It’s time for another article about travelling and packing. Because those two are always going together. If you are going to travel you will spend some time packing. Some people more, some people less. Travelling as a minimalist will save you lots of time, lots of heavy carrying and a lot of stress in general. But what is a minimalist? Nowadays there are a lot of nomads, travellers who work around the world who call themself minimalist. Only live off 100 items or something crazy like this. That’s not something for everyone. Not for me either. But travelling with a few things less than what you usually would pack- yes, I’m definitely supporting that! That’s my personal meaning of a minimalist. When I first went onto a backpacking trip through Africa I had one backpack. 12-15 kg. 6 months. That was my best friend. I lived out of that backpack for half a year without any issues. It was the only thing that followed me on this trip. Kind of my safety anchor as well. And honestly it was big enough. You don’t need more things because your travelling for longer. That is a big lie. You just laundry more often. Throw clothes away because they actually fall apart and then you have space for new ones. The same backpack I carried on my hiking trip through alps last year. Shorter time. Still the same weight.
When we fly from Namibia to Thailand earlier this year my backpack came with – of course. And hopefully it will do many more trips with me. Like the one on the picture. It was years ago in Ghana. I did a backpacking trip along the coast line. No official hiking trails. No guides. Just me. The backpack. Sandy beaches and rain forest. It was amazing.
But let’s get back to what is happening today. I’m sitting at the airport. Excited about what is happening next. No, I didn’t take my backpack with. I’m only going for 4 days. Took my camera backpack and I’ll only fly with carry-on luggage. You don’t need more luggage for a city trip. I just had to leave some of my lenses behind. Filled the empty spaces with toiletries and clothes. 2 shirts. I short. 2 pair of socks. A bikini. Underwear. And a dress (I’m wearing it for the flight, then it can’t get messed up in the bag).
And when you’re travelling with carry-on luggage you should be smart. You don’t have to stuff everything into your bag. Mine got quite a big of space around it to connect things on it. My neck pillow for example. Goes with me onto every flight. It’s light but bulky. So it stays outside. The Sarong on the side as well. A very handy thing to have. You can use it as a towel on the beach. As a skirt when visiting a religious place and you have to cover your skin. A blanket if you’re cold. Multi purpose tools are amazing for travelling. So yes it will definitely come with. And then a pair of proper shoes. Because you don’t want to be that stupid girl who can’t explore the city on a city trip because the feet hurt. And you only packed pretty sandals but nothing comfortable. A pair of sneakers must go onto a city trip. And they can easily hang on the side of the bag. And then I got my tiny little handbag which I bought last year in Thailand. It takes my passport, wallet, phone and all the other million of items which fit into a woman’s handbag 😉
If you’re loading your hand luggage just don’t do one mistake at the airport. Don’t make it look like you’re struggling to carry it. As long as it doesn’t seem like it’s heavy, nobody will come to you and measure and weigh it. Be smart! I have no idea what the weight allowance of my airline is for hand luggage. But I’m pretty sure that my bag is heavier and the lady on the counter is weighing everyone’s bags in front of me. As well their carry-on bags. When it comes to me and she says I should put my bag on the scale I just smile at her and say that I’m not checking in any luggage. She presses print, hands me my passport and boarding pass and wishes me a safe flight. Done. Easy as =)
Just got back to my room after a few hours in Kuala Lumpur. I am impressed. It’s a modern city. It’s a clean city. It’s a busy city. It’s a green city. It’s a city full of contrasts.
After a short 2 hour flight from Bangkok I landed in Malaysia. Still far away from the mega city I was supposed to go to. During landing I could see rice fields and palm tree forests next to me but no sign of a city. As I figured out later the airport lies quite far outside the city. But the drive was very pleasant. I took a taxi from the airport and we’re driving over a modern massive highway. The driver explains to me that this specific highway is over 1000km long. It reaches from Singapore in the south all the way through Malaysia up to Thailand in the north. We are passing many toll stations but the driver never has to stop. A machine scans his ticket and opens the gate each time. The highway is super clean. I don’t see any trash or plastic lying on the side of the street. Forests are lining next to the highway. Now and then you see some high buildings. But they are always surrounded by trees. I’m listening to good old music. The taxi driver explains to me that the radio station is for seniors and laughs. I don’t care. They play awesome songs. In 2 days is a big Muslim festival south of Kuala Lumpur. He calls it the open house of the prime minister. There will be coming 50 000 people to the event. I should go there he says. No thank you. I’m avoiding crowds like that. Not my thing. After 1,5h drive the taxi drops me In front of my guesthouse. I almost overpay him since I’m not used to the different currency. Don’t even know the currency is called. Just know the short form for it: RM.
