Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kuala Lumpur

Picking KL for my stopover on the way to my return to SE Asia was a toss up, but spending a full day yesterday exploring the sights, I was pleased with my choice.

I made my way over to the Merdeka Square (or Peace Square), and admired the gorgeous Sultan Adbul Samad Building on the edge of the square.

Originally built as past of the British rule government, hence the Big Ben clock, following Malaysian independence the style and purpose of the building was changed. It is now the high court.

The building sits on the edge of the square, which is surrounded by impressive buildings. One of these is the Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, which has free entry.

I popped in for a break from the heat, but managed to take in the history of the city. They also have a room upstairs with a miniature model of the city, present and future, which gives you a great birds eye view, and also allows you to see the vision of the current buildings in construction. The world's second tallest building is part of the way to it's completion, which you can see below - the modern second tower on the right.

The Merdeka Square also has the Royal Selangor Club on it's other edge - and a concrete cricket pitch in the middle of the grassy square. Here is where the colonialists played cricket! Imagine!

From here, I walked around the back of the Sultan Adbul Samad Building to take in the view of Jamek Mosque, which is currently closed for renovations. Back to the train station, I got another train token to explore another area of the city.

Looking for the National Mosque, I thought that I had spotted it from the station, only to discover that the beautiful white buildings with it's domes and towers to be the KL Railway Station. Impressive!

The building across from this, the KTM Building, was equally grand and impressive, apparently combining British and Moorish architecture. Although there are no clues from the outside about what this building's business is.

By the time to did find the National Mosque, with it's modern take on it's features, it was prayer time and not open to non-Muslim tourists. I contemplated waiting it out, and I had read that you would be provided with appropriate clothing to be able to enter, but the heat and the lure of a cool break inside somewhere won me over. The view of the structures from the open entrance was intriguing, and so reverent.

At the end of my day exploring KL, I ventured back to Chinatown and the Jalan Petaling Market for dinner, picking an assortment of skewers, which were cooked up for me while I waited at the tables behind the stall. Delicious! 

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