Kuala Lumpur Half Day Tour (Photo Diary)

He Jiu Kopitiam

I want to thank these eight people for willing to wake up early on a wonderful Saturday afternoon, and come the notorious downtown with me. 

We all know the three traits of Petaling Street and the nearby areas: foreign labours, traffic jam and polluted air. It's quite unlikely for the locals to come here on a Saturday morning, especially to travel.

Walking on the street

My parents used to tell me about the glamorous days of Petaling Street and Jalan Sultan. They'd witnessed a small part of the golden era. Indeed, this area used to be the most happening place in town. Life was vibrant, busy and fresh. I've seen black and white photos of people living here in the 60s and 70s, it was so lively and rich. And then, things changed, the glory is now gone. It is not what it was, but luckily there are still a number of interesting, worthy places to explore. 

We spent half a day in the area. In this post I'll share with you the interesting moments of the short tour, and I'll talk about the route in the next post.

These photos are by me, Jeanette or Yiing Yee. What a bliss to have somebody take photos of me! 


Hor Kao Kopitiam 何九茶店, Lorong Panggong 

After meeting at Pasar Seni LRT station, we walked for 3 minutes to have breakfast here. 

I think you'll agree with me, the simplest meal is the hardest to make, as it clearly shows the Master's kung fu. My parents' hometown, Bentong set a high standard on Cham, half-boiled egg and Kaya toast. The one I had here is comparable to that.  

For six decades, the owners have been serving simple, good, traditional food to the neighbourhood. 

He Jiu Kopitiam

 No fancy exterior, no excessive decoration, it's a humble hut. 

Typical Malaysian Breakfast

Toast with good fragrant kaya and butter, teh si, cham and soft-boiled egg. We sat and ate and talked. These eight people are a mix of my different gangs of friends. It's such a pleasure to bring them together and see them talking, I felt my choice of travel mates was extremely good. Bahaha! 

In fact, there's an interesting lamp post in the backyard of the little shop. You can ask the owners about it. =)

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple 陈氏书院 

Just two-minutes walking distance away, we came to one of the oldest temple in the country, built between 1897 and 1906. The building's beautiful architecture and excellent craftsmanship are astonishing. We looked closer at the carvings. Each statue was created in great details including their facial expression and flowy movement of the fabric. We were told that the carvings are stories from classic Chinese literature. Complicated, intricate and well-preserved, these carvings can be seen almost everywhere in the temple.

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I've seen this countless times in a temple, but what is it actually? After taking a closer look, it portrays the heavenly gods and creatures. This piece of art was made of wood and covered with gold foil.

Chan See Shu Yuen Temple, Kuala Lumpur

One of the highlights of the day was definitely meeting this uncle who's been working and living in the temple for years. He is a living history textbook. We spent a while asking him questions and be amazed by some supernaturally interesting stories he told us. Creepy but attractive stories. Weeee.  

Gurdwara Sahib Polis Jalan Balai Polis Kuala Lumpur

Gurdwara Sahib Polis, Jalan Balai Polis 

Honestly, have you ever entered a Gurdwara before? I haven't. 

Gurdwara is the place where Sikhs come together for worship. During the British colonial era, many of the policemen were Sikhs, probably thanks to their body size, strength and discipline. This Gurdwara was specially built as a religious place for the Sikh police, when the police station was still right next to it. 

Explore Kuala Lumpur - Gurdwara Sahib Jalan Balai Polis Kuala Lumpur

Just when we were peeping into the Gurdwara from the gate, this uncle came to us and invited us in. You know, we were a bit shy and unsure what to do, none of us knew what we should do. He kindly led us in and told us to wear a scarf to cover our hair. After laughing at one another for looking bizarre wearing a headscarf, we walked into the main hall where a priest was praying. A lady offered us some cakes as a sign of blessing. 

