which had some quirky shops and cafes, before walking around the National Museum and Chinatown. Wandering the city we also saw various parts of preparation for the Formula One Grand Prix being held a few weeks later. A quick caffeine refill was needed so we headed to Central Perk. You read it right; a cafe literally designed just like the famous Friends one! As super-fans this was such a cute little extra to our day. They were also playing friends on repeat so I probably could have stayed there all day. We then visited the Art Science Museum which is an interesting piece of architecture in itself, and checked out the Future World Exhibition. This was a digital exhibition containing some brilliant interactive pieces!
Much to my hesitation we then went up to the top deck of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. It is pretty high so if heights aren’t your thing be prepared. We went up the top just before sunset so that we could see Singapore not only in the light but as dark began to creep over the city too. This place has amazing views, and as it is situated right next to the Gardens by the Bay you can watch the famous light show from above. After doing that we then headed down to the gardens to watch the light show from below. It occurs twice at night, one at 7:45 and then also an hour later. This was probably one of my favourite things we did in Singapore! We laid on the ground and watched the mesmerising lights come to life bouncing from tree to tree in time with beautiful melodies! If you do one thing when you are here, make sure it is that!
Our next day was a quick whistle stop tour of Orchard Road; it’s super similar to Oxford Street in London so if that’s not your thing I would skip it! We then cycled around Sentosa Island, which is home to an array of adventure activities, beaches and Universal Studios! We will definitely be back to Singapore for sure!
After a sad morning of saying goodbye to a five star stay (we knew hostel life was beckoning us) we headed to the airport early after hearing amazing things about it. If you have time, make your way to The Jewel and you won’t be disappointed! It’s incredible that this is an airport; it seems more like a shopping mall (which it is effectively) and a museum. In the middle of the Jewel is a huge powerful waterfall surrounded by indoor trees which really takes the stress away from being at an airport! You’ll never want to leave, and we didn’t, but Bali was calling…