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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur, called KL by locals, is Malaysia's federal capital and largest city at 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million). Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, impressive shopping districts, food from all parts of the world, and natural wonders within day-trip distance.

Kuala Lumpur is a sprawling city with residential suburbs that seem to go on forever. The city proper is a 243 km2 (94 sq mi) Federal Territory managed by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and comprising eight divisions which are further split into 42 local areas, mainly for administrative purposes. The following districts have been conceptualized for visitors to Kuala Lumpur.

Beyond the Kuala Lumpur city proper are the adjacent satellite cities of Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Port Klang, Ampang, Puchong, Selayang/Rawang, Kajang and Sepang, all in the... Read more

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Destination:

Kuala Lumpur, called KL by locals, is Malaysia's federal capital and largest city at 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million). Kuala Lumpur is a cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, impressive shopping districts, food from all parts of the world, and natural wonders within day-trip distance.

Kuala Lumpur is a sprawling city with residential suburbs that seem to go on forever. The city proper is a 243 km2 (94 sq mi) Federal Territory managed by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall and comprising eight divisions which are further split into 42 local areas, mainly for administrative purposes. The following districts have been conceptualized for visitors to Kuala Lumpur.

Beyond the Kuala Lumpur city proper are the adjacent satellite cities of Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang, Port Klang, Ampang, Puchong, Selayang/Rawang, Kajang and Sepang, all in the state of Selangor, which enclaves Kuala Lumpur. These cities all merge such that it can be hard to know where Kuala Lumpur ends and Selangor begins. The culmination of these cities is a huge metropolis known as Greater Kuala Lumpur or more commonly, Klang Valley.

As in most of Malaysia’s cities and towns, Malaysian Chinese form a majority of the population, at 55%, in Kuala Lumpur. Malays (who form the majority of Malaysia's population, overall) and Malaysian Indians are also present in large numbers in the city, and there are substantial numbers of more recent immigrants and workers from South and Southeast Asia, Eurasians, and expatriates from Western countries and the Middle East. The result is a mix of cultures that meld together to make Kuala Lumpur a modern and diverse capital.

Kuala Lumpur is said to be locked in an unofficial rivalry with nearby city-state Singapore. Ethnic Chinese-dominated Singapore was separated from the indigenous Malay-majority Federation due primarily to irreconcilable ideological differences. Singapore strove to become a viable independent state and spurred rapid development, which the Malaysians sought to keep up with by investing in Kuala Lumpur. If Singapore has a first class airport, so does KL. When Singapore got an efficient urban transport system, so did KL. As Singapore becomes clean and green, so does KL. Everywhere you go, there are swats and strips of manicured public lawns and refreshing jungle-like parks - just like Singapore. If Singapore has an aquatic park and a bird park, so does KL. Same thing with an orchid park and butterfly park. If Singapore renovates and paints its colonial shop houses with tutti frutti colors, so does KL. If Singapore builds theme parks, so does KL. And if Singapore aims to be a shopping mecca with a plethora of shopping malls and all sorts of gimmicks, so does KL. What Singapore has, KL matches. So if you've been to Singapore, you will have seen it all in KL, a bit of déjà vu, or vice versa.

Both cities' locations on the geographically, economically and politically important Bangkok-Jakarta corridor have favored their growth. The two cities are built from the same cultural ingredients, though in different proportions: Chinese culture is more dominant in Singapore.

History

Founded in 1857 under British rule as a tin mining outpost, Kuala Lumpur is fairly new as far as Malaysian cities go and lack the rich history of Georgetown or Malacca. Due to the success of tin mining, Kuala Lumpur began to flourish but had problems with gang fighting in the late 1800s. Following this, Kuala Lumpur faced further misfortune after much of the city burnt down in a large fire as most buildings were built from wood and thatch. As a result, buildings in Kuala Lumpur were required to be built with brick and tile. After these rough early years, Kuala Lumpur began to prosper and was made capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896.

During World War II, Kuala Lumpur and the Federated Malay States were occupied by the Japanese from 1942 to 1945. During this time the economy was virtually halted. Soon after the British regained power, it was declared that the Federated Malay States were to become the Malayan Union and work toward independence began. In 1952, Kuala Lumpur was one of the first cities in the Union to hold elections. Malaya's independence was declared in 1957 in front of huge crowds at what was later named Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium), and Kuala Lumpur continued as the new nation's capital.

In 1972, Kuala Lumpur was given city status and by 1974 became a Federal Territory of Malaysia in its own right, hence losing the title as a capital city of Selangor. The economic boom of the 1990s brought Kuala Lumpur the standard trappings of a modern city, but it was severely hit by the Asian financial crisis of 1997, which stalled the Malaysian economy and led to the abandonment or delay of many construction projects. Today, Kuala Lumpur has become a modern city, bristling with skyscrapers and with a modern transportation system. Despite this, Kuala Lumpur has still kept some of its historical charm.

