in International Travel

Barhopping in Kuala Lumpur

This was another travel day, so we were up early to get to the (thankfully empty) airport. We enjoyed our coffee and croissants, browsed what duty free shops were open, and waited for our plane to board.

Accidental plane selfie

Accidental plane selfie

AirAsia is kind of awesome. They’re best described as the JetBlue or Southwest of Southeast Asia. We had a clean, like-new A320–200 plane on the smooth, half-full, 3-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Chris had procured us seats in an exit row, so we had extra leg room. Additionally, there was nobody seated between Dan and I, nor was there anyone in front of me to worry about.

imageOn our descent into KL, we experienced some crazy turbulence, which is apparently typical of the tropics. The landing was smooth we taxied into the gate in awe of the beautiful, brand new (April 2014) international terminal. Malaysia had the quickest, easiest immigration process we had experienced yet. We grabbed our bags and hopped on the high-speed light rail for the hour-long ride to central station. Conveniently, it was a quick walk to the Le Méridien hotel.

As we settled in, the staff brought almond cookies and madelines to each of our rooms, thanks to Adam and his SPG 100-day platinum status. We had a lazy afternoon and decided to cancel the food tour, partially because Adam was not feeling well and also because the tour group never confirmed our reservation. The four of us enjoyed wine and appetizers in the SPG lounge and came up with a plan for the evening.

imageChris, Dan and I took the light rail up a few stations and walked to the Troika tower, rode the the elevator to the 23rd floor, and walked across the sky bridge to catch an amazing view of the twin towers. Unfortunately, there was a Mexican-themed party in progress on the other side, so we had to turn around. On our way back over to Claret bar, a waiter mistook us for partiers and shuffled us into a group of people enjoying happy hour. Before we knew what was happening, wine glasses were shoved into our hands. A photographer came by and took our photos and shortly after, a pleasant English woman came by and explained that we had crashed a private farewell party. She let us keep our wine glass, but showed us the exit. Happily confused, we sat on the couches of the actual bar, enjoying the rest of our wine, and when we finished, we bailed.

We walked a few blocks in a relatively quiet part of the remarkably clean city. It reminded me a lot of downtown Los Angeles, where, after the work day is over, the neighborhood kind of shuts down. Even at night was very humid and within a few blocks I was sweating through my shirt. Eventually we got to Traders hotel, took the elevator even further to the 33rd floor, and worked our way to Sky Bar. In between the glass wall facing the twin towers and the indoor pool were reserved couches for various VIP groups. There were a lot of bros floating around and you could almost smell the frivolousness.

imageWe found a table and ordered drinks. Dan kept pointing out how high we were, which wasn’t helping my vertigo. The open windows weren’t helping either. Within a few minutes it sounded like someone had switched on fountains in the pool; it was downpouring outside and was someone being funneled into the pool. It got so bad that the bartenders had to close the shades on the windows. Feeling punchy, we settled our tab and hailed a cab to take us to Taps bar and avoid walked in the pouring rain.

imageTaps was great – it had fourteen craft beers from around the world. We each picked our poison, ordered some snacks, and chatted as the band started setting up. The atmosphere was comfortable: good lighting, busy but not too crowded, interesting beer, tasty entrees, and good friends. After a few rounds, we called it a night just as the band started playing.

We opted for a taxi to the hotel and our driver was the right amount of entertaining after an evening of adult beverages. Once he got a feel for us, we couldn’t get him to stop talking about his views on American politics and how Obama is doing a great job. Quote of the night: “Bush finish all the money.”