Mosques, skyscrapers, giant towers, a TV tower, a huge number of people from all over the world… Kuala Lumpur is something incredible, which is not in this city! The government and the prime minister moved from here to Putrajaya, located nearby – and the administrative center of Malaysia is now located there. But this did not affect the tourist interest in Kuala Lumpur in any way – especially since the city is definitely worth it to stay here longer. Of course, its main guests are transit tourists who have already changed their shoes into slippers and dream of heavenly beaches, but for those who come for a week or two, there will be something to do here. Architectural and historical sightsKuala Lumpur, green parks, budget shopping, panoramic views from skyscrapers – this is just a partial list of local tourist attractions. Please note: in order to capture a bird’s-eye view of the city with your own camera, sometimes you have to sign up in line as much as three days in advance.
According to liuxers.com, Kuala Lumpur (or simply “K-El”, as the locals call it), the capital of Malaysia, is located in the southwest of the Malay Peninsula, in a low-mountain valley at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers. A walk around the city should start from the very center, at the oldest mosque, Masjid Jamek, which is located at the intersection of two rivers, the birthplace of Kuala Lumpur.
The history of Kuala Lumpur began 140 years ago with tin. At that time, the city was what its name means in Malay – “dirty river mouth.” The metropolis grew in the 80s. 19th century on the site of the camp of the first tin miners – Chinese Hakka adventurers. It was located where the Klang and Gombak rivers flow into a single stream, colored brown-gray by tin deposits.
The history of Kuala Lumpur began 140 years ago with tin.
Gradually the city developed, and in 1880 it became the capital of the Principality of Selangor. In 1931, there were already 110,000 inhabitants, and 30 years later, despite the fact that tin mining was already in decline, Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the Federation of Malaysia and one of the fastest growing cities in Southeast Asia.
District to Kuala Lumpur
The whole city is divided into several districts, the most popular of which are the Central and the Golden Triangle.
The Central District is the historical center of the Malaysian capital, a major cultural, administrative and commercial area. The main transport routes, all kinds of shopping centers, hotels and cafes are concentrated here. Top attractions are Merdeka Square, National Mosque, Sultan Abdul Samad’s Palace and Chinatown Chinatown. Many tourists who want to plunge headlong into the exotic atmosphere of an oriental city settle here: there are many cheap hotels and hostels in the noisy, bustling Chinatown. However, you should be prepared for the fact that the level of local service and cleanliness of most rooms leaves much to be desired.
The Golden Triangle is the most famous shopping and entertainment area located in the northeast of Kuala Lumpur. This is a place of accumulation of the largest shopping malls and fashionable five-star hotels. Arriving here from the Central District, you seem to find yourself in another Malaysia: modern, dynamic, with skyscrapers rushing up. In the Golden Triangle, Bukit Bintang Road is an ideal place for shopping and comfortable accommodation. Prices in democratic hotels and hostels here are not much higher than in Chinatown, and the rooms are much cleaner and more comfortable.
The Golden Triangle also includes another small but popular tourist area – Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). It is here that one of the most recognizable symbols of the city is located – the famous Petronas Twin Towers with a height of 88 floors.
For original souvenirs, you should go to the Chow Kit and Tuanku Abdul Rahman districts, located between the historical center and the Golden Triangle. Numerous shops and stalls sell traditional Malaysian items that are unlikely to be found anywhere else.
Hotels in Kuala Lumpur
The most expensive and high-quality hotels in Kuala Lumpur are located in the historical center and the Golden Triangle area. From here it is most convenient to get to famous sights; the best restaurants and shopping centers are within walking distance. Depending on the “star” of the hotels, room prices range from MYR 95 to MYR 450 per night, during the rainy season (in April, May and October) the cost may decrease. Among the most popular hotels in the area are Star Points, Sheraton Imperial, Prescott Medan Tuanku, The Reeds.
It is more convenient for clubbers and fans of nightlife to settle in trendy Bangsar – the famous metropolitan clubs are within easy reach. Inexpensive housing is scattered throughout the metropolis, but the most affordable hotels are located in Chinatown (on average 60-70 MYR per room). However, it is worth settling here only for those who are tuned in to the Asian exotic “in its purest form”: in terms of service and cleanliness of the rooms, most hotels in Chinatown are significantly inferior to other hotels in the city. The average cost of living in a hostel is 50 MYR per bed. The best option for tourists on a budget are three-star hotels located near the center (about 85 MYR per room) and in the very center of the city (up to 250 MYR per room).
Kuala Lumpur has many large shopping centers, noisy markets and small shops with a unique local flavor. The most popular souvenirs are bronze, tin and silver items, ceramics, carpets and, of course, batik. Hand-painted tunics, scarves, tablecloths, napkins and pillowcases are valued all over the world for the richness of patterns and the high quality of tailoring and painting.
