KL’s seven big­gest sur­prises

From din­ing in a dark room full of strangers, to find­ing a roller­coaster in­side a mall, the at­trac­tions in Malaysia’s cap­i­tal don’t dis­ap­point.

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

As I tried on a pair of jeans, the mall be­gan to rum­ble. The clothes rack even started shak­ing. There was dis­tant scream­ing. Earthquake? Surely not in Kuala Lumpur.

No, it was a roller­coaster zip­ping through three lev­els of the mall.

It’s one of seven in­cred­i­ble things we found ex­plor­ing Malaysia’s cap­i­tal for a week. Here’s what else you can’t miss:

1. Se­ri­ously good street food

There’s one street in Kuala Lumpur that will give your taste buds a se­ri­ous work­out. It’s called Jalan Alor, a street food par­adise, where scrump­tious treats from all over Asia siz­zle and steam as far as the eye can see.

Whether it’s sa­tay sticks, dumplings, or the tra­di­tional fried rice nasi goreng – you will find thou­sands of dif­fer­ent dishes you never knew ex­isted. One stall owner was even be­hind a large blow­torch, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally us­ing its huge flames to crisp up a ta­ble-full of pigs’ trot­ters!

2. Petronas Tow­ers

Kuala Lumpur’s iconic twin tow­ers are an in­cred­i­ble sight from the ground, but more so when you head up to the top.

From the 86th floor ob­ser­va­tion deck it feels like the world be­low is a lego set, apart from the other im­pos­ing twin tower that launches into the sky right next to you. A wa­ter foun­tain light show on the lake in front of the tow­ers at­tracts thou­sands of peo­ple each night.

3. Batu Caves

Th­ese as­ton­ish­ingly large an­cient caves, one of Malaysia’s busiest at­trac­tions, are thought to be 400 mil­lion years old, and are also one of the most pop­u­lar Hindu shrines out­side In­dia. They’re just a 30-minute drive from the city cen­tre.

The en­trance of the caves is also spec­tac­u­lar, with a 50-me­tre tall gold­painted statue of Mu­ru­gan, the Hindu god of war.

To reach the first cave, you need to hy­drate. It’s 272 steps high, in 30 de­grees Cel­sius-plus tem­per­a­tures: a per­fect storm for se­ri­ous back sweat.

But the climb is worth it: first you’ll en­ter the Cathe­dral Cave, which is more than 100m high and has a large Hindu shrine, where can­dles and in­cense burn as peo­ple queue to pray.

The next cave is even more spec­tac­u­lar – it feels like you’re in­side a vol­cano with a huge cir­cu­lar hole high above you.

4. Din­ner with a view

Fancy a buf­fet in the clouds? The KL Tower is a lit­tle like Auck­land’s Sky Tower, although some 100m taller.

The buf­fet has a huge se­lec­tion of Asian de­lights, and would be worth vis­it­ing even if it didn’t have the best view in town. The fact it does means you can’t miss it.

5. The ul­ti­mate blind date

One of the best food ex­pe­ri­ences in Kuala Lumpur is a four-course din­ner in a pitch-black room – and you have no idea what you’re putting in your mouth.

To en­ter Din­ing in the Dark you put your hand on the shoul­ders of your waiter at the en­trance to the ‘‘dark room’’ and, with in­cred­i­ble pre­ci­sion, you’ll be led to your chair. The wait­ers are all vis­ually im­paired, and have the floor plan mapped in their head. They use the odd clap or click of the fin­gers to make sure they don’t bump into each other. You re­ally can’t see a thing, mean­ing the plates need to be brought right up to your mouth to en­sure it all goes in – but don’t worry, if you spill some­thing, no­body will know! Part of the fun is guess­ing what you’re eat­ing, and the chefs de­lib­er­ately play with your mind by chang­ing tex­tures and tastes. Sweet­corn ice­cream any­one?

6. The coolest mall on Earth

Your lo­cal West­field mall will never be the same af­ter see­ing a roller­coaster, com­plete with a loop, weave through the heart of a 10-storey mall.

Ber­jaya Times Square has 13 rides as part of the theme park, which will keep the kids en­ter­tained for hours – just as well, be­cause there are more than 1000 shops in the mall.

7. Choco­late like never be­fore

You’ll no doubt burn some se­ri­ous calo­ries walk­ing around 1000 shops – which means you de­serve choco­late.

The best choco­late dish in Kuala Lumpur is ar­guably the ‘‘tex­ture of choco­late’’ at Skil­let @163.

It’s a milk choco­late sphere filled with white choco­late ‘‘rocks’’ that pop like a vol­cano when dry ice is poured over them.

Once the dessert is frozen, smash it open with a ham­mer, then warm it back up by smoth­er­ing it with a jug full of warm, melted choco­late. Last year Brook Sabin and his part­ner Radha Engling quit their jobs and sold ev­ery­thing to travel. Each week Ki­wis in Flight takes you on their ad­ven­tures. See

The roller coaster at Ber­jaya Times Square comes within cen­time­tres of shop­pers at the mall.

Book in ad­vance if you want to en­joy the stun­ning view from the pop­u­lar Petronas Tow­ers.

BROOK SABIN

Be­ing led into the ‘’dark room’'.

SABIN BROOK

One of the many shrines in­side the Batu Caves.

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