I always wanted to go to Kuala Lumpur, because when I played Where In the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, I usually caught her in the Malaysian capital. Here are some of the highlights from our recent trip.
- STAY: In an Airbnb, at the revamped Ritz Carlton, or colonial-influenced Hotel Majestic, with its amazing high tea. The Mandarin Oriental is where we actually stayed, and while the rooftop pool is a nice feature, I think it's not that nice.
- VISIT: Free Tree Society, a seed-saving and free planting operation that accepts volunteers; along with the tightly controlled, yet worthwhile Petronas Tower tours, the Ilham Gallery deserves a stop- if you missed the Ai Wei Wei exhibition in Paris, see it here alongside Thai and local artists. On your way to the Batu Caves, head to Merdeka Square for heritage architecture and The Hive Bulk Foods in Bangsar for zero waste shopping, including zero waste coffee beans.
- EAT: To me, Jalan Alor is the best place for gluten-free otak otak, teh tarik, nasi lemak, and fresh plant based milks in reusable glasses. Coconut Stall is my favorite, for zero waste lychee coconuts and more. Living Food Bistro is a gluten-free friendly vegetarian restaurant, or visit Tester Laboratory Bistro for indulgent food created by an actual scientist. For something sweeter, Atlas Coffee Embassy offers matcha azuki ice creams with fresh fruit. Lepaq Lepaq is another good café to take food blogger pics in, with an interior Kinfolk could only dream of. I don't even like coffee, but I love the cotton candy clouds levitating over heaping mugs. The Forum KL is a brunch place and Melbourne style coffee shop in the Signature building serving gluten free options and vegan desserts. Podgy and the Banker seems to be a favorite of all the Kuala Lumpur It Girls, dishing out healthy, affordable food on stylish wooden tables, all the better to stand on for that perfect overhead Instagram.
- DRINK: I think Claret in Troika Tower is the Lebua of Kuala Lumpur. Heli Lounge Bar at Menara is an active helicopter pad atop a skyscraper- how billionaire vigilante of them- that turns into a cocktail lounge, perfect at sunset. PS150 is a classic favorite speakeasy in a former brothel, and Omakase + Appreciate is a secret bar that may be the best in the world.
It's super humid there, so if you need your hair done, use my contact form and I'll give you the details for Bosco, an exclusive hairdresser who does all the high-end fashion spreads in KL :)