Thursday, December 3, 2009

Malaysia Day Three: Langurs and Nature in the City

On the morning of our last day in KL, we checked out of the guesthouse and headed for Starbuck's (we were still playing it safe with food after the previous day's gastrointestinal disaster). Over coffee, we worked out a plan for the day, and then headed off to Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve. On our way, we found these huge pitcher plants hanging from the awning in front of a little shop. Hooray for carnivorous plants!Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve is oddly located in the center of the city, and is sometimes referred to as the "Green Lung" of Kuala Lumpur. In the center of the forest reserve is the massive KL Tower, which we had glimpsed from various points in the city. We got to the reserve and set off on one of the hiking trails. Within a couple of minutes we were dousing ourselves in bug spray to protect against the hordes of mosquitoes descending upon us. After walking for about 15 minutes, I was beginning to wonder where all the wildlife was. In S'pore, there are lizards everywhere. We often see them on the way to the MRT, and they're even more frequent in forested areas, so I was kind of surprised we weren't seeing any in Bukit Nanas., and we weren't seeing birds either. We continued on, and I thought I caught sight of a snake's tail disappearing into the underbrush, but that was it- except for this pitcher plant trash can that we got a kick out of...seriously, plants that eat bugs are awesome.We also found these cute, teensy plantains.
Eventually we reached the center of the reserve where KL Tower is located, and we stopped there for lunch at a great little Indian place (I was getting adventurous again) called d'Tandoor. It was good and, most importantly, it didn't make me sick! Bryan bought this dashing hat at a store in the tower. This picture always makes me laugh.After lunch, we headed back down the path the way we came. As we walked along, we were definitely keeping our eyes out for wildlife. And then I saw movement in the trees up ahead, and I knew it was monkeys. We got closer to the trees and saw that they were silver leaf-langurs, a kind of monkey that neither of us has ever seen in the wild. We were so giddy that it probably would have been funny for someone to stand back and watch us watching the monkeys. Langurs are a lot different from the macaques I work with- they're generally more wary of people, spend more time in the trees, have smaller bodies, and sweet little faces with hair that sticks out all around them. It was really fun to watch them leap from branch to branch over our heads. We had a hard time getting pictures of them because of the bright sunshine coming through the trees, but here are a few OK shots. I like the one on the bottom- you can see KL Tower in the background, and the monkey hanging out in the tree looks like he's staring up at it.After spending some quality time with the langurs, we headed out of the nature reserve and to the monorail. When the monorail pulled up, we were surprised to see silver leaf-langurs on the side!
We saw a few more exciting sites before getting back on the bus to S'pore. This beautiful mosque was my favorite of the many mosques that we saw in KL.All weekend, we kept passing this huge, abandoned-looking complex. Given my fascination with abandoned buildings, I was intrigued by it, but I haven't been able to find any information on it- it did look like there was an operating police office inside. We got a pretty good view when we went by on the monorail- the best part was a sign painted on one of the walls that said "DEATH!! That is the penalty for drug trafficking in Malaysia!!" (note: in the comments, someone who shares my fascination with abandoned buildings said that this building is Pudu Jail, and it is indeed abandoned and may be demolished at some point in the future).When we got into KL, we had gotten off the bus a short while before the bus reached the station, so when we went to the bus station to catch the bus back home, it was our first time at the station. We had been warned about Puduraya Bus Station, as a place where foreigners have been robbed late at night and cunning bus company employees try to sell you tickets to buses that don't leave for hours. It was the afternoon, and we already had our tickets in hand, so we weren't too worried. And then we arrived in one of the most chaotic places I've ever been. The buses pull in under the bus station and you walk down the stairs to get on them, so the station was full of exhaust. The whole place was dirty, packed with people, traffic was backed up outside, and the platforms didn't have the correct labels on them. We had gotten there a little early, so we ended up sitting on a sidewalk away from the hubbub until it was time for our bus. The bus ride back went fairly smoothly- more traffic, of course, but also another stamp in our passports! We had a really great trip, and we're already talking about the next place we'd like to go!


  1. That's Pudu jail, it's now vacated and will probably get demolished at some point in the future.

    if you're into abandoned buildings, check out my website, it has locations mainly from Malaysia, but there are a couple from singapore in there as well.

  2. Wow, that's great!! Thank you so much! I do love abandoned buildings, and I had a hard time trying to figure out what that building was- somehow googling "creepy abandoned building Kuala Lumpur" wasn't doing the trick.