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14 Hours in KL

For the non hipsters out there, KL = Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia. The cheaper than Singapore, exotic country, filled with resorts and hundreds of miles of remote beaches....not to mention a population of close to 1.8 million, which has a high proficiency for English and superb infrastructure. A shoppers dream come true. For those folks in North America who would never think of traveling to Malaysia, you are missing out. For my Oceania friends, you may already have many a layover in this South Eastern Asia Capital, now it's time to wander a bit farther than the airport.

As the home base for Air Asia, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is a major hub in SE Asia, including many other carriers as well. Why facilitate a sleep pod however, when you can easily access a fabulous city just a mere 30 minutes away. Granted there are a number of shopping options within the airport as well as food and accommodation.....but what fun is that? Regardless if you have luggage or not, it is super easy to head through customs and out into the hot, sticky, Malaysian world of Kuala Lumpur.

Customs here is quick and easy. They finger print 100% of passengers, which is done electronically and completely pain free. Easy peasy. Once you have your passport stamped, no worry about a visa for this short stint, you emerge into a cavernous, vast area of shoppers delight. Looking out from H & M, you will see a Luggage Storage facility. You can either get a locker or leave your luggage as is. Having already sent my luggage directly to Perth, I chose to get a locker for my laptop and misc. carry on items. This cost me close to $20 US for a full day. They are open 24 hours and the employees were extremely kind and accommodating. Once again, H & M seems to be the common denominator here, as across from this retail outlet in another direction is the entryway to the train station. KLIA Tren Ekspres. Go to the counter and get a return ticket, this will cost about $20 US as well. You will receive a purple credit card of sorts, which is what you will use to tag into the station, and again when you depart. At the end of your return use, you will be asked to give this card back.

Take the express train to KL Sentral. This is a massive hub for connections to anything and anywhere you may want to explore in KL for the day the week or more. You can get tours here, or stay at a hotel ...and will take all of 33 minutes. Everything is under cover as well, so no worries about getting drenched during the rainy season. Some airlines even allow you to check in from this location at the train station, should you decide to increase your time in the city. It was pouring down rain on the day that I arrived, so I passed on going to what was up until 2004, the tallest building in the world....but this is certainly an option for you. The Patronas Twin Towers are a sight to see even from a distance. You can go to the sky bridge or to the top with a day ticket for $85 MYR or close to $20 US.

I chose to head into the adjacent 8 story shopping plaza and lose myself for the day. Having the BEST sushi I have ever tasted, people watching, and even seeing a movie! Yup, I went to the new Aliens movie in an incredible theater with lazy-boy type seats, popcorn and a soda, surround sound and pretty much had the place to myself, all for less than $5 US. AND I went before this movie was released in the US or Australia. Sure there were Malaysian subtitles, but that only increased the cultural fun of the moment. A manicure and pedicure were on the days agenda as well, which was a superb experience! With so many floors of shopping, it can be a bit staggering, especially for a non mall person, but it was sure fun to look at all the gadgets and stores from around the world. Before I knew it, it was after 8pm. Where had the day gone? Time to get back on the train and head back to the terminal for my flight at midnight. Once again, super easy! Departing the train, arriving back into the main terminal, getting my storage items, back through customs and out to my gate.


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