Southeast Asia Blowout – Part Two

November 18, 2012 on 10:01 pm | In Adventures, Vacations | 3 Comments

After leaving Phuket, we began the city portion of our holiday. We had two days in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and finished with two days in Singapore. We arrived in Kuala Lumpur (KL) on Thursday night. Wesley was able to go right to bed, but Aimee and I had to stay up until past midnight to wait for our luggage to arrive (which thankfully arrived before 12:30am). We got delayed about 20 minutes out of Phuket which led to our bags not making the flight to KL.

In the morning, we decided to eat the buffet breakfast in the hotel…it really is hard to beat these buffets. We were able to get kaffir lime leaf pancakes (kaffir lime leaf is a new favorite of mine), lanzones (a fruit similar to lychees) and nasi lamak (coconut rice). Then, it was off to the main attraction in KL…The Petronas Towers. Between 1998-2004, they were the tallest buildings in the world…taller than the Sears Tower. Here is a picture of Aimee and Wesley outside the Petronas Towers.

The Suria KLCC shopping centre is directly beneath the towers, so we went there first to look around. Then, we went to the park directly behind the towers. This was a much larger park than I expected. They had an area for kids to play in the water and a small lake that displayed a water fountain show. Then, as you walked further, they had the biggest playground that I have ever seen. It looked like they took 30 pieces of playground equipment and put it all in one place. We took some cool pictures of Wesley playing with the towers in the background.


After Wesley’s nap, we took the train to Jalan Alor which is a famous street in KL because of the food stalls that line the street. One of the reasons we chose KL and Singapore was to try the food. At the first stop, we had hokkien mee noodles and black pepper crab. Take a look at the crab:

I liked the noodles more than Aimee and, unfortunately, the crab meat was almost impossible to get out of the shell. I say “unfortunately” because the sauce was really good. While we ate, it started to rain…heavily. It put a damper on the rest of the evening because we didn’t even get to try any more food because of the rain. One cool thing we saw was this decoration for Deepavali (also known to some as Devali or Dewali), a festival of lights:

The decorations are made with chalk powder. We saw lots of these decorations all over the city during our stay. Then, we looked around the area a little while longer and then headed home.

On Saturday, we started the day on Petaling Street in Chinatown. As Chinatown’s go, this one was pretty cool. Lots of different stalls, lots of food, lots of people trying to sell me illegal DVDs and some cool decorations hanging over head:

One funny thing about that street…people still drove cars, vans and motorcycles down it. We had to keep a pretty good eye out while we walked around. Actually, we had to keep a pretty good eye out at all times. The rules of the road seemed to be even more lenient here. After trying to cross the street a few times, I realized that if we didn’t go when we had the chance, we might still be in Malaysia. Anyway, Aimee got a purse, sunglasses and a shirt and flip-flops for Wesley. Aimee was also happy to find roasted chestnuts. Next, we went to another market nearby called Central Market. It was an indoor market and a great relief from the heat. Wesley was pretty unhappy the entire morning and didn’t want to walk, didn’t want to sit in the pram, and didn’t want to be held. At least he calmed down enough to enjoy a cool local beverage.

As we headed back to the hotel, it started to rain…and that was the way it stayed most of the afternoon. I made an attempt to take Wesley to the pool in the afternoon but it rained after 5 minutes. At least we enjoyed looking at the lightning and listening to the thunder. We had the buffet dinner at the hotel and called it a night. Our evening did have an interesting ending. The cot we had was high off the ground and the railing was low enough for Wesley to get out. We had noticed this the first night and had pushed it near the bed and put some chairs around it. After putting him to bed, he cried for a little bit and then all of sudden…he was happy and chatting to himself. I went in there after a while and Wesley was peacefully sleeping on our bed. Glad we moved it near the bed!

Sunday morning, it was off to the airport. When Aimee woke Wesley up to tell him that it was time to go, he said, “All Done!” with his arms spread apart. It was only a 35 minute flight to Singapore, but it was 5 hours door-to-door. After arriving, we dropped our bags and headed straight to the Newton Hawker Centre. The hawker centre is like a big food court with a bunch of small food stalls. Aimee has co-workers who had been to Singapore before and they gave us a list of the foods we should try. First, we had chicken and duck rice which sounds super boring but the rice is cooked in chicken fat so it was very flavorful. Wesley ate every morsel we gave him. He was even picking it off his clothes. We also had freshly prepared sugar cane juice and fried kway teow. Here’s a picture of two of our dishes and a picture of Aimee and Wesley at the hawker centre. The stalls behind them are closed, but you get an idea of how big they are:

 

 

At night, we went to the Night Safari. It seems to be one of the biggest tourist attractions in Singapore, so Aimee considered it a must see. We were going to ride the 40 minute tram around the zoo and watch the animals at night. We arrived at the Night Safari when the park opened to eat and take a few pictures:


We knew we were pushing our luck with Wesley considering the first tram took off at 7:30. For the first twenty minutes, he sat silently on Aimee’s lap. Then, we saw the elephants and he perked up. Lots of “WOAH!” and “WOW!” And when we drove away, he would say “Buh Bye!” We were just glad he was in a good mood considering the time. The whole thing was really well done. It’s not like we were trying to pick out small animals in the darkness…it was elephants, tigers, rhinoceros, hippos, water buffalo…big animals. When we got back to the hotel, Aimee and I ordered lychee brulee with lemongrass and black pepper ice cream. Crazy combination, but it worked.

