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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What stinks?

Day 85/138 2022/2023 Viking Neptune World Cruise. Port Klang, (Kuala Lumpur) Malaysia

Port Klang sunrise.

This is what stinks! An oil refinery, where we are docked in Port Klang, Malaysia! The smell of the oil refinery permeated through our cabin, even though we had not even opened our balcony doors yet!

Port Klang is located 38km from Kuala Lumpur (KL) the capital city of Malaysia. The included tour of KL was called ‘A Glimpse of Kuala Lumpur’. I’ve learned when the title of the tour says ‘A glimpse’ that means sitting on a bus, driving by the sights. The port talk for this city had said traffic could be horrific and we may end up being 1.5 to 2 hours on the bus just getting to and from KL. WONDERFUL! It was Saturday though, so hopefully some people who drive to work, would not be on the roads. I researched tours for this port, but frankly we were really stuck on trying to do anything on our own, because we were 38km outside of KL. Taking a taxi to KL would have been a very expensive proposition, so we had chosen to take the ‘National Textile Museum, City Gallery and KL Tower‘ tour which cost $89USD each and was 5 hours long meeting at 8am in the Star Theatre. Gene and Margaret had also signed up for this tour the other day when I mentioned that we were also going on the tour.

Sitting at the very back of the bus to get the most leg room! The bus was not full, but many people were spreading out, so we moved all the way to the back.

On the hour long drive into KL our tour guide thought he was a comedian, telling stories of how he was born in August 1957 and 3 weeks after he was born, Malaya became independent from Britain. During WW2 British Malaya as it was known then, was occupied by the Empire of Japan. Once Japan was defeated in WW2, the country of Malaya achieved their independence from Britain on August 31, 1957. Malaya united with British crown colonies, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Singapore in 1963, to become Malaysia. In August 1965 Singapore was expelled form the federation and became a separate independent country. Malaysia is multiethnic, and multicultural with half the population ethnic Malay, minorities of Chinese, Indian and indigenous peoples. Islam is the established religion but the constitution guarantees freedom of religion to non-muslims. The head of state is an elected monarch and the head of Government is the Prime minister. The economy is fuelled by natural resources such as rubber and tin, but is expanding into science, tourism, commerce and medical tourism. Malaysia’s newly industrialized market economy ranks third largest in Southeast Asia and 36th largest in the world.

Our first stop on the tour was to the National Textile Museum. We were not being provided with a guided tour. Our tour guide didn’t even know where the entrance to the museum was and both me and Margaret had to point the way to him, by following the clearly marked signs, while he was marching us to the side of the building in the 92F heat!

Could it be any clearer where the entrance was?

I think this sign points the way to the entrance.

Finally! The front of the National Textile museum! The old and new KL were on display with the skyscrapers which peeked out from behind some already tall buildings.

The first stop for everyone was the washrooms of course and those were interesting. Now that we are in Southeast Asia, sometimes the toilets are only pits on the floor that we have to step up onto a platform, squat and hope we hit the hole in the ground. Not the most pleasant toilets, but I did change stalls, when another older lady found herself with the pit, and I had the usual toilet. No photos, but you can imagine I’m sure!

On the ground floor of the National Textile Museum in KL there were many displays of traditional Malay costumes with woven fabrics.

I loved the intricate beading on this costume.

Just look at the detail on this traditional headdress.

There must be a crazy amount of work to embroider and put this headdress together!

As we moved up the stairs in the National Textile Museum, the fabric weaving became more modern. Some of the prints were gorgeous!

Margaret has a few looms and has studied weaving so she understood how some of these intricate patterns were created.

Stunning modern woven fabrics!

Not only were woven fabrics on display, but woven tapestries.

More woven tapestries.

Woven textiles draped on models.

Stunning prints on display!

One of my favourite woven pieces that we saw at the gallery.

After about 45 minutes at the National Textile Museum, it was time to cross the busy street to walk to the City Gallery. The tour guide let us loose in the City Gallery without much explanation about what we were going to see. He gave us about 45 minutes in the Gallery to explore on our own. While people were checking out the Gallery, I decided to do my own exploring.

The City Gallery was across the street from this very nice looking square, so I went to take some photos by myself.

Independence Square, KL was formerly known as SELANGOR CLUB PADANG or simply the ‘PADANG’ which means ‘field’ in Malay. The Selangor Club used this as their cricket green and it was at this place that the Union Jack Flag was lowered and the Malaysian flag hoisted on August 31, 1957 at midnight when Malay gained their independence from Britain.

The flagpole in Independence Square, KL.

The steps to the flag pole at Independence Square, KL.

Look at the intricate carving on the wall in Independence Square, KL.

City Gallery Kuala Lumpur is owned by ARCH, a Malaysian commercial concern which makes and sells 3D pictures and models of famous landmarks from around the world and other gifts and collectibles. The guide did not explain any of this to us, but just told us that the place had some neat wooden models of KL. The building was formerly the Government Printing Office.

It took a while to get a photo of this sign without anyone taking their photo in front of it, but I finally persevered.

I’ve got wings! I’m not sure why we had to bring the QV because we never got any guided tour from our guide.

Margaret has wings! The photo is meant to express how the wings (which are the new skyline of KL) has grown out of the old city of KL. The work is entitled ‘KL City Wings’.

The piece Margaret is standing in is called ‘Sparkling Universe’ with the KL skyline on the moon.

Bangunan Sultan Abdul Samad palace shown in a ‘Reflection’.

I really liked this colourful piece called ‘Street Pillars’ which replicates the colourful and vibrant Brickfields, Little India street pillars, which are a sharp contrast to the city high rises. Too bad our tour wasn’t going to this unique area so we could see it for ourselves, instead of seeing this replica of the pillars.

