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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Chinatown and Jalan Alor

Kuala Lumpur was so removed from my radar that I all but forgot we were going there until we actually landed. It was my very first Asian visit (if you don’t count the Maldives) and oh boy, was it a Baptism of Fire. The city seems to pulse with energy and life, the air is so unbelievably humid that at times, it feels like you could cut it with a knife (I sported a rather impressive ‘fro for 4 days), the traffic is so dense and moves so fast that it is virtually impossible to cross the road – you just have to kiss your butt goodbye and run for it. I have to admit that I was incredibly overwhelmed on that first day, the heat, the breakneck pace of life, the smells, the poverty, it all just felt a little too much for me but by the last day, I was heart-sore to leave. It grew on me, got under my skin like no other city before. KLites (as the locals are affectionately called) are super friendly, we had more than one stop us to hand out maps, directions and photo ops – they are BIG on photo ops in Asia. I also had no idea how diverse the culture would be as Malaysia is made up predominantly of Islamic Malays, Chinese and Indians (there are also large numbers of foreigners). It makes for an extremely interesting mix of neighbourhoods, foods and languages. For me, it’s a city of vast contrasts, from the abject poverty and rundown buildings in the old quarter, to the city with its unashamed displays of wealth and glamorous high rises. I’ll start with Chinatown and the famous street food market, Jalon Alor. We ate like kings during our few days there but the princess in me just couldn’t bring myself to eat in Jalan Alor, especially not with the giant rats that scuttle around your feet. No siree. 

(I couldn’t resist a bit of editing with these photos, as they served as the perfect backdrop for some filters).

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All images via Wishful Thinking



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8 comments:

  1. That looks so amazing, WOW!!! It must be such a fantastic place to explore, but I can imagine being completely overwhelmed by it. The same happened to me when I was in Bamako - super interesting, but at the same time slightly intimidating... Enjoy your time there xo PS: Like the filters, they work beautifully with the images.

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  2. Oh yeah, great use of filters! You'll have to tell us which ones you played with.

    I get sensory overload so easily, I might never have left my hotel room! I'm so glad you soaked it all in (minus the rats) and that you got this little bonus on your way to your new home. Sounds like the perfect transition to me.

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  3. The editing really takes these to a different level, I love it. I love that you guys had a mini-adventure here before your BIG adventure in Australia. It probably made you even more appreciative of the beaches in Sydney so you could unwind from all the activity in Kuala Lumpur. Cities like that have never been on my to-visit list, mostly because there's just SO MUCH I would have no idea where how to tackle it. You guys look like you had fun though! (Good call on not eating that street food!)

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  4. Glad you had fun exploring my home country. I am from Ipoh (a small town located about 2 1/2 hours drive from KL) but have lived in KL during my college days so I know what you mean by the crazy traffic and all. Did you have a chance to visit Penang as well? It is a state filled with cultural heritage and historical buildings so you might like it there? :)

    By the way, I like the way you edited these pictures, they turned out wonderful!

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

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  5. I've never been to Malaysia, but Hong Kong is crazy busy the way you described. It took me a bit to get used to, but you're right, the food and people are awesome. x

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  6. wow, these photos are stunning. your description is a lot what i imagine large asian cities to be like (i have never been to an asian country). i can't say that i am drawn to many asian places for travel destinations (i think the hustle and bustle is intimidating to me) but malaysia keeps inching its way to the top of my list. and with these photos, i would love to see all of this in person! that building at the bottom, unbelievable.just gorgeous.

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  7. damn, somehow your blog disappeared from my reading list. and damn, we missed each other. I was in Malaysia for the past five weeks. damn, damn, damn! lovely country, no? one of my favourite places in the area!! xxx

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  8. KL is super high on my list of places to visit, particularly just to EAT. After seeing all of Petra's food photos I desperately want to go there

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