Climate

As Kuala Lumpur is only 3 degrees north of the Equator, you can expect tropical weather year round. Shielded by the Titiwangsa Mountains to the east and Sumatra to the west, temperatures are relatively cooler than other cities within Peninsular Malaysia. Expect sunny days with temperatures above 30°C (86°F) and slightly cooler evenings, particularly when afternoon showers occur and humidity is high. Rainfall can be sporadic and quite torrential at times but usually does not last very long. During the wet season, around October to March, the northeast monsoon brings heavy rainfall that can occasionally flood some areas of Kuala Lumpur. The months around June and July could be classed as the dry season, but even then it can frequently rain.
Occasionally, due to forest fires from Sumatra around May to October, haze can blanket the city and surrounding regions, and it is best to remain indoors if you suffer from asthma.
As the weather can be hot and humid during the day, try to dress lightly if you expect to be outside and, while it may seem obvious, don't forget to remain hydrated. Also keep in mind that mosques and some temples have strict dress codes, although many do supply gowns to cover you if you are inadequately dressed. If you do find it too hot to be outside, consider going to a shopping mall to relax and work that credit card in air-conditioned comfort.

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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Port Information


Kuala Lumpur is not by the sea, so it is not possible to get in directly by boat. The nearby Port Klang, about 40 km west of Kuala Lumpur, serves as the main port for this region.
Cruise Terminal at Port Klang has everything you need. Usually, cruise companies offer shuttle service.
Take an organized tour to Kuala Lumpur.
Besides, you can take a taxi to Kuala Lumpur or to a train station in Klang and get to Kuala Lumpur by train.
 

Get around Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur's ambitious public transport system is sufficiently developed to be fairly efficient and convenient, but much room for improvement lies in its integration. The city, like many developing cities, suffers from paralyzing traffic jams periodically throughout the day. In the rush hours, consider combining various methods of transport.

By train

Rail comes in six distinct flavors, all under the RapidKL network except for the KTM Komuter.

  1. LRT Kelana Jaya ( useful for getting to the KLCC area and Chinatown)
  2. LRT Ampang and LRT Sri Petaling ( these two lines follow the same track until diverging at Chan Sow Lin)
  3. KTM Komuter ( Not of much use to tourists besides getting to Batu Caves or Mid Valley Mall)
  4. KL Monorail ( Passes by many important areas, chiefly the Bukit Bintang shopping district)
  5. MRT Sungai Buloh - Kajang

All lines, with the exception of the Ampang/Sri Petaling LRT lines travel through Kuala Lumpur's main transport hub, KL Sentral. The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT stops at Muzium Negara station which is physically linked to KL Sentral. A bus connection from Pusat Bandar Damansara MRT station is available via bus T819. However, to reach the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines from KL Sentral involves a simple trip on the Kelana Jaya LRT to Masjid Jamek station.

All announcements are made in Malay and English, whether automated or not.

The Touch 'n Go card (RM10 at major stations, convenience stores e.g MyNews ) can be used on all lines except the airport express. The card works like an Oyster or Octopus card and is also used to pay for the toll. It can be reloaded almost anywhere EXCEPT RapidKL ticket machines on all lines bar the MRT line; look for a convenience store or a petrol station. There is a significant cashless fare discounted rate if one uses a cashless method of payment.

Tips and tricks:

  1. The LRT lines have had various names in the past (Kelana Jaya line was the PUTRA line; Ampang line was the STAR line), don't be surprised to see signage different from the names listed here.
  2. KL Monorail's "KL Sentral" station is not that close to KL Sentral. The way between the two is signposted and generally has a steady stream of people you can follow. There is a bank of escalators leading up to a shopping mall, Nu Sentral at the side of the KL Sentral concourse nearest to the KLIA Transit entrance. Follow the signposts and the metal tactile marking on the floor until you reach an escalator. Descend one level, and the monorail station will be visible through the glass doors.
  3. The rapid transit trains (LRT, monorail, and MRT) follow intervals that change with time of the day and day of the week. Line frequencies are typically 4-7 minutes on weekends, and with the period between trains decreased to two/three minutes at peak hours. Expect a slightly longer wait on the monorail. Service disruptions on rapid transit are relatively rare.
  4. Accessibility to the disabled varies between lines. The MRT line is fully disabled accessible, and even has facilities for the hearing impaired to pipe announcements through their hearing aids. The LRT Kelana Jaya and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines are mostly accessible to the blind and wheelchair-bound, though once out of the station it may be difficult getting around without an assistant. The KL Monorail line is not wheelchair friendly ( but has tactile markings), but lifts are slowly being installed along the line. The BRT Sunway is also largely accessible. Accessibility for the disabled along the KTM Komuter lines vary with the station, and should not be relied upon as a given.
  5. The system can take a while to get familiar with, due to sometimes illogical design decisions e.g some interchanges. Don't hesitate to ask a member of the station staff ( most will be able to speak good enough English to give directions) for directions, or a fellow commuter ( those who are smartly dressed are most likely to speak English fluently). Signposts are your friend, they are normally extremely clear and are both in Malay and English.

