Hi, everyone! As you may have noticed from the sudden hike in activities on my Instagram back in July, I was on a much needed vacation – my very first one since I started working in 2017 – and it was so much fun!
So, why KL?
A lot of people asked me this, wondering why I didn’t want to go elsewhere. For those who are not from Brunei, KL is one of Bruneians’ all-time favourite destinations for shopping and food, and evidently, statistics from Tourism Malaysia showed that Bruneians spent roughly $1.25 billion in Malaysia in 2017. I myself am still shocked by the figures even to this day…
Anyway, while shopping and food have do their appeal to me, I realised that I had never really gone around to all the historical landmarks and museums in KL – or at least I don’t remember visiting them. This sudden interest to explore KL was further deepened upon seeing a recent photo of the colourful steps of Batu Caves, which is located just half an hour away from the city centre, and I thought, “Why not KL?!” Plus, I had a few friends from uni that I wanted to meet there and there’s a close friend from high school, Sam, who worked there that wanted to bring me on a day trip to Malacca.
Initially, it was supposed to be a solo trip, but I decided to pitch the trip to Zihah (a good friend of mine and one of the frequent faces that I photographed on film here!) during one of our catch-up sessions even though she had visited KL so many times. Thankfully, she was able to join me and we ended up having an absolute blast together!
On Day 1, Zihah got the morning flight (my flight was already full by the time she decided to join me) while I took the evening flight. When I arrived at KLIA, the immigration queue was crazy long and it took nearly a whole hour for me to get through! I was so relieved when I hopped onto KLIA Express to get to the city centre and meet up with Zihah who had already checked in to our airbnb apartment at Mercu Summer Suites.
On Day 2, we made sure to be flexible with our so-called programme in terms of timing as long as we got to visit all places that we wanted in our bucket list, and we actually did well!
First things first, we went to Bangsar for brunch and came across Antipodean. I expected it to be a bit more minimalist, but as it turned out, the cafe looked more like an American steakhouse diner and reminded me of the diner I went to in Kansas City a few years back. The most charming feature that I personally liked about the cafe was definitely their walls covered with their handwritten menu! So before ordering, you would have to walk to the other end of the restaurant just to find what tickles your fancy.
I decided to order banana pancakes with butterscotch syrup while Zihah opted for eggs benedict and salmon, and boy, we were so over the moon with our selection! After quite a heavy meal, we walked around Bangsar and revelled in the many street arts and cafes that livened up the hipster hotspot that Bangsar is known to be.
Kuala Lumpur City Gallery
When we arrived at Dataran Merdeka, we had only planned to visit Sultan Abdul Samad Building and National Textile Museum, and we didn’t realise that KL City Gallery was located in the area, or more specifically, right across of the museum. Since our Grab driver dropped us off on the gallery’s side of the road, we decided to check it out, particularly since it was free entry, and I was so happy that we did! The gallery showcased not just the history of KL but also some interactive and fun exhibits. Definitely a must if you don’t want to go shopping in KL!
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
Visiting the Sultan Abdul Samad Building was in my bucket list for a long time because it used to serve as the secretariat for the colonial British administration and housed the superior courts of Malaysia before moving to Putrajaya. Unfortunately, it was closed that day for an event.
National Textile Museum
As a Peranakan descendant and a batik lover myself, I knew I had to visit the museum and learn more about Malaysia’s own textile history. They had a wide range of textiles from different states and ethnic groups and they were all so beautiful and intricately designed. I had hoped to procure at least a suit of one of their traditional textiles but I refrained myself from doing so since I knew they would usually be on the higher end of prices and I didn’t want to exceed my budget for this trip. Signs, maybe one day…
Changkat, Bukit Bintang
While I was looking up on places to visit in KL, I kept in mind that I also wanted to see sides of KL that are not teeming with tourists all the time. Then I learned that the alleys in Changkat, Bukit Bintang had recently undergone a transformation with seemingly endless bright colours and street arts and they were so much more colourful in real life! I would recommend visiting Changkat during daytime so that the colours would pop out more in your photos. Plus, I heard it gets dodgy at night, judging from the number of bars in the area.
The Loaf, Pavilion
After Changkat, we walked some more and did some shopping here and there before we could finally make a pitstop to temporarily relieve our sore feet and that was when we saw The Loaf at Pavilion. It was the perfect fusion of urban and nature as we could see the busy streets outside while immersing ourselves in the greenery indoor.
The Pawn Room
The whole day had been both exhausting and exciting, but we still wanted to do more. So we went back to our apartment to drop off our things and freshen up before heading out to The Helipad for sunset-viewing, but unfortunately it was a bit cloudy so we just enjoyed the skyline and cut it short to meet up with our old friends from uni at The Pawn Room (as pictured above) in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
As soon as we stepped into The Pawn Room, it felt like we were transported to a bygone era. Everything about the place was aesthetically stunning, with its bright red accents, dimmed lighting from the lanterns, vintage decors and oriental parasols. I don’t exactly remember the name of the mocktail that I ordered but it was so fruity and refreshing! Would love to go back again for the ambiance.
And that’s our Day 2 done, which was beautifully concluded with a wonderful evening spent with old friends and riveting conversations on topics ranging from politics and philosophy to work-life balance and our hopes and dreams.
Stay tuned for Day 3 of our trip to KL!