The Petronas Twin Towers loom in the background, fronted by the Suria KLCC Shopping Centre and colourful fountains
Kuala Lumpur is a bustling cosmopolitan known for its fast-paced life, busy streets, and uplifted spirits. Many locals, foreigners and expatriates call this city home because KL offers the best of both worlds; a healthy mix of the old and new, the ultimate blend of posh and classic.
The capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, literally translates to "muddy estuary" as this city back then was founded at the convergence of two major rivers; the Klang River and the Gombak River. It is situated in the central region of Malaysia and is a Federal Territory; one of the 14 states that make up Malaysia.
Words: Shobana Jeyasingam
The Old, The New, and The Cultural
Taking a drive through the city-centre, you cannot help but look up at the graceful, elegant skyscrapers adorning clear blue skies with their structural beauty, home to corporate companies, opulent hotels and businesses alike. This very skyline doubles in beauty at night; dotted here and there with twinkling lights. Ride the elevators at the Petronas Twin Towers to the 57th floor for dinner and drinks at Marini's on 57 while enjoying the scenic bright skylines of KL at night. See if you can point out notable structures such as the Dayabumi Complex and Luth Building.
KL also boasts beautiful, traditional architecture thanks to its roots as a multicultural and pluralistic society. A stroll around the Dataran Merdeka, where Malaysia's independence was proclaimed 60 years ago, will allow you to bask in the stunning Moorish architecture of the beige Sultan AbdulSamad Building. Not far away, you will find the KL Railway Station and the Old High Court Building, which encapsulate colonial, Moorish and Islamic architecture with magnificent domes and minarets, worth a visit.
KL also boasts beautiful, traditional architecture thanks to its roots as a multicultural and pluralistic society. A stroll around Dataran Merdeka will allow you to bask in the stunning Moorish architecture...
As an amalgamation of Malay, Chinese, Indian and other cultures, a walk down the Cultural Lane is definitely recommended when in KL. The Thean Hou Temple in Seputeh, dedicated to the Chinese goddess of the sea Mazu, is resplendent in a 6-tier structure inspired by Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. The vivid Sri Mahamariamman Temple, on the other hand, which is located in the Jalan Tun H S Lee at the edge of Chinatown, is the oldest Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur.
Go as early as 7 pm or as late as 12 am and you will find these streets packed with people having the time of their lives.
If you fancy rejuvenating yourself or want to cool off from the heat of the city, FRIM or the Forest Research Institute Malaysia is the perfect place to enjoy wild lush greenery, go for canopy walks, have a picnic or just breathe in some fresh, tropical air.
The City That Never Sleeps
KL is pretty much that. 7 nights in a week you will find something to do. Head on down to Jalan P Ramlee or Changkat Bukit Bintang and you are pretty much good to go. Go as early as 7 pm or as late as 12 am and you will find these streets packed with people having the time of their lives. Pubs, clubs, bars, and gastrobars, from Irish to Indian, K-Pop, Reggae and R&B, are lined up side-by-side making it the perfect place to bar-hop among others. The party goes on till 3 to 4 am on busier days after which Malaysians head off to a favourite joint for some after-party nosh.
Almost everyone has a favourite Nasi Lemak stall and the debate can be never-ending over which is ultimately the best.
Malaysia is a multi-cultural and also a multi-ethnic country where there is an abundance of food from a variety of cultures; from Malay, Chinese, Indian cuisine to International and Fusion delights. No wonder Malaysia is deemed (or rather self-proclaimed) a food haven.
If you are not into partying, there is always food to eat and vendors to go to in KL. Street food is a big culture here and Malaysians pride themselves on the availability of good food 24x7. Almost everyone has a favourite Nasi Lemak stall (a dish of rice cooked in coconut milk served with hard-boiled eggs, spicy anchovy sambal, fried anchovies and cucumber slices) and the debate can be never-ending over which is ultimately the best. Although Nasi Lemak is generally eaten for breakfast, Malaysians do not abide by any strict rules; when it comes to their favourite food, anything goes!
Fancy a walk? The Bukit Bintang to KLCC Pedestrian Walkway is a 1.173 km-long pedestrian bridge that links the Pavilion KL to Impiana KLCC Hotel as well as the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The other portion of this walkway is a pedestrian tunnel on the convention centre's concourse level linked to Suria KLCC.
The Haven of Food and Shopping
Food and also shopping are two aspects very important to KL-ites and those are the two things that most tourists or expatriates come to love about this city as well. Whether you're looking for knickknacks and knock-offs in Petaling Street, ridiculously-priced designer labels at the Pavillion Mall or everything in between, KL has it! Shopping complexes are go-to places for KL-ites after work hours and even during lunch breaks. Who wouldn't want to nip into Zara or Gucci for a quick browse while the lunch line at the food court eases up! Whatever your shopping needs, from high-end to ‘local', shopping complexes have it. Some favourites among locals and tourists alike would be Pavillion, Suria KLCC, and Avenue K. Head on to Bukit Bintang area for your pick of malls for electrical and entertainment needs such as Berjaya Times Square and Low Yat Plaza.
Whether its culture, food, nature, architecture, or just a stroll down a road not taken that is your fancy, KL has it all to offer.