I had planned to catch the 7am bus from Penang, in Northern Malaysia to capital Kuala Lumpur down south, in order to make the most of the 24 hours I had left in Asia, but we all know things never go to plan, especially when alcohol is involved. It just so happened that I woke up wondering what the hell went on last night and completely missed the morning bus. I quickly shoved my belongings into my backpack and walked to the Butterworth Ferry terminal so catch the boat over to mainland. Arrival at Butterworth was hassle-free and I was greeted at the bus terminal next door with lots of people trying to sell me tickets to the capital KL. Still a little intoxicated, I went with the first person who approached me and was told to wait where I was. Ten minutes later I was directed to follow a young man who walked me a good mile away to a bus parked on the side of the road, not half as nice the luxury coaches at the terminal.
“Oh well” I thought, what could go wrong? The bus was mostly empty apart from a couple of Bangladeshi lads who all wanted to add me on Facebook (which I went along with but later declined their request), but they weren’t any bother and got off a couple of hours in to the journey. It was meant to take five hours, but ended up taking eight as the driver and his mates kept stopping to have a smoke and pick up some food and drink. I was late arriving at Reggae Mansion which was to be the last hostel I would stay in for a while. Because of this, I booked myself into a 24 bed dorm (may as well end my backpacking trip with a bang) which is actually the nicest dorm I have ever stayed in. The hostel certainly lived up to the hype from other backpackers I’ve met along the way and included luxuries like orange juice on arrival and free cold filtered water as well as a decent rooftop bar, which I headed straight to.
It was here I met Flick from Australia and a guy from New Zealand she’d be travelling with. As it was a Sunday the bar was pretty dead but Flick and I worked our way around chatting to everyone to settle a debate we were having with some German girls about the rules of pool. We met a lovely couple from England called Phil and Steph, who are around the same age as my parents and have been travelling around the world for over 18 months, they certainly had some great stories to tell. One drink led to another and I suggested we go try and find Heli Lounge Bar, a bar located at a heli-pad on top of a skyscraper, which I had been recommended by others I’ve met. We were walking around the city for almost two hours having little clue where we where, let alone the bar. In the end we gave up and returned to the area our hostel was located to enjoy what was my last 3am McDonalds as a backpacker.
I had a surprisingly good sleep in the 24 bed dorm which was made up of individual pods with their own mirror, light and charging socket, which was perfect for me as I do enjoy my own space sometimes. I went in search for a local breakfast so headed to Jalan Alor (food street) and looked for the busiest place which happened to be an eatery specialising in fish head soup. I hadn’t realised this before I sat down and I found it hard to get excited about fish head soup for breakfast, so I went against my own advice (of always ordering the speciality) and had pork ball noodle soup which was nice, but I’ve had better elsewhere.
Kuala Lumper has a strong Indian presence and I have to say, is the other Asian city I’ve felt a little uneasy in, as I was met with comments from a number of Indian men in the street as I walked around alone. I gave up searching for the Asian charm I’ve experienced in other cities like Bangkok and Phnom Penh and headed straight to a coffee shop I had read about online.
Coffee Amo was said to do fantastic coffee art so when I arrived at the slightly hidden store (through an art gallery and up the stairs), I ordered a speciality Americano (or long black to those overseas) completely forgetting the renowned coffee art which was the reason why I had walked all this way. What’s more, the speciality roast was three times more expensive than the others in line with London prices, not something I was used to in Asia.
For me, coffee shops are as much about the ambiance as the coffee and I found myself feeling comfortable enough in Coffee Amo to order another coffee, this time with coffee art. Ok I had spent a fortune on more than enough caffeine to last me a lifetime and a huge part of my 24 hours inside a coffee shop, but it was worth it. Just look as this adorable coffee which tasted as good as it looks!
Buzzing, I decided to embark on something I never do, especially when backpacking, and that was to hit the mall. After shopping I only had an hour or two spare before I had to head to the airport but I wanted to see the city’s skyline, something I had missed out on in Singapore. I decided to make my way to Heli Lounge Bar, this time Googling the location on top of Menara KL (Tower KL) before I set off so I didn’t get lost. I felt so out of place on arrival as not only was I on my own but my backpack and flip flops meant I was way underdressed for a swanky cocktail bar. I ordered a well made lychee martini for sophistication and quickly sipped it down so I could go up to the helipad where drinks are not allowed.
Across the bar I spotted Phil and Steph, the couple I had met at the hostel the night before who had gone to Heli Bar after I told them about it. I still find it strange how I keep bumping in to the same people during my travels and what could have been a lonely drink for one turned into an enjoyable couple of drinks over tales of our trip. By the time we had finished our drinks and asked to make our way up to the roof, the weather had turned and the helipad was shut off so I was unable to see the view I had gone all this way for.
Luckily my awesome camera skills and Sony RX 100, I managed to catch this shot through the rain soaked glass. Having stayed a little longer than anticipated I practically had to run to the airport to catch my flight which as always I boarded in the nick of time. It was time to hang up my backpack and head to the land down under.
Living life, loving travel,