Travel & Culture Malaysia
Tours Hotels and Events in Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur Travel & Hotels
Kuala Lumpur, or KL as locals call it, is the capital of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur means "muddy estuary" in Malay, it has grown from a small Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of around 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million) in just 150 years.
Kuala Lumpur with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, great shopping and superb food, more and more travelers are discovering this little gem of a city.
Kuala Lumpur is ever spreading. The city merges with the adjacent towns of Petaling Jaya (originally developed as KL’s satellite town), Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Klang and Port Klang, creating a huge conurbation called the Klang Valley.
Kuala Lumpur Areas
Kuala Lumpur can be divided into several areas, each of which offers a particular attraction or activity.
City Centre – This is the traditional core of Kuala Lumpur where you’ll find the
former colonial administrative centre, with the Merdeka Square, Sultan Abdul
Samad Building and Selangor Club. This district also includes Kuala Lumpur’s old
Chinese commercial centre which everyone refers to now as Chinatown.
Golden Triangle – The area of Kuala Lumpur located to the north-east of the city centre, the Golden Triangle is where you’ll find the city’s shopping malls, five-star hotels, Petronas Twin Towers and party spots.
Tuanku Abdul Rahman
This is the traditional colourful shopping district of
Kuala Lumpur north of the city centre that moves into high gear when the
festivals of Hari Raya Puasa (Eid ul-Fitr) and Deepavali approach. Located just
beside the Golden Triangle (northern neighbour) with many popular budget
accommodations. The gigantic Putra World Trade Centre & the traditional Kampung
Baru food haven are among the most important landmarks.
Brickfields – This area, located south of the city centre, is Kuala Lumpur’s Little India filled with saree shops and banana leaf rice restaurants. Kuala Lumpur’s main railway station – KL Sentral – is located here.
Bangsar and Midvalley
Located south of the city, Bangsar is a popular restaurant and clubbing district while Midvalley, with its Megamall, is one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations.
Damansara and Hartamas
Largely suburban, these two districts to the west of
the city house some interesting pockets of restaurants and drinking areas.
This district also merges into the northern part of Petaling Jaya.
Located east of the city, Ampang is home to Kuala Lumpur’s Little Korea
and most foreign embassies.
Northern suburbs – This huge area to the north of the city is home to several attractions, such as the Batu Caves, the National Zoo and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia.
This district may not interest travellers much, although Kuala Lumpur’s main stadium at Bukit Jalil and The Mines theme park are located here
History of Kuala Lumpur
Prior to independence, Malaya was a British colony. When Malaya's independence, to be attained on 31 August 1957, was approved by the British Government in 1956, the first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman announced it to the public in Malacca at what is today Dataran Pahlawan.
On the evening of 30 August 1957, crowds gathered at what was then known as the Selangor Club Padang (Green) to celebrate the historic event. As the clock on the State Secretariat Building (today's Sultan Abdul Samad Building) struck 12 midnight, the crowds, led by Tunku Abdul Rahman, shouted "Merdeka!" seven times. The Union Jack was lowered and the flag of the new country was raised to the strains of the national anthem, Negaraku. The Selangor Club Padang is today known as Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square). The next day, the official handing over of power by the British was held at Stadium Merdeka (Independence Stadium).
The country was renamed Malaysia on September 16, 1963, when Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya formed a new federation.
Founded only in 1857 as a tin mining outpost, Kuala Lumpur is fairly new as far as Malaysian cities go and lacks the rich history of George Town or Malacca. After rough early years marked by gang fighting, Kuala Lumpur started to prosper and was made capital of the Federated Malay States in 1896. Malaysia'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. The economic boom of the 1990s brought KL the standard trappings of a modern city, bristling with skyscrapers and modern transportation systems. Like most of Malaysia's big cities, about 55% of Kuala Lumpur's population is of Malaysian Chinese descent.
Get around in Kualumpur
Kuala Lumpur's public transport system consists of 3 LRT (Light Rail Transit) lines operated by RapidKL , the semicircular KL Monorail looping through the Golden Triangle and the KTM Komuter for trips to the outer northern, southern & western suburbs. Fares are cheap (RM1.2 and up), although connectivity between different lines is poor due to inadequate integration (read: you will also need to buy a new ticket for the next leg of your trip, and will likely get wet if it is raining since connections are not covered). The Touch 'n Go card, which can be purchased for RM10 at major stations, can now be used on all lines except the airport express. Some particularly convenient stations include:
Bukit Bintang (KL Monorail), for shopping in the Golden Triangle
Bukit Nanas (KL Monorail), for clubbing at P. Ramlee
KLCC (Putra), for the Twin Towers and the Suria KLCC shopping mall
KL Sentral (Kelana Jaya/KL Monorail/KTM Komuter), for intercity trains and the KLIA Ekspres to the airport
Masjid Jamek (all LRT lines), for LRT interchange as well as access to Chinatown and Little India
Plaza Rakyat (Sri Petaling/Ampang), for Puduraya bus station
A few quirks to be aware of:
1.The Kelana Jaya and Gombak LRT lines, formerly known as "PUTRA LRT", is now
known as "Putraline" while the Sri Petaling and Ampang LRT lines, formerly known
as "STAR LRT", is now known as "Starline". Signage is a bit inconsistent but is
slowly being updated.