Very nice guesthouse. The lady at reception explains to me how to get to a supermarket and where to take a bus to get to the city centre.
Dropping off the unnecessary items in my room and go explore the city. I find the bus station quite easily. But what now? The lady explained that they changed the system and you can’t pay anymore directly the driver, you have to use a rechargeable card. Which you can only buy at the city centre. And how do I get there? By bus. Yes I don’t feel like using a taxi. The public transport is so much cheaper. And apparently I can take any bus that stops here. But I don’t have a ticket. A bus arrives. People get out. People get in. I stand there. A bit lost. Look into the bus. Looks like a bus in India. It’s just missing some people on the roof. The bus is packed. I step in at the back. Door closes. People scan their cards on the machine. I stare at people. I don’t even have to pretend to look like a stupid tourist. Everyone can spot me from miles. Lots of Indians are in the bus. The bus doesn’t stop at the next two stations. I have no idea when to get off. The bus stops. I get out to let people out and get back in. We keep driving. Stop in front of a shopping mall. I get out. And I will have to make a plan how to get back later. I can’t do this again. I need to get a ticket. But now I have to find out first where I am.
I exit the massive shopping mall on the other side. People outside seem to take pictures of the building I just left? In what building am I? I turn around but can’t see anything. I am inside the twin towers? I walk further outside to be able to see high enough. And indeed I am at the bottom of the famous Petronas Towers. They were the tallest building in the world until 2004 and until today they remain the tallest twin tower in the world with measuring each of them 451,9m. Between the 41st and 42nd floor is a skybridge connecting the towers which can be visited.
From the ground it’s very difficult to understand the size of these buildings. First of all you don’t even see them until you put your head all the way back onto your neck and second of all you have so many other tall buildings around it, that their size doesn’t really stand out. To get to the KLCC park which is on the other side of the towers I have to enter the huge shopping mall again and find a way out in the direction I want to go. Which is not that easy. But it brings me to a little green paradies in the middle of the city.
The KLCC park is a 20 hectar big piece of nature in the middle of this busy city. It includes a huge man made lake with water fountains which shoot up to 180 metres off the ground, a jogging track, children’s playground, a swimming pool, drinking fountains and many more features. It’s raining slightly and therefore not too many people are walking around. I’m enjoying it. It’s not too hot. The air doesn’t smell like you’re in a city. Birds are flying above me singing in a different language. And yes. I like it.
After a walk around the park I realise that I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast and choose a café at the side of the park. As it’s getting dark the park turns from green into multiple colours since the water fountains are enlighted in various colours.
Time for me now to make my way back. Still haven’t figured out where to buy a ticket. I going through the mall trying to find the same exit I entered hours ago in order to find the same bus station is more difficult than I thought. But getting there isn’t all. I’m looking for a sign. A shop. Something that sells a ticket. I sign shows downstairs. I think that is the way to the train station. Maybe I can get a ticket there. I walk down. Find machines. Don’t know if it’s just for the train. Walk upstairs. Look for the busses. Spot rapid KL on them. Go back downstairs. To a counter. And buy a card for the rapid KL system. Go upstairs on the other side. End up in another shopping mall. Can’t find the exit to the street where I was standing just now. Walk through H&M and stand on the street. On that side I wanted to be. What a mission. I pass a huge cue of people waiting. Not sure what they are waiting for, but I go to the bus station. Wait for number 300 or 303. They both arrive at the same time. The bus number 300 stops in front of me. But this time the driver only opens the front door. Every one has to walk past him and scan his card. I feel so good having a card now and being able to scan it. After a million Indian women squeezed themselves into the bus I made my way through it as well. Not knowing when I will exit. The bus is full. And it doesn’t stop at any stations. I just know I have to get off one station after the Thai embassy. But it’s dark and I can’t see anything. Why is nobody getting off? I recognise the DHL shop on the other side and press the stop button. Too late. We’re past my station. I press it again. And a few hundred meters later the bus stops. I scan my card. Paid something ridiculous like 20 cents or so and walk back. Yes I do recognise the street and don’t feel that unsecure walking in the dark. The sidewalks are clean. Surrounded by bushes. Large trees above me. I’m walking through a residential neighbourhood. Get to the gate of my guesthouse and made it. Was quite entertaining taking the public transport. Now since I know how it works and I have a ticket I’ll definitely use it again! But first of all its time to sleep 😉