It was time. Time to leave Thailand. The trauma of leaving Thailand was monumental and so to cushion the blow, we decided to ease ourselves from Asia to Australia, via a speedy trip to Kuala Lumpur. The fact that the train to there from Bangkok combined with the forwarding flight also proved cheaper than a direct flight, was just an added bonus. We took the overnight journey to Penang, then the bus to Kuala Lumpur, followed by a flight to Perth from there.

train bangkok to kuala lumpur

Regardless of sudden jerks on the rickety rails, strange warm meaty smells of people’s food and the occasional unexplained stop in the middle of nowhere for up to an hour, we consider a journey on a Thai sleeper train to be a peaceful and unmissable experience, and we relaxed and chatted merrily with our fellow train passengers. Watching the train guard come along at 8pm to unfold everyone’s seats into beds with military precision and speed was quite hypnotising, and we slept soundly until morning.

Crossing the Thai-Malaysia border caused slight confusion; “everyone get off the train!” “Everyone get in this queue!” “Everyone over there!” “Everyone wait a short while!” “Everyone put your bags here!” “Everyone back on the train!”

bus penang to kuala lumpur

After 24 hours on the train, we stepped out at Penang station to… nothing. It was completely deserted, and upon finally finding someone who worked there we found out that all trains to Kuala Lumpur were full. Never fear, we could take the bus! A friendly local pointed us in the direction of a coach station, and we paid £7 for a ‘VIP’ seat. 5 hours later we arrived – hello Kuala Lumpur!

As soon as we found some WiFi we saw that our Australian WorkingHoliday Visas had been approved. We’d naively booked a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Perth for the next day without obtaining them first, and had come unstuck a few days previously when we’d been told that we had to go for a lung x-ray in Bangkok in order to qualify. It was a relief to see we could make our flight, and enjoy our 24 hours in KL without worrying.

kuala lumpur nightlife

We found somewhere cheap to stay, nestled in Chinatown – and then we hit the streets to explore!

Kuala Lumpur is the birthplace of the shopping mall, and so we headed to the Pavilion in the evening, a huge centre with all the top name brands. But instead of being drawn into the shops it was the cosy bars and street music skirting the mall that grabbed our attention.

kuala lumpur shopping

We’d arrived too late for dinner and most restaurants had begun to shut their doors. Although in our comfy clothes (pyjamas), the Hard Rock Cafe seemed like an excellent choice; it was buzzing, they were still serving, and most impressively, there was a live band until late into the night. The singers were amazing, and slightly giddy on cocktails, we kicked off the dancing and ‘sang’ at the top of our voices. It was one of the happiest nights of our entire trip! For some reason strangely the less grand nights sometime stand out to us the most and remind us exactly how good we have things.

kuala lumpur hard rock cafe music

kuala lumpur hard rock cafe cocktail

kuala lumpur hard rock cafe cocktail

The next morning the one thing we knew we had to see was the iconic Petronas towers, and having stayed in China town and passed through Little India, it showed us yet another side to Kuala Lumpur; the business district.

kuala lumpur little india

We were pretty impressed to say the least. Having been lucky enough to visit some truly grand cities in the past, we had seen our fair share of sky scrapers, but these were absolutely immense.

kuala lumpur petronas

kuala lumpur petronas

kuala lumpur petronas


In spite of us turning up to the wrong airport for our flight to Australia, it had been a rather successful detour.

Charlotte & Sarah x

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