Malaysia: High on Adrenaline and Deep in Caves
Our Malaysian colleagues did their best to make my visit unforgettable. At the moment, my sore body and the bruises covering it remind me of our joint activities. But I’ve made memories that, even without these painful reminders, will stay with me for years to come! Here are my experiences with Malaysian nature, culture, food, and Kuala Lumpur city life!
Experiencing Nature in Full Force: White Water Rafting
On my second day in Malaysia, our colleagues took me out of the city to go rafting on the Sungai Slim river, circa an hour from Kuala Lumpur. The activity promised to be nicely refreshing in the merciless Malaysian heat, which is accompanied by a humidity that makes you feel sticky every minute of every day. (Locals are so used to this though that, when they visit Europe, they have to slather on body lotion by the bottle to not feel too dry …)
Metrohm Malaysia has done rafting excursions before and I can see why: it’s a great way to experience nature. And also, alternatingly going overboard and rescuing each other does weld a team together.
Our rafting tour started out calmly. We floated and paddled downstream with water refreshingly gushing into our raft every now and then. It turned out to be the deceptive calm before the storm, which came to an abrupt end when we hit the first rapids. I was the first to go overboard, but in the course of the tour, each one of us would fall off the raft at least once or twice, bouncing off rocks and being pushed underwater by the rapids. I’m pretty sure that, without our life jackets and helmets, there wouldn’t be much left of us! Even so, we all felt sore afterwards. I’m lying in bed right now covered in pain relief patches—courtesy of my equally patch-covered colleagues.
Batu Caves: Hindu Shrine and Conservation Site
Ignoring our sore muscles, Metrohm Malaysia Application Specialist SuLing and I spent the next day sightseeing in and around Kuala Lumpur. Our first stop was Batu Caves, just outside the city. The Batu Caves hill has a system of caves, which are the site of a Hindu temple and shrine. You may be surprised that there’s such a big Hindu temple in Malaysia. The reason is that there’s a big Malaysian Indian population. The Malaysian population is made up by three major ethnicities: Malay, Malaysian Chinese, and Malaysian Indian.
The Dark Cave isn’t part of the temple complex. As the name suggests, it’s fairly much devoid of light. The special conditions that prevail in the cave have made it the home of some rare species, including various kinds of bats, spiders, snakes, snails, and centipedes. And lots of cockroaches. So all those kinds of animals that you prefer stay in their cave.
To visit the Dark Cave, you have to join a guided tour, which helps you to not get lost in the dark and to protect the cave environment. Seeing the limestone structures that have formed over millions of years is fascinating, but once you’ve seen some of the giant centipedes that live here, the blackness leaves uncomfortably much room for imagination …
Lunch Break: A Chinese-Malay Fusion
The different ethnic groups of Malaysia have left their mark on local cuisine. One of the results is Nyonya cuisine, which is a fusion of Chinese and Malay food. Nyonya cooking combines typical Chinese ingredients with Malay spices and cooking techniques. The result is rich, tasty food that is very popular in Malaysia.
Views of Kuala Lumpur
Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown is a colorful district where shops and market stalls line up at the streets. Here you can buy flowers, food, clothes, tech accessories, and all the counterfeit branded and designer ware you could ever ask for. The area’s special feel attracts lots of tourists (and locals!) who want to explore the colorful streets or are on the hunt for a bargain!
There’s one more view that I want to show you and it is one from above—from the KL Tower Skydeck at 421 meters above ground level. Enjoy!