Here’s my brother and I in Kuantan, Pahang, in the late ’80s. Dad’s fondness for road trips led him to plan an exploration of a few East Coast towns, which also included Gua Musang and Kuala Terengganu on the itinerary.
I don’t remember much of this trip, except the few days in Kuantan. We stayed at the Hyatt, went swimming, played on their private beach and went to a pasar malam, where we were the only Chinese family amidst a sea of Malay folk. Not that it mattered, but everyone was staring at us like we were lost.
Or was that in Kuala Terengganu? Memories fade as I enter my third decade.
One of my top favourite things about KL as a bustling, Asian city has always been the abundance of lush tropical greenery that line its streets, creating much-needed reprieve from the rays of an equatorial sun. Cities of the world have their magnificent, centuries-old architecture, but Kuala Lumpur is a young metropolis within a rainforest; a feature so unique and prominent that Time Magazine describes KL as “Asia’s green capital.”
Given that moniker, it’s no surprise that we have the world’s largest free-flying aviary nestled in the heart of the city. Located next to the Perdana Lake Gardens (and best accessed by car or taxi,) the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is home to over 3000 local and regional birds, including Rhinoceros hornbills, Brahminy kites, Southern Cassowaries, Moluccan Cockatoos and Asian Fairy Bluebirds. Bird-lover or not, KL Bird Park offers international visitors a unique way to enjoy the country’s flora and fauna–an essential Malaysian experience–right here in our capital city, and is conducive for educating young Malaysians (like my early 90s self) on nature preservation.
Kuala Lumpur Bird Park: World’s largest free-flying aviary. It’s been more than 15 years since this picture of me and Mum was taken.
I was probably about eight or nine when Mum decided to pack a picnic lunch and take us to the Bird Park, as well as the nearby Butterfly Park and Orchid Gardens. So much time has passed that all I can really remember is that we had a lovely family day, and had the presence of mind to bring a camera (don’t forget, this was the early 90s) for a few pictures with birds we saw. Like these guys behind us in the Flamingo Pond. Based on a little digging I did around the Web, it looks like the Pond’s still there, and the flamingoes now have a rocky waterfall terrain to play on! Tickets are just RM25 (with a MyKad) per adult, and there are extra discounts for memberships with Aeon, Metrojaya, Hong Leong and Sogo. It just might be time for a repeat visit.