Tuesday 15 November 2011

Change of Scene - Kuala Lumpur

I am now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I'm not here by choice, but because the Thai immigration system is a huge pain in my white Scottish arse. I'm here to apply for a double entry tourist visa at the Royal Thai Embassy that will allow me to stay in Thailand through to next year.

When I got to the embassy first thing this morning there was a big sign that warned that they were now refusing tourist visas to people who continuously leave and re-enter Thailand via it's neighbouring countries, as people are abusing it in order to work illegally in Thailand.

Given that, and the fact that I have 7 entry stamps into Thailand this year I'm not super confident that my visa application will get approved. In my favour I have visited 12 other countries this year, some more than once, and made my application with a note saying that I am travelling around Asia for a year and using Thailand as my base.

Fingers crossed, I will find out if I get the visa tomorrow. If not I will try to fly back into Bangkok and hopefully they let me through with another 30 day stamp. Enough time for the floods to clear up and I can take the agency run visa bus trip to Cambodia where the agents grease the officials palms enough that nobody gets refused a visa.

Right now I'm staying in a nice hotel next to Low Yat Plaza on the top floor with a sick view. I have set up a grind station using the hotel TV as a monitor in-front of the window looking towards the Petronas Towers. A nice view is very un-tilting indeed, and preventing tilt is very important when you are playing poker on a hotel internet connection that is for damn sure.

Today was fun. A guy who looked like a Malaysian Snoop Dogg let me play with his snake (ooo err missus) for the bargain price of 10 RM (2 GBP).

I then went to a Shipwreck Treasures exhibition. They had tons of the stuff from 13 different wrecks recovered from Malaysian waters. One of them being a Chinese ship from the Song Dynasty (1000 years ago). It was a good way to spend half an hour for the bargain price of 8 RM (1.60 GBP).

I then visited the National Museum, for the also bargainous price of 5 RM (1 GBP). A lot of museums I've been to have been pretty boring, the main exceptions being the national museum in Cairo and the war museum in Saigon. The Malaysian National museum is quite small compared to other museums but this is a good thing, as there is no "filler". Everything is worth seeing and I was overall impressed by it.

I especially liked the weapons and armour. I'd stand there in-front of them daydreaming, imagining myself wearing the armour and using the swords in battle.

After I spent 45 minutes in the museum I was about to leave when it just absolutely lashed down with rain as hard as you can possibly imagine. Thunder, lightning, the full shebang. I decided to walk around the museum again and 45 minutes later it was STILL hammering it down cat's and dogs. I then saw everything in the museum for a THIRD time, making me now one of the world's foremost experts on Malaysian history, before the rain turned into just a drizzle and I could leave.

I decided to spend the rest of the day doing a Segway tour around Lake Gardens Park which is a 230 acre, awesome, lush, impeccably maintained park in the city. I have taken a Segway tour before, in Prague (see Prague trip report), and it was a great way to cover a lot of distance in a short amount of time without getting tired.

This Segway tour also turned out to be a winner. The gardens are amazing. Fresh air and relaxation, what a great way to spend an afternoon.

Tomorrow I am going for dinner with Jeremy McDonald and his friends who are pro poker players that live here in KL. And if all goes to plan and I get my visa tomorrow afternoon I will fly back to Thailand on the last flight back tomorrow night, fingers crossed!


  1. Very nice pictures Dale. They actually have a segway store in the small town I live in and do tours around the historical downtown. Once while working at a restaurant in said downtown I watched a 14 year old take a corner a little to sharply and totally beef it in the middle of the road. These pictures show a place far more appropriate for segwaying. Best of luck in your travels, keep the blogs comiN!

  2. err why does your blog not have a blogger ID in the comments thingy ??
    (more to the point, why is my google ID not allowed, wtf ??)

    you and the snake, classic pic, imho

  3. Dale, its harder to comment on here than it is on Mik's blog, an' thats fucking saying something !
    sort it out ffs !

  4. for some reason, never linked you, but I have now at