Cheap as Chips in Kuala Lumpur

Your Gap Year is coming to an end, you’ve been backpacking for months, your budget is dwindling down to your last few pence and you’re sick of sharing rooms with strangers in side street hostels. It’s time for some affordable luxury. Malaysia is one of the few countries left on this planet where things are not over priced and even the tightest budget can buy nice things. When I chose to end my seven month trip in Malaysia it was purely on a whim and quite an inspired one. After a couple of weeks lounging about on beautiful Malay beaches and hanging out with some of the most hospitable and friendly people I have ever met, my destination, Kuala Lumpur, was the place I chose to spend those last precious days before heading home.

I’d been pretty stringent with my cash flow for the whole trip and found, to my pleasant surprise, that I actually had a little bit of money left. Since the GFC costs have risen everywhere, but in K.L it’s still possible to get a lovely 3 or 4 star hotel in Kuala Lumpur for about $80 a night. Back then I totally lucked out and got a fabulous 5 star place right next to the Petronas towers for the same budget. I couldn’t believe my luck.

After spending about an hour in the poshest shower I’d ever seen, I grabbed my bag and headed out to see those famous twins. There they were, towering before me, steel and glass glittering like diamonds in the bright sunlight. No longer holding the title of the tallest building in the world, it does still remain as the tallest twin structure. There are various options for visitors, the best value being a tour of the skybridge that links the twins at the half way mark, costing a huge 3MRY (about $1). And when you’ve done that, why not take a stroll around the haven of KLCC Park before heading out to see more if the city. Walking is always the best way to see anywhere, but if the heat and humidity are too much for you then taxis are as affordable as any bus ride in the UK.

K.L has a truly diverse population, the consequence of which is AMAZING food, brilliant culture, as well as fantastic shopping. After spending two days in the malls and amazing markets of China Town, I decided to experience something a little more cultural and caught a Cityliner bus out to Batu Caves.

Approximately 13km north of the city, Batu is a series of limestone caves with incredible formations dating back some 400 million years. The rather steep 272 steps to the entrance are well worth the effort. Stunning gold statues and dazzling Hindu temples clutter the exteriors and interiors to this natural phenomenon and aside from the 5 Ringgits return bus fare, they are completely free to visit. Words to the wise though; watch out for the pesky monkeys, they are everywhere and extremely cheeky little, well…monkeys.

Liah S Thorley is a travel writer and novelist from the UK. She has travelled extensively and particularly enjoys history and the arts.

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