In August 2019, we spent a week in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia. Its modern skyline is dominated by the 451 metres tall Petronas Twin Towers, a pair of glass-and-steel-clad skyscrapers with Islamic motifs. The towers also offer a public sky bridge and observation deck on the 48th floor.
We stayed in the VE Hotel and Residences in Jalan Kerinchi. I attended the 30th Annual Scientific Meeting of SEAADE, with the main conference at the Nexus Convention Centre.
In addition to an intense conference schedule, Gisela and I had the opportunity to explore KL on the weekend days. Kuala Lumpur stands for "confluence of two muddy rivers” when literally translated and was originally a tin-mining settlement in 1800. The city was occupied by the Japanese army from 1941 to 1945, a period which almost halted the economy. After Japan surrendered, the British returned to Kuala Lumpur.
On our first day, after a long flight and two hours time difference which made the day even longer, we visited the KL Tower which is a communications tower constructed between 1992 and 1996. It features an antenna that increases its height to 421 metres and is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world. The roof of the pod is at 335 metres. We had lunch in the Tower Restaurant rotating almost 360 degrees during our time there which gave us a good overview of the city despite hazy conditions. Malaysia receives 2.5m of rain per year, but the recent lack of rain has made the air very dusty.
We also walked to the Merdeka Square (Independence Square) with the famous Sultan Abdul Samad Building in the city’s colonial quarter as well as the Central Market. It was here where the first flag of Malaya (now Malaysia) was raised.
We strolled through the Kuala Lumpur Forest Eco-Park situated within the city. This rain forest has several nature trails & a forest canopy walkway which was quite dilapidated. It was originally gazetted as a forest reserve way back in 1906 with a land area of 17.5 hectares, but since then, a large part has already been taken up for building the KL Tower and other purposes. The Park is the only remaining tropical rainforest in the middle of Kuala Lumpur city centre. The monkeys were posing for the tourists.
On our day off, we visited the Batu Caves that were discovered by an American in 1868. His discovery was triggered by observing bats fly off the mountain at dusk. We climbed the 272 steps into the temple of Hindu Deity Lord Subramaniam who is honoured during Hindu festival Thaipusam. The Cave is guarded by a 142 feet biggest statue that costs $3 million. Our tour guide told us that 20 years ago, the guards captured a cobra snake in the cave, which was eating the many Capuchin Monkeys that are near the entrance.
We also had the chance to see how Batic Fabric is produced for scarves, shirts and other apparel. Batic is part of the Malaysian culture and already taught in secondary school.
Later we stopped by in an Orang Asli village, who are the original people of Malaysia.
We visited The National Elephant Conservation Center at Kuala Gandah. It was established in 1989 as a base for locating, subduing and translocating elephants where their habitat has been encroached upon. The Center educates and creates public awareness of endangered species. We saw baby, orphaned and rogue elephants in their enclosures and were allowed to feed them. Their trunk suction was very strong—like a shop vacuum.
We learned that the palm oil industry is big business in Malaysia. Each tree can produce up to 50 litres of oil.
We stopped at a place where tourists can feed Silvered Leaf Monkeys who normally are slender, intelligent, grey coloured, live in social groups, and found in coastal mangrove forests in Kuala Selangor. Here, they appeared rude and quite aggressive when foraging for food provided by tourists.
Here some video from my Canon R:
In comparison, video from a cold shoe-mounted GoPro HERO6 Black while shooting pictures (you can hear the shutter sound):
In the evening, we had a seafood dinner in a restaurant by the river. We saw a bit more of the fish and the kitchen we bargained for.
After dark, we took a boat tour to see the Lightning Bugs as they shone brightly to attract a suitable partner. They come out at dusk for feeding, resting and to mate. Their synchronous light flash is produced by a biochemical reaction in their light organs situated on their bottoms. The boat ride to watch fireflies was like driving through a Christmas tree.
It was Durian fruit season in Malaysia—the sidewalks were full of mobile vendors selling the fruit. We learned that “D24” or "Mosing King” is the best quality. A fruit of that high quality can cost up to USD 60 per fruit.
In 1877, rubber seeds were introduced in Malaysia. The oldest rubber tree still alive is now 140 years old. The shoes for playing soccer are still made of natural kautschuk.
Here are more pictures.