Saturday 22 January 2011

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Trip Report

I flew to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from Lebanon where I was doing a lot of sightseeing and playing a little bit of poker. The journey had a stop-over in Dubai, but we would continue the journey on the same airplane, so it was nice and easy. We were given a transit-pass to go into the departures lounge for a while, then back onto the plane.

Dubai airport was really nice and they provide free WiFi. I was wishing I'd did a few days stopover in Dubai but hadn't considered it until that moment.

When I got to Malaysia it was very early in the morning. The airport is a fair distance from the centre of city but there is an express train, so I took that option. It was very fast, clean and quiet, and even had free WiFi. You would think by 2011 this would be standard, but some countries you go to you can barely even get a decent internet connection in your hotel room, that you have to pay for, never mind free fast internet on a moving vehicle.

I got to my accommodation at the wonderful Traders Hotel around 7am. I thought that there was no chance of me being able to check-in that early but I was really nice to the cute girl at hotel reception and she said "well, maybe if you can wait 1 or 2 hours we can have a room ready for you." I told her that wasn't a problem and asked if there was somewhere for me to eat breakfast. She showed me to the lovely buffet that they have and I tipped her $5 US, which is a small amount of money but to someone living in Malaysia it's probably a big deal.

So I was enjoying their buffet. Their chefs that will make you stuff fresh including smoothies and yogurts with the fresh ingredients of your choosing. Really nice! I had only been eating for about 3 minutes when the girl from reception walked in and came to my table. She handed me a bunch of stuff and says "Here is your room key sir. Your room is ready and your luggage has also been taken up to your room for you." Epic win, I was able to get into my room, sleep and wake up by the time that I was officially supposed to be able to check in!

The Traders hotel was very nice and I've given you guys a little room tour in this video:

The first thing I did in Malaysia was look for somewhere to get my laptop fixed. I quickly learned about Low Yat Plaza, a massive technology mall over 7 floors, so took a trip down there.

After sorting out my laptop I tried out one of the restaurants on the ground floor. For the cheap price of $4 USD I got a pepper chicken steak with egg, rice, noodles, vegetables, soup and a can of coke. The meal was delicious. I almost felt guilty paying so little for it!

I was mega happy to have a working laptop again and being able to blog and play online poker. My first session of the year on PokerStars was a nice winning session at 2/4 PLO. Happy days.

My friend Bryan Huang noticed from my facebook status that I was in Kuala Lumpur, so he put me in touch with his friend Darren Yoon, another poker pro. I went with Darren to Zook which was a really nice high-end club. I was able to walk straight in with Darren past all the people waiting in line outside.

I had a lot of fun with Darren and his friends, and afterwards they took me to this little food stall where I had the best chicken and rice ever. I dunno if it was because I was super drunk and hungry, but it tasted out of this world. Omnomnomnom.

Thanks to Bryan for putting me in touch with Darren and thanks to Darren for being such a great host.

The next day I noticed the weirdest bruise on the back of my leg. It was just the weirdest shape and I can't even remember how it happened. Must certainly be a UDI (Unidentified Drinking Injury)!

Really weird huh? But nowhere near as weird as the bruises that ended up on my back after I went for a massage and returned with a back that looked like a pepperoni pizza.

What I got was some Asian massage technique called 'Cupping', where the woman put these vacuum suction cups on my back. Although my back looked a mess I left feeling great, and it only cost $12 USD for the 1 hour massage.

Other cool things I did while in Malaysia included a visit to the KL Bird Park which is like a zoo for big ass birds.

I had so much fun in Malaysia that I stayed there a day longer than I was supposed to. I had booked and paid for a flight to Singapore, but decided to write that off to spend the extra night in KL. My friend Darren recommended that I take the first class bus to Singapore, that only takes 5 hours and is very comfortable and cheap.

I was so glad that I chose this option over flying. The bus was very nice. Downstairs was a lounge with big screen TV and upstairs had 16 big reclining massage seats with video and games on demand, power point for laptop and hot meals brought by a stewardess. The view from the window was great, passing by lots of little villages and countryside. So much better than dealing with the hassle of an airport / flying.

The immigration point at Singapore took 5 minutes, nice and easy.

Check out my Singapore trip report.

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