It was October 2018. Our very first LimitLes Travel retreat in Bali had just come to an end. My assistant, Emily, and I were tying up loose ends from our business in Bali feeling exhausted, proud and in a state of pure elation. Enter Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Due to all hands on deck for our first LimitLes trip, we did very little research for KL. It was a pleasant surprise full of things to do and incredible places to eat. If you’re on this side of the world, I definitely recommend a KL stop!
What to See
The Petronas Towers
Petroonaaaaaaas! (insert cheeky Harry Potter comment). We spent a lot of time in this city experiencing the Petronas Towers from every angle, and it did not disappoint. The architecture of these twin towers gets more interesting with each view point!
Kuala Lumpur Tower
This excursion will cost you about $24 USD for the full observation deck and skybox experience. We spent about 2 hours taking pictures and scoping out the city from a bird’s eye view. A bit touristy? Yes, but actually quite helpful for planning your city stay!
This limestone hill consisting of many caves is estimated to be 400 million years old. It takes its name from the Malay word batu, meaning ‘rock’. The complex, colorful, and seriously beautiful site is an important religious landmark so when visiting you’ll be asked to observe certain practices and leave your shoes, borrow some scarves, and donate a few ringgits. The cave is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India. Pictured below is actually the entrance (and workout) to one part of the famous attraction.
KL Eco Forest Reserve
In need of some nature in a concrete jungle, we set out for this reserve even though the forecast didn’t look ideal. I have to admit, we did not give this one a fair first shot. Looking back through pictures though, I’d recommend it paired with good weather! Especially if you’re traveling with kids or looking to get your steps in. There is supposed to be some wildlife, which we didn’t experience so much of, but I’ll blame it on a rainy day.
Eating and Drinking
Heli Lounge Bar
We started the evening at Heli Lounge Bar where helipad meets bar smack in the middle of KL with a pretty stellar view. The vibe was chill, the people were plenty and the sunset was unbeatable. The menu is a bit pricey, so we paid for a drink with a view and saved our appetite for Jalon Alor for some street food!
Jalon Alor Night Market
We had ourselves a four-course meal here composed of all the necessary food groups – fried bananas, fried sweet potatoes, mango coconut sticky rice and brown sugar ice cream in a coconut. Here you can find anything Malaysian, Thai, Chinese, ice cream, fruit, fried food, dim sum, and stingray (a delicacy). PLUS Crazy Rich Asians was filmed here so I was pumped. In case you were wondering, I 100% still dream about eating my way through this street.
Marini’s on 57th
Marinis on 57th, the highest rooftop bar in Malaysia, served up a fine view of the (yeah, you guessed it) Pertonaaaaas towers and everything else in their path. The way up consisted of a security check and a few elevator transfers, but the view really was something else. This spot gave me all the cosmopolitan with Carrie Bradshaw vibes!
Fuego at Troika Sky Dining
Aptly named, Fuego was lit and pretty much a poppin hole in the wall, quite literally. The experience consists of Mexican tapas (an extra special treat when traveling through Asia), great atmosphere and cocktails with a twist. Guac and churros are always a good idea, but don’t pass up the Mexican street corn eloté piled with cheese and jalapeño sour cream. Mouth. Watering.
When flying airlines in this part of the world, it can get a little dicey if you start doing some research. Southeast Asian airlines’ plane safety record is a bit of a concern, and a Lion Air plane crashed only a couple days after we left Indonesia. Less worried about accommodation, we were more worried about safety and finally just committed to Malindo Airlines. We were pleasantly surprised with the experience as they allowed check in 5 minutes after cutoff (…ooops!), didn’t charge a dime for our 25kilo checked bags and turned a blind eye for our one too many personal items. The flight itself was accompanied by friendly staff, roomy seats, and THE BEST VEGETARIAN MEAL my assistant ever had on an airplane. To be fair, we were starving, but that shouldn’t discount the 10/10 sticky rice, vegetarian curry and masala chickpeas.
Pro travel tip: Stop at an ATM before leaving the airport so you have some local currency on you. Also, don’t be afraid to call the hotel and ask the best way to get there from the airport. This is a good habit I’ve picked up when traveling solo that can save you future headaches!
We zoomed through customs without any problems. $13 and 5 minutes later, we hopped aboard the KLA express from the airport to KL Sentral Station. The train was clean, cool (AC), and collected. Plus, free wifi and luggage racks never hurt nobody!
Taxis in foreign countries are not always the best experience. We’ve become quite familiar with Grab while traveling around Asia. Think Uber without the commitment… you don’t have to link your credit card up so say hello to cheap rides and goodbye to the $5 cancelation fee. From KL tower to Marina’s on 57th, we paid 6 ringgits VS the 35 that a taxi driver wanted to charge us.
Where to stay
Majestic Hotel has all the amenities of a 5-star hotel (including the 5-star rating) at a steal in terms of USD. The best time is tea time with enough food to be considered brunch! The pool had a nice view, the gym was an easy space to release energy, and the beds were oh so comfy.
We gladly jam-packed this 3-day trip and regret nothing. Looking back on all the travel I did pre-pandemic has made me extra grateful for all the well-documented trips living on my hard-drives. There are still so many stories to be told and photos to be shared! What destination would you like to see next in this series of The Road Les Traveled Unseen?!