The mythical city of Kuala Lumpur was ours, finally. After what felt a bit like treading water at Batu Ferringhi, we were ready for a whirlwind of excitement here. Or anything, actually that was a bit interesting.
The hotel was right on the doorstep of Chinatown and all the bright lights and crazy markets that we could hope for! The hotel looked a bit run down at first but was an absolute bargain and had really friendly staff. The first night our Air con stopped working and in the tiny room and 4 bodies, it was a sweaty and sleepless night listening to rats scampering about in the walls.
I spent most of the night planning what to say to reception in the morning- only to have them be incredibly apologetic and give us keys to the room next door, complete with working Air Con. Well played, Hotel Petaling.
The first full day was spent at Kidzania- a mini city where children get to role-play different occupations to earn 'kiddos'. These 'kiddos' can then be spent in the shop at the end of the day, or on paying to take your eye test, driving license and car insurance so you can drive your electric car about. The reality was further confirmed when the boys worked ALL DAY to earn their 'kiddos' only to be able to purchase plastic animal- shaped finger puppets.
The boys' sense of outrage was palpable- we'd all been there; working hard, saving your wages just to find you can't buy squat. why can't they have the dinosaur model? You didn't earn it, kid.
The attention to detail was impressive and it was very life-like apart from here, all the staff broke into a sequence dance on the hour, every hour. Maybe this was how life should be?!, It might make the working day more fun- ok, maybe not for everyone- but I'm a sucker for a sequence dance.
There were no queues when we were there, so the boys could take their pick and throughout the day were airline pilots, paramedics, Air con service staff, Secret agent, high court judges and police- to name a few. So many small people darting about in various uniforms was very sweet. The favourite one though, was working at McDonalds and making their own lunch. Well done, good advertising...!
This crazy capitalist utopia was strange. Firstly the jobs were all very mainstream and was confirming my fear that we are breeding little consumers. Sort of what we were trying to avoid by travelling...? I was probably over-thinking though, as I had quite a lot of time to think.
There was literally NOTHING for the adults to do throughout the day. In my naiveté I thought we'd be going into the jobs together, but we were not allowed in to anything. It is good to nurture independence! I didn't mind that it was our fault for not bringing our books and not researching it enough. There was one point though, that the youngest got very upset and frightened in the operating theatre, it was perhaps too life like.
I have no idea where his fear of hospitals had come from, so I explained that it would be a really useful exercise for him to learn that there was nothing to be afraid of- seeing as he will need to be in hospital one day? Like, definitely?! Discretion not activated, rules are rules. No parents allowed.
i was frustrated and complained to customer service but to no avail. Such a shame that his fears were not gently challenged with a parent at his side. I guess, sadly we will have to confront this in the future in a less friendly environment instead.
Back at the ranch, we were lucky enough to be meeting up with friends and our old neighbours from Langkawi, Nath, Emma and little Sol. We headed out to visit the KL Forest Eco Park which was a treetop walk through a patch of jungle right in the middle of the city.
It was safe- with good barriers and handrails as we climbed higher through the trees, but also exciting as we traversed the rope bridge. The perfect activity for our mini adrenalin junkies- and also the very small one we had with us. Watching monkeys swinging through the trees at our eye-level was a real treat.
The next activity was essential for our youngest- who has developed a passion for iconic buildings. The Petronas Towers were like the Sirens calling to him from everywhere we were in the city- he was desperate to get near them.
Luckily the towers were easily accessible, though we didn't go inside as it was too expensive. We walked around outside though and took in the imposing view of the towers. Next to it was an amazing adventure playground and a huge splash park at the base of the towers. No adults were allowed in the splash park unless they had a child with them- so if you don't have one- borrow one! It is worth to for the simple pleasure pf paddling in cool water on a hot sticky day.
Each evening was spent battling through the chaos of Chinatown to find our food court. It was beautiful chaos, stalls selling every designer copy of anything you could imagine as well as fruit, veg and street food. It was such a treat to have it on our doorstep.
KL we loved you!
Next stop: Phuket, Thailand.
Where we stayed:
Hotel Petaling, a stones throw from Chinatown. 15 GBP per night and very friendly. Ensuite bathroom, Air con- great value if you don't mind the sound of scampering rats at night.
What we did:
Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco Park- a treetop walkway with monkeys through a piece of jungle in the centre of Kuala Lumpur. Free and definitely a hidden gem
Petronas Towers (we didn't go in as was expensive, just walked around it) and KLCC Petronas Park. A beautiful garden with an adventure playground and great splash park.
Kidzania, Kuala Lumpur- The children run the show in this simulated city, earning 'kiddos' working in different occupations to spend in the shops at the end of the day. 13.96 GBP per child, 6.73 per adult with online price reduction.
Where we ate:
Chinatown, every night. There was a permanent night food market that we found nestled amongst the souvenir stalls of Chinatown on Jalan Petaling. We mainly chose from the Thai stall and seemed to pay 9 GBP each night for us all no matter what we ordered!
How we got around:
Uber rides around the city were much easier than using public transport. Journeys that took 20 minutes came in at 2 GBP and we had Air Con in the searing heat. I love public transport but this was a no brainer for us.
From Penang to Kuala Lumpur- bus cost 15 GBP for us all- it took 7 hours not the 4 that they told us it would take.
Kuala Lumpur hotel to the Airport (to go onwards to Phuket, Thailand) cost 9 GBP for 1 hour journey.