2.The KL Monorail's "KL Sentral" station is now a bit of a haul from KL Sentral. The covered walkway and the parking lot that was once used for access has been closed off for construction. To get to the KL Monorail, you will have to walk around the parking lot which doubles the distance you had to walk before.
3.Trains usually follow a timed schedule, with the frequency increased to two/three minutes during peak hours. Take note however that as Putraline is a "driverless" system (unlike Starline where the trains are driven by human drivers), in the event of a train breakdown, service may be disrupted for two hours or more, although such breakdowns are few and far between.
The double-decker KL Hop-on Hop-off bus service for tourists includes 42 sightseeing places. The upper deck of the buses has a crystal-glass rooftop and the rear of the deck is open air allowing cityviews. The buses are disabled-friendly and have wireless internet connections on board. Each passenger is provided with a multi-lingual commentary headset. The tickets are valid for 24 hours from purchase, and you can hop on and off the bus throughout the day. Price is RM38 for adults, RM17 for children, senior citizens and disabled. Malaysian adults and school students enjoy a discount while children below 5 years old are free of charge. However, to enjoy these features, be prepared for long waiting time as the timings are notorious. The buses are scheduled every half hour but intervals may be as long as two hours due to traffic jams. You should not plan your itinerary based on these bus schedules. Over and above, you can move around easily and more economically through taxis rather than this bus service.
RapidKL operates a cheap and comprehensive public bus network in and around Kuala Lumpur, but the low frequencies (20-30 min on most routes) and the near-total lack of signage make this a poor option for the casual visitor, and at rush hour buses can be jam-packed. 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, it's worth nothing that buses are broadly divided in three categories: Bandar (B) routes are city center shuttles, Utama (U) buses travel to outlying suburbs and Tempatan (T) buses are feeder services for train stations. For all three, you can either buy zone-based single tickets (RM 1 for Zone 1, up to RM 3 for Zone 4) on board, or use a Touch 'n Go card (not sold on board). In addition, Ekspres (E) services use the highways and cost a flat RM 3.80. Buses run from 6 AM to 11 PM or so, with no night services.
With RM3 flagfall (2 km) and around RM0.90/km afterward, red and white normal taxis are reasonably priced and probably the best way to get around, at least outside the congested peak hours. Bright yellow premium taxis have a RM4 flagfall and also charge a bit more by the kilometre. There are also various small surcharges for radio call (RM2), baggage (RM1 per piece), etc.
While all taxis are supposed to use the meter, drivers are often reluctant to use it and will usually demand a fixed price, which is always higher than the price when using the meter, before commencing travel. This is especially so when demand exceeds supply, such as during the rush hour or when it rains, when the price demanded can be up to 2-3 times the meter price. This is technically illegal (and reportable), and happens most often with cabbies who lurk outside hotels, stations and major malls, waiting for unwary tourists to come along. Hail cabs off the street if you can, but if you must, at least negotiate hard: RM5 should cover most cross town trips of 15 minutes or so, even with traffic. If you're staying in an expensive hotel, give a nearby shopping mall as your destination instead. Generally speaking, Malay taxi drivers will be more willing to use the meter than Chinese and Indian ones.
It is cheaper to use the meter through the day, although the opposite is true late at night, and especially after midnight, when the displayed meter price at the end of the journey is increased by 50% (ie. at 1AM, if the meter shows RM12, then you have to pay RM12+6).
A few popular places (notably both airports, KL Sentral, Menara KL and Sunway Pyramid Megamall) enforce prepaid coupon systems, which generally work out more expensive than using the meter, but cheaper than bargaining.
Combining public transport with taxis can sometime make trips quicker if there are traffic jams.
Some taxi drivers will hang around near hotels offering tours similar to those offered by established companies. Feel free to listen to their offers and bargain with them if you like. Some of these cabbies are quite knowledgeable and you may end up with a specially tailored, private tour for less than the cost of an official tour.
If you get so off the beaten track that you need to call a cab:
Comfort Cabs +60-3-62531313
Sunlight Taxi +60-3-90575757
Public Cab +603 62592020
Uptown Ace +603 92832333
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 motor bike drivers who enjoy weaving in and out of traffic.
Do not park at the road of busy districts such as Bangsar, Bukit Bintang etc. Other cars might lock you in 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.
