Kuala Lumpur, or KL as the city’s known amongst trendy jet-setters, has become an essential tourist destination in recent times. The Malaysian capital features an eclectic mash-up of various cultures, which provides a refreshing variety in cuisine, architecture and atmosphere. And since KL is the beating heart of Malaysia, as well as the country’s economic powerhouse, there’s a dense concentration of high-quality hotels, shops, bars and clubs to keep travellers amused – all much cheaper than their western counterparts.
KL’s skyline is immensely impressive, whether it’s taken in at daytime or left until the vast towers that puncture the sky are illuminated at night. The city has so many distinctive buildings and skyscrapers that it’s well worth checking out from a height, and there’s two main places to do this.
The Petronas Towers skybridge which links the 41st and 42nd floors of the twin towers is accessible to the public 365 days a year. Tickets are free, but there are a very limited number available each day and it’s impossible to book in advance, so visitors should consider turning up before 8am to secure one. Be aware that a ticket only bags ten minutes in the bridge.
At a mighty 421 metres, the Menara Tower is still the tallest in South East Asia and arguably offers an even greater view of the city. There’s an observation deck and a revolving restaurant near the top, which can be accessed for 38RM. Tickets don’t run out, so there’s no need to queue up ridiculously early. The deck can get quite crowded at peak times, but the restaurant offers the same fantastic views in a more relaxing environment.
The Sights of KL
The Batu Caves are an interesting network of grand limestone caves and free to explore, although not as glamorous as they sound in some write-ups. Visitors will need to be fit to ascend the 272 steps to the entrance. At least there’s a large number of crazy resident monkeys to keep everyone amused during the ascent – just keep any food well hidden, or it’ll never reach the top.
For a more up-market attraction, the Aquaria KLCC is a great little aquarium containing over 250 different international species. All the usual fare is present, including tanks of glowing jellyfish and of course the obligatory shark tunnel. There’ also a small selection of lizards, and a chance to ‘pet’ a starfish if so desired. Entry is 38RM, and it’s a good choice for keeping little ones entertained or if the weather is particularly inclement.
Both bargain-hunters and designer lovers are well catered for in Malaysia’s capital, with almost 70 shopping malls and an abundance of markets and stalls scattered across town.
The Surla KLCC, situated between the Petronas Towers, contain a number of up-market shops in the lower floors. Designer names include Tiffany and DKNY. For a posh mall with a lot more choice, the Pavilion is also a worthy choice. The Times Square KL Mall is another huge offering, with massive food courts and other distractions such as a cinema, bowling alley and theme park, making it perfect for family visits.
Kuala Lumpur Nightlife
As beautiful and indulging as KL is during the day, it truly comes alive at night to cater for the party-loving Klites. The best place to let it all hang out is the ‘Golden Triangle’, the area around the Petronas Towers NE of the city centre, which contains a great variety of bars, from smoke-filled pool halls to classy cocktail joints. Drinks are thankfully inexpensive in KL, certainly compared to many western destinations.