When the Post Office Tower opened in London in the mid-Sixties, the papers were full of pictures of the jet set wining and dining in the revolving restaurant. How glamorous and space age it all seemed.
When the restaurant shut in 1980 (it was run by Butlin’s incidentally), I realised I was never going to reach the dizzy heights of dining in the BT Tower –or for that matter joining the jet set… No matter, tonight I’m going one better: the tower is twice as high, the views are more spectacular and, although I never tasted Billy Butlin’s revolving food, I would bet that what I’m eating is more than a match.
I’m in the revolving restaurant of the Kuala Lumpur Tower looking eyeball to eyeball with the top levels of the Petronas Twin Towers (once the world’s tallest building) about a quarter of a mile away. The wilting sun has dropped through the mist on the horizon, and across the city lights are coming on.
To the left of the towers, a leading Malaysian bank is throwing enough light into the sky that you suspect it’s trying to break the country’s National Grid, the towers are sparkling in the night sky and, as the restaurant slowly revolves, the picture constantly changes. I might have missed the Post Office Tower, but this makes up for it.
It’s late evening but with jetlag working in my favour, I check into the hotel, still full of beans. My ears ‘pop’ in the lift up to my room – always a good sign. Rooms on the higher floors seem to have a better view and in this high-rise city it’s even more important. Not sleepy, I make a plan for tomorrow.
Kuala Lumpur is a big shopping destination and having spotted a massive high-end mall just across the road I figure that if I pop over first thing in the morning I’ll have the place to myself.
I’m not a big shopping enthusiast but this looks too good to pass by, particularly as it’s just yards away. In the time I have in Malaysia I want to sample big-city life, explore the beautiful and enchanting countryside and enjoy the hospitality – my early taste of the cuisine on offer was promising indeed – but I also want to check out what is a growing and thriving business: medical tourism. I’ll set the alarm; jetlag may not be so kind to me in the morning.
Breakfast was shrimps, noodles and freshly squeezed juices – different but spectacular. A Malaysian woman spotted me making a muck-up of cooking my noodles and gave me a one-to-one lesson – it’s easy when you know how. The hotel staff are probably still trying to clean up after my first solo attempt, but after my lesson I was thinking of applying for MasterChef.
Medical tourism is big business here. The government supports the industry and even has a reception office at the airport to make sure visitors get well looked after. On my trip I’ll visit a number of hospitals, clinics and surgeries but first, let’s look at why you might want to come to Malaysia for treatment. Price is a big factor, depending on what you’re looking for (cosmetic surgery, joint replacement, dentistry, eye surgery and much more); the prices can be around half the price of UK treatments. You obviously have to fund your flight and accommodation so that has to be factored in, but if Malaysia is a place where you would like to take a holiday and have a makeover at the same time, it could work out for you. The facilities are good, surgeons are well qualified, so what do you need to check out?