In China and Hong Kong, Ching Ming Festival is a holiday to remember past ancestors; as part of tradition, the Chinese visit the graves of their ancestors and sweep them clean (literally) and present offerings of food and ancestors to the departed. This year, Ching Ming fell on a Monday which, for Scot and I (our ancestors are all buried across the ocean), meant an opportunity to spend an extended holiday in Kuala Lumpur.
After working nearly a full day from the Cathay Pacific First Class Lounge in Hong Kong (side note: the “house” champagne there is Veuve Cliquot), we boarded a Malaysian Airlines flight to KL. The flight was a bit bumpy, but our flight attendants Fatin Nabila and Teck Chang were amazing and still managed to serve us a 3 course meal (we didn’t even make it to the main course because we were so full from the appetizers) and about 2 bottles of wine each. When we landed in KL they also packed us a bottle of Chardonnay and a stash of peanuts for take-away!
Dana and Lu had arrived earlier in the day from Bangkok, and were waiting for us when we arrived. We grabbed a quick drink in our hotel room at the DoubleTree in the Intermark building, then headed to Jalan Alor to walk around and enjoy the Malay culture. We settled on a Malay/Chinese restaurant which did not disappoint: four meals and giant beers later (for under $50 US) we took the scenic route back to the hotel to enjoy some night time scenes of the Petronas Towers from the park.
The next day we got a quick workout in, then settled by the pool for some much needed R&R while Doo and Lu explored the Batu Caves. We had appetizers and a happy hour cocktail at the DoubleTree Executive Lounge (great view!) and headed to Heli Lounge Bar for sunset drinks. Heli Lounge is a heli-pad which gets converted into a bar with a 360-degree view of KL at night- it is by far the best place to watch the sun set (although unfortunately for us we got a cloudy night). After sunset, we headed to Changkat Bukit Bintang for dinner at Brix Gastro Pub which made an incredibly delicious version of Outback Steakhouse’s bloomin’ onion. After dinner we stopped at Club 7-11 to grab beers and finished the night playing Jenga at the hotel.
The following morning Doo and Lu headed off to Siem Reap and Scot and I set out to explore the Batu Caves. The Batu Caves are a series of limestone caves up on a hill, on which Malaysia has built a series of temples and shrines to the Hindu Gods (it is the largest and most grand Hindu structure outside of India). The caves were extremely commercialized, but definitely worth a trip- they are inhabited with very busy monkeys, who are happy to take excess foods off the tourist’s hands:
By the time we left the caves it was at least 90+ degrees, so we headed back to the hotel for a dip. As an added bonus, we found a store, Sports Direct, in the Intermark building (same as our hotel) which sells sporting equipment for about 60% of the price that you would pay in Hong Kong. Four pairs of trainers, some soccer shin guards, a soccer bag, and a water bottle later we finally dragged ourselves out of the store to get ready for the evening. After a quick drink at the Lounge we headed to Sky Bar for a cocktail and to enjoy the sunset. If you’re looking for a great view of the Petronas Towers, this is your spot- but the drinks are over priced and it turns into a club at night so if you’re not properly dressed then prepare to be asked to leave after the sun goes down. From our table (we arrived early enough so we picked the best spot) we got a really cool progression of the sunset with a view of the towers:
After sun down we walked back through the park to check out the fountain, which puts on a nightly light show in the middle of the park. We headed to dinner at The Whiskey Bar, a steakhouse in Changkat Bukit Bintang- the steaks were delicious and reasonable, in Hong Kong standards. The restaurant gave us vouchers to use at the bar next door, Opium, but we were ready to head back to the hotel so we handed the vouchers off to a couple who we noticed had just ordered drinks there. It was supposed to be a nice gesture, but we are pretty sure it really creeped them out. We headed back to the hotel for one last drink at Cellar Door, where we caught the end of the Leicester City v. Southampton EPL game. According to Scot (and interpreted through my alcohol induced haze), Leicester City is not supposed to be good, but they’ve been killing it this year and they control their own fate.
The following morning we enjoyed one last meal at the pool before heading back to Hong Kong. It was a quick weekend, but was filled with excitement and we would definitely visit KL again!