Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Back to Bangkok and beyond

We left our new pals in Chiang Mai and headed to the airport with Tim and Ella from Tasmania and back to Bangkok. We had been warned by Kitty that the violence surrounding the protests in Bangkok had escalated, including shootings and hand grenade attacks, so we were on edge. We fully expected our taxi from the airport to drop us half a mile from Kitty’s flat and we’d have to weave our way through the protest camps. To our surprise and relief the taxi drove through empty streets and pulled up right outside the apartment, the protest camp had gone!

We found out later that due to the escalating violence the protest organisers had closed down all but one of the camps and relocated the protestors to Lumpini Park. This was likely following advice from the police and army that they could probably be protected better there. The camps disbanded in the morning and by the time we rocked up at 11pm there was not even a sign that they had ever been there – nearly two months of occupation was over. The next day we celebrated over a slap up Italian meal with our new Tazzy mates.

We hadn’t really decided where to go next after Thailand other than thoughts of Malaysia and Indonesia. Our friend Kitty was attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur and it was her birthday so we thought we would provide a chaperone. I know, we’re nice like that!

We flew into KL with Kitty and spent the next 6 days exploring KL and getting to grips with the Malaysia culture. KL is a stunning city with towering skyscrapers, colonial quarters, parks, tree-lined boulevards and of course dominating the centre the Petronas Towers.

We gatecrashed a lovely buffet with free drinks at the Intercontinental Hotel passing ourselves off as UN officials monitoring TB and HIV in Burma. Then went out to a fantastic Italian restaurant with some of Kitty’s friends from the conference. We now remember how much we miss red wine – 4 months without is just obscene!!

The Petronas Towers are as impressive from the ground as they are from the 86th floor!! Unfortunately our view was a little hazy but the views were stunning all the same, especially the 385m vertical view back down to the park and fountains below.

KL is a wonderful city, it feels very safe, is very clean and there is plenty to occupy a week. We visited a cool little jazz bar called “No Black Tie” which had fantastic groups playing every night, thanks for the recommendation Rob.

After a week of exploring the urban jungle we were craving a real one, so we bade Kitty farewell and booked a train to the north of the Malaysian peninsular, Penang.

Our new favourite steak restaurant "Victoria Station" included a number of railway carriages and an actual train crashing out through the front windows - awesome!

Remnants of KL's colonial past

The park at the base of the Petronas Towers have a great fountain and light display all set to music, which gets more impressive as the sun sets

Just under half way up the Petronas Towers is the skybridge which links the two

Don't look down!!

Keep going up to the 86th floor to enjoy the panoramic views of KL

The sun sinks past the other twin

Glad to be back on the ground as the sun sets and the moon and towers provide their own light show

View of the towers from the Sky Bar across the park

A farewell drink to Kitty and KL

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