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.
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.
Being led into the ‘’dark room’'.
One of the many shrines inside the Batu Caves.