Seoul was about 15 degrees on my last day there, so meandering around in only two fleeces and a raincoat (I elected to not pack a down coat for only a few days of extreme cold), I was freezing. Hopped on a six hour flight to Kuala Lumpur and was greeted with temperatures in the mid-nineties with VERY high humidity. Needless to say, I thawed out quite quickly.
Malaysia is an Islamic country. I have been to other Muslim countries before, so it wasn’t too much of a culture shock. However, that does translate into having to dress more conservatively than elsewhere in such extreme heat. Not that I have any problems whatsoever with covering up, but wearing pants and having my shoulders covered in heat indexes of low 100’s and walking around all day is quite hot (luckily ice cream cones were only 30 cents!). Though a lot of other western girls choose not to follow local customs, I feel it is disrespectful to be wearing short-shorts and tube tops amongst burkas, but we all must make our own choices… Anyway, I went to the National Mosque, and non-Muslims are allowed inside if properly dressed in the provided attire, a hijab and abaya (head scarf and robe). I just about passed out walking around in the polyester garments for 20minutes, in January no less; I have no idea how the women do that all day in July!
I took a mini side excursion to the Batu Caves just outside Kuala Lumpur. These are a series of Hindu Temples built within caves. It turned out to be exactly as described: nothing too spectacular, but definitely something different. I still haven’t been able to figure out why they built temples in a cave though, maybe for the cooler temperatures inside. The macaque monkeys that also reside in the caves are very territorial, and I actually saw one go up to someone and bite their shoe while another one attempted to grab a Gatorade bottle out of someone’s hand, funny because it wasn’t me…
The Petronas Towers (probably the only thing about KL that you’ve seen before) were pretty cool to look at, while the Somerset-type mall inside provided a nice reprieve from the downpour outside.