KL Skyline sculpture was launched in February 2016.

The Arches company had set up an amazing bakery/cafe on the main level of the building and since we did not know when we would get back to the ship, I lined up for some amazing French pastries and a nice cold mint/lime drink on ice. Our guide did not give us much time in this place, so I lined up for food, while Margaret looked around the gift shop.

Cafe at City Gallery. I watched the French pastries being made behind glass and the smell was intoxicating. It reminded me of cafes in Paris. I had to get some!

The pastries were amazing and we all shared them on the bus as we drove to the KL Tower, which was our next stop.

KL Tower, KL.

The base of the KL Tower. It was very, very hot out at 92F and the sweat was rolling down our backs as we walked from the bus to the tower.

Gene waiting to go up the KL Tower.

Our guide waited with our group, and sent the first group up the tower on the elevator. The observation deck we were going to was the open air deck. Once we got to the top, the other group was waiting to enter the tower’s observation deck, because the guide had the tickets on his phone. DUH!

The KL Tower is a 6 story tall telecommunications tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is the world’s 7th tallest tower. It was completed in 1994 and with the antenna reaches 1,381 feet. By comparison, the CN Tower in Toronto is 1,815 feet high and is the 3rd highest tower in the world after the Tokyo Skytree at 2,080 feet, and the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China.

Merdeka at 2,227 feet high and 118 storeys is the second tallest skyscraper in the world. The Park Hyatt Hotel occupies the upper 17 storeys of the building. I am not sure I would want to stay at that hotel with the sway on a skyscraper of this height up to 3 feet, if it was a very windy day, trying to sleep would feel like being on the Neptune on rough seas!

The Petronas Towers at 88 storeys are the tallest twin buildings in the world at 1,483 feet high.

Seeing KL from way up high in the KL Tower!

Margaret took her shoes off and walked across the glass floor to have her photo taken. I do not mind heights, but did not want to wait in line for the opportunity.

After a brief visit to the KL Tower, it was time to get back on the bus to head back to the Neptune. The guide had wanted us back to the bus at 12:20pm, but there was no way we could make that time, given how long it initially took to get up the KL Tower. We headed for Port Klang sitting in the same seats as we had taken all day, and expected at least an hour bus ride back to the ship.

Margaret and me were conferring on the bus about what to do when we got back to the ship. Viking was running a shuttle bus to the AEON Bukit Tinggi Mall, which was supposed to be the biggest mall in all of Malaysia. The shuttle bus left at 2pm and if we played our cards right, we could get the shuttle to the mall and have about 2 hours of shopping time, before we caught the 4:15pm shuttle back to the ship.

We had a almost an uneventful ride back to the ship. We had entered the the Port Klang grounds and were proceeding at a fairly decent speed, down the road to the ship, when our bus driver decided to keep going over a speed bump, instead of slowing down. Richard, Gene and me were all sitting in the very last row of the bus, and we became AIRBORNE! We all got bumped out of our seats and we all came down hard, back onto our seats. I yelled to the guide and driver to ‘watch it’ and Richard cringed as he hurt his back coming back down to his seat. The guide then proceeded to apologize and say that we had a good trip, except for the bump, and any donations we could make for him and the driver would be greatly appreciated. Yeesh! Really? All he did was talk and talk and talk and tell us what time to be back to the bus. There was no tour guiding involved at all!

We arrived back to the Cruise Terminal at Port Klang at 1:50pm, just in time to cross over to the waiting Shuttle Bus to AEON Bukit Tinggi Mall. We rode that bus for a further 20 minutes and arrived at the mall. Before we got in the mall we saw that they had a UNIQLO and since I knew that store would have my size (South East Asia is not the best place for a 6 foot tall women to buy clothing), we went there first.

We found a local department store at the mall and went to the men’s wear department, but they did not have anything we thought Gene or Richard would wear.

Department store men’s fashions in Port Klang, Malaysia. I am sure the skirt is very comfortable though in the heat!

We did see a store that we liked called ‘The East India Company’. The clothing was very classy, stylish, but had a southeast Asian charm. Unfortunately we did not have much time left for shopping, so we headed back to the waiting shuttle bus to take us to the Neptune. The ride back to the ship took about 43 minutes and we arrived back on board at 4:58pm. Cutting it close again, but we were on the shopping shuttle and Viking knew we were on it since we had to provide our names to the shuttle bus guide.

When I arrived back in our cabin Richard said that Security from the ship had already called him twice to see if I was back on board. I guess that Security was also looking for Margaret too! Oh well, we did make it back before the allotted back on board time and the ship was not leaving Port Klang until about an hour later than the back on board time.

I much prefer being in ports that are not stinky, like Singapore. Port Klang was pretty disgusting, but luckily as we left Port Klang and went to KL for the day, surprisingly the air quality seemed to improve.

Last night was Italian night at The World Cafe. We were really looking forward to Italian food, since Italian is one of our favourites.

As we were eating our underwhelming Italian dinner, we saw this amazing sunset over two small islands in the Malacca Strait.

What a busy few days we have had and we have 3 more days in a row of being in port. I know why I like sea days now! On sea days we have time to relax and recover from being so busy while in port! When my head hit the pillow, I was asleep in 2 minutes!


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1 Comment

Allan Yoshimura
Allan Yoshimura
Mar 19, 2023

You had a chaperone, not a guide! Too bad. The cruise ship port on KL reminds me of the terminal in Venice. Along way away. At least in Venice, it was just ugly, not smelly. Not the best side of KL which can be very nice. Think you are headed to Penang. That should be better.

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