Gurdwara Sahib Jalan Balai Polis

Not only we were invited warmly into the canteen by the Sikhs, they offered us tasty tea made of tea leaves and milk, together with a bit of spicy kacang kuda. The uncle in red scarf talked to us, kept ensuring us to feel at ease and gave us biscuits. We were so lucky that day to meet all the friendly people!

Explore Kuala Lumpur

Just before we left, we met another Sikh uncle who's a staff and a resident at the Gurdwara. We asked him about the religion, the rituals and history. Initially he was shy, but he explained them all, and recommended us a few places to go. One of the places he mentioned is Sin Sze Si Ya Temple, because his wife was working there, we should go visit the big temple and probably, find his wife. What is his wife doing in a Chinese temple? For a second I thought his wife might be a Chinese, but no, they are of the same race.

Of course curiosity won, we went to check her out.

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple Kuala Lumpur

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple 仙四师爷庙, Leboh Pudu

We stopped at Sri Mahamariamman Temple, the oldest Hindu temple in KL. Then we walked for another 5 minutes to reach here, and start searching for a Punjabi lady. It didn't take us too long to spot her, as she was so outstanding among her Chinese friends. She spoke perfect fluent Cantonese to them. Her father worked as a watchman in the temple since she was young. As if the job is hereditary, she followed his footstep to be a staff in a Chinese temple. Strange enough? Not so, she and her husband actually stays in Gurdwara Sahib Polis, she prayed there in the morning, and then walked here to work everyday. 

Why don't they work together in the same place? She said he was naughty and didn't want to come here early in the morning. Are the two religions contradicting to her? No, she said. She believed in both. Ah-ha, very interesting!

She refused to take a photo with us, and pretended to be busy folding joss paper. Ah-ha, another aunty who doesn't like to be photographed. 

Sin Sze Si Ya Temple Kuala Lumpur

My sister Wai Shan offering a lotus candle to the deities. Lotus symbolizes enlightenment and purity.

Explore Kuala Lumpur - Sin Sze Si Ya Temple

Rays. The building, carvings and sculptures are more than a hundred years old and still looking good.

St. John's Cathedral

St. John's Cathedral, Jalan Gereja 

Not that I've been to many churches in the country, but this is definitely one of the biggest and classiest I've seen. It's a Roman Catholic Church built in the 60s. The most notable part would be the serenity, classic grandeur and the beautiful stained glass imported from Paris.

A group of choir members were practicing their tunes, we sat down on the pews, looked at the magnificent dome-shaped hall, high ceiling and beautiful glass windows. Grace was answering all our questions about the religion. I think we were a good team of travel mates, with different expertise and knowledge. Bahahaha.

Explore Kuala Lumpur - Muzium Telekom

Muzium Telekom, Jalan Raja Chulan 

All these places mentioned in this post are very near to one another. We casually walked from one place to another. 

The first impression of the building is definitely the pillars. For so many times I drove by the building and swore to myself, "I want to come here one day!" And luckily I did.

Explore Kuala Lumpur - Muzium Telekom

Okay so here's a narcissistic photo of myself in front of a huge telecommunication machine full of wires and connectors.

Explore Kuala Lumpur - Muzium Telekom

We met a fantastic tour guide in Muzium Telekom who explained the exhibits so well, so fascinating that I wish all our museums in the country could hire friendly staffs like him. I should have remembered his name. 

Walking through the halls and interacting with the staff, it's astonishing how technology has come a long way. Instruments evolved from big to small, machine got more sensitivity, robustness and convenience. From a heavy metal box to the tiny 5 inches gadget on our palm. How it has evolved in a mere thirty years.

My dear, this is the good side of technology! 

Muzium Telekom

That's a wrap for the short tour. Thank you to these eight people again for the good time!

Some of us had to work on weekends, some had other plans at night, some are really poor...... but we all needed a break. We want to travel. We want new elements. 

And there's nothing better than a short getaway near, quick and inexpensive. As uninteresting as it might sound in the first place, there're always surprises here and there, there're always discoveries and new perspectives. 


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