Detailed information on the lines

  • The MRT is composed of one line, the Sungai Buloh - Kajang line. The SBK line runs from the suburbs of Sungai Buloh and passes by many affluent districts (e.g Mutiara Damansara) until terminating at Kajang.

There are interchange stations at Sungai Buloh ( with KTM ), Muzium Negara (with KTM, Kelana Jaya LRT, ERL, and KL Monorail - requires some walking through a pedestrian link to KL Sentral), Pasar Seni ( with LRT Kelana Jaya ), Bukit Bintang (with KL Monorail), Maluri (with LRT Ampang Line) and Kajang (KTM).

  • The LRT is a medium capacity metro system ( although the letters LRT stand for Light Rail Transit) and forms the backbone of the metro in Kuala Lumpur together with the MRT line, with three lines making up the system.

The Ampang line and Sri Petaling line merge at Chan sow lin station and run on the same platform at all stations to Sentul Timur station. This line can be used for access to Chinatown and Pudu Sentral Bus Station at Plaza Rakyat station. There are relatively simple interchanges at Titiwangsa (monorail), Putra Heights (LRT Kelana Jaya) Hang Tuah (KL Monorail), Masjid Jamek (LRT Kelana Jaya). The interchanges at PWTC (KTM), Bandaraya (KTM) and Sultan Ismail (KL Monorail) require exiting the paid area of the station and walking a distance, in some instances a long distance with no escalators or lifts.

The Kelana Jaya line travels through several key tourist areas including Pasar Seni station for Chinatown and the central market, KLCC station for the Petronas Towers and Suria KLCC shopping center. It also stops by the shopping and foodie areas of Subang Jaya, which are worth a stop. Additionally, you can alight at Masjid Jamek station (this station can be confusing, please make sure of which direction you are heading in, which is indicated by terminus instead of compass direction) and transfer to the Ampang/Sri Petaling lines without leaving the ticketed area. Important interchange stations are at KL Sentral and Masjid Jamek.

  • The KL Monorail is an entirely elevated line that loops through the Golden Triangle in a semi-circle. Use this line for access to Bukit Bintang, a major shopping area, or Bukit Nanas, for clubbing at Jalan P. Ramlee and the Petronas towers. Be aware that fares are a little more expensive than the LRT. Bukit Nanas station is listed as an interchange with the LRT Kelana Jaya but be aware this entails a 200m walk, but under a sheltered walkway. 
  • The KTM Komuter is a commuter train service and comprise of two lines that meet in the city centre and run out to the suburbs. The service is not as frequent or efficient as other rail in Kuala Lumpur and it is not odd for trains to be late either. Despite this, the rolling stock is quite modern and fares are cheaper than the LRT and Monorail. The KTM Komuter is great for travel to Batu Caves and Midvalley Mega Mall.
  • The Express Rail Link (ERL), completed in 2002, runs between KL Sentral and Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) with 2 types of train services, KLIA Ekspres and KLIA transit. The KLIA Ekspres service runs non-stop between KL sentral and KLIA, taking 28 minutes, whilst the KLIA Transit service stops at Salak Tinggi, Putrajaya/Cyberjaya and Bandar Tasik Selatan en route, taking 36 minutes.

In the past connectivity between the different lines was quite poor but upgrades to the system have helped to integrate a few key stations along the LRT and Monorail lines without purchasing separate tickets. To transfer between the Kelana Jaya line and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines, alight at Masjid Jamek or Putra Heights ( at the far end of both lines). For transfers between the KL Monorail and Ampang/Sri Petaling lines then alight at either Hang Tuah or Titiwangsa stations. Beyond the above mentioned interchange stations, the only way to transfer between lines is to purchase a separate ticket for each leg and potentially walk for some of the journey. To transfer between the MRT line and the monorail, one can alight at Bukit Bintang. Another future MRT transfer will be at Pasar Seni (with LRT Kelana Jaya).

By bus

Double-decker KL Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing tour buses serve 42 notable places. There is free Wi-Fi on board. An information commentary is given through headphones. Tickets (valid for 24 or 48 hrs) give unlimited use during their validity. Children under 5 ride free. The buses are scheduled every half hour but waits may be as long as two hours due to traffic jams, so try to maximize use of the service outside rush hours.

