Malaysia’s capital and by far its most metropolitan city, Kuala Lumpur, or KL as it’s more popularly known, has changed almost beyond recognition over the last thirty years. The first colonial buildings around Merdeka Square, dating from 1890s, are now overshadowed by towering modern buildings, most notably the Petronas Towers.
A popular weekend shopping getaway for Singaporeans, KL has a number of interesting attractions for those willing to venture further afield. Many visitors make a bee-line for the huge development that is the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC). The chief attraction here is the Petronas Towers, soaring above one of KL’s best malls, Suria KLCC. Tourists are often found frequenting the nearby Bukit Bintang (Star Hill), home to many of KL’s best hotels and restaurants.
The ethnic neighbourhoods lie southwest of here - there’s Chinatown with its web of bustling streets filled with temples and shophouses, and Little India packed with stores selling Bollywood CDs, saris, and spices. Also here is the colonial core where the remnants of the British empire ring Merdeka Square.
West of the colonial quarter, the Lake Gardens are a beautiful expanse of landscaped hills and wildlife. The showpiece of the Gardens is the Bird Park, opened in 1991 at twice the size of our own Jurong Bird Park in an attempt to outdo it. Just north of Kuala Lumpur is the Batu Caves, which can only be reached by a steep flight of 272 steps. Coloured lights provide illumination for the fantasy features and formations of the karst limestone cavern.
Getting Around: The bus system is labyrinthe and congested streets mean that ravelling by taxi can make for a tedious wait in a traffic jam. Instead, take the Light Rail Transit (LRT), complemented by the privately run Monorail, which together take care of most journeys visitors need to make within downtown KL.