A quickie in Kuala Lumpur means Batu Caves, skybars, infinity pools, and great food.
It also means architecture, planetariums and butterfly parks.
After the two short days in Singapore, we had arrived in Luala Lumpur at 6 PM that night, and the ride from the airport to the city took another hour by Grab. I had only eaten a side of fries, the unicorn ice cream from Little Damage, and a matcha bun at the airport. So by the time we got to dinner, I could have eaten the door handles and empty plates in front of me.
Of course, when you’re hungry you grossly overestimate the amount of food you can ingest. Case in point: Shang Palace
Peking Duck & More – Shang Palace
Shangri La’s Shang Palace in Kuala Lumpur is a Chinese restaurant offering traditional Cantonese cuisine. After researching Peking duck and learning that theirs was one of the best rated in KL, I diligently reached out to book an allergy-friendly meal. All details confirmed weeks in advance, we were good to go.
A party of nine people, each in their own personal hunger hell, we all set out to feast that night: two hole Peking ducks and their sides (fried rice and noodles), some chicken sesame, barbecue platter, salted egg prawns, Fragrant Mee Hoon… we really went to town. I don’t even have pictures of the food, that’s how fast we dug in.
The waitress initially thought that we were ordering the 2 ducks for the entire table; then she heard the rest of our order! Unsure about the size of the dishes and, if I’m being completely honest, unwilling to share my precious duck: we proceeded.
The ducks were served table side, the staff skillfully slicing the skin off the duck and wrapping it in pancakes for us. The duck rolls were ready to eat, which made life of the hungry so much easier! I still remember the ‘fun’ we had in Honk Kong, trying to use slippery, ceramic chopsticks to wrap the duck and veggies. You need real pro skills for this.
The rest of the duck was then taken back to the kitchen, and came back as a mountain load of duck fried rice, which two people couldn’t possibly finish off by themselves. We shared the rice, we stuffed our faces thoroughly, then got the leftovers to go – boy was that a good idea for the next day!
Of Course, Batu Caves
We planned to visit the iconic Batu Caves early morning, by Grab, head to the botanical gardens, then see what else we had time to do. After all, Batu caves is a must-see attraction in KL. Yes, it was interesting and impressive. Malaysian Indians are one of the three main ethnic groups in the country after Malay and Chinese, and account to about 10 % of the population.
But unfortunately, the sheer dirtiness you had to walk walk through made everything so much less appealing, and left an overall poor impression on me. Not my favorite place in KL.
Botanical Gardens, Butterfly Park & Planetarium
With an obvious not to Islamic architecture, perched on a hill with its long white stairway and blue dome, the Negara Planetarium was pretty impressive. I’ll admit, I had no idea that Malaysia has a space program (since 2002), nor that they already had an astronaut on the ISS (in 2007). Entrance to the Exhibition gallery is free of charge, though you’ll need to pay for the space theater.
Walking back from Butterfly park and to the Perdana botanical gardens, we got out of the green area and strolled past the KL National Textile Museum, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building – a government building built in the 1800’s – and ended up here.
Kolam Biru, the river confluence with showcasing the Masjid Jamek mosque.
By this time however we were too tired and hungry to visit anything else, so we contended with admiring the exteriors, and going our way.
To Pork Or Not To Pork: Naughty Nuri’s
Unwilling to hit yet again the fast food joints yet again, and after a nervous breakdown fueled by my frustration with food allergies, I eventually realized: my duck fried rice! It is waiting in the fridge!
So we headed back to the aparthotel, I had my fill of rice (still delicious the next day) and then went to nearby’s Naughty Nuri’s, so my husband can enjoy some food as well. We were, after all , in Malaysia and eating at McDonalds was just plain sad.
Even the fries were delicious at Naughty Nuri’s! I got myself an overly generous portion of Parmesan truffle fries (fit for 2 people), but just couldn’t stop gazing fondly at the other food that soon displayed on our table: satay lilit on lemongrass sticks, fried pork belly, and the most tender looking pork ribs (their tagline: probably the best ribs in the world). It was madness. At some point, they passed by our table with a flaming chicken on a spit.
Food was so good (according to my husband) that we came back with the rest of our group, the next day before going to the airport. They too agreed: Naughty Nuri’s was delicious.
KL SkyBar – Best Views in Town
Your quickie in Kuala Lumpur would not be complete without a #barwithaview. While we initially had reservations for an allergy-friendly dinner at Fuego @Troika Sky Dining, after the hungry rage followed by fried rice & Naughty Nuri’s, we both had our fill; so we went to the infamous SkyBar instead. Located at the 33rd floor of Traders Hotel KL, the Skybar really has the best views of the Petronas Towers.
At the entrance, we were told that the window-side lounge spaces came with a minimum 300 MYR spend or approx. 65 eur. That’s a lot of drinks in KL. We said no thanks. Then, shortly after ordering, a waitress came by asking if we wanted to move to one of the window tables – free of charge.
We got an unobstructed view of the towers and sprawling KLCC Park, and even caught the Lake Symphony music and light show right in front of the Petronas Towers, which usually starts at 8 PM.
Try their lemongrass lemonade. LOVE.
Saloma Link Bridge – the New Kid in Town
On the way back to the hotel (with Grab, of course) we saw the newly launched Saloma Link Bridge, which links old and new Kuala Lumpur.
The bridge had opened few days before our arrival, and it was nice enough, though after you’ve just seen Singapore’s Helix bridge, it’s hard to be too impressed. The 70 meters long bridge is quickly becoming all the insta-rage in KL.
The Face Suites & Infinity Pool
Travelling in a large group has many perks. One of the advantages is you can book alternative accommodations (apartments, villas, etc) and conveniently split the costs.
That’s why we booked an apartment at The FACE Suites, and the price was pretty good. 300 eur for 2 nights, 9 people means 16eur/person/night.
Still, we would have to compromise on sharing rooms and bathrooms. So when I saw a last minute availability before leaving Singapore (same day) for another 2-bedroom apartment at only 100 eur/night, it was just too hard to pass. We booked it, of course.
The total price /night/person was 22.5 eur. In exchange, we had 2 100-square meter apartments and access to one of the best iconic rooftop pools of Kuala Lumpur.
You’ll want to be warned though: the previously unobstructed view of the Petronas will soon be all but gone. A new building is already halfway through completion just next to the FACE Suites. Regardless, you have a pretty darn good view of the city’s skyline, and the Menara communications tower is so close it feels like you can reach out and grab it.
The swimming pool was pretty crowded the night we got there, but things looked OK the next morning. In any case, with all the corona-virus concerns while we were on vacation (and the 22 confirmed cases in Malaysia) I chose to admire the pool and the view from the sidelines.
Wrapping Up: Kuala Lumpur, a great city trip destination in Asia!
Though Kuala Lumpur is often regarded as a stopover destination, the vibrant Golden Triangle city has many so many great little corners to explore, and two days aren’t enough to do it justice.
We all know what that means: Kuala Lumpur, we’ll be back!