I expected Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to be, you know, Asian. By Asian, I mean a ton of crazy traffic, constant blaring horns, motorbikes everywhere, people standing in the middle of the street, average English, noodles and rice, and everything else that comes with Asia. But trust me, if you ever travel to Kuala Lumpur, you’re going to feel far from Asia.
Kuala Lumpur is a modern city that seems to have it all figured out. I mean, every time I rounded a corner on the street, I couldn’t help but be blown away by how far off my expectations were!
The major difference I noticed from the very start was that everybody wasn’t going to be Asian. It’s usually quite obvious that you’re in Asia by just looking at the people. But in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, this isn’t the case. Kuala Lumpur has a huge Arabic, Indian, and Chinese population. At any given moment in the capital city, you’ll hear several languages being spoken at the same time. You see women wearing hijabs and niqabs, men dressed in islamic clothing, and women in traditional Indian clothing with a lot of jewlery and the famous bindi on their forehead.
I believe that diversity is good, so it was a huge breath of fresh air to see this, even though I often felt as if I had some explaining to do when having to tell people I’m from the United States.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia seriously has the friendliest people I’ve ever met in Asia, maybe even the world! I have to admit, I got lost a LOT in this country, and every single time I thought about asking somebody for help, somebody approached me first!
Situation 1: As soon as I got off of the airport shuttle train, I was lost. A man asked me where I was going and took me all the way to the other end of this large train and bus station just to make sure I got to the right monorail line.
Situation 2: I got hit by a car in Kuala Lumpur. Yes, I’m serious. And I’m embarassed It was a total accident on both sides. The driver wasn’t happy though, and it was quite obvious to another pedestrian. The driver was borderline shouting (hey, everybody can’t be friendly) at me, so the random pedestrian politely told me to go and started yelling at the driver, telling him to go away. Thanks stranger.
Situation 3: It’s not just Kuala Lumpur. I couldn’t find my hotel in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia, and THREE people asked me if I needed help at different times. They all tried their best, but none of them could figure it out. While this was going on, the owner of the hotel was apparently watching me go back and forth and figured I was looking for his hidden hotel. So while I was wandering around town, he was driving around searching for me. Finally, he found me and gave me a lift.
You constantly hear “thank you”, “sorry”, and “excuse me”, something you don’t hear too often in Asia, I found. It threw me off and was really nice to return to a land full of welcoming strangers.
Kuala Lumpur is still Asia, so of course, you’re going to see rice and noodle dishes. But that’s not all there is. Because of the diverse population, there’s a lot of Arabic and Indian food. I ate Arabic most of the time, and while Mexican is still my favorite food, Arabic is pretty dang close. I’ll definitely be getting some new cravings back in the states.
I’ve found that most places in Asia also have McDonald’s, Subway, KFC, and Pizza Hut as western options. I never expected to see an Outback Steakhouse and even a Johnny Rockets in KL. I like to eat local food, but since I’ve spent most of this past year outside of America, I allowed myself a burger from Johnny Rockets.
Asia is known for some pretty hectic driving, a plethora of motorbikes going in every direction, people on the streets, and constant blaring horns. That isn’t the case in Kuala Lumpur. Everybody is patient, driving slowly, staying in their lane, and rearely laying a finger on their horn. And they drive on the left side of the road, which definitely has a British feel rather than Asian. I have to say, riding a motorbike around Malaysia was difficult at first, having to get used to staying on the new correct side of the road.
Architecture and Environment
Everything in Kuala Lumpur is so sleek! The buildings have style, and I’m telling you, they look fresh, like the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Many of Kuala Lumpur’s buildings are even environment-friendly. Not even kidding, this city is like the future. There are several buildings that have a pretty good jungle theme going on with vines dangling down the entire structure. I’ve never seen anything like this, though I do hear many cities are planning to do similar things to be more environment friendly.
Oh, and there wasn’t any smog. The skies were just as blue as ever, and the clouds were the puffiest I’ve seen in a while. I don’t know what Kuala Lumpur is doing, but they’re doing something right. If only they could get their internet speed up to par. Apparently they are in the top-10 list of countries with the slowest internet, and trust me, it’s noticeable.
Travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia!
I’m still surprised by how amazing Kuala Lumpur is. I usually complain that after a while, all cities start feeling the same. But Kuala Lumpur is nothing like other cities. And because of that, it has moved up to my #1 favorite city in Asia and #2 in the world. Nothing can beat Edinburgh, Scotland. In my opinion, everybody should travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You won’t regret it.
Have you ever been to Kuala Lumpur or just have something you want to share? Leave a comment below!