“Selamat Datang” to Kuala Lumpur!
Kuala Lumpur, popularly called as KL and dubbed as Asia’s “Green Capital” and “Asia’s Cybercity,” is the capital of Malaysia. The mixed influences of Malay, Indian and Chinese cultures are palpable everywhere you go. It is a mélange that is reflected in its infrastructures and culture. Old colonial buildings dating from the 1890s still stand and there is a profusion of religious landmarks – Buddhist temples, mosques and Hindu Shrines. Along with these are modern edifices dominating the skyline and the landscape – towering skyscrapers, expansive shopping malls and luxurious hotels. The mélange is felt even in streets – in its people’s tongues (languages) and flavors (cuisines).
Deserving Title “Asia’s Green Capital”
No other city is as wonderfully blended with nature as KL. A Time post has this Introduction about KL:
“By design or lack of populace, Kuala Lumpur is Asia’s green capital, where monkeys scamper close to skyscrapers and the occasional boa constrictor slithers across six-lane traffic. Centered around a colonial inheritance of ordered landscaping and dominated by palm-lined freeways, K.L. offers room to breathe and to contemplate the meeting of cultures…”
In the post Kuala Lumpur: Southeast Asia’s Greenest City by Olivier Dombey for Hotel Travel, he writes:
“Kuala Lumpur’s evolution … is testimony to man’s power over nature, but … the city from the heights of Menara KL … nature is all around. In fact Kuala Lumpur is one of the greenest cities in Southeast Asia boasting beautiful parks, inner city walkways…”
“In its rush to modernise, KL has seen many of its beautiful buildings demolished, but this green city still has an impressive number of colonial-era buildings … in the most … colourful quarters, such as Chinatown, Little India and Kampung Baru; the bustling centres of KL’s Chinese, Malay and Indian communities.”
KL is not all about shopping. It offers tourists the Batu Cave that is home many bats. It also boasts of the world’s largest free-flight, walk-in and interactive aviary, the KL Bird Park, which is home to over 3,000 birds. Then there is the Butterfly Park with some 6,000 butterflies fluttering around. At the heart of the Green City is the Lake Gardens, a verdant spot that pumps oxygen into the city and home to Tun Abdul Razak Heritage Park.
When it comes to food and cheap eating out, no other Asian city can compare to KL. More than the price, it is the variety, the flavors and the culture that makes eating here an experience. Malaysian cuisine reflects the ethnic fusion of the hybrid local population – Malay, Chinese and Indian.
To make and connect with makan kaki (food friends) and the locals, you need to dive into the gastronomic melting pot of the city, in the streets and high-end restaurants throughout the city. Chinatown and Masjid India are exotic food centers you shouldn’t miss and Baba –Nyonya or Peranakan cooking are a must try.
You can’t possibly eat everything listed in Time Out’s 101 things to do in KL: Food and Drink, but it can help you discover where to go or what to do to taste the best that KL has to offer its visitors. For a shorter list and the best street foods, there are 27 Malaysian Street Foods (You Need to Eat in This Lifetime) that you can heck in the post for BuzzFeed Life by Lucky Peach. For a brief stay over in KL, you can narrow down your choices to 10 must eats shared by LayIronChef in the post Ten Things to eat in Kuala Lumpur.
Foods sold in the streets of Kuala Lumpur are among the best in the world, but there are restaurants that are must try too. For a quick guide, you can tick one by one the items in the list suggested by The Culture Trip in this post A Taste of Malaysia: The 10 Best Restaurants in Kuala Lumpur ranging from “the best brunch options in KL, and to the best Nyonya restaurants throughout the country.”
Feeding Your Eyes and Soul
The most visited iconic landmarks in Kuala Lumpur have made the city a popular destination for this world travelers. There are many attractions that can lure visitors looking for natural and modern features that define this city’s unmistakable charm.
The Lonely Planet features some of these must see and visit attractions in the page Sights in Kuala Lumpur, which includes the following:
- Petronas Towers
- Old KL Train Station
- Stadium Merdeka
- Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman
Cultural/Museums and Galleries
- Royal Museum
- National Visual Arts Gallery
- National Museum
- National Textiles Museum
- Sin Sze Si Yan Temple
- Sri Sakthi Vinayagar Temple
- St. Mary’s Anglican Cathedral
Natural/ LakesRivers and Waterfalls: Lake Titiwangsa
Neighborhood/Villages: Kampung Baru
On a 24-hr visit, you don’t need to go far. The Golden Triangle is the place to be. This is also the destination for those who want modern conveniences (malls and restaurants). The area is hemmed in by a cluster of major shopping malls and top eating and entertainment places – Jln Bukit Bintang, Jln Raja Chulan and Jln Sultan Ismail. For foodies, Jin Alor is a food paradise. East of KLCC are Jln Ampang and Jln Tun Razak, while south of Bukit Bintang is Pudu, the Chinese district where the largest wholesale clothing market and wet market are located.
Aside from those already mentioned, the other iconic landmarks in Kuala Lumpur you would want to visit are:
- Menara KL Tower, Jalan P.Ramlee
- Chinatown, Jalan Petaling
- Sultan Abdul Samad Building
- Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, Petaling Jaya
- Aquaria KLCC
- Jalan Alor Bukit Bintang
- Central Market Chinatown
With all these gastronomic, natural and modern attractions, it is not surprising why it is a destination for over 25 million international tourists. Its booming economy makes it a convenient destination, even for multigenerational travelers. What is so amazing is how you can find luxury accommodations here for a small price tag, a sure winner for backpackers. If you say, “I “heart” Kuala Lumpur!”… everyone who’s been here will understand.