I had been so careful this trip. I didn’t let my bag out of my sight. I have a money belt. I have security codes on all my electronics. But it didn’t matter. The thief still struck.
I was at the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and out of nowhere I felt a hand grab for something out of my bag. Before I could react, the thief had fled. Luckily, I was able to snap a picture. Here he is:
That is right ladies and gentlemen. A macaque monkey stole a can of Pringles chips from the side of my book bag and fled into the trees! There are hundreds of these monkeys at the Batu Caves (more on this below) and they are not shy. One even jumped onto Amber’s back and was reaching his furry hands into her backpack to grab a PB&J sandwich! Luckily, Amber fended off the furry primate.
ARRIVING FOR THE STORM
Compared to Singapore’s clean streets and structured way of life, Kuala Lumpur is a hot mess, especially in Chinatown where Amber and I were staying. During the 6 hour bus ride from Singapore to K.L., I studied the map carefully to orient myself once we arrived but it didn’t help. Within 2 minutes of walking, we got turned around and it started raining heavily. Signage was terrible, the crowds were dizzying, and we were approached by an older gentlemen immediately who was trying to “help us” to our hostel. My East Coast resistance to strangers kicked in and I politely turned him down. He was not happy. He continued to follow us, turned angry and started cursing at us in the street. On top of this, we were helping another woman from our bus to get to her hostel who was extremely flighty and naïve. ::sigh:: After 30 minutes of wandering and shaking off the crazy guy, we made it to our hostel safely.
We spent 2 days in Kuala Lumpur. Chinatown is crazy busy with honking cars that don’t seem to obey signs or rules of the road, street vendors wanting to sell you every kitschy little thing and for god sakes, I don’t need a taxi!!! Calm down David…
We walk everywhere. We saw the famous K.L. tower and Petronas Twin Towers (tallest buildings in the world up to 2004) and went to Batu caves (see below) but that was about it in 2 days. The rest of the time was spent lounging in our hostel, walking around Chinatown having delicious $1-2 meals and relaxing.
It is one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India with the famous Murugan statue in front of the caves. You actually have to walk up to get to the caves (272 steps to be exact. Thanks Wikipedia) and inside are 400 million year old caves with a few Hindu shrines inside of the caves. It was a crazy experience between the loud tourists (teenager group), naughty monkeys, dark caves, praying Hindus and construction. It was a ton of fun and lots of great pics!
Things we tried in Kuala Lumpur
- Taro (yam) bubble tea – my absolute favorite bubble tea!! $1.50 USD
- Stingray. Yup…It was very fatty and boney and not much meat and very spicy! $4USD
- Fishball soup $1.50 USD
- Noodles with sauce $1 USD
- Roti Canai (Chuh-nai) + Indian veggies: Local Indian food shop where we had no idea what we were ordering. So we said veggies and Roti Canai (like a flatbread with dipping sauces). It was incredible and whole meal cost $2.50 each.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches: … yup. When you are budget traveler, you eat this. A lot.
After only 2 days in hectic K.L., it is time to go volunteer at Bamboo Village (post by Amber coming soon), a jungle guesthouse 30 minutes outside the city center. I hope there aren’t any more monkeys there…