Kuala Lumpur – Colors of Chinatown

Kuala Lumpur – Colors of Chinatown

When flying overhead into Kuala Lumpur one will notice endless fields of palm trees, given how Malaysia is the second largest producer (after Indonesia) of palm oil in the world. Great for the economy, but at the expense of natural habitats.

Beautiful palms but with devastating deforestation.

To use my Amex FHR credit, I booked 2 nights at the Mandarin Oriental.

Room was a bit dark
But we were upgraded to a room with a view of the Petronas Towers, which used to be the tallest buildings in the world until Taipei 101 was completed in 2004. With the race “to the top”, even Taipei 101 has been nudged off the top 10 list. Now all the world’s top 10 tallest buildings (save from NYC’s One World Trade Center) are in Asia.

With the oppressive heat in South East Asia, there’s really no way to travel but to take bite sized morsels each time. Unlike in Turkey where we’d be hopping from one mosque to another, here we can only manage one site a day before having to duck into the AC cocoon known as the mall. Like Singapore, the mall culture here is strong.

I used to travel with a Lonely Planet guidebook in hand, but nowadays we just wing it. Check Google Maps, and you’re bound to find something interesting. Our favorite little find in Chinatown was Kwai Chai Hong (鬼仔巷). This little blind alley was so named after the little kids (“鬼仔” in Cantonese) who played in the alley. We had no idea what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised.

The colors outside the alley
The juxtaposition of old and new. The Merdeka (just completed this year) in the background is now the second tallest building in the world after Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
A little oasis of an alleyway

With cute little murals (and 3D props) depicting what life once was in Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown.

Joe getting a hair cut

The murals weren’t just confined to the alley. There were other interesting wall arts scattered about in Chinatown.

Nicholas Choong mural right outside the subway station
Joe ordering a bowl of noodles

Having just visited Singapore, Malaysia feels more authentic, and people are more hospitable in comparison. Another thing that Malaysia does better is their food, even their mall food is tastier. Food here is flavorful and rich, and I fear that I will leave Malaysia several pounds heavier.

One thought on “Kuala Lumpur – Colors of Chinatown

  1. Yes this brings back familiar memories of our time in KL, especially the wonderful food. We loved the fact that the old and the new were so close together. In fact, after going up the Petronas Towers, we spent an evening in Kampung Baru, where a largely unchanged village exists right in the heart of modern KL with the Towers gleaming up above you. The street food in Kampung Baru was fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

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