Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – October 1999

Selamat Datang! – the first words which greet you on arrival in Malaysia.

Accommodation Update

The Odyssey Backpackers is now serving a healthy, homemade breakfast:

delicious freshly baked bread with pineapple jam, and a cup of tea or

coffee.

Ecotourism

Ubat is an excellent local company that offers day trips to an Elephant Sanctuary in the Jungle. If you are looking for something more adventurous they also offer longer, more demanding trips, including jungle treks in remote parts of Taman Negara.

Prices start at 50RM per person per day and they assess the suitability of those wishing to join their trips. Their website has a complete list of the trips available, and an application form for those who are interested in joining a trip. This site also has a useful list of links to other information about Malaysia.

Mooncake Festival

This is one of the three most important festivals of the Chinese

calendar. On the night of the festival, September 24th, children

carry brightly coloured lanterns around the neighbourhood. The

festival is held at Mid-Autumn because it was believed that the moon

was brightest at this time.

Although the mooncake festival dates back to a time when the moon was venerated, it also commemorates the overthrowing of the Mongol warlords in the 1300s. Apparently the Chinese organized the uprising by hiding messages inside mooncakes. The result was a victory for the Chinese and the Ming Dynasty was established. Today mooncakes are eaten in remembrance of that victory, and given as gifts of friendship and goodwill.

Various types of mooncakes are widely available during September; fillings include lotus and red bean with salted egg yolks. The outside of the mooncake is a sort of pastry, which is molded into a pattern on the top. The filling is meant to represent the full moon in a dark sky, although not all mooncakes include an egg yolk, which is the moon. Hagen Daaz even sells a range of designer ice-cream mooncakes!

October Events

For further information check out www.tourism.gov.my

The Petronas Grand Prix takes place from the 15th-17th of October on

the Sepang F1 circuit, out by KLIA. Tickets start at 250RM.

Another event on Tourism Malaysia’s Calendar is “The Shopping

Carnival” from the 2nd-31st October.

Exhibitions

Petronas Galeri in KLCC has an exhibition by a group of Malaysian

artists known as Matahari until the 14th October. Admission is free. Both Galeri Petronas and the National Gallery close on Fridays due to Islamic Prayer times.

Istana Budaya

The National Theatre officially opened this month and has a varied

programme of both traditional and contemporary theatre, dance and

musical performances, planned for the rest of the year. Both local

and international talent is showcased and performances usually cost

around 30-45RM with considerable concessions for students (RM10).

Performances for October include:

3rd-4th Oct: ASEAN-COCI festival (dances from ASEAN countries)

17th Oct: Contemporary Ballet from Italy

19th-21st Oct: Malay Traditional Theatre

The theatre is located near the National Art Gallery on Jln Tun

Razak. Ph: 03-425 5932 / 03-4255934

Arrival

The Malaysian Tourism website provides information on KLIA including the options available of getting from the airport into town.

Accommodation

According to the guidebooks, the majority of backpackers head to Chinatown. After having also stayed at another nearby establishment (and viewing rooms in several), I must recommend the Odyssey Backpackers. Located at 46 Jalan Silang, on the third floor, the

Odyssey is clean and secure with friendly and helpful staff. Elsewhere you will probably need your own padlock and an affinity for bedbugs!

Communication

If you purchase a Telekom phonecard, be aware that the cardphones are out of order and there is only one place in town where you can make international calls: The Telekom office.

Internet cafes are mushrooming, and are cheap. Downstairs from the Odyssey, the Melody internet cafe is nice. It provides a breakfast deal of toast, coffee/juice and 1/2 hr internet for 5RM, although it doesn’t open until nine.

Helpful Links

Malay Tourism

Visit Malaysia

Malaysia Directory

Lonely Planet

The Author

I am a Kiwi currently living in Petaling Jaya, a satellite city of Kuala Lumpur. After travelling through South East Asia earlier in the year, my partner and I have returned to live and work in Malaysia.

We believe that living in another country will provide a different, new and exciting set of challenges. Also we look forward to opportunities for further travel and exploration.

Apart from travel my main interests include; Art, Wildlife/ Conservation and Eastern religions/ traditions. So don’t be surprised if I focus on these subjects!

I am currently living in my tevas (it’s too hot for boots here!) and suffering from the curse of Cinderella’s step sisters.

At intervals I am lured into shoe stores with their tempting arrays of shiny, fashionable and ridiculously cheap shoes, to undergo a kind of consumer torture.

At the urging of eternally optimistic saleswomen, I attempt to squeeze into shoes which are inevitably two sizes too small!

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