13 Hours in Kuala Lumpur [Hipstamatic]


” Fuck those fuckers making so much noise last night. People have to go to fucking work. I’m gonna tell them.”

Agreed. Except I’d say people have to go to Vietnam instead of work. I’m surprised anyone lives in the Ribbon Stayyz Bed & Breakfast hostel but it is really cheap. It’s ideally located above a KK Mini Mart Training Center in Chinatown, so maybe she decided to take the opportunity to broaden her skills while she’s here. Who knows?

Basically, I did little to no planning for my one night layover in Kuala Lumpur to Denang, Vietnam. I had 13 hours and since this is my second time in KL I thought I’d stay in Chinatown and have the evening and the morning to wander around before I go back to the airport…ahh…yeah…nooo.

First, I forgot that it takes an hour to get into the city from the airport. Second, I trusted a Trip Advisor review by someone I know (don’t know them well) who said,

“To look at it from outside you wonder what is inside but when you are inside you know you are in the right place. It is quiet at night, warm welcome from Joy, great connection with fellow travelers, helpful advice, clean rooms – yes, small but if you are just sleeping then that is fine. Comfortable, tea and coffee available… breakfast is very basic but if you’re on a budget ok. Bathrooms are great. All in all I recommend it for you to stay if you’re doing a city break or stopover. “

It’s a $20 (for a private room) a night backpacker hostel in Chinatown. To get to reception I walked inside the KK Mini Mart, past the isle with Massimo white bread on one side and toothpaste, cosmetics and lotions on the other. The front door was next to the photocopier. I walked up a flight of stairs to the common room / reception area that was straight out of Animal House.

That’s when I remembered, I’m not a backpacker. I’m not a flashpaker (a backpacker who travels with their apple gear). I’m not a tourist…I’m the Wandering Jen on the road, and I need a comfortable hotel, with a good bed and a nice, clean bathroom. I want Wi-Fi that works and a decent tea /hot water set up. I don’t need breakfast but it needs to be quiet and centrally located.

Information absorbed, I get it. For $20 a night in a major city there is no “real deal”. I had a moment in Bali where I thought I was getting a deal…now I’m here and laughing because last night was a scene from college dorm life.

Picture this…A young Indian guy checked me in and never told me his name. (I assumed he was “Joy” personified) He walked me up to the 3rd floor, carrying a blanket, a towel and my bag. Quickly punching in a key code for the glass door to the hallway, he showed me to ribbon #2. Inside is a mattress on the floor, with old yellow sheets that have red flowers and there’s no blanket on the bed because he’s holding it in his hand. I prayed there were no bed bugs. It had no windows, the walls were painted sky blue with holes, marks and peeling paint. We won’t talk about the carpet, I’ll leave it to your imagination. The towel, blanket and sheets on the bed all smelled clean, if somewhat stained. I could smell mold and the air con didn’t work. There was no stepping into the room because it’s a mattress on the floor with just enough room for your bag. You just jump on to the bed from the doorway.

The two communal bathrooms were conveniently located at the end of the hall right next to ribbon #2. In one the faucet didn’t work and in the other the toilet didn’t flush. (no toilet paper at 6am this morning!) That was the only toilet on the floor so it was a bummer. The walls were painted black, with no windows and it smelled of mold. I went downstairs to tell the nameless Indian guy about the toilet but I never saw him again until this morning.

This morning I realized my stay comes with breakfast. There’s a toaster in the common room with a bag of white bread, a jar of jam, a tub of something that is the same color as butter and two knives. There’s a dispenser for hot and cold water for coffee and tea in the “breakfast corner”. I laughed out loud while I took the picture.

Luckily last night I found a 24 hour curry place a few doors down that serves chai and roti. I had garlic roti that was tasty once I scrapped off the 3 gloves of garlic packed inside it. My 13 hours in KL was a scene from backpacker dorm life, complete with a 24 curry joint and Starbucks across the road to sit in while I write this over a morning cup of tea.

Now on to Vietnam for our regularly scheduled adventure. Do you think I need to do a Trip Advisor review? I’m not a backpacker who stays in hostels so it could be just fine for some. What do you think?