Depending on your age, physical fitness and urban inclination (or not), Kuala Lumpur is a fine city for walking. It must rank as tops in the world for clear, well-placed signage. Street signs are jumbo sized, blue with white lettering at eye level. Most corners have multi-directional pointers. There are city maps in places. Tiled sidewalks are 5 meters in width, on average (a warning: treacherously slippery at sloped curb sides!). Main arteries are boulevard-broad and tree-lined. Most intersections have bright, yellow striped pedestrian crossings. While traffic can be daunting at times, it rarely moves fast enough to be seriously hazardous. Beware of speeding and criss-crossing motorcyclists, though!
Here is a walking tour (circle) that encompasses the main centre attractions (2-3 hours): starting at Chinatown (Petaling Street), identify on a map the following landmarks: the Maybank building, the Times Square towers, the Petronas Twin Towers and KL Tower. Once on the street do a visual scan of these buildings. You'll likely not need the map henceforth. Proceed from the Maybank building (vertically striped wedge) up Jalan Pudu, which turns into Jalan Bukit Bintang (Royale Bintang Hotel) at about 1 km. Stop for coffee at Bintang Walk, or check out the electronics mega-mall, Plaza Low Yat. Continue on Jalan Sultan Ismail towards Petronas. Be amazed! Wind your way from Petronas along Jalan P. Ramlee past the KL Tower and down Jalan Raja Chulan back to the Maybank building and Chinatown.
If you're fortunate enough to do this walk on a typical Sunday afternoon, you'll be blessed with a calmness unimaginable for a city this size.
When it rains the pavements and streets turn into small rivers and crossing a street can be an adventure. A lot of the pavement in KL becomes as slippery as ice when wet so it is advisable to wear proper footwear (such as sneakers) if there is a chance of rain.
Generally, it is safe and rewarding to walk in the city but caution must still be exercised, especially if walking alone or in a small group. Beware of snatch thieves who are known to be rather ruthless. It is not uncommon to hear of women, particularly, being knocked unconscious by bag snatchers on motorbikes. It is probably better to let them have your bag than to be dragged several metres and risk injury.
Care must also be taken with any alleyways or parking grounds that appear to be dark and deserted. Petty thieves with knives or sometimes even small firearms might mug you, at especially night time of the day.
Places to See in KL
Kuala Lumpur Railway StationDespite having many attractions, Kuala Lumpur is one of those cities which is short on must-see attractions: the real joy lies in wandering randomly, seeing, shopping and eating your way through it. It's hot, humid and sometimes crowded though, so schedule some air-conditioned downtime in shopping malls or restaurants into your plan. You may find that most attractions are only crowded on weekends/holidays and deserted on weekdays.
The following gives a brief description of KL’s attractions according to district. See the respective district pages for more details.
The main attractions are spread throughout the city, although the greatest concentration of places of interest are in the City Centre, where you’ll find Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square), where Malaysia would usually celebrate the Malaysian independence day (the exact spot where independence was declared at the start of Aug 31, 1957 is at the Stadium Merdeka); the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and other Colonial-era buildings surrounding the square; the modern and rather unadorned National Mosque; the Moorish-style Kuala Lumpur Railway Station which now houses a mini-museum on Malaysian railway history; many of KL’s other museums including the recently refurbished National Museum (RM2) tracing the history of the region through prehistory and the Malaccan empire to Independence, and the extremely well-regarded Islamic Arts Museum (RM12, 10-6PM), and the nearby 'Police Museum; and the pretty Lake Gardens to the west. Within the city centre is also the fascinating narrow streets of Chinatown, KL’s traditional commercial district, with its many Chinese shops and places to eat.
Another area of interest to the traveller is the Golden Triangle. Although predominantly a shopping and night-life district, it is also home to the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and the Petronas Twin Towers, once the world’s tallest building. In the nearby KL Convention Centre is the Aquaria KLCC which contains some 5,000 varieties of tropical fish. Just south of the Twin Towers is Menara KL Tower, which is situated on top of Bukit Nanas (Pineapple Hill), a forest reserve right in the heart of the city. PDA-Guided views from Menara Tower (RM38, 9AM-10PM) being at 276m, are far superior than those from the Petronas Towers (viewing deck at 170m), and come highly recommended since it allows first time visitors the chance to quickly orient themselves about the layout of the city. It is however, not a particularly easy place to reach by public transport, so use either a taxi or the "hop-on/hop-off" tourist bus that makes a continuous circuit through the city.
There are also several attractions just outside Kuala Lumpur which are worth visiting. The Batu Caves in the Northern suburbs of Kuala Lumpur, are located in a limestone outcrop and are the focal point of the fascinating annual Thaipusam festival, usually held in February. The caves are easily accessible by KTM's kommuter mass transit rail service and RapidKL bus U6 from Titiwangsa station, though ask the driver to let you know the correct stop as the caves are not immediately obvious. Do some light cave exploring in Batu Caves which is really fascinating. The entrance is 50 ft below the main temple cave and on the left as you climb. The event will be memorable and is not risky even for children as young as 3 years. Another option is to catch Metrobus 11 for RM2 at Lorong Bas, near Central Market. Malaysia’s National Zoo (Zoo Negara) is also located in the north of the city.
