During our world trip, we lived in Kuala Lumpur for two months. And since it’s a central hub in Asia we stopped here numerous times for a quick stop. If you count all the stamps in our passports you’ll mostly find the Malaysian stamp.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia. Besides the fact that it’s central in the region is also a nice mix of eastern and western influences. A lot of different cultures come together and it makes the city feel vibrant and authentic.
So when we needed to pick a start for our next trip the choice was easy: Kuala Lumpur. It feels like our home away from home and we can’t wait to visit some of our favorites from last time!
In 2016 we decided to do a hike in Lijiang called Tiger Leaping Gorge. We read about this online and the pictures were awesome. Although we hadn’t really hiked that much up to that point we thought it wouldn’t be a problem. I mean, two Dutchies climbing a mountain, what could go wrong?
The hike was gorgeous and strenuous at the same time. Fortunately, we met like-minded people and we bonded over the experience. We knew the worst part would be the 28 bends so we all kept asking if this was it and it never was. But then we reached this part and it truly lived up to its name, all we saw were bends and they were going upwards. So we started climbing.
It wasn’t until we were close to the top that my knee didn’t exactly want to cooperate anymore. I made it to the top, but then I had to get down… The only way I managed to get off this mountain was by wrapping a bandage really tight around my knee so it couldn’t bend anymore and the struggle to be back before dark began.
We were only halfway through the descent but there was no way I could finish, so we found a taxi and drove straight to the hospital. The advice was to rest for at least 3 weeks but due to our visa running out of time we couldn’t.
Physical Therapy in Kuala Lumpur
My knee acted up now and again during our travels but we didn’t let it stop us. But at some point, it got so bad that we almost decided to go home. Fortunately, we met a doctor who saw another option: physical therapy. We had to ask permission from our insurance, but they figured this would be the cheaper option, so we got the go-ahead.
Fun thing about doing something like this in another country where you don’t really know all the social rules: they laugh at you a lot! Showing you’re in pain and almost in tears is not very Malaysian. And of course, they talked around my back a lot but I could handle that a bit better.
For almost two months, I went to physical therapy 2 or 3 times per week to work on building up my muscles, balance, and all the other things I lacked that made my knee act up. It was an interesting experience and something we definitely didn’t think we would experience. Plus I got to watch a whole bunch of movies while working out, win-win right?
Kuala Lumpur = Airbnb
The first time we headed to Kuala Lumpur we decided to try out an Airbnb because we were staying for a week or two. We wanted a little extra space and not be stuck in just one room for that period of time. When we started looking for apartments we were surprised with all the cheap options! There is a lot to choose from.
Most Airbnbs are in apartment complexes, tall buildings that have a lot of facilities. Most have a pool, a gym, a laundry, and if you’re lucky a store or restaurant. The first time we arrived at our Airbnb I sure thought we were in the wrong place because it looked so luxurious!
Once we knew we had to stay for two months we booked an Airbnb with a lot of facilities that had access to all the amenities we needed. We created our home away from home by rearranging some furniture, getting some accessories, and going grocery shopping.
Whenever I would go to physical therapy Kenji would stay in our apartment and work on our website. That’s the great thing about having a place to call home: you don’t need to find a space to work or walk around until the other person is done.
Why KL is great for travelers
Kuala Lumpur is a big city with lots of different neighborhoods. KL is the largest city in Malaysia and one of the fastest-growing cities in Asia. It’s covering an area of 243 km2 (94 sq mi) with a census population of 1,982,112 as of 2020. The city is divided into 11 districts and its center is in Bukit Bintang.
Kuala Lumpur is known for its shopping centers, it has 66 malls! We visited a lot of them and they’re all different. We love Suria KLCC for its food court, have been to KL Sentral numerous times just to transfer to the MRT, and don’t forget about Berjaya Times Square which has an indoor rollercoaster!
Getting around is easy, the MRT is cheap and runs to all the major attractions. But Grab is big in Kuala Lumpur as well if you don’t like big crowds. Of course, you could also take a bus if there is no MRT service in your area. We love the MRT because it’s very efficient and on weekends we saw families gather to just take a tour and enjoy the scenery and air conditioning. Don’t be surprised if people start a conversation with you, that happened to us on different occasions. The people are very friendly and social.
Kuala Lumpur has a lot of Western restaurants and fast food chains. We fell in love with Nando’s and thought it was a Malaysian thing until we met our friend Fatima from London who let us know it’s international. But there are numerous food courts and street food markets to enjoy Malaysian cuisine which has so many influences from China and India and other surrounding countries.
If you’re planning a trip to Asia, especially a long trip where you might want to combine travel and work, it’s so important to start off easy. You need to adjust to the culture, to the heat, to the food. Because Kuala Lumpur both has Eastern and Western influences you can take it easy and just settle in at your own pace.
Our world trip started in China and it was hard. One of the biggest culture shocks and lessons we’ve learned while traveling. It’s like being thrown at the deep end of the pool before you can swim. Although we managed and it made us better travelers I wouldn’t take that route again. Some familiarity can help you get a grip on this new life you’re starting.
Be kind to yourself and take our advice: Kuala Lumpur is a great haven in Asia if you want to settle for a bit. Get used to everything before you continue your travels. Don’t just stay in Kuala Lumpur for that matter and discover the rest of this beautiful country as well. We never knew a lot about Malaysia and we were pleasantly surprised by it.
Home sweet home
We’re very curious to see if we still feel the same way about Kuala Lumpur as last time because a lot has changed. Covid has had a big impact in Malaysia as well. Places that once were crowded now barely see any visitors anymore. At least, based on other travelers we follow via Instagram and TikTok.
Going back to a place you loved is always a bit tricky. But I visited New York many times and to this day I’m still amazed by this city every time I visit. So I’m hoping Kuala Lumpur is the same. We’re already talking about all the places we need to check out again for lunch or dinner and looking for new insights into this city.
Back to traveling, back to Airbnb life, and back to Asia. We’re excited and can’t wait! The countdown calendar is ticking away until departure time and we still have a lot to get ready. But one thing is for sure: Kuala Lumpur, here we come!
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