The free bus service Go KL started 1 September 2012 in the Central Business District (CBD) with two circular bus routes. The Purple Line starts at Pasar Seni and travels to the shopping area of Bukit Bintang, where it links up with the Green Line looping around KLCC. From 1 May 2014, two more routes have been added. The Red Line connects the North of CBD with the South, linking KL Sentral to Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman through the Chow Kit area. At Medan Mara, it meets the Blue Line, which goes on from there to join the per-existing lines at Bukit Bintang. The buses get very crowded during peak hours, but are efficient and clearly signposted. There are announcements in Malay and English.

RapidKL operates a cheap and comprehensive public bus network in and around Kuala Lumpur, but low frequencies (2-3 per hour on most routes) and the near-total lack of signs makes this a poor option for the casual visitor. The buses themselves have clear destination information; so if you happen upon one heading in the right direction, jump on board - though be prepared for cramped waits in rush hour traffic. For those (few) attractions best visited by bus, specific bus information is given at each place of interest on this page. If you do venture on board a RapidKL bus, it's worth noting that these buses are broadly divided in three categories:

  • Bandar (B) routes are city centre shuttles,
  • Utama (U) buses travel to outlying suburbs
  • Tempatan (T) buses are feeder services for train stations.

For all three RapidKL routes, you can either buy zone-based single tickets on board, or use a Touch 'n Go card (sold on board - unclear if this still applies as of 2017). When using Touch 'n Go, tap in once at the reader near the driver - you may need to hold the card for 2-3 seconds until it beeps ) and tap at the reader near the middle doors when exiting or you will be charged the highest possible fare. BET ( Bus Expressway Transit) services use the highways. Buses run from 6 AM-11 PM or so, with no night services.

The BRT Sunway Line is an elevated bus rapid transit line ( which is part of the RapidKL network) which serves the township of Bandar Sunway, and is useful for visiting attractions like Sunway Lagoon and Sunway Pyramid. It interchanges with the LRT Kelana Jaya at USJ7 and the KTM Komuter network at Setia Jaya. Frequency is similar to that of the aforementioned rapid transit networks.

By taxi

Normal red and white taxis and bright blue executive taxis are good options if you can get them to use the meter. There are also various small surcharges for radio call, baggage, etc.

Drivers are less likely to use the meter when demand exceeds supply, such as during the rush hour or when it rains. Prices then become negotiable (before setting off) and inflated (2-10 times the meter price). This is illegal but realistically the only thing you can do is walk away and find a different driver (by law they are required to use the meter). A cab hailed off the street is more likely to use the meter than one that stalks tourist spots. If stuck with a driver that won't use the meter, negotiate hard. If you are staying in an expensive hotel, hide your affluence and give a nearby shopping mall as your destination instead.

After midnight, meter prices are increased by 50%.

During rush hour it's generally best to combine public transport with taxis.

A few popular places (notably both airports, KL Sentral, Menara KL and Sunway Pyramid Megamall) enforce a prepaid coupon systems, which generally work out more expensive than using the meter, but cheaper than bargaining.

Some taxi drivers will hang around near hotels offering tours similar to those offered by established companies. Some of these drivers are quite knowledgeable and you may end up with a specially tailored, private tour for less than the cost of an official tour. Know the going rates before driving a bargain!

If you get so off the beaten track that you need to call a cab, here are some telephone numbers:

  • Comfort Cabs ☎ +60 3 6253-1313
  • Sunlight Taxi Unicablink ☎ 1300 800 222
  • Public Cab ☎ +60 3 6259-2020
  • Uptown Ace ☎ +60 3 9283-2333
  • Keeganlam Executive Taxi services ☎ +60 17 663-2696
  • Executive Taxi Tour Service ☎ +60 14 267-5934

By car

Kuala Lumpur has good quality roads, but driving in the city can be a nightmare with massive traffic jams, a convoluted web of expressways and often-confusing road signage. If driving, be especially aware of sudden lane changes by cars and reckless motorcyclists who tend to weave in and out of traffic.

Do not park in the road in busy districts such as Bangsar or Bukit Bintang because other cars might block you by parking next to you in the 2nd or 3rd lane. Use covered car parks or park a bit off the beaten path, and then walk back.

Renting a car is an option for traveling in Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia.

On foot

The old centre of Kuala Lumpur fairly compact and the old buildings in various state of repair are great for exploring on foot. Even plodding between the colonial area and the new glass and steel sector (see walking tour below) is enjoyable outside the hottest hours of 11:00-03:00. Major roads are well lit, making evening strolling undaunting and pleasant. Signs are clear and well placed and pavements are wide and uncluttered, but slippery in the rain. Shady tree-lined walkways provide shade on some of the larger roads. Pedestrian crossings are common and are generally respected by drivers. Jaywalking is technically illegal but overlooked.

