Kuala Lumpur – a city of Fusion, it offers the opportunity to discover a mix of culture that is Malay, Chinese and Indian, through its food, religion and architecture.
I have been fortunate to make a number of trips to Kuala Lumpur at different times of the year and as a relative of a Malaysian National affording me an insider experience.
Kuala Lumpur is a large sprawl of a city with inter-connected areas. This is not a compact city in which it is easy to walk around or drop in and out of train stations. The tourist trail is quite spread out and deserves some planning.
Somewhere near the middle is the city centre – Kuala Lumpur city city (KLCC). This is where you will find the Petronas Twin Towers.
KL Sentral is the transport hub and the heart of the RapidKL map for the city. The transport system, RapidKL has monorail that weaves through the city over ground giving you a view of how disparate the city actually is.
In some ways it is also a base for visiting what is also outside of the city – Cameron Highlands, Malacca, Genting Highlands and, for longer trips, to Penang (George Town is worthy of a visit as a city of heritage) and Sabah for its jungle life and Mount Kinabalu.
In the centre visit the heritage district to the west of China town with the Merdeka Square and its colonial buildings. The field, formerly known as Parade Ground or Padang, was once the Royal Selangor Club’s cricket pitch.
There are districts dotted around that offer their identity like Sunway i-city, and Eco city. Within walking distance of the KL Sentral station is Brickfields. Brickfields is where you will find Little India, a taste and feel of India with it’s mix of clothing shops and jewellry stores, and local restaurants serving with Indian delicacies such as dosas and curries.
South of KLCC is China town. Now this is tourist central, with its crowded markets and bustling streets and restaurants. I prefer to visit Bukit Bintang for dinner and enjoy the night life. During the day here make a visit to Petaling Street, and Central Market for the other side of the Chinese retail trail.
There are also areas at the end of the public transport links with visiting. Batu Caves is it’s own unique attraction with the dramatic statue and long walk up to the temple in the cave. And there is also Klang, an old Indian town with it’s own share of seafood restaurants, literally on the bay offering a combination of fresh food and good views. The international airport KLIA2 is very far out from the city; it’s a journey in itself – the only insight I gain from it is KL’s congestion problems.
Kuala Lumpur is a maze that you want to avoid getting lost in. You look for a labyrinthine way to circumnavigate its moments of history, culture, or nods to the future. You will want to ensure you hide inside a mall, or somewhere less bustling, from the stifling midday heat, and take a break before you get lost in the night markets and discover the fusion of culinary delights that is Malay, Chinese and Indian food.