For original souvenirs, it is best to go to the Central Market, where many interesting products from local artisans are sold. In the area of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Street, small trading shops filled with exotic gizmos and large shopping malls with boutiques of famous designers coexist. For example, connoisseurs of antiques and oriental art will find China Arts and Peiping Lace stores here, while fans of branded clothing and fashionable shoes will find Sogo, Pertama Complex, Kamdar, Globe Silk Store and Maju Junction shopping centers.
Another incredibly popular shopping destination is the Bukit Bintang area, home to many modern business and shopping centers. Clothing, shoes, leather and jewelry, accessories, cosmetics, electronics, furniture – in a huge assortment of numerous stores, there will certainly be goods for every taste and budget.
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What to try
Malaysian cuisine is a cross between Thai rice with coconut milk and hot spices, Indian chicken curry and Chinese fish in ginger. Therefore, a person who rarely visits Asia may not like food at all at first. Strange ingredients, unusual tastes and absolutely incomprehensible names. Some shock will be the minimum sanitation in street eateries, unpleasant odors and even insects. International fast food places like McDonald’s and KFC also look like street eateries here.
However, it is cheap cafes that give Kuala Lumpur a national flavor. The most popular ones work in the area of the famous Petronas Towers. The Malay authorities left a piece of antiquity in the very center of the capital – wooden huts and traditional local cuisine are still preserved here. It also sells fruit at a market price. Gourmets recommend trying dishes that are considered the hallmark of Kuala Lumpur: laksa thick fish soup, satay seafood on skewers, nasi lemak rice in banana leaves and sweet pancakes stuffed with apam balik.
On the pedestrian streets there are covered food courts equipped as a buffet. In one of them, be sure to try the brewed barley tincture, which is drunk warm, flavored with lemon juice.
It is easy to navigate by the names of the districts of the city: in Little India – Brickfields – you will find a myriad of Indian cafes, in Chinatown – Chinese ones. Our advice: when walking the streets during the day, pay attention to the establishments where the locals eat – this is an indicator of the optimal price-quality ratio, as well as a guarantee that they cook the “right” food there. Then head to these cafes in the evening, prices may vary depending on the time of day. By the way, it is in Brickfields that they prepare real rice on a banana leaf and the famous masala tea. And in the Malay village of Kampong Baru, you can try the pink syrup with condensed milk “sirap bandung”, which, according to legend, makes a person young and beautiful. Here, during Ramadan, the largest Ramadan bazaar in the city operates.
A visiting card of Kuala Lumpur: laksa thick fish soup, rice in banana leaves nasi lemak and sweet apam balik pancakes.
A real rarity in Kukla Lumpur is pork dishes. Her and other European dishes with a familiar taste are more often prepared in restaurants of a higher class, the most popular of which can be called Italian.
Cafes and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur
The capital of Malaysia is an ideal place for gourmets who want to get acquainted with authentic oriental cuisine. Local cuisine is a bright mix of Malaysian, Chinese, Indian and even African gastronomic traditions. The favorite product here is rice, which is included in the recipe of most national dishes. It is served literally everywhere: in expensive restaurants, and in street stalls, which are very popular both among the Malaysians themselves and among numerous tourists from all over the world.
The best restaurants in Kuala Lumpur are located at a bird’s eye view: on the roof of the legendary Petronas Tower and on the top floors of luxury hotels. Here you will be offered original dishes of Asian and international cuisine: traditional rice cooked according to an exclusive recipe, exquisite seafood, juicy meat. The average check for dinner is up to 300 MYR.
For cheaper, but no less tasty Asian food, you should go to chain establishments, food courts in shopping centers and small local restaurants.
A full lunch in an inexpensive cafe will cost 75-180 MYR.
But you can feel the real flavor of Kuala Lumpur only by tasting traditional street food! Friendly owners of stalls located on every corner will gladly offer you a solid portion of rice, stewed vegetables and, of course, the famous sate-ayam chicken skewers. Almost any local delicacy can be bought for 8-12 MYR, and tea or freshly squeezed juice for 4 MYR. And don’t worry about the quality of the food: in most cases, delicious and fresh ingredients are used for their preparation. The best proof of this is the queues of local residents.
Tired of Asian exotics, go to any of the restaurants of national cuisine of other countries. Kuala Lumpur has Italian, French, German, American restaurants where you can taste famous dishes from different nations of the world.
Waiters in cafes and restaurants most often speak English, so you can easily choose and order any dish you like on the menu.
Finally, some practical advice. It is not customary to leave a tip in cafes and restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. The exception is some fashionable establishments that include up to 10% of the order amount in the bill. When buying food in tents and cheap cafes, take it with you: employees of street eateries do not monitor the cleanliness of the tables too closely. The most colorful gastronomic establishments are located in the Golden Triangle – the largest shopping and entertainment area of the city. Most restaurants close at 22:00, but many local fast food shops are open around the clock.