This circular walking tour (2-3h) starts in Chinatown and loops through the modern Golden Triangle, missing the historic buildings of the old centre:

  1. Start in Chinatown (Petaling Street)
  2. Head towards the vertically striped wedge of the Maybank building. Head along Jalan Pudu, passing to the left of Pudu Sentral bus station. After 800 m, turn on to Jalan Bukit Bintang at the Royale Bintang Hotel.
  3. Jalan Bukit Bintang is a major shopping street: stop for coffee at Bintang Walk, or check out the electronics mega-mall, Plaza Low Yat.
  4. When Bintang meets Jalan Sultan Ismail and the monorail, turn left, following the monorail.
  5. After 1 km of Sultan Ismail, turn right on to Jalan P. Ramlee. This lead to the Petronas Twin Towers. Be amazed!
  6. Head back down Jalan P. Ramlee
  7. Merge onto Jalan Raja Chulan near the KL Tower and head back to the Maybank building and Chinatown.

If you're fortunate enough to do this walk on a typical Sunday afternoon you will find a calm and attractive city.

Disabled Travelers

Like many cities in SE Asia, KL presents a great challenge for travelers with mobility impairments. Sidewalks are often in disrepair, curbs are high, and curb cuts are often missing or inadequate. Wheelchair users will frequently find their path of travel obstructed by poorly designed or narrow sidewalks, parked cars, motorcycles, fences, stairs, trees, etc., and will rarely be able to travel more than 50 meters without having to backtrack or divert to the road. In many areas of the city, it is virtually impossible to travel without an assistant. Crossing the road or having to wheel on the road (in case the sidewalk is obstructed) can be very dangerous, as many drivers do not expect, nor yield to, wheelchair users. You will occasionally find accessibility features like ramps or elevators obstructed or unserviceable. A notable exception are the KLCC and Bukit Bintang areas, where shopping malls and pedestrian areas are built to modern accessibility standards. Public buildings, hotels and malls provide an adequate supply of handicap bathrooms. Much of the rail system is inaccessible, most notably the monorail (which is in the process of being fitted with stair lifts, but is currently off limits). Some buses are equipped with ramps, but they are assigned haphazardly and do not run on a fixed schedule. Many locals will not be used to seeing travelers in wheelchairs, but will generally be helpful.

What to see in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


When people think of Kuala Lumpur the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Petronas Towers, which is located in the Golden Triangle. Whilst they most certainly are an architectural delight (particularly at night), there is much more to be discovered in Kuala Lumpur. Competing with the Petronas Towers is KL Tower (Menara KL), which looks oddly similar to other famous skyscrapers. The real joy of Kuala Lumpur lies in wandering randomly, seeing, shopping and eating your way through it.

Being part of a former British colony, many colonial buildings are scattered throughout, with many lending themes from both British and North African architecture. The grandest colonial buildings lie in the city center including the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, the charming Masjid Jamek at the confluence on the Klang River and the former offices of the Colonial Secretariat (now the Sultan Abdul Samad Building) on Merdeka Square. To top it off on Merdeka Square's west side, you will find the Royal Selangor Club, looking like a rejected transplant straight from Stratford-upon-Avon.

The National Mosque, Masjid Negara, (1965) celebrates the bold ambitions of the newly independent Malaysia. The National Monument in the pretty Lake Gardens is inspired by the Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Also in the lake gardens is Carcosa Seri Negara, the former residence of the British High Commissioner, which now houses an upmarket hotel and colonial-style tea rooms. Within the city center is also the fascinating narrow streets of Chinatown, Kuala Lumpur's traditional commercial district, with its many Chinese shops and places to eat.

Nature and wildlife

While Kuala Lumpur is more of a concrete jungle compared to other parts of the country, it is still easy enough to delve into nature. The Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM) is a great escape from the busy life of Kuala Lumpur. The hikes are easy and you can go up a canopy walkway to get a good view of KL on a clear day. There is a nice tea house in the FRIM compound where you can sample various types of local teas and snacks. Get there early as it is more likely to rain later in the day. You can get to FRIM via KTM Komuter. Stop at Kepong or Kepong Sentral and grab a short taxi ride.

For something more centrally located try the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, located at the base of Menara KL. The forest provides for an easy trek that you can enjoy on your own; but the many specimens are likely more appreciated through guided tours which are free and can be arranged from KL Tower. The massive Lake Gardens, located in the western part of the Old City Centre is another great option and you could literally spend a whole day venturing around the park. Within Lake Gardens are many attractions and various parks including the KL Bird Park, Orchid Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Deer Park, Mouse Deer Park, and a butterfly park. An indoor alternative is the Aquaria KLCC, in the Golden Triangle near the KL Convention Centre. The aquarium contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish.