KL Bird Park (free-flight walk-in aviary), 920, Jalan Cenderawasih, Taman Tasik Perdana, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (Next to Islamic Art Museum in the City Centre), ☎ +60322721010, . 9:00-18:00. Great semi-wild habitat for many different species of mostly Asian birds. The Bird Park allows you to approach quite close to the birds which are skittish but not fearful for some very nice photos. A bit pricey, but makes for a nice long day in a mostly shaded area. Feedings and shows throughout the day give something to see at any time, and the 20+ acres provide plenty of area to walk and explore. The photo booth offers a wide array of tamed birds that will happily sit on you and pose for photos for a small price (RM 8 per person: your camera, 2 birds; RM 25 per print: glossy printout of your group covered in birds). Concession stands are priced fairly and offer drinks, ice cream, etc. Bring bug spray as the mosquitoes can be rampant. RM 42 (adult), RM 29 (child)
KL is the type of city where the first things that come to mind when you talking of doing anything is "shopping", both of which are adequately covered by the Eat and Buy sections.
Those activities aside, KL has its fair share of sporting opportunities such as golfing, cycling, running, jogging and even equestrian. If you’re into rock climbing, the Batu Caves in Northern Kuala Lumpur is a popular weekend haunt of those wanting to scale some heights. However, for anything more strenuous and challenging, you’re better of heading to other spots in country.
Malaysia is trying to encourage greater cultural expression and KL has several good theatres and places for performances, such as the National Theatre (Istana Budaya) and KL Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) in the northern part of the city, the KL Philharmonic in KLCC, and the Actors Studio in Bangsar.
You can also get a good dosage of pampering in KL. For those in search of spas, there are several five-star hotel-connected as well as independent treatment centres in the Golden Triangle. You’ll also find heaps of reflexology and foot massage places everywhere but especially in Bukit Bintang in the Golden Triangle and Chinatown.
If you are taking an extended trip consider spending a week or more volunteering.
Nur Salam (Chow Kids), No. 24A-B Jalan Chow Kit, ☎ +03 4045-4021, . Volunteer with the street kids of Chow Kit (KL) to "help improve the quality of live for the children of Chow Kit whose parents are usually former & 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.
Zoo Negara, Hulu Kelang 68000 Ampang, Selangor, ☎ +603-410-822219 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . 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. Check out their volunteer website for more information.
KL's symbol, the Petronas Twin Towers[add listing] Buy
Starhill Gallery KL
The Pavilion KLShopping in Kuala Lumpur is one of travel's greatest pleasures! Kuala Lumpur alone has 66 shopping malls and it is the retail and fashion hub for Malaysia. Goods are available in every price bracket.
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 is the Bukit Bintang area in the Golden Triangle, which resembles Tokyo's Ginza, New York's Fifth Avenue and Singapore's Orchard Road has the highest concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur 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 KL, namely the MidValley Megamall and the adjacent upmarket The Gardens, the more cozy Bangsar Village and Bangsar Shopping Center in Bangsar. The Damansara area north-west of Kuala Lumpur, though not in the city-proper, it is one of the high concentration of shopping outlets in Kuala Lumpur. It houses various shopping malls like The Curve, e@Curve, Ikano Power Centre, IKEA, Cathay Multi Screen Cinemas, Courts Megastore, NiuXehSui Ara Damansara and 1 Utama (one of the top shopping centres in Malaysia).
There are also many shopping malls in the neighbouring towns of Petaling Jaya and Subang Jaya. Sunway Pyramid Megamall in Petaling Jaya is very nicely designed, and it is worth making the trip down to have a look even if you don't plan to buy anything.
Despite the onslaught of malls, KL still offers some Asian tradition with traditional shopping streets and markets. The best area for such shopping is Chinatown in the City Center. 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 dress). For peace of mind, buy from the bigger stores. Some Thailand's handicrafts are also sold here, besides handmade Malaysia's 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.
Berjaya Times Square - Its currently the 13th biggest shopping mall in the world boasting 12 levels of retail with a total of 3.5 million square feet, or 320,000 square meters. Although initially aimed at the upper-echelon of society. It is currently positioned as a middle-class shopping mall offering youth fashion targeted at the younger crowds. For entertainment, it has the largest indoor theme park in Malaysia located on the 7th floor of the building, it also offers an exciting cinematic experience with its 3D-Imax theater located on the top floor of the retail podium.
Starhill Gallery - Starhill Gallery is probably the ritziest and luxurious mall in the whole of Kuala Lumpur alongside KLCC. A Louis Vuitton flagship outlet flank the exterior facade of this grand structure. Renowned fashion houses whether Gucci, Fendi, Valentino you name it, It can all be found here. There is a Food Galore on the Lower Ground floor which renders an excellent culinary experience in a cosy setting that exudes grandeur.