In the morning, we got the hotel buffet…yes…again. We mainly did it this time to get kaya which is a coconut jam that you spread on toast. It is very popular in Singapore. And for good reason…it is very good. If not for a packing mistake on my part, we’d have 6 jars instead of the 2 we currently own. Then, it was off to Haji Lane. It is part of the Muslim quarter and it is a very interesting row of colorful shops. See for yourself:

Unfortunately, we were there much too early to go in any of the shops, so we just walked around a little more. Aimee was able to buy a few souvenirs and then we headed back. Even though Singapore is small, it did take us a while to get from place to place with the train. Wesley had decided he did not want to sit in the pram, so that added an extra element. However, Wesley did enjoy all of this transit. He enjoyed running down the hallways in the hotels. He enjoyed pushing the buttons in the elevator. He loved getting into the different “cahs”. Despite the picture below, he liked riding the train and saying “Buh Bye” as they would ride away. At the end of our stay in Singapore, he even insisted on riding the escalator. Very big into his modes of transportation:


 

In the afternoon, we started by going to the Gardens by the Bay which has these huge tree-like sculptures, referred to as “super trees”:

We had planned on going to another hawker centre, but we thought there was a good chance that Wesley would not make it without getting a little too cranky. So, we compromised and went to the nearby food centre within Marina Bay. It was the right move…the food was still very good and it rained anyway. We decided to enjoy another chicken rice dish and we also slurped down some laksa (of course).  On Tuesday, it was time to wake up early for the long trip home. It was a great way to put an end to our Australian adventure!

3 Comments »

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  1. Your trip sounds amazing! Makes me want to go back sooner than later. I only hit Singapore on my Asia Pacific trip, but I missed the street food and forever regret it. Wish I would have done more research, but I was there for work and only tourist stuff we did was go to Sentosa and see the aquariam and the smaller Las Vegas. Also did some walking around Chinatown. Not to stereotype but I was traveling with female coworkers that really wanted to only shop. Plus it was like 90 with 100% humidity, so we were literally trying to walk in the shade.

    Did you try any daikon(sp) fruit? Some of my coworkers in Singapore tried to get me to try it after explaining it smells like garbage. Uhhhmmmm…. not the best way to sell it to me. No really it tastes great if you can get past the smell. I compromised/chickened out and had daikon flavored ice cream. Which while tasty, smelled like hint of garbage.

    One thing you reminded me of that I have never experienced any where else are the hotel buffets. We had breakfast included at our hotel and I my diet went out the window. I ate like a king at those buffets. Everything was so good and so plentiful. Really puts the US to shame. Same with the flights. Flew Singapore Air in coach and got a better meal than I have on most US business class sections.

    Really glad you guys got to experience the area and thankfully that you shared all of this. Hope to see you guys soon when you return to the States!

    Scott

    Comment by Scott — 21/11/2012 #

  2. Yeah…it was a great trip…it makes me more ready to come home. I liked Singapore. We heard that you only needed a day there to see “everything” but I think that is too short. It is not exactly a great walking city so trying to see everything requires taking the train which can eat up time. Plus, I like to look at the buildings and different neighborhoods which might not be a favorite of most people and I would have liked more time to do that. We didn’t get to two of the neighborhoods we wanted to see and did not go to Sentosa. I wonder why they were so jazzed about the shopping. Were they American? Most of those stores are US based and it’s not like the stuff is cheaper.

    We did not try durian. I know we had heard about it before going to Hong Kong in 2009 since you can’t even bring it on the train. You can buy it here in Sydney as well. I’ve never heard anyone say anything positive about it so, I’d rather stick to other fruits.

    I know…the buffets. It was hard to hold back. A breakfast buffet is super dangerous. I’m like Ron Swanson…breakfast foods serve many purposes. And, Aimee had been wanting to try Singapore Air. Service is good…food is plentiful and not typical airline food. I’m going to miss that about flights here. It beats being thrown into a tin can for 4 hours with a glass water and a bag of peanuts.

    Thanks…hope to see you all as well upon our return.

    Comment by joemills — 21/11/2012 #

  3. Yes they were American and wanted to haggle for stuff in Chinatown. They could have shopped at 90% of the mall stores on Michigan Avenue. Annoying.

    You did not miss anything on Sentosa.

    Two other things I forgot to mention: 1. I cannot imagine lugging Wesley around in the heat & humidity. 2. You should blow up that sunset picture to 11×16 and hang in your home when you return. It was amazing.

    SWANSON!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sk499poi4Q

    Comment by Scott — 22/11/2012 #

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