What to do in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Kuala Lumpur is well known for its wide range of shopping and eating options, which are adequately covered in the Eat and Buy sections of this article and listings within the district articles. Skyscraper Gazing is the obvious option, with glass and steel abound and excellent views available from the Petronas Towers or the KL Tower (Menara KL) viewing decks, both located in the Golden Triangle.

Arts & Culture

Like much of Kuala Lumpur, there is an interesting mix of arts and culture to experience, ranging from traditional Malay to Islamic to modern. Several good theatres and performance halls have emerged as part of Malaysia's drive to encourage greater cultural expression. These include the National Theatre (Istana Budaya) and the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre in the northern part of the city, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (Dewan Filharmonik) in the Twin Towers, and the Actors Studio at Lot 10. Leading museums in the Old City Centre are the National Museum, which covers the region's history, and the well-regarded Islamic Arts Museum, which houses a small but captivating collection.

Pampering

Pampering and spas can be found in several five-star hotels and independent centers in the Golden Triangle. There's also nail parlors and beauty salons, which are generally good value, there's also high-end ones offering similar services for a premium. Reflexology and foot massage places are everywhere, especially in Bukit Bintang in the Golden Triangle and in Chinatown.

For those who are willing to be a bit more adventurous, try hunting down a fish foot spa and relax whilst fish nibble away at your feet. However do be careful which one you go to as some are of low standard and you may get an infection or even a blood-borne disease. Try a fish spa in a tourist area as these tend to be better maintained.

Sports

Urban sports such as golfing, cycling, running, jogging and horse riding are common in Kuala Lumpur. If you’re into rock climbing, the Batu Caves in the Northern suburbs is popular. However, given Malaysia's stunning terrain, you’re better off heading to other places for anything more strenuous or challenging.

You can also watch the local football match at the KLFA Stadium in Cheras. Kuala Lumpur FA is a football team based in Kuala Lumpur and currently plays in the top division of football in Malaysia, the Malaysia Super League. Match schedule and fixture can be seen at the KLFA website.

Volunteer

Volunteering is not often the first thing you may consider doing when in Kuala Lumpur, however, there are various projects to give your time and help out the community. Regardless of spending one day or even a week or more volunteering for a cause, you will probably find something that you are interested in. Below are some volunteering options available within Kuala Lumpur.

  • Nur Salam (Chow Kids), 24A-B Jl Chow Kit, +60 3 4045 4021. Volunteer with the street kids of Chow Kit (KL) to "help improve the quality of life for the children of Chow Kit whose parents are usually former and current drug addicts & sex workers in Kuala Lumpur". Chow Kids offers training for volunteers who wish to spend any amount of time interacting and helping these deserving children.
  • SPCA Selangor, Jl Kerja Air Lama, 68000 Ampang, Selangor, +60 3 4256 5312, +60 3 4253 5179. SPCA Selangor is an animal welfare organization dedicated to protecting defenseless animals and to alleviate their suffering. Volunteer to help out at the animal shelter, SPCA's marketing and communication department or SPCA's outreach events.
  • Zoo Negara, Hulu Kelang, Ampang, Selangor, +60 3 4108 22219, e-mail: education@zoonegaramalaysia.my. Love animals? Volunteer at the National Zoo - Zoo Negara outside the city. Simply fill out the Volunteer Form on the website and show up for a shift at the zoo in a variety of areas. Their volunteer website gives for more information.

What to eat and drink in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Eat

Malaysian food is amazing, making Kuala Lumpur an excellent place to eat as it hosts cuisine from all around the country and beyond. Most restaurants close by 10 PM, but in the city center, there's always a few 24hr kedai mamak (curry houses) or fast food places if you get stuck.

Delicious food can be very cheap too: just head to the ubiquitous roadside stalls or kedai kopi (literally coffee shop, but these are all about the food). These shops operate like a food court with many stalls selling a variety of food. Some coffee shops have tables and chairs by the roadside. Chinatown (especially Jalan Sultan, Jalan Hang Lekir and Jalan Petaling) in the city center and Jalan Alor in the Golden Triangle have some of the greatest concentrations of coffee shops and stalls. They mostly open only at night.

One famous collection of streetside Mamak stalls is at Jalan Doraisamy near the Heritage Row in (Chow Kit). Along with full-blown curries, these places also serve roti canai, a filling snack that is almost half chapati, half pancake but certainly wholly delicious. It is served with dhal and curry sauce.

Shopping malls' food courts provide cheap Malaysian food in more hygienic conditions, although the prices will be a little higher.

The Golden Triangle, Bangsar and Midvalley, Heritage Row and some areas in Damansara and Hartamas are the usual places for people looking to dine out with a bit of flair.

