Welcome to KL!!
We hit the city, but first – two days of rock climbing! A mere bus or train ride from downtown Kuala Lumpur are the Batu Caves. Beautiful limestone karsts rising from halfway down a city block, the Batu Caves are most well-known for the temples they house. However, wander north through some dingy neighborhood streets and down a dirt road or two, and there’s phenomenal rock climbing. Our suspicions are confirmed that the climbing around Krabi is severely downgraded, but we still manage a slough of 6As and 6Bs, including Alex’s first lead (!) and some epic climbing during the afternoon rains. We are an anomaly in the neighborhood and have many local spectators.
Kuala Lumpur is very clean, and contains many super malls. We see the sites (above, the twin Petronus towers) and nap in the park. We are sadly under-dressed, and spend most of our time in Chinatown, which has some nice character and is our kind of chaotic. Saturday night, we find ourselves out on the town and befriend some locals for a most excellent city experience.
We spend our last night in Malaysia in Melacca, an adorable port town with lots of colonial architecture. Here, we celebrated the final night of the 15-day Chinese New Year, which included this find: a temporary faux facade for a building made entirely out of recycled plastic bottles, spoons, and wire. Malaysia has treated us well – it’s a very interesting country which blends and balances a number of distinct cultures – Chinese, Indian, and Malay. It is more westernized than much of SEA, and also more strictly Muslim. We worked our way down the west coast of peninsular Malaysia, but missed the eastern side as well as the entirety of Borneo. Its a country I would love to return to someday. On to Singapore!
You guys, I wasn’t expecting to like Singapore. I had heard it was sterile and there weren’t any dive bars. I asked people about arty and weird and was met with blank stares. But Singapore was beautiful (and we even found a dive bar!).
At 10am on our first morning, we are invited by Kim Wong, whom we met in Bangkok, to tour Brewerkz, Singapore’s craft brewery, where she is the brew master. She is a tiny little woman, but vivacious and friendly and capable of hefting 25 kg sacks of malted hops. Above, J stirring a vat as the hops are poured in for their best-selling IPA. Afterwards, we taste-tested, lunched, and set off on our walk around Singapore in a great mood.
We walk around the harbor, up to Little India and Arab Street, and ride the cleanest, most immaculately glass-and-stainless-steel inner-city trains I’ve ever seen. Our chouchsurfing host, Nikolas, was fabulous and we stayed in a large group house in a residential area that was still super accessible. City life! Then we depart through SleepingInAirports.com’s #1 top-rated airport. You guys, there was an orchid garden with a koi pond and free internet stations with massage chairs:
Now in Vietnam, and have met up with J’s mom, Martha!
Lots of love!
C & J
J and Alex, Malaysian pride.
A fountain at Singapore’s harbor.
J: the latest Brewerkz model.