Chinese New Year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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After a little more than three months in Australia and New Zealand, we decided to re-acclimatize to Southeast Asia in a familiar city for both of us, Kuala Lumpur.

Since we had already passed through here (a couple times!) the previous year, we had no need to do the normal “tourist thing” and visit all the sights. Instead, we decided to chill out and spend a few days enjoying a more stationary lifestyle, sleeping in a regular bed – a big change following our two week Australian campervan adventure.

In addition, we needed to visit the Thai embassy and get a new visa, which would take a couple days.

Since KL is very westernized, it’s possible to enjoy fine accommodation, food, and entertainment for a fraction of the cost back home. Since our friends Rizal, Karina, and family were on vacation in Germany, we decided to stay in the Bukit Bintang part of the city, where most of the restaurants and megamalls are located.

The bright lights of Bukit Bintang.The bright lights of Bukit Bintang.
The bright lights of Bukit Bintang.27-Jan-2012 01:58
 

We got a great deal on a boutique hotel right in the heart of the action, just steps away from Malayasia’s version of Times Square.

Our funky boutique hotel, grabbed at a bargain price on Agoda.Our funky boutique hotel, grabbed at a bargain price on Agoda.
Our funky boutique hotel, grabbed at a bargain price on Agoda.30-Jan-2012 01:12
 

Since first trying the delicious barbecue chicken wings on nearby Jalan Alor, we had been dreaming of these greasy globs of goodness for months. So, for our first night in the city we rushed down to this hectic street, full of streetside eateries, and marched right up to Wong ah Wah Restaurant.

Jalan Alor - chicken wing central.Jalan Alor - chicken wing central.
Jalan Alor - chicken wing central.27-Jan-2012 01:51
 

After months of dreaming about these wings, it was hard for the end result to live to our overly-high expectations. Still, they were delicious!

Thumbs up of approval.Thumbs up of approval.
Thumbs up of approval.27-Jan-2012 01:17
 

It sounds a little weird, but one of the best things to do in Kuala Lumpur is to visit the shopping malls. Since we were surrounded by them, we had a good look around, taking the opportunity to see a movie in one of the luxury cinemas, do some shopping for essentials, and eat in the food courts.

One of KL's magnificent shopping malls.One of KL's magnificent shopping malls.
One of KL's magnificent shopping malls.29-Jan-2012 01:19
 

And, oh, the food courts! Some of them are amazing. Here you can find any type of food you could ever desire, at very low prices.

Inside the awesome Lot 10 food court.Inside the awesome Lot 10 food court.
Inside the awesome Lot 10 food court.26-Jan-2012 19:04
 

We really enjoyed the cheap Teppenyaki dinners along with the ever-present kaya toast with butter and tea tahrik. Yum!

Cheap and tasty Teppenyaki at a mall food court.Cheap and tasty Teppenyaki at a mall food court.
Cheap and tasty Teppenyaki at a mall food court.29-Jan-2012 02:04
 

One of the most interesting places we ate at was the toilet restaurant (a trendy import from Taiwan), where everything is potty-themed. We sat on toilet seats while ordering food that all looked like bodily waste. While it sounds gross, it was actually a lot of fun and pretty tasty!

Don't "sit" where you eat!Don't "sit" where you eat!
Don't "sit" where you eat!27-Jan-2012 18:02
 

Luckily for us, we happened to be in Kuala Lumpur during one of the best parts of the year – Chinese New Year!

Dragon dancers to ring in Chinese New Year.Dragon dancers to ring in Chinese New Year.
Dragon dancers to ring in Chinese New Year.28-Jan-2012 17:18
 

The local Chinese population goes all out for the festivities, with lots of fireworks, food, and dancing.

Roast pigs lined up for a huge feast.Roast pigs lined up for a huge feast.
Roast pigs lined up for a huge feast.31-Jan-2012 03:33
 

Even the malls get in the spirit with lavish decorations and cultural performances.

A big celebration in one of the shopping malls.A big celebration in one of the shopping malls.
A big celebration in one of the shopping malls.30-Jan-2012 01:21
 

And on the chinese chicken-wing street, Jalan Alor, festivities were in full swing. Here, we saw a huge table of food and offerings. The streets were packed and tons of loud fireworks were being lit.

Lots of fireworks lit the sky.Lots of fireworks lit the sky.
Lots of fireworks lit the sky.31-Jan-2012 04:35
 

What a great re-introduction to Asia! With Thai visas in hand, we were ready to move on towards the border. But before crossing into the Land of Smiles, there was one final place in Malaysia we wanted to check out…

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