Kuala Lumpur, visit one of the tallest and modern building in the world, Moorish styled landmarks and colonial houses
Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia is a modern and beautiful city located in the state of Selangor; commonly known as KL, has a population of 1.5 million inhabitants.
There are many races, religions and cultures living together in an area of 243km2: from the native Malays of the Peninsula, to the Chinese and Indian; there is also a growing population of Europeans, mainly British, one of the reasons is that Malaysia was a British colony until 1957 and the other reason is that the economy in the country is booming at the moment, with a low percentage of unemployment, well-educated population and political stability, Malaysia is an attractive city to investors as well as immigrant workers from neighbouring countries, such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines and Burma.
The first time I went to Kuala Lumpur was on a business trip; I was so fascinated with the tourism infrastructure, great food and friendliness of the people that I decided to go back six months after on vacation. One of the things I noticed straight away is that “race and religion” does matter in Malaysia; however they seem to live peacefully and without conflict. The main religion of Malaysia is Islam, although Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity are also practiced in Kuala Lumpur; in fact, it is captivating to find a Mosque, a Buddhist temple and a Hindu Temple on the same street.
Petronas Towers, designed by Argentine architect Cesar Pelli and famous worldwide because until 2003 it was the world's tallest buildings. My recommendation is to go early in the morning (probably before 8am) if you want to visit the “Skybridge”, the bridge connecting the two towers. It is located on the 41st floor and the view of the city is magnificent; it is a “not to be missed” if you are in KL. The KLCC, at the feet of the towers, is one of the most upmarket and modern commercial buildings in the city.
Although KL was not made for pedestrians, it offers one of the best transport systems and connections in Asia: monorail, subway, taxi and buses are easily available and without doubt affordable. A taxi from the towers to Merdeka Square (your next stop) will only cost you a few dollars.
Merdeka Square, the usual site for the Merdeka Parade (Independence Day Parade) is located in the city centre; the history of this place is important for local people as it was here where the Malayan flag was hoisted for the first time in 1957. The square is surrounded by historical and beautiful building such as the History Museum, the Memorial Library, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (a Moorish style building dating back from 1897, and brilliantly illuminated at night); St Mary’s Cathedral (English gothic architecture) and the Royal Selangor Club.
Just a few minutes away you will find Chinatown, with its stalls and shops for shopping enthusiasts, and Little India, with its restaurants curries and other delicacies of Indian cuisine. Jalan Petaling Market is one of the most famous and lively street market in the capital, situated in the heart of Chinatown; even if you are not planning to buy or eat anything, the atmosphere of the place is great, the shops open all day and sell absolutely everything you might be looking for.
One of the most interesting landmarks is the Masjid Jamek; this is the oldest surviving mosque in the capital, there are three domes, palm trees on the bank of the rivers and two striking marble structures. It is located just a few minutes walk from Masjid Jamek station and not far from China Town, Little India and the Merdeka Square.
The KL Tower, formally known as the Menara Kuala Lumpur offers even better and panoramic views of the city; it has one of the best restaurants in the area, however you need to book in advanced if you want to enjoy the delicious buffet served in this revolving restaurant. At the feet of the tower you can visit the animal zone, where you will have the chance to handle snakes and birds, it is the ideal place to visit if you travelling with your family.
For the more intellectual, Kuala Lumpur also offers several art galleries and museums such as the Petronas Art Gallery, the National Museum (Muzium Negara) and the Museum of Islamic Arts (it houses largest collection of Islamic art in Southeast Asia). They boast unique and interesting exhibitions throughout the year.
The city also offers a variety of outdoors activities to the tourist; one of my favourite places was Bird Park, I particularly enjoyed it, as the birds can fly freely in their natural environment, not far from Bird Park you will be able to find the Deer Park, the Orchid Garden, the Hibiscus Garden and the Butterfly Park, one of the most beautiful butterfly gardens I have ever visited, it has tropical flowers, trees and turtle ponds; perfect to spend a day out with your children or friends.
Other interesting places to visit in the capital are the Sze Ya Temple (The oldest Taoist temple in KL); Sri Maha Mariamman Temple (KL’s main Hindu temple), the National Mosque (Masjid Negara) and the National Art Gallery, with the city’s finest collection of Malaysian art.
The best place to find all the information you need for your visit in this exciting city is the Kuala Lumpur Tourist Information Centre, located just a few minutes from the Petronas Towers; you will find good maps, gift shops, an art exhibition centre and two auditoriums with the best dance performance in KL, a proper Malaysian heritage dance.
Other places to visit in Malyasia:
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