The capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, is situated in the state of Selangor, at the confluence of Klang and Gombak rivers.
After Melaka was conquered, Selangor was ruled by Johor and then taken over by the Bugis of Celebes in the early 18th century. It was only in 1874 that it became part of the British Protectorate.
KL is historically located in a district rich in rubber-planting and tin-mining. It was founded in 1857 by Chinese tin-miners. Subsequently the British government moved their headquarters to KL from Klang in 1880 and the city has been the capital of modern Malaysia since.
Sights & Activities
Squeeze with the crowds in Petaling Street (Chinatown): Not the best place to buy branded goods (mostly fakes) but a good start to soak in the traditional night market aka pasar malam atmosphere.
Shop till your pants drop: The city houses an impressive selection of megamalls to cater to all your needs. Coupled with the annual Malaysia Mega Sale that spans July to September (coinciding with the Malaysia National Day on 30th August), expect to find really fantastic deals.
These are the main shopping areas and you can read up about these individual malls here.
- Bangsar – Midvalley Megamall
- Ampang – Suria KLCC (located at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers)
- Bukit Bintang – Berjaya Times Square; Pavilion; Sungai Wang; Lot 10
- Petaling Jaya – One Utama
Pose before the Petronas Twin Towers: The second tallest structure in the world features prominently as the city landmark. It looks regal when it is all lit up, representing a shining beacon of Malaysia’s future.
Explore the Lake Gardens:For nature lovers, take a break from the city life in this Botanical Gardens right smack in the middle of the city. The park is bigger than it looks and has a huge fairy tale themed playground for children, dinosaur sculptured hedges, a mini deer park, orchid garden, butterfly park and the world’s largest covered aviary. What more can you want?
Feast to your stomach’s content: There is no shortage of places to eat in the city at all times of the day.
- Search out Jalan Alor (located at the intersection of Hotel Nova and Jalan Bukit Bintang) where food stalls line the streets late into the night, serving a wide selection of Thai seafood cuisine at ridiculously low prices.
- Trace the origin of Ampang Yong Tau Foo by following Jalan Ampang in the direction of Ampang LRT and turn right after passing Spectrum shopping centre. Operates only for breakfast and lunch (5pm).
Zip away on Airasia: KL is the base for one of the world’s best low cost carrier where you can travel to surrounding Asian countries for absolutely nothing excluding airport taxes.
By car – KL is about 330km from Johor Bahru via the North-South Highway. Toll charges approximate RM50 from JB.
By train from Singapore – KTM operates an overnighter from Singapore’s Tanjong Pagar KTM Station. Leaving the station around 10pm, you can expect to reach KL Sentral about 7am the next morning. A berth cost about SGD38 in 2007.
Navigation within the city can be quite nightmarish due to the confusing confluence of roads and highways as well as traffic jams.
The LRT is a good alternative although ticket fares are relatively costly.
Walking in the city is not a pleasant option as the pavements are not well maintained and in certain sections of the city, non-existent.