Kuala Lumpur: 3 Hands On Classes & Activities for Tourists
Being in Kuala Lumpur is not just about taking the shots of the majestic KLCC Twin Towers
Foreign tourists clueless about Kuala Lumpur complains that they got nothing to do after seeing the KLCC Twin Towers or after haggling with the pushy sellers in the Chinatown.
But I find that disturbing. Because being in KL is more about posting your KLCC photos to your facebook timeline. Or partying in the pubs (you can do that back home right?)
I'm going to let you know a few things you could join or do. No, I'm not talking about the usual museum visits or paid walk that some locals charge up to USD100 a head.
I'm talking about hands-on stuff. So, if you like to create things or experiencing things, here's a few trips you should make.
1. Make Your Own Pewter
KL started as a tin shack, and tin was the mineral that turns the swampy area into a booming metropolis and a favourite civil war ground. Tin was as valuable during those days as oil is today.
Tin was the reason why KL was torched to ashes a few times and the reason why so many Chinese travel over rough seas and call the once inhabitable jungle, their new home.
So, if you come in group, here's good news. You guys could make your own pewters (it's nearly all made of tin).
Why here? Because Malaysia has the biggest pewter factory in the world -- called the Royal Selangor Pewter, and the folks running the hundred year old factory are kind enough to let anyone be a pewter smith for a day.
The factory is about 45 minutes away from KL and you could get on the Kelana Jaya train, get off at the Wangsa Maju station and hop on a taxi for a short trip to the factory's visitor centre.
It will cost you RM60 (less than USD20) and you must book in advance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know that you and your family are coming.
2. Try Batek Painting even If You Fail Drawing Class in Kindergarten
Firstly, a humble declaration. Malaysia's batik is no match for the Indonesian batik. The Indonesian batik is far detailed and uses far more delicate techniques that the one practiced by batik artists in Kuala Lumpur. In fact, the Unesco has even call Indonesian batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
But here's the good news. Malaysian batik has larger patterns and uses more exotic colors than the neighbouring Islamic country. As a result, you should be able to learn how to create your own batik faster than it should be.
Think about it this way -- You can't write a novel just by one try, but you probably can write a paragraph in an hour or two, right?
So, if you are keen at learning how to make the traditional cloth worn by the natives in the Malayan archipelago, KL has a short workshop for you -- and you can try it even if draw no better than Cholla the Horse (Okay, I can't draw better than Cholla too, but that's because the horse paints full time).
The class is open for all at the Jadi Batek Gallery in Jalan Imbi. It is near Bukit Bintang (KL's shopping mecca and favourite place to stay among tourists), so you should be able to get to this workshop on your way to the malls.
The class starts at RM30 (less than USD10) and all the tools are provided. Call the folks at Jadi Batek at least a few hours before you're coming so that they can provide the cloth, tools and secure an artist for you.
3. Let's fly with me - Flying Foxes near KL
If you love nature and are not afraid of height, there's another activity that you can do near Kuala Lumpur -- jungle trekking from tree canopies with the Skytrex Adventure.
It's not really a Malaysian thing to do since the whole thing is run by a Frenchman. But the experience will teach you some stuff about the tropical jungle than you care to know.
Malaysian jungle is similar to the thick Vietnam jungle (where the US army technology is no match for the the Viet Cong armies' use of the nature). You'll also see why the US and the British use agent orange to get rid of the overcrowded bushes and canopies during their wars with the locals and insurgents of South East Asia.
Kids are welcomed to tackle the courses (and most of the time they are the one who have the most fun) but they must go through the courses with an adult.
The unfortunate thing is the place is in Shah Alam (nearly an hour drive from KL) and it is only open on weekends. And oh! you must be under 100 kg to join.
Booking is essential and the most expensive course will only cost you less than RM50 (~USD18).
p/s There's also a jungle school survival camp organized by an ex-army personnel if you wish to learn how to survive the harsh, wet tropical jungle. Not related to the park I mentioned above though.
Which Do You Want to Try ?
More Stuff to Do
There are much more stuff you could do in KL. But I leave you with just the 3 for the moment. If I have the time, I'll add more to this (believe me, I have many more things to recommend).
For now, try them, and let me know what you think of the courses.
See you in KL!