WANDERLUST| Apa kabar, Kuala Lumpur?

IN LESS than three months, Davao City will be connected to another international hub, Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, via AirAsia. This was revealed by no less than the airline’s CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes during the Davao Investment Conference 2017 in July this year.

A PIECE of Mindanao at the Carcosa Seri Negara: Tabu drum of the Maranao tribe on display at th museum.

A PIECE of Mindanao at the Carcosa Seri Negara: Tabu drum of the Maranao tribe on display at th museum.

 With this promising international connection, are we, Dabawenyos, ready to explore Malaysia’s “city of contrast and diversity”? Just recently, I made a quick trip to KL to find out, at least, 10 reasons that should make us, Dabawenyos, go online pronto and book a flight to this international megalopolis.

 PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS. This 88 story (plus 5 below ground) megastructure was built to reflect the grace of local crafts and weaving patterns while its form and shape, crafted with stainless steel and glass, are inspired by Islamic geometric patterns. This majestic structure, no matter how frequent you visit KL, never fails to catch your attention and leave you in awe. View the twins at nighttime at rooftop bars in adjacent hotels or take a SkyBridge and Observation Deck tour on the 41st floor.

YOU CAN strike a pose in front of the Petronas Twin Towers or take a tour at the SkyBridge.

YOU CAN strike a pose in front of the Petronas Twin Towers or take a tour at the SkyBridge.

 NASI LEMAK. What better place to enjoy their national food (a power-packed meal of fragrant rice cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf, served with dilis, peanuts, boiled egg, lamb/chicken curry, cucumber and sambal) but at Nasi Lemak Bumbung in Petaling Jaya, a 20 minute cab ride from KL. Like our humble eateries in Bankerohan Public Market, you’ll see cooks here fixing the dish in an assembly line fashion as waiters scurry to deliver trays of nasi lemak to tables upon tables of hungry diners. And yes, it’s also open 24/7. Contrary to its name (“bumbung” means “roof”), there’s nary a cover in this al fresco cafeteria by the alley.

 BUKIT BINTANG. If you love to shop (I know, you do), then this trendy shopping and entertainment district is your piece of paradise. This strip has everything a cosmopolitan soul needs – malls and hotels from backpacker to 5 star, to all-day cafes and restos, and lively nightclubs.

 MASJID JAMEK SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD. One of KL’s oldest mosques is also its most accessible, located at the confluence of Klang and Gombak rivers, where KL also got its name (“Kuala”, where two rivers join together + “Lumpur”, “mud”). Exhibiting an Indian Muslim Mughal architectural style, the mosque is also at the heart of KL’s River of Life riverside beautification project where walks and bridges are built for pedestrians to enjoy the historic landmarks within the area.

 CARCOSA SERI NEGARA. This government owned estate houses two colonial mansions, the Carcosa, built in 1896, and Seri Negara, built in 1913. The former was the official residence of the first British High Commissioner in Malaysia (formerly Malaya) of the then Resident-General of the Federated Malay States while the latter is a guest house of visiting dignitaries. Today, it is a museum of changing exhibits.

 SRI MAHAMARIAMMAN TEMPLE. Multicultural KL is home to many Malaysians of Indian descent who pay respect to their deities in the city’s oldest functioning Hindu temple. Founded in 1873, it was later opened to the public in the late 1920s. It has an impressive gopuram or gateway, which was completed in 1972. The temple is walking distance from Central Market and Chinatown.

SRI Mahamariamman Temple's gopuram or gateway

SRI Mahamariamman Temple’s gopuram or gateway

 YET KEE. Established in 1938, this family owned kopi tiam remains to be a local favorite based on the long queues that it gets every day. Must-eats include their famous Roast Pork Roll, Roti Babi, Belacan Fried Rice and Hainanese Chicken Chop. What makes dining unique in Yet Kee is the old world feel of the place – which reminds me of the old Luc Tian Restaurant along Monteverde Street with its tile flooring, post-war ceiling fans and wall mirrors.

 CHINATOWN. Located in Petaling Street, Chinatown is definitely one of the most popular spots in KL where all sorts of stuff – from authentic Chinese cuisine and herbs to imitation merchandise – are sold. By night, the street transmutes into vibrant night market where your haggling powers are put to a test. By day, you can visit temples including the city’s oldest Taoist temple.

BAKIT Bintang, shopping and recreation paradise in the heart of KL

BAKIT Bintang, shopping and recreation paradise in the heart of KL

 JALAN ALOR. This street is a bustling nocturnal street food paradise frequented by hundreds of tourists and locals. Every type of cuisine is pretty much in this street – Malay, Indian, Chinese, Mamak, Thai, name it, but my fave will always be satay, fried noodles and yes, frogs’ legs. Streets leading to Jalan Alor is a bit jammed by night, so prepare to take some short stroll.

 DURIAN SS. If there’s one thing that binds us Dabawenyos and Malaysians, it is our love for durian. Prepare to part ways with some of your ringgit and have a buffet of their Musang King, D24, D16, D160, Red Prawn, Black Thorn, to name a few, in this hawker-style durian market in Petaling Jaya.

Posted in Lifestyle