Ethnic generalizations: Malay food can be found in in the Jalan Masjid India and Kampung Baru district. Chinatown is the best place for Chinese (especially Cantonese) food, although all kinds of Chinese cuisine, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, can be found all over Kuala Lumpur. Head to Lebuh Ampang in the city center and Brickfields for Indian food. Bangsar has many high-end restaurants offering Western food. If you are dying for Korean food, head to Ampang Jaya. A lot of Arab and Middle Eastern restaurants have mushroomed in Bukit Bintang, Cyberjaya and Damai.

Drink

Kuala Lumpur has quite a vibrant night-life and the Golden Triangle is the epicenter of most of the partying which goes on in the city. Jalan P. Ramlee, just south of KLCC, is Kuala Lumpur's central clubbing area, while the action also spills onto Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Pinang, and Jalan Perak. Nearby Bukit Bintang also throbs with action, and its neon-lit nightclubs, many of them with hostesses, certainly have a more Asian feel to them. Heritage Row, in the Chow Kit district, is fast catching up as a popular nightspot. It occupies a row of refurbished colonial-era shop houses and is now home to one of Kuala Lumpur's swankiest clubs and trendy bars; strictly for well-heeled visitors and locals. Bangsar has long been one of the busiest places in Kuala Lumpur after the sun goes down. The action is around Jalan Telawi and its side streets and is definitely the place to go for drinks and deafening music. Sri Hartamas and Mont Kiara in the Damansara and Hartamas district have popular pubs and some clubs as well as nice coffee places. You may be able to find live performances in some of the outlets. After a tiring night out, Malaysians like to head to Mamak stalls - street-side stalls or shops operated by Indian Muslims - which offer a range of non-alcoholic beverages like teh tarik (frothed tea) and light food. In fact, these stalls have also become night hangouts in their own right, and many outlets have installed wide-screen projectors and TV where they screen football matches. Most outlets are open 24 hours. They are found all over the city and are a wonderful part of the Malaysian night scene. Another trend that has hit Malaysia is the kopitiam fad, a more upmarket version of the traditional Chinese coffee shop. These mostly open during the day and offer some of the best tea and coffee and light meals and snacks like nasi lemak (coconut flavored rice with fried anchovies and peanut) and the ever-popular toast with kaya (coconut curd, used as a spread). If you prefer Western style coffee, there are many coffee outlets in Kuala Lumpur: most of them are part of international and local chains like Starbucks, Coffee Bean, and Tea Leaf and San Francisco Coffee. Most of them can be found in shopping malls.

Shopping in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Being the retail and fashion hub of Malaysia it is no surprise that shopping is one of Kuala Lumpur’s greatest pleasures. From the local pasar pagi (day market) and pasar malam (night market) to top end shopping malls and everything in between, you will be sure to find something to suit your budget and style. Many shopping options also exist beyond the city proper in the adjacent satellite cities of Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya. For more information on shopping in these areas please refer to the buy section of these articles.

Shopping malls

Suria KLCC is one of Malaysia's premier shopping destinations due to its location beneath the Petronas Twin Towers. Kuala Lumpur's premier shopping district, the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle, resembles Tokyo's Ginza, New York's Fifth Avenue and Singapore's Orchard Road and has the highest concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur, which cater to varying budgets. Bukit Bintang, which is part of the Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle, spans over 3 roads, namely Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Imbi, and Jalan Sultan Ismail. It houses various cafes, alfresco (open air) dining outlets and shopping complexes such as Berjaya Plaza, Berjaya Times Square, Bukit Bintang Plaza, Imbi Plaza, Kuala Lumpur Plaza, Lot 10, Low Yat Plaza, Pavilion KL, Starhill Plaza and Sungei Wang Plaza. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur is a recent addition to the cluster of shopping malls in this area and houses a wide range of international retail brands in an ultra-modern complex. Fans of electronic gadgets would delight in the multitude of choices at Low Yat Plaza, whilst shoppers hunting for the latest in affordable Asian style should definitely check out Berjaya Times Square and Bukit Bintang / Sungei Wang Plaza. It is also the location of the largest single department store in Malaysia, SOGO Kuala Lumpur which is located at a landmark site on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, one of the best-known shopping streets for locals in Kuala Lumpur.

Several popular malls lie outside the Golden Triangle. The Bangsar and Midvalley areas are home to some of the best shopping malls in Kuala Lumpur, namely the MidValley Megamall and the adjacent upmarket The Gardens, the more cozy Bangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Centre in Bangsar. Nearby Subang Jaya is home to Sunway Pyramid Megamall, known throughout Malaysia for its Egyptian-themed architecture.

