Kuala Lumpur - An impromptu trip that turned out a thesis!



Has it really been a month?  Has it really been 150 days of traveling?  Time does fly when you’re having fun.  Here is a quick update on my first visit to Kuala Lumpur, or as it’s more commonly known as, KL.

Arriving from Bangkok I headed towards at hostel called BackHome.  It received many plaudits from online reviewers and won some distinguished awards from those in the hostel fraternity.

Chic, spacious rooms and modern in design the hostel would be my home for the next three weeks.  My mission was to complete my dissertation and finish by Masters degree.

KL is a fairly new city in comparison to what we have in the UK.  It was established in the mid 1800’s and became Malaysias capital in 1880.  One of the more familiar sites in KL are the Petronas Twin Towers.  These are built in a very modern and lovely area and houses the government owned Petronas Oil company in addition to Bloomberg, Boeing, Microsoft, Reuters and many others. 

At the base there is a large concert hall and a very stunning shopping mall.  I visited this place on many occasions with different friends I met whilst in the city.  It has some amazing restaurants, my favourite being ‘The Lounge”.


Outside to the rear there is a nice pond water feature with a fountain display, and further along there is a place called the Skybar.

A group of us from the hostel decided to venture out as it’s famous for having a great view of the city, and quite rightly it did have a great view.  However, this view comes at a price – ridiculously expensive drinks.  I had my most expensive drink I’ve ever bought there are at nearly £20.  It was Mojito (my favourite drink) and it wasn’t special to be honest, if not a bit bland.  Fortunately as budget backpackers, we all had one drink, enjoyed the view and the pool that we were around and headed back.

Another cool landmark is the KL Tower.  This is a bit like Telecom Tower (or BT Tower) in London, but bigger.  Myself and Tom, a incredibly nice and friendly chap who I met at the hostel, decided to pay a visit to this stunning structure.

KL Tower

The KL tower was built in 1995, and houses a museum at its base as well as a viewing platform and revolving restaurant (not to dissimilar to the BT tower before it closed to the public after a terrorist attack).  Between a certain time you have the option of going to the viewing deck only or for a tiny bit extra (say a few dollars) you can have a coffee or tea with a cake of your choice.

We arrived at 1500, knowing that we would have only 30 minutes left for a coffee, but that wasn’t a problem as it was a last minute decision and Tom was off to Cambodia the following day.  We approached the ticket desk at exactly 1500, and I mean on the dot.  The lady told us that we couldn’t go up as they stop new guests coming in half an hour before it closes.

Gutted, we pushed and pushed to make her change her mind.  This failed.  It didn’t stop us pulling out the lowest trick we could do.  Beg.  We pleaded, explaining that it was our last day here (which it wasn’t), that we’ve always wanted to go here (we didn’t) and that she would be the most amazing person if she let us through.  We then pulled a sad face; bottom lip quivering and she let us through.  A great result from a great bit of teamwork.

As you climb up the lift, the doors open to a spectacular view of the city.  There was a great view of the Petronas towers and beyond – well worth the begging I thought.  The tea was great (I had to have tea being British) and the cake slice was huge.  It turned out that we were the only one’s up there revolving around the city view.




Cup of tea!


My big chocolate cake!





The main bulk of my trip was to complete my dissertation for my Executive MBA.  I spent most of my time in the hostel, sat in the common area, working away at 12,000 words of stuff about motivation, contact centre industries and things like that.

I was spurred on and motivated by a few things.  The first was a Canadian, the second was the incredibly friendly staff at BackHome who brought Malaysia to me in the terms of nice local food they brought in for me to try (it was delish!) and also the deadline that was drawing nearer.  I managed to complete the paper, early – the first of any paper I’ve ever done (one of the benefits of not working perhaps).

The paper allowed for some acknowledgements and thanks at the start, and whilst I cannot send the paper out yet until it gets marked etc.  I wanted to repeat the thanks that I included.  Obviously you can’t thank everyone, but this is what I wrote…

 Firstly, Steve Tucker for his support and ideas throughout the study offering an interesting concept on how to conduct the controlled study within the contact centre industry and providing the enablers to do this study within a large organization. Robert Timms, Tracy Hardcastle and Michael Beastall with their support in collating the millions of raw call records required to analyse the results of the field experiment and the effects of casual Fridays outside of the field experiment. And, Neville Perkins for his support and insight into the data, offering explanations to the nuances, the skill groups and performance groups of the candidates within the study.

Oh, and if you want to know if wearing casual dress makes you work harder than wearing a suit?  It does.

Back to KL, I plan to visit the place again later in August as part of a pre-arranged 28 day trip that will take me from Bangkok down the back roads to Bali (with a flight, train and boat thrown in too!).  The city is a great place to visit for a weekend, or for a few days.  But like many cities in the region they tend to all be the same.



  1. Thanks for the thanks Dave ! :-)
    You know how much I enjoyed working with you and our team in Dearne and I'm pleased and impressed that you've managed to get this paper in on time. It's no doubt a first for Sheffield Uni to have a thesis submitted from Kuala Lumpur - show off ! :-)
    Even more important is that you're really enjoying and making the most of your trip. Thanks for keeping us all up to date via the blog. The pictures and stories are fantastic and I'm looking forward to you launching Giblin's Budget Backpackers PLC on your return!

  2. Ha ha, you're very welcome Steve, however I can't see my backpacking business making it to Dragons Den anytime soon!

    I don't think did have a paper submitted from KL before, and thankfully a friend from my class, Rose, offered to print a hard copy and hand it in too. I did feel I should mention somewhere in the paper that I wrote it on a world trip, and did so in the reflections section (where you note the challenges of completing the study). I wrote:

    "Following my departure [from Royal Mail] I then embarked on a trip around the world, which made the completion of the study even more difficult with access to resources being very limited and distractions were high. In all, this paper has been written in over ten countries."


  3. As usual a Great Read Dave, The places look really brill not what I expected. Loved the photo's too, keep em coming.Love n miss you lot's .Mum.Dad n Dan.xxx

  4. Good to see you blogging again, keep it regular ;-)


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