Pavillion KL - Built in late 2007, it is targeted at the middle-upper segment of society. It offers a diverse tenant mix which makes it one of the most successful malls in KL. Pavilion Kuala Lumpur contains over 450 retail shops that are spread across seven levels. Parkson, Tangs, Golden Screen Cinemas and Harvey Norman are the anchor tenants of this mammoth 7-storey retail podium. There are a number of double-storey flagship stores, of which some are street-front fashion boutiques which constitute the shopping mall, such as Burberry Prosum, Esprit (occupies four floors), Gucci, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Juicy Couture, Prada, Versace and others. There are several fashion and luxury goods boutiques that encompass a large portion of the mall's retail floor area. Labels such as Paul Frank, Juicy Couture, Kiehl's, Thomas Pink, YSL, Jean Paul Gaultier, Zegna, Dianie Von Furstenburg, Bebe and Shanghai Tang opened their first stores in Malaysia within this shopping mall. Several eateries and cafés also exist in the shopping mall like fast food restaurants, coffeehouse chains and a Food Republic food court. Malaysia's previous prime minister Tun Mahathir bin Mohamad opened his very own bakery here located strategically at the entrance.
Fahrenheit 88 - Renamed and refurbished, opening soon in August 2010, previously the deteriorating KL Plaza. Poised to be the new hub for the hip and trendy of KL, consisting of 300,000 square feet of lettable space spread over 5 levels of zoned shopping space. There are designated zones for Japanese and Korean fashion consisting of an entire floor each. It is widely speculated that Swedish-fashion chain H&M and Japanese Uniql and Muji will make their Malaysian debut here in the coming Fall.
Lot 10 - When opened in 1991, it was considered the Harrods-equivalent of Malaysia housing designer outlets like Aigner and Versace. Over the span of 2 decades, time has however taken a toll on this unique landmark mall which boasts a green facade. Nowadays it is widely-reckoned as a middle-class retail destination as most outlets have shifted as a result of competition and degradation. In 2009, Nicholai by Nicky Hilton and William Rast by Justin Timberlake opened their flagship stores to cater to the Malaysian market after widespread refurbishment to the mall at a cost of RM20 million. Debenhams is also making a comeback in Bukit Bintang by opening a 3-storey departmental store here for KL-ites in early 2010. Its roof boasts a Garden in the City concept featuring concept restaurants and trendy bars, designer clubs and a spanking new California Fitness gym designed none-other than Yuhkichi Kawai of Super Potatoes. If food's your thing, this is heaven. A cornucopia of Malaysia's best food is located on the lower-ground, its food court Hutong is just awesome.
Low Yat Plaza - Also another veteran on Bintang Walk it remains the ultimate one-stop center for KL-ites when shopping for electronic gadgets. The ratio between IT outlets and F&B outlets are 70:30. Don't let its fading white-hues fool you, it has a wide range of electronic goods selling at bargain prices considering the Ringgit's sub-par value. Though don't always be fooled by the pricing. Some unscrupulous sellers may have switched original components of devices with fakes. Verify before purchasing.
Sungei Wang Plaza - Despite being 30 years old, it remains a 100%-occupancy mall with the highest visiting traffic in Malaysia, though visitors more towards the younger crowd. It features trendy fashion at bargain prices. Shirts/tops ranging from RM15(US$5) and RM50(US15). This is THE place for the stylish and sassy bargain-hunters. The focal point of youthful, to some, outlandish self-expression, this is the place where goths and cross-dressers roam without looking out of place.
Suria KLCC - Suria KLCC is one of Malaysia's premier shopping destinations due to its location beneath the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur City Centre. It is located on 6 floors, with anchor tenants Isetan, Parkson, Kinokuniya, Tanjong Golden Village, Signatures Food Court, Marks & Spencer, Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Co. Suria is the native Malaysian word for Sunshine. It was opened on August 31, 1999. It houses mostly luxury and fashionable shops, as well as cafes, restaurants, a 12 screen cinema, a concert hall, an art gallery, and a Science Discovery Centre, over 6 floors. It is almost directly underneath the Petronas Twin Towers, the 3rd tallest buildings in the world (and the tallest twin towers). It is one of Malaysia's most popular tourist destinations.
Great Eastern Mall - Great Eastern Mall is located at Jalan Ampang which adjoined with the Menara Great Eastern. Great Eastern Mall Amidst the embassy community, Great Eastern Mall is primed to be the favourite neighbourhood mall that offers a 'fine lifestyle & relaxation' shopping experience.
Ampang Park - Ampang Park is recognised as one of Malaysia's first shopping centres and is located located near Suria KLCC, in Kuala Lumpur. The complex is accessible with the Kelana Jaya Line via the Ampang Park station, which is located after the KLCC Station. The train station is located opposite the shopping complex. Ampang Park is on the northern outskirts of the Golden Triangle and has clothes and jewellery shops, and money changers. It is also known as the place to go for top to toe Malay fashion and is usually packed during Hari Raya. It also houses shops dealing in electrical and electronic equipment.
