Eye-catching architecture, lively marketplaces, shopping malls, nature parks and ornate temples make Malaysia’s largest city a gateway to the splendours of the Far East. Kuala Lumpur’s diverse multi-ethnic Malay, Chinese and Indian population and its vibrant rainforest surroundings bring the city to life in exceptional colour. With pristine tropical islands and exotic jungles very close by, even a short stay in Kuala Lumpur can be spent exploring both urban sights and the natural world waiting just beyond.
The city’s flourishing tourism industry has attracted a growing list of world class hotels, resorts and spas. Kuala Lumpur also plays host to a number of international sporting events such as golf’s Malaysian Open and the exhilarating Formula One World Championships.
KUALA LUMPUR POPULAR TOURIST SPOT
KL’s Merdeka or Independence Square is one of the most visited sites in the city. At this historic location, the Union Jack was lowered on the 31st August 1957, marking the end of the British era and the birth of the nation. The field here was the focal point of KL in the old days, serving as a police parade ground and venue for cricket matches and other sporting activities. Flanking the square are the Selangor Club; a charming mock-Tudor structure and the stately Moorish styled Sultan-Abdul Samad Building.
PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS
Towering 451.1 meters over the city, this gleaming structure of steel and glass is the world’s tallest freestanding twin towers. A world-renowned icon of Malaysia. It is truly an awesome sight by day and night. Take a ride to the 41st floor for that ‘top of the world’ feeling, as you survey KL from the famous skybridge. Nearby is the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC) Park – an aesthetically pleasing landscaped area, featuring indigenous trees and palms, sculptures and murals, and fountain displays.
Towers are open daily to the public except on Mondays.
Admission to the Sky Bridge is free. The ticket counter opens between 8:30am-5:00pm. Go early to avoid disappointment.
Located atop Bukit Nanas. This communication tower is the world’s tallest. Its 276-meter high observation deck offers a magnificent view of the sprawling city beneath. Here, you can view the world’s only forest reserve right in the middle of a bustling city. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the revolving restaurant while taking in the glittering sights of KL, the Garden City of Lights.
Admission: Malaysians: RM8 (Adults) RM3 (Children)
Non-Malaysians: RM20 (Adults) RM10 (Children)
KUALA LUMPUR LAKE GARDENS
KL’s premier park sprawls over 200 acres, minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Built around two lakes, this tropical garden is a pleasant oasis providing a cool and soothing ambiance amidst vistas of exotic blooms, luxuriant foliage, imposing structures, majestic raintrees and creative theme parks.
KL BIRD PARK
The park, situated within the Lake gardens, features a ‘walk-in free flight aviary’ said to be the largest of its kind in the world. The beautifully landscaped surroundings is home to about 3,000 birds including hornbills, eagles, milky storks and more. Open daily from 9:00am-6:30pm.
Admission: Malaysians: RM12 (Adults) RM6 (Children)
Non-Malaysian: RM28 (adults) RM20 (Children)
ORCHID AND HIBISCUS GARDEN
The Orchid Garden features some 800 varieties of orchids including rare and exotic species. The adjacent Hibiscus Garden pays tribute to the bunga raya, the national flower.
Open daily from 9:00am-6:00pm.
Admission: RM1 on weekends and public holidays.
KL’s Chinatown possesses a distinct character of its own. This colorful street of shops, restaurants and hawker stalls is constantly a hive of activity. Flanking both sides of the street are shops selling anything from textiles to Chinese herbal medicines. There are also a number of restaurants serving authentic Chinese cuisine. Other interesting sights in the vicinity are Chinese clan houses and temples.
A chic and stylish area in the heart of the city offering excellent shopping and great entertainment Shopping complexes such as Starhill and Lot 10 offer leading international brands and top Malaysian labels. Dine alfresco in the trendy sidewalk cafes or choose from exclusive restaurants offering a variety of cuisine.
If you have an eye for novelty items, browse though the fascinating display of antiques, jewelry, gemstones, woodcarvings, pottery and glassware here. Watch the master craftsmen at work or have your portrait painted. If you are taking the PUTRA LRT to Central Market, be sure to alight at the ‘Pasar Seni’ station
Open daily from (:00am-10:30pm)
KUALA LUMPUR CRAFT COMPLEX
Styled like a Malay village, this complex along Jalan Conlay offers a lot of local ethnic handicrafts. The range includes chic batik outfits in contemporary designs, beautifully weaved songket material, ornaments and decorative items of silver and brass, silver filigree jewelry and local pottery. You may even try your hand at creating your own batik piece1 Watch the resident artists at work and take home a souvenir too.
Open daily from 9:00am-8:00pm.
Located on the fringe of the Lake Gardens, the National Museum is a repository for Malaysia’s rich cultural heritage and history. There are galleries on history, metalwork and musical instruments, culture, sports and national history. The museum also stages thematic exhibitions periodically.
Open daily from 600am-6:00pm.
Admission: RM2 (Adults) RM1 (Children)
MALAYSIA TOURISM CENTER
Located along busy Jalan Ampang, this historical landmark used to be a tin tycoon’s mansion. It served as the war office of the British army and as the headquarters of the Japanese army during the WWII. It was also the venue for the first sitting of Malaysia’s Parliament and the installation ceremonies of several kings of the country. This one-stop center offers a host of facilities for tourists. Its auditorium serves a s a venue for cultural performances. The Saloma Theater Restaurant here provides authentic Malay delights.
Open daily from 7:00am-10:00pm.
THE HERITAGE CENTER
Located along Jalan Stonor, this Tudor-inspired building dating back to 1925 houses the Heritage of Malaysia trust. Within its grounds are the Temiar Orang Asli bamboo hut and a local headman’s timber house, authentic examples of traditional local architecture.
Open Mondays to Fridays from 10:00am to 4:00pm
HOW TO GET THERE
Malaysia’s transportation systems are, by regional standards, pretty well functioning. Planes, trains, buses, and taxis are linked in a system conceived and constructed by, if not an order-loving Teuton, at least a dedicated amateur. The planners’ aims are an ultra-modern, chic, european-style system that are a far cry from the city’s humble barrio beginnings. The reality is a sound B+ with still a long way to go before hitting the top.
A bewildering jumble of initials and acronyms assault any first time journey planner in KL and it will take at least a day to decipher the scheme of things.
Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)
All scheduled flights, domestic and international, arrive at Kuala Lumpur International Airport about 50km south of the city, in the Sepang district of Selangor. The US$2.5bil glass and steel structure was inaugurated in 1998 and has been ranked as one of the world’s top airports. It superseded the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport in Subang, which is now only used for charter and turboprop flights. Over 50 airlines call at KLIA.
The Main Terminal is what gives KL its world class airport status. The Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) opened in March 2006, and is used by AirAsia , Tiger Airways, and Cebu Pacific. Though this terminal is across the runway from the Main Terminal Building, a trip between the two involves bussing for 20km (RM2.50). From the Main Terminal Building, these buses depart from the Bus Terminal on the Ground Floor of the Car Park C building. At the LCCT, they can be found at the bus bays in front of the terminal. From the KLIA Ekspres train station, head to Level 2 and follow the signs to Car Park C and the Bus Station.
In the Main Terminal, unscrupulous taxi drivers pretending to be customer service staff may try to steer tourists to much more expensive mini-buses or taxis and try to charge RM90 for them.
A gigantic new LCC Terminal is being built close to the Main Terminal and will be called “KLIA2″, due for completion in 2012. It will also be linked to the KLIA Ekspres fast train from KL Sentral Terminal in the city centre.
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