Vibrant, multi-cultural city
Although Kuala Lumpur is the youngest of Southeast Asia’s capitals, it is also the most economically successful one, second only to Singapore, and the third most visited Asia/Pacific destination city, following Bangkok and Singapore. Buzzing with good nightlife, shopping paradise and culinary delights, it is not hard to see why about ten million visitors flocked to this happening city in 2013, and the number is expected to reach 28 million under the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign.
There is a lot to keep visitors busy for a few days, or even a week. The city offers an eclectic mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian influences, apparent in the way of life, cuisine and conversation on the street. It also consists of both the traditional past and the modern present, mesmerising manmade architecture and remarkable natural treasures.
A construction boom has altered the cityscape of the downtown area of Kuala Lumpur. It is an interesting melting pot of mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu shrines, and Western-style skyscrapers, each emerging alongside the other in a uniquely colourful harmony.
The multi-cultural character means the city witnesses one vibrant festival after another, and someone is always celebrating something here, making it a great destination to visit any time of the year. The laid-back, warm and friendly Malaysians offer even more reason to visit the capital.
Not-to-be-missed Sights and Activities
A trip to Kuala Lumpur wouldn't be considered complete without a visit to the famed Petronas Towers, one of the world’s tallest and most iconic buildings. With a height of 1,483 feet, Petronas Towers have become the symbols for the astounding growth that has taken place in Malaysia over the last two decades. Visitors can also take a walk on the Skybridge, a double decker that connects the two towers together, to see panoramic views of the Kuala Lumpur skyline.
Another architectural splendor to explore is Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque, 45 minutes from Kuala Lumpur. The magnificent mosque features an enormous, dark blue dome and four minarets (standing at 466.8 feet), as well as decorative Islamic calligraphy.
Chinatown on Petaling Street is one of Kuala Lumpur’s most atmospheric neighbourhoods, featuring endless shopping opportunities and culinary delights. In the market, there are the Lorong Melayu, Lorong India and Straits Chinese, which allow visitors to understand more of the differences in the local culture. It's a place where the hustling and bustling never ends. If you like to haggle your way to some bargains, here is the place to be.
Merdeka Square is a symbolic landmark for the country’s independence. A 95 metre flagpole which is surrounded by the historic building which retains a touch of British colonial architecture. Every year on the 31st August, there is a parade to celebrate its independence day. The square overlooks the Sultan AbsulSamad Building which was used to house many government departments during the British administration. There is also a 40 metre tall clock tower, known as Malaysian Big Ben.
Cosmo’s World Theme Park
When traveling with family, it is essential to visit Cosmo’s World Theme Park located in Berjaya Times Square Department Store. It is the biggest indoor theme park in Asia and houses a number of shops. As an international shopping and entertainment destination, Bukit Bintangoffers its visitors an abundance of shops, flagship stores as well as vibrant nightclubs.
Batu Caves are the sacred place for the Hindu people in Malaysia. The limestone-forming Batu Caves is said to be around 400 million years old, but it wasn’t discovered until 1892. Some of the cave entrances were formerly used as shelters by the indigenous Temuan people. The caves are not only one of Malaysia's most distinctive geographical features but also a rare labyrinth, making it an enjoyable place to visit – even if you don’t know much about stones and geography. The awe-inspiring natural caverns are reachable by a sweat-inducing walk down 272 steps.
Where to even begin, with so much on offer? In size, the largest shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur is Berjaya Times Square, which is also the biggest in the country. The shopping mall features more than 600 shops and even has an indoor roller coaster to keep the young ones entertained. Another popular shopping mall, especially for tourists, is Suria KLCC, a luxurious mall with more than 320 stores, located directly beneath the Petronas Towers. For a local feel, head to Jalan Petaling night market, which offers almost everything from clothes and souvenirs, to electronic items and fabrics. Central Market (Pasar Seni) is the city's most popular market and the best place to buy colourful souvenirs and people-watch.
Whatever your cravings are, you will most certainly satisfy them in Kuala Lumpur. This city is not dubbed Southeast Asia’s food capital for nothing. A true reflection of its diverse population, the street food of Kuala Lumpur is a vibrant mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian, with a touch of world-renowned cuisines, such as Javanese, Japanese, Thai and European, thrown in for good measure.
Here, noodles can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. The locals normally get their noodle fix from street hawkers or street-side shops. Nasi Lamak is another popular dish, available at most local shops. The fragrant rice is mildly spicy, toned down by the tender chicken drumstick.
For a lighter meal, you can find charming cafes on Bintang Walk, the shopping district of the city, but for a more authentic feel, check out a kopitiam – traditional Chinese-owned coffee shops serving strong brews and comfort food, sort of like a local equivalent to Starbucks. Hainanese Kopi is a unique, strong aromatic coffee – definitely the right choice for traditional coffee lovers, and best enjoyed with a side of grilled bread, slathered with rich butter and sweet kaya (sinfully rich jam made from coconut milk and egg).
If you’re looking for a sugar fix, try ondeh-ondeh – bite-sized balls of pandan leaf-flavoured glutinous rice flour, filled with gula melaka (sugar made from boiled coconut palm) and rolled in grated coconut. Roti stalls, serving crispy, juicy variations, from roti with cheese to roti with banana among others, will make you momentarily forget the word 'calories'.
Continuing your journey
Once you’re done travelling around Kuala Lumpur, you might be tempted to explore other cities the magical country has to offer, or hop on the train, bus or plane to connect to its neighbouring country, Thailand. Bangkok Airways flies daily from Kuala Lumpur to Samui.
|Route||One Way||Round Trip|
|Samui - Kuala Lumpur - Samui||7,000 THB||6,150 THB|
|Kuala Lumpur - Samui - Kuala Lumpur||530 MYR|
CurrencyThai Baht (THB)
Electricity/Socket Adaptor220V 50Hz
Time zoneUTC +7
Tel code+66 2
JUN - NOVRainy season - wet and humid
30°C - 35°C
Prepare for rainy days
DEC - FEBCool season - breezy evenings and comfortable weather
26°C - 30°C
Great time for sightseeing
MAR - MAYHot season - sunny and blazing hot
30°C - 40°C
Bring plenty of water when out and about