Markets

Despite the onslaught of malls, Kuala Lumpur still offers some Asian tradition with traditional shopping streets and markets. The best area for such shopping is Chinatown in the City Centre. This district is also the best place to hunt for souvenirs, especially in Central Market, a former produce market which has been converted into an art and craft market. It is also known as Pasar Seni in Malay.

The Little India near Jalan Masjid India offers various fabric for use. Most of the fabrics are imported from countries like Indonesia, India, and China while some are locally produced. Indonesian traditional batik and songket are traditional fabric commonly found in Central Market. For greater satisfaction choose the hand made ones. You may be interested to buy ready-made baju kurung or baju kebaya (the traditional Malay blouse). For peace of mind, buy from the bigger stores. Some Thai handicrafts are also sold here, alongside handmade Malaysian wooden souvenirs.

Since 2000, the Ministry of Tourism of Malaysia has kick-started the mega sale event for all shopping in Malaysia. The mega sale event is held thrice in a year—in March, May, and December—where all shopping malls are encouraged to participate to boost Kuala Lumpur as a leading shopping destination.

Safety in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


Crime is not rampant in Kuala Lumpur. The perception of crime is high, but in recent years the Malaysian police have managed to reduce crime significantly in and around urban Kuala Lumpur. Reports of violent crime against foreigners are uncommon but instances of pickpocketing and bag snatching have risen in recent years.

Kuala Lumpur is generally very safe for travelers (it is locals who are often the targets of crime), but be wary of over-friendly locals trying to con you. Police presence, particularly around tourist areas and at night has increased in recent years.

Walking in the city is usually fine but, as anywhere, caution must be exercised, especially if alone. Indeed, your greatest danger whilst walking will be sidewalks that end abruptly in massive holes or impassable 6-lane roads that you must cross. Snatch thieves can be rather ruthless: women have been knocked unconscious by bag snatchers on motorbikes. If this happens to you, let go of the bag rather than be dragged several meters and risk injury. Hold your bag away from the street side and try not to appear flashy if possible. Be wary in alleyways or parking grounds that appear dark and deserted, as petty thieves with knives or firearms might mug you.

During the rains, pavements and streets become small rivers and crossing a street can be an adventure. Pavements become as slippery as ice so wear proper footwear.

Be careful of a poker scam that involves friendly locals. They normally target lone tourists in popular tourist places. It starts with a friendly approach and an invitation to their home to chat and learn about your country. Then comes poker, accumulated losses and the loss of your cash and jewelry. Such scams can also happen through couchsurfing.

The bogus cop scam is usually run by Middle-Easterners. You will be stopped by "plain-clothed police officers" on the pretext of checking your travel documents. You will be brought to a secluded area in the process and made to hand over your wallet. Should you be stopped, you have the right to insist that you be taken to the nearest police station before saying/showing anything.

Malaysian law requires that visitors carry their passport at all times, and both police and "RELA" (civil volunteers) carry out spot checks for illegal immigrants.

Stay healthy

Tap water in Kuala Lumpur is heavily chlorinated and thus safe, but unfortunately, the pipes that carry it may not be. Most locals boil or filter it before use; alternatively, bottled water is cheap and ubiquitous. There is no malaria in the city, but dengue fever can be a problem at times, so take precautions against mosquitoes. Between May and October, Kuala Lumpur is occasionally shrouded in dense haze from forest fires in Sumatra and Borneo, which can be a health concern for asthmatics and pretty unpleasant for everybody. However, the haze comes and goes, and varies greatly from year to year: It was terrible in 2006, but non-existent in 2007, and had started again in 2008 and very clean after 2009 onward.

Language spoken in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


As befitting the nation's capital, Malay is universally spoken and understood by locals in Kuala Lumpur.

However, as Malaysia's largest city, Kuala Lumpur is also home to Malaysians of many different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and this is often reflected in the number of languages that are used by locals in daily life. The lingua franca of the Chinese community is Cantonese, and most of the ethnic Chinese can speak Cantonese regardless of their native dialect, with a significant number also able to speak Mandarin. Kuala Lumpur is also home to many Indians, most of whom are native speakers of Tamil.

English is also widely spoken, and English-speaking tourists should generally not have a problem getting around.

LOCAL TIME

9:02 am
October 21, 2019
Asia/Kuala_Lumpur

CURRENT WEATHER

29.87 °C / 85.766 °F
moderate rain
Tue

28.51 °C/83 °F
moderate rain
Wed

31.63 °C/89 °F
light rain
Thu

31.77 °C/89 °F
light rain
Fri

28.52 °C/83 °F
heavy intensity rain

LOCAL CURRENCY

MYR

1 USD = 0 MYR
1 EUR = 0 MYR
1 GBP = 0 MYR
1 AUD = 0 MYR
1 CAD = 0 MYR

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