1. The famous Petronas Towers.
We were lucky to get tickets for 7pm to tour the Skybridge at 41st floor and the Observation Deck at 86th floor. At each floor, we were given 15 minutes to look around.
2. Model of the Petronas Towers at the Observation Deck at 86th floor.
3. Another famous site near Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves, one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside India.
There were a lot of monkeys at the stairs, stealing food from people. They looked really mean. I had a bottle of water in my hand. This big monkey grabbed it out of my hand from behind so suddenly that I almost lost my balance. And it twisted the cap off, laid the bottle on its side so the water poured out, so it could drink the water right in front of me.
4. The monkey who stole my water.
5. See the monkey on the left? They patrolled the stairs like they own this place.
One day I also went to Royal Selangor, a Malaysian pewter manufacturing place. It is quite far from KL central, so if you don't have a car, it is not easy to get there. The factory tour (free) was interesting, and they had a giant souvenir shop, selling everything pewter, and some silver and gold jewelry too.
6. Petronas Towers made of pewter cups at Royal Selangor.
Another interesting place I went to is Kuala Selangor, well known for its fireflies. Lots of fireflies nest around there because they like to feed on nectar from the Berembang trees growing along the Kuala Selangor River. At night, there were hundreds if not thousands of fireflies hovering on each tree, all blinking, it looks like Christmas trees with blinking lights. It was pretty amazing.
From Kuala Lumpur, I was supposed to fly to Bangkok, but the anti-government protests that had been going on for weeks there seemed to get worse by the day. I called my Bangkok hotel the night before my flight, they assured me that it was still safe to visit Bangkok. But they did say it could take about 2 hours one way to get to the hotel from the airport (used to be 45 minutes by taxi) due to the protests. Some of my friends also made calls to their friends living in Bangkok, they were saying that it was safe during the day, but I should try to avoid the Grand Palace area, since it was the center of the protests, it was under curfew these days. And my Bangkok hotel is about a mile from the Grand Palace! No wonder it was so hard to reach. Considering I was visiting Bangkok alone, and all the trouble / risks I may face if things get worse, I decided not to go to Bangkok any more. But where should I go for 4 days?
Going to Cambodia (to see Angkor Wat) was an option, another option was to go to Tokyo (to see my brother and his family). After checking flights available, I decided to go to Tokyo the next day. AirAsia had a direct flight from KL to Tokyo Haneda airport for $220 + fees (like having a seat, checking luggage, using credit card etc.). But I couldn't book it online using either kayak or AirAsia's own website. It kept saying payment declined. So I had to buy the ticket at the airport just before the flight, using cash because they didn't like my American credit card!
Going to the airport was also not easy. KL had one airport (KUL), but it had several terminals. The terminal used by AirAsia was called Low cost carrier terminal (LCCT), but the locals like to call it "LCCT airport", and it was 16 km from the main terminal building! So when I told the driver to go to the KL airport, he took me to the main terminal building. Only after I couldn't find where AirAsia is, he realized I need to go to the "LCCT Airport". Anyway, we got there in time to buy the ticket. LCCT was like an outdoor market. It was bustling, with no a/c and smelly bathrooms. They did have free Wi-Fi though.
7. Boarding started 40 minutes before departure time, and it began with walking on the airport ground to the airplane parked 200-300 yards away.
8. Walking to the airplane.
It was so hot inside the airplane. There was no a/c or any air circulation when we boarded. It must be 90+ degrees inside. Everyone was sweating and complaining. I was wearing long sleeve shirt and long pants preparing for the cold night in Tokyo, so I almost passed out from the heat. They finally turned a/c on when the plane started taxiing. Boy, what an experience to fly low cost airline!
(To be continued)