Avenue K - Avenue K is located on Jalan Ampang, opposite Kuala Lumpur City Centre. With its bold tagline, "style has a new address", the complex is a hip shopping haven complimented by a classy, city-living address, "K Residence". Avenue K aims to create a "shopping culture, where lifestyle, aesthetic and social elements converge." It boasts internationally acclaimed fashion brands.
Bangsar Shopping Centre, Jalan Maarof - Better known as BSC, this mini shopping centre is a favourite among expats and the locals staying around the Bangsar & Damansara Heights neighbourhood. Plenty of cafes & restaurants - a good spot to meet up with friends. BSC also features speciality stores plus the Cold Storage Supermarket.
Bangsar Village, Jalan Ara - This is another favourite with those staying around Bangsar & Damansara Heights neighbourhood. Bangsar Village 2 is linked to the original Bangsar Village by a covered pedestrian bridge.
Lee Meng Optical 8, Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru. Phone: +60322825626 An optical retail outlet specializing in high quality eyewear, sunglasses and accessories. Open on Mon - Fri 10.00am-8.00pm, Sat 10.00am - 7.30pm and Sun 11.00am - 5.00pm .
Mid Valley Megamall - This really is "mega" with over 430 shops crammed into what claims to be one of South-East Asia's largest shopping malls. Anchor tenants include big department stores and hypermarkets such as Malaysian arm of AEON Japan called Jusco, local store Metrojaya and French hypermarket Carrefour. If you need to change money, the lower ground floor has several money changers. The Megamall is connected to the upmarket The Gardens at Mid Valley. (KTM Komuter: Mid-Valley)
The Gardens at Mid Valley - This mall is anchored by a high-end shopping gallery (anchor tenants include Isetan, Robinson's, Marks & Spencer, GSC Signature and Market Place), two landmark office towers, five-star Gardens Residences and five-star Gardens Hotel. The mall will be linked to the Abdullah Hukum LRT station in 2012 giving additional access option to shoppers. (KTM Komuter: Mid-Valley)
[add listing] Eat
Malaysians are obsessed with food and it is hardly surprising that as the country's capital, Kuala Lumpur reflects this love affair with eating. You'll be able to find the entire range of Malaysian cuisine (although some, especially those from Penang, argue that what you get in KL is not the best) as well as food from around the world.
As far as the budget is concerned, you can eat fairly well for fairly little in KL. Just head to the roadside stalls and what Malaysians call coffeeshops (kedai kopi) - a shop which operates like a food court with many stalls selling a variety of food (some of them are halal and some non-halal, Chinese coffee shops usually serve non-halal) . Some coffeeshops offer streetside dining by placing their tables on the sidewalks of roads. Coffeeshops are found on virtually every street in KL but 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 concentration of coffeeshops and stalls. They mostly open only at night.
Rivaling the coffeeshops in terms of numbers, as well as the price of food, are what Malaysians call "Mamak shops" - food outlets run by Indian Muslims. They can also be found at almost every street corner in KL. The food is of course halal (Food permissible by Muslim law - much like Kosher for the Jewish tradition). The streetside version, called the "Mamak stall" is also popular. One famous collection of streetside Mamak stalls is at Jalan Doraisamy near the Heritage Row (see Tuanku Abdul Rahman page). The most popular food is the 'roti canai'.
Food courts in shopping malls can also provide you with a good opportunity to sample Malaysian food in more hygienic conditions, although the prices will be a little higher than coffeeshops.
Lot 10 shopping mall in the Golden Triangle has a collection of 20 street vendors who were invited to relocate in the food court. While there are some international choices, the specialty here is Chinese.
KL has a good number of restaurants, some of them offering better food than others. The Golden Triangle, Bangsar and Midvalley, Heritage Row and some areas in Damansara and Hartamas are the usual places for people looking for a restaurant meal. Beware that most restaurants close by 10 PM, so you'll probably need to look for street food if hungry at night. the street food stalls are getting better during the late night.
In terms of ethnicity, Malay food can be found in Jalan Masjid India, Chow Kit and Kampung Baru areas in the Tuanku Abdul Rahman district.Chinatown is the best place to search for Chinese (especially Cantonese) food, although all kinds of Chinese cuisine, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, can be found all over KL. 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.
The Skybar KLKL has quite a vibrant night-life and the Golden Triangle is the epicentre 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 Tuanku Abdul Rahman 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 KL's swankiest clubs and trendy bars. Strictly for well heeled visitors and locals. It is on Jalan Doraisamy just off Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Dang Wangi.
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 clubbing 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 - streetside 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 coffeeshop. These mostly open during the day and offer some of the best tea and coffee and light meals and snacks like nasi lemak (coconut flavoured 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 KL, most of them 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.
While visiting KL you must eat Roti Chani which are tossed high in the air before being fried and served with curry sauce or dahl for breakfast or lunch and are simply the best pancake/nan/chapti you will ever eat!!!
Hotels in Kualal Lumpur
KL's budget accommodation is mostly found in the City Centre where a dormitory bed for the night can be as little as RM30. Increasingly, more are opening in the Bukit Bintang and Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman / Chow Kit and Jalan Ipoh / Jalan Pudu ( which is just opposite Hentian Puduraya bus station ) areas which are near the Golden Triangle, where prices are slightly higher than in Chinatown.
If you are arriving on the overnight buses from the east coast islands, buses will stop at Hentian Putra in the Chow Kit area.
Try and avoid any hostels marked Rumah Tumpangan; these are dodgy boarding houses for foreign workers or cater to the trade where rooms are rented out by the hour. Albeit being dodgy, these Rumah Tumpangan may be a good experience for those who have bored themselves with the luxury hotels.
Mid-range hotels are comparatively poor value in KL, and it's worth it to spend a little extra (or look a little harder) for a true luxury hotel on the cheap. KL has a deserved reputation as one of the world's cheapest places to experience five-star luxury, with rooms available for as little as RM300 (at the right time and with the right discounts).
Internet cafés are quite plentiful in KL and you can find them in most shopping centres. If you have your own laptop, Maxis' WLAN service is the best deal around: as of Dec.07, a prepaid RM15 card gets you unlimited use for two weeks. Few hotels in Kuala Lumpur offer Internet access in their rooms. However, some hotels around the KL Sentral station now start to install LAN cables with Internet access in the rooms. Furthermore, many hotels offer free WiFi access in their lobbies. Free WiFi access is also available from many dining establishments and shopping complexes in the city
Malaysia Tourism Centre (MTC), 109 Jalan Ampang (between KLCC and Dang Wangi), . Formerly MATIC, this tourist information centre has a wealth of information on Malaysia, occasional cultural shows, surly staff and semi-crippled but free PCs for browsing the Net.
Starbucks Coffee Company, selected outlets in KL (including KL Sentral). Selected outlets of Starbucks in KL have partnered with the Time telecommunications company to provide free Zone Wi-Fi service to customers who have Wi-Fi-equipped laptops or PDAs. Outlets which do not have free Zone Wi-Fi usually have commercial WLAN services such as Maxis' WLAN in its place.
Coffeebean, free wi-fi in all Coffeebean outlets, you just ask for the password when you order.
Air Asia Counter in KL Sentral Several computers with internet access are available for you to check out the Air Asia website (and maybe glance at your e-mail or the news quickly)
Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates
Argentina Embassy, 3, Jalan Semantan Dua, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 2550176/2552564.
Australian High Commission, 6 Jalan Yap Kwan Seng, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21465555, .
Austria Embassy, Wisma Goldhill, Suite 10.10-01, Level 10, 67, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20578969, .
Bangladesh High Commission, Blok 1, Lorong Damai 7, Jln Damai, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21487940/21423271/21422505, .
Belgium High Commission, Suite 10-02, 10th Floor, Menara Tan & Tan, Letter Box N 10-02 207, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21620025, .
Brazil High Commission, Suite 20-01, 20th Floor, Menara Tan & Tan, 207 Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21711420, .
Brunei Darussalam High Commission, No. 19-01, Tingkat 19, Menara Tan & Tan, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21612800.
Cambodia Embassy, 83/JKR 2809, Lingkungan U Thant, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42571150.
Canada High Commission, 17th Floor, Menara Tan & Tan, 207 Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 27183333, .
People's Republic of China Embassy, 229, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21636815 (extension: 102,103,104,105,106), . Also handles Hong Kong/Macau visas.
Croatia Embassy, 3, Jalan Mengkuang, Off Jalan Ru, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42535340.
Czech Embassy, 32, Jalan Mesra, Off Jalan Damai, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21427185/21413205, .
Denmark Embassy, Wisma Denmark, Denmark House, 22nd floor, 86 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20322001, .
Finland Embassy, Wisma Chinese Chamber, 5th floor, 258 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42577746, .
French Embassy, 192-196, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20535561, .
German Embassy, 26th Floor, Menara Tan & Tan, 207 Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21709666, .
Greek Consulate, 33rd Floor 340-33-1, Vista Damai 340, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 27752388.
India High Commission, 2, Jalan Taman Duta, Off Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20933510, .
Indonesian Embassy, 233, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21164000, .
Iranian Embassy, No. 1, Lorong U Thant Satu, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42515576.
Irish Embassy, Ireland House, The Amp Walk, 218 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21612963, .
Italian Embassy, 99, Jalan U Thant, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42565122-42565228, .
Japanese Embassy, 11, Persiaran Stonor, Off Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42565122-21772600, .
DPR Korea (North Korea) Embassy, 4, Persiaran Madge, Off Jalan U Thant, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42569913/42516713.
Republic of Korea (South Korea) Embassy, No. 9 and 11, Jalan Nipah, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42512336/42515797.
Kuwait Embassy, 229, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21421062.
Laos Embassy, No. 12 A, Persiaran Madge, Off Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42511118.
Maltese Consulate, No. 51-3, 2nd Floor, Feisco Suite, Kompleks Udarama, Jalan 2/64A, Off Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 40423618, .
Mexico Embassy, Menara Tan & Tan, 22nd Floor, 207 Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21646362, .
Myanmar Embassy, 12, Jalan Ru, Off Jalan Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42560280/42570680.
Nepal Embassy, Suite 13A.01, 13th A Floor, Wisma MCA, 163 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21645934/21649656, .
Netherlands Embassy, 7th Floor, South Block, The Ampwalk, 218, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21686200, .
New Zealand High Commission, Level 21, Menara IMC, 8 Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20782533, .
Royal Norwegian Embassy, 53 Floor, Empire Tower, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21750300, .
Pakistan High Commission, 132, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21618877/21618878/21618879.
The Philippines Embassy, 1, Changkat Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21489989/21484233/21484682/21484654/21421508, .
Embassy of the Republic of Poland (Ambasada RP), No. 9, Lorong Damai 9 ((of Jalan Damai)), ☎ +603 21610780/21610805.
Russia Embassy, 263, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42560009/42567252, .
Royal Saudi Arabia Embassy, 4th Floor, Wisma Chinese Chamber, 258 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42579831/42579433/42579825, .
Singapore High Commission, 209, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21616277, .
South African High Commission, Suite 22,01 Level 22, Menara HLA, No. 3 Jalan Kia Peng, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21702400/21688663/21617629, .
Spanish Embassy, 200, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21484868/21484655/21428776.
Sri Lanka High Commission, 12 Jalan Keranji Dua, Off Jalan Kedondong, Ampang Hilir, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42568987/42571394, .
Sweden Embassy, Wisma Angkasa Raya, 6th floor, 123 Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 20522550, .
Switzerland Embassy, 16, Pesiaran Madge, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21480622/21480751/21480639/21428766, .
Royal Thai Embassy, 206, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21488222/21488350/21488420/21458004, .
Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, Level 7, Menara Yayasan Tun Razak, 200 Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21614439, .
Turkey Embassy, 118, Jalan U Thant, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42572225/42572226.
United Arab Emirates Embassy, 12, Jalan Kenanji 2, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 42535221/42535420.
British High Commission, 185, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21702200, .
United States Embassy, 376, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21685000, .
Vietnam Embassy, 4, Persiaran Stonor, Kuala Lumpur, ☎ +603 21484036/21414692/21484534.
Kuala Lumpur is ostensibly a liberal city and wearing revealing clothes will rarely cause major problems. However, avoiding overly revealing clothes goes a long way towards blending in.
Many mosques and temples require covering up, and you will get more respect from officialdom if you dress up a little. Many places of worship also require you to take your shoes off before entering.
When eating with hands rather than cutlery, do not eat with the left hand in public as it is considered impolite.
If you can speak just a few words of the four main local languages, namely Malay, Chinese (Especially Cantonese), Tamil and English it will ingratiate you no end with the locals.
Also, while you may drink in pubs, restaurants and bars, public drunkenness is a not tolerated. You will be more vulnerable to getting robbed or will find yourself in the back seat of a police car.
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, KL 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.
Although crime is not rampant in Kuala Lumpur, it appears to be on the rise. Reports of violent crime against foreigners in KL are uncommon but instances of pickpocketing and bag snatching are rising significantly. Scams do happen too. KL is considered a very safe city for travellers, but do be wary of over friendly locals trying to con you. One common scam is for a local to say a friend or relative is going to your home country and asks for info, then wants you to go to their place to meet the person, and they want to play cards whilst waiting and it ends up as a gambling scam. Keep a close eye on your valuables in crowds, especially street markets and public transport (especially during rush hour), and hold your bag on the side away from the street if there are motorbikes around to avoid 'bag snatching'. Avoid carrying handbags that look expensive. Strapping a handbag across you may not deter snatch thieves as they often pull victims along as they make their escape on motorbikes. Victims of snatch thieves at times suffer serious if not fatal injuries. Try to walk in well-lit and populated areas at night (avoid walking in less-lit and deserted areas at night). Women travellers especially would be wise to take additional precautions.
Taxis are generally safe, but they often refuse to use the meter and a few cabbies will gouge tourists mercilessly. If they won't use the meter, then don't take that taxi, as by law they are required to use the meter. However if you are desperate to use that taxi, always agree on the fare in advance, and try to get an estimate of the cost from a local before you climb on board. Do watch out for counterfeit banknotes (such as RM50) given as change by a dishonest taxi-driver, the easiest way to tell being to hold it up to the light to see the continuous silver strip. If in doubt, don't pay with a RM100 note.
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.
Locals are very friendly to the tourists, and many in Kuala Lumpur can speak decent English. Communication with the locals is almost as easy as it is in Singapore, and significantly better than that of Bangkok especially in terms of understanding their pronunciations. Greet them well with warm smile and they will be happy to show you around. Be friendly - if you are lost, just ask anyone who's smartly dressed on the street.