I grew up believing the CN Tower was the be-all and end-all in Toronto. We had an entire unit dedicated to the tower in primary school, culminating in a field trip. We learned it was the tallest building, with a radio antenna and restaurant at the top. In my 20s, I was humbled when it took me 40+ minutes to climb the 1,776 steps during a charity event. After visiting Kuala Lumpur, I’m not sure my children will grow up with the same reverence for our Toronto-based tower. KL has towers aplenty, and they actually seem to do something (like function as malls or offices). Wherever we went, there would always be some tower lurking in the background, reminding us we were in KL and a long way from home.
Our first few days were spent 100m from the Petronas Towers in an elegant hotel. This worked out well as the area around the towers has a running track, playgrounds and wave pools that are free for public use! We had great views of the Petronas Towers at night from the bar in our hotel. On our second day of staring, we wandered over to buy tickets for the observation deck and snagged a pair for our last day in the city. FYI, tickets for the tower tours sell out daily, so you must book for a future date. Many of the people in the queue with us were trying to purchase same-day tickets and left disappointed.
Another thing we acted on quickly was finding a doctor, as Julie needed a checkup. A month previous, she got a skin infection in Bali that still hadn’t healed. The last couple of days, it was showing signs of getting worse. Paige was put on the case and tracked down a skin specialist at a hospital nearby. Paigey seemed pleased with the assessment as we marvelled at how different medical care is worldwide. We were seen that day as they squished us between appointments. The facility had the drugs on site, so we didn’t need to go elsewhere. We were also pleased that he did swabs and sent off the samples for an actual diagnosis. A week later, in a different city, we would get the results (which he sent by email/what’s app), identifying the specific bacteria and how it interacted with an extensive list of antibiotics. I can’t remember being diagnosed at home by a doctor other than with a visual assessment. Paige says I’m crazy and we do get swabbed at home. But the main add-on here was the list of antibiotic interactions (it was like gold for her self-diagnosing WebMD tendencies). I digress, but within 30 minutes of visiting the doctor, we were out the door with a branded shopping bag and a plan to get Julie to 100%.
With the less-fun stuff done, we wanted to do something exciting for the kids. We opted to spoil them again (it seems like they were just in Legoland) under the thin veneer of an educational outing. So off we went to KidZania. It’s an attraction where kids spend the day living and working in a fake city. The children try out different jobs, get paid local currency and then go spend said currency. But mostly, they get a snapshot of a wide array of potential careers. Think optometrists, lab technicians, fashion models, burger makers and the ridonkulously popular firefighter. Cousin Liz would be interested to know that to obtain your “driver’s license”, you first need to pay for and pass an eye test in the optometrist’s office. This type of attraction really caters to locals, so our kids doing a magic show in the theatre with a bunch of Malaysian children was quite funny. Julie awed us with the magic cylinder trick. In the future Toronto is scheduled to get a Kidzania.
While buying tickets for the twin towers, we noticed an ad for the Petronas Badminton Tournament. Isabella likes playing badminton, and the family does enjoy spectator sports, so we researched and discovered that the tournament was beginning on our last day in the city. Of course we bought tickets for opening day and watched 3 hours of badminton. I’ve seen lots of sporting events in my life, and this was amazing to watch live (unlike curling). We appreciated that four matches were going on simultaneously, so we always had someone to cheer for. We rooted on the German doubles team, who fell to their competitors. With the other thousand spectators, the family cheered for Daren Liew, the Malaysian singles player. The one thing about the event that fell short was the concessions. The lineup for shirts and such was 30 minutes long, and there was no food to buy other than croissants. We made it 3 hours and there were about another 3 hours of matches to come, but Julie was done. Over the next few days, whenever we would pass sports bars in the street, we would glimpse over and watch the games being played.
It was not all off-the-beaten-path tourism, as we did go up the Petronas Towers at the end. The kids did a project on the towers, and we got some decent pictures. The funniest part of our tower visit was when Julie looked down at the city. She saw the playground we passed about twenty times over the last week and remarked that we never did go play there. I guess we had to save that for the next time we are here.
Oh, and I almost forgot, the Hindu Batu caves. We climbed the steps up and saw the caves. There are monkeys on the stairs, and for some reason, one decided to growl and threaten to charge Julie. It scared me enough that I picked her up and growled back. Now Julie is scared of all things monkey. That will prove problematic for our other stops in South East Asia.
Where we stayed:
- Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur: Best Tower Views Period
- AirBnb: Best Merdeka Views, infinity pool
By the numbers:
- Hour the Canadian Embassy closed: 12:00pm – seriously what the heck is that
- Visit to Cold Storage to buy snacks: probably 5 – they had the full assortment of Tim Tams
- Times we rode the metro: 0 – so unlike us but I got hooked on the Grab app
- Stories tall the Merdeka 118 tower is: 118 – one of the facts the kids remembered
- Round that Daren Liew lost in: 2nd – but he gave us a helluva show in the first round
Ciao for now