Kuala Lumpur is enormous! It stretches beyond the horizon and changes with every turn. The further from the city center you go more colorful it is. Skyscrapers are rising everywhere, with the highest density in Kuala Lumpur’s heart. So-called urban jungle forms pleasant shade most of the time, making walking very enjoyable. Wait, walking? Who even walks? That is so last century! Well, my friend, we do. We like to use our feet for exploring. It gives us a unique experience and keeps us in good shape. If you don’t know about our appetite, check our culinary journey, aka food reviews here. So, let’s see how walking in Kuala Lumpur looks like.
Today, we invite you to the footpath, where we share our twists and turns with you. However, we should warn you first, walking in Kuala Lumpur is not easy. With that being said, it makes sense to start the tour at an enjoyable and carefree KLCC area with a neat park in the middle. Here, we loved the contrast between the busy streets and the freedom that green space represents. Part of the privilege is the fountain of drinkable water and an abundance of lush greenery. To be honest, the whole city center is easy to navigate with abundant sidewalks where dense skyscrapers provide relief from the sun. But as you move further from the center, you’ll find an arrangement that makes no sense and fails you in the middle of the street. Oh, yes, that happened many times.
Keep Your Senses Alert
Tip number one. Besides the direction, keep all your senses alert at all times in every direction. Don’t be fooled when you reach the “sideways,” which are supposed to be safe; they have traps. It starts with metal spikes sticking out in the middle of the sideway. Stepping on this rusty metal in flip-flops will injure you. I can tell that from the first hand. You must be asking yourself what that metal piece is. It looks like someone cut the traffic sign and left a small part as a deadly trap. Of course, I kicked it right when we were about to cross the street. To be specific, this happened on the pedestrian crossing point with working traffic lights and zebra crossing path. Here is the dilemma: “Should I watch the traffic while crossing the street or keep my eyes glued to the ground to avoid tetanus infection?”
Sideways or Not?
Exhausted from the heat and mood swings, we reached the picture-perfect alley with giant trees sheltering us from the sun. It was so peaceful that we could hear each other and even walk side by side. What a joy it is when the street sound doesn’t literally hurt your ears! Then this wonderful sidewalk suddenly started getting more and more narrow, so once again, we were forced to walk in a row. So here we go again: “Wait, what did you say? Pavement amazement!” Indeed it was. As it turned out, this pedestrian-friendly sidewalk’s sole purpose was housing the street lights and garbage bins. Just like that, we were forced to slalom on the path, overcoming the garbage bin, advertisement and street lights. On top of that, you will be jumping because the kerbstone happened to be two feet high. Why? Maybe to keep my but cheeky? I’ll go with that.
You think you heard everything by now, right? Wrong! There is the deadliest trap of them all, the unmarked holes on this pedestrian walkway/sewage covers. Tip number two: eyes on the floor and fear of the dark.
Is KL Safe?
How about safety? By now, you know we spent some time on Kuala Lumpur’s streets, and not even once we felt insecure. At risk, yes, pedestrians are endangered species. Here we must admit that we avoided late-night walking because that is just common sense. Many people live in this metropolis, and statistics say that there are some people you’d want to avoid among a few million. Indeed, the razor wire fencing and robust security at every condominium entrance aren’t just for aesthetics. However, I warmly recommend chatting with security though. These are mostly Gurkhas, and they are super friendly.
Never Stop Walking!
As a true explorer, everyone should jump on the MRT (KL’s subway system) and minimalize the environmental impact. Public transport in Kuala Lumpur is clean, safe, and works like a charm. On top of that, the city even provides free (“percuma” – means free in Malay) buss for better public mobility. Here I should point out only one nonsense. If you take a regional train, there is no way one could buy only the ticket. You need to buy a plastic card and top on credit. Great, right? Sadly with one drawback. The plastic card is not refundable. Eat shit, mother earth!
Is this diary to discourage pedestrians? Nah, this is a complaint about how unfriendly KL is to pedestrians, but we won’t give up. Walking in Kuala Lumpur, or any other city, is totally worth it, especially if you want to get a real understanding of the city.