While lush green trees grow in the middle of the centre, monkeys scoot around temples and various cultures meeting together daily, Kuala Lumpur is a unique and exciting city to visit. The city with palm tree highways, modern and traditional architechures and a melting pot of mixed ethnicty, religion and culture makes Kuala Lumpur an interesting city with plenty of things to discover and explore.
The Petronas Twin Towers is the Eiffel Tower of Kuala Lumpur, being one of the tallest buildnigs in the world up till 2004. If you don’t want to kill yourself over missing this iconic megastructure when you happen to be back in your country and someone mentions visiting the Twin Towers and asked why you didn’t, be sure to put this on your must see iterinary in the city. The 88 storey building is a sight to behold during the day or night and much loved and appreciated by people who have an eye for beauty and structure. Do not be surprised to see photographers laying on their backs with their knees up trying to get the best angle possible of this picturesque sight. There is a skybridge linked at the 41st floor and an observation deck on the 86th floor where visitors can get a complete paranomic view of the entire city. It is advised to be there early in the morning to purchase ticket entrances if you plan to do this.
Cultural dance performances are sometimes held weekly in front of the entrance of Central market for those who have yet to be exposed to Malay traditional dances and costumes. If you happen to be the kind of tourist who is less inhibited and shy, feel free to join in the music, dance and learn a move or two with the friendly local performers during the show and bring back some new moves to jive back at your local club at home.
As much as skyscrapers and fancy shopping malls grow around the city like mushrooms, Kuala Lumpur is not completely void of mother nature. Many visitors outside of Malaysia are struck by the hidden forests and jungles that are found within and not too far from the city itself. For the more atheletic and adventurous, whether you’d like a light stroll or hardcore hike, there are many hills, trails, waterfalls, jungles and forests to trek. Bukit Nanas Forest Nature Reserve is one the closest forest that is reachable by foot not too far from the city centre. It is a small patch of rainforest that is still preserving trees, some animals, and other species in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. There are several trails inside the forest and some trees that are hundreds of years old that are named and marked. The place is ideal for those who are not too keen on braving their way through Amazon like forest as Tarzan without the leeches, dirt and mud experiece while still having a taste of nature and light fun.
Batu Caves is another main attraction in Kuala Lumpur, a place of devotion for the Hindus especially on Thaipusam Day, a major and significant Hindu festival in the month of January. Other than the festive purpose, Batu Caves is a limstone hill with several main caves full of mystic, religious essence, reverence, mythology and more. There are few ancient statues and idols in and around the caves and a 272 step climb leading to the main cave on the highest point. Exploring the deep dark caves can take a few hours. The atmostphere is chiled, authentic and averagely maintained with many visits from pigeons and monkeys looking for some handouts from the public. Do not attempt to be too friendly with them, keep your distance and toss your peanuts and bananas at them at an arm’s length.
One of the most important, fascinating and most universal thing to do in Kuala Lumpur is to experiment with the different local cuisines it has to offer. Immersing in the exotic different types of flavours, dishes and meals will not only satisfy your curious bellies but will provide a unique reflection of the multiethnic make up of the country and its population namely the Malays, Chinese, Indians and other minorities. Due to its historical migrations, political bents, geoprahical location and colonisation powers, Malaysia has a complicated, diverse and fused culinary tradition. From eating rice and curry served on a banana leaf, strange frothy noddles in all colors and thickness to tiny grilled meat pieces grilled over fire and colored ice shaving desserts, there is much to indulge while still having learned something uniquely Malaysian. Afer all, food is considered a hobby and favourible past time for many when eating becomes a luxury at any time of the day.
For the more cultured and artistic, head over to some renowned and independent art galleries around town to get to know both local and international art, history and design. ILHAM is a public gallery that promotes modern and contemporary Malaysian art and ideas. Petronas Gallery, which is just inside KLCC mall is another world class gallery that hosts some foreign exhibitions from time to time displaying various artwork themes. Some others worth checking out are the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, White Box, Galeri Chandan, Wei-Ling Gallery and the Royal Selangor Visitor Centre for pewter craftmanship.
Night markets in Kuala Lumpur is a very lively and buoyant activity and attraction here. Each suburb has it’s own weekly night market even on different days of the week. Sometimes they vary according to the ethnic group. There are usually Chinese and Malay night markets, both offering non-food items, fresh vegetables, fruits, local delicacies, and out of the world deep fried snacks you’ll never find on the other side of the continent. Local vendors work hard at setting up their stalls as early as 5 to 6pm and the ambience becomes more zestful as the evening slips slowly into the dark. You can happily walk away with a taste of Malaysian street food with maybe ten cute Hello Kitty Iphone 6 covers.
There is the Hop On and Hop Off bus for those who can’t stand looking at a map thus making this service a convenient option. Hop On Hop Off’s route covers 22 designated stops and 40 major attractions. Feel free to get off and see what you want or stay on board whenever.
Kuala Lumpur lives up to its world renown tagline “Malaysia Truly Asia”. It is one of the very few cities in the world that has such a vast and contrasting mix of lifestyles, cultures, achitechtures, tradition, history and ethnicities.