Sunday, May 16, 2010

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur
April 6, 2010

I took the “Highlights” tour with the ship. Kuala Lumpur is over an hour’s drive inland from the port, and the tour was only four and a half hours -- 9 to 1:30 -- so there were only a few stops on the tour. It stopped first at the great Blue Mosque for photos; we did not enter the mosque. The Blue Mosque is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, and it is truly beautiful. The tour then stopped at the Malaysia National Museum, which had displays of the history of Malaysia. The tour stopped at the Victorian era railway station, with its elegant building and I also walked across the street to take a photo of the national mosque. The tour then stopped at the Petronas Twin Towers, the third tallest buildings in the world, and the highest twin towers in the world.

Malaysia was not what I expected. I had expected Malaysia to be like Thailand -- quite poor and undeveloped -- but it was very different. Malaysia is much more prosperous economically than Thailand, and much more highly developed. The region between the port and Kuala Lumpur is the richest region of the country, and it was very highly developed with new high-rise apartment buildings and new expressways throughout the area. New cars were everywhere, and there were few motorbikes. Kuala Lumpur was similarly highly developed.

Malaysia is a mixed country with about 65 percent of the population being Muslim, 20 percent Buddhist, and about 10 percent Christian. However, it seemed that almost all of the women wore the hijab. This was a brief visit, and an interesting one.

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