The Key to a City’s Mind

Janiqueel looks at tours with a new twist – in Kuala Lumpur

Individuality is the key to a city’s mind!

Anje, Going Somewhere Slowly

Natives of Kuala Lumpur, Ef Ahsan and Shan Anton have some interesting ideas about what a city tour of KL should be. Some of the phrases from the tour titles were enough to intrigue this travel blogger. E.g. Bar Hopping, Unraveling Chinatown, Walk with a Local, and Hike & Drone Photography. Gee, make me want to explore there AirBnB-hosted site a little further. So I did. I found plenty of rave reviews from happy tourists and some basic information on what each of the tours entails.

Old KL Walk with a Local Friend

– I like the way they put “friend” in the title. It connotes the personal feel of the tour. And, obviously, the friendliness with which it is conducted. Yes, you will learn plenty about the history of Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia, but it’s done with a soft hand and a conversational approach. It’s obvious that these guys are proud of their city, know a lot about it, and have personal experience with the permutations of recent history. I’ve been to KL many times, but being here, on the pavement with Ef and Shan brings it all to life. The walk takes about three hours. Along the way, the guide will point out some of the favorite street food vendors – stop for a bite if you wish. 

Dataran Merdeka or Merdeka Square is the center of history and culture in KL. Here, the visitor is surrounded by architecture uniquely Malaysian, but with definite influences from past Western influences. The Square is an obvious place to start this historic tour. Doing so provides a thematic overtone to the city. The Central Market is not far away. Roaming through the vendors outside and is a tropical treat. There are mountains of crafts as well as discount goods from all over the world. As in the whole walk, one is never far from local, energy-giving eats. Stops at Buddhist an Hindu temples add depth to the history that the tour takes us through. Capping off the walk is that treasured tropical institution – Sundowners! The trusty guide knows of a rooftop bar where the views are good and the beer ice-cold. Hang around for another, if you wish.

Hidden Bar Quest – Unraveling Chinatown

– This tour combines a scavenger hunt with visits to five hidden bars in Pasar Seni (Chinatown). Each bar has its own ambiance and theme. Each, as well, is imbued with the flavor of Chinatown outside its doors. It’s a heady sensory experience enhanced by local quaffs. Clear directions point you to the first bar where you will meet your fellow travelers and start ‘unraveling’ clues to find the next venue. Should doing so prove hopeless for you and your companions, three ‘life-lines’ to tour organizers are permitted. Only, three, though. After that — who knows…? In addition to the directional clues, at each bar, you will find brain-teasers. Solving these could result in free shots to the skillful detective. Yes, you should wear your thinking cap. Should you want to continue your quest after the tour has ended, Ef and Shan provide a list of other notable bars in the area. Imagine the possibilities.

I am eager to try this Hidden Bar Quest, fo sure. To make sure I have enough conversational ammunition for the quest, though, I’m thinking very seriously about joining one of the newer offerings of Lokal Quest – Sunrise Leisure Hike & Drone Photography. Sounds exciting, eh? The adventure begins with a pick-up At 6:00 a.m. in KL central. For the 30-minute drive, Juice and snacks will ease the early morning shock. Shan will take the trekkers to Tabur Hill, part of the Klang Gates Quartz Ridge – one of the oldest quartz ridges in the world. Shan has been up many times so can guide expertly and point out features others might miss. 

The hike along the ridge takes about an hour serving up stupendous views of the view of Kuala Lumpur, the Gombak forest reserve and the Klang Gates Dam. It sounds gorgeous, doesn’t it? Shan assures me that it is, indeed, one of the most magnificent treks in the KL region. I’m a believer. Once we are atop Tabur Hill, the drone is deployed for a 45-60-minute photography session. This sounds extra-special to me! I want to go! Sign me up, Shan!

Then it’s time to descend to the valley floor, stop for a local lunch and dessert, and be back at the hotel by 15:00 having had a very special Malaysian adventure, indeed. Plenty of time for a lie-down before bar